“Why? It runs so well with the carburetor!” my grandfather would retort when I discussed the idea of fuel injection with him. And you know what? He was absolutely right. The car ran fantastic… when the carburetor was functioning properly. However, the unfortunate truth is that for the past year or so, my root beer brown gem has been sitting motionless in my garage. A faulty seal in the carburetor caused fuel to spray everywhere whenever I attempted to start the car.
Naturally, I couldn’t bear the thought of the fuel igniting outside the engine, especially with headers on both sides poised for an opportunity. It was high time to take action, so when I was presented with the opportunity to test out the Sniper 2, my hand couldn’t have shot up any quicker.
Modern Fuels Require Modern Solutions
Modern ethanol fuel has proven to be particularly harsh on this vintage technology, causing rubber components to dry up quickly, especially in cases where the vehicle isn’t driven regularly. Don’t misunderstand me, I adore working on my car, but the constant tinkering with the carburetor has become a tedious task, preventing me from relishing in the joy of driving it. Therefore, when Holley introduced their new Sniper 2 throttle body EFI system, I was ready to make the switch.
Holley introduced the original Sniper EFI system over seven years ago, marking a revolutionary advancement at that time. It offered users a straightforward, effective, and user-friendly method to inject fuel into classic carbureted engines. However, the new Sniper 2 takes the advantages from the original concept and elevates them to a new level of excellence.
An All-New Sniper
Starting with its design, the Sniper 2 now boasts a shape more reminiscent of a traditional carburetor — a feature that particularly resonates with those who value an authentic aesthetic. This redesign facilitated the relocation of the ECU, from the front of the unit to the side of the throttle body. This adjustment provides enhanced shielding against radio frequency interference (RFI), a challenge that notably affected the initial generation of the Sniper system, particularly on vehicles like Fords with front-mounted distributors. The wiring is meticulously channeled out from the rear of the unit, ensuring a discreet and immaculate installation.
The fuel crossover has been integrated internally, and either port can be utilized for fuel delivery or return. Notably, the throttle linkage has undergone reengineering, enabling compatibility with an extensive range of kick-down linkages and yielding significantly more refined and gradual throttle response. In essence, the Sniper 2 represents a substantial leap forward compared to its predecessor.
Currently, there exists an abundance of methods for installing and configuring the Sniper 2 EFI system, spanning the spectrum from straightforward implementations to highly intricate ones, covering all the possibilities in between. Now, in order to take full advantage of everything that the Sniper 2 has to offer, I opted for Holley’s Sniper EFI fuel tank, EFI fuel regulator kit, and complete Hyperspark ignition system. I ran Earl’s Performance Plumbing 3/8-inch O.D. aluminum hardline for the delivery and return lines, and incorporated Earl’s Vaporlock soft rubber line, which acts as a flexible conduit for linking onto, and disengaging from, the rigid hardline.
The New Centerpiece
The installation process commenced with the mounting of the throttle body itself, a fairly straightforward procedure. Aligning the existing throttle and kickdown linkage posed no issues whatsoever; it seamlessly integrated and functioned flawlessly. However, before I could get started on the wiring aspect, my first task was to install the Hyperspark components. This Hyperspark system from Holley represents a substantial upgrade over the original points system that had been in my car for decades. This upgrade promises to furnish the ECU with enhanced control over ignition timing.
The installation of the Hyperspark components was genuinely plug-and-play. The Sniper 2 conveniently features a pre-existing harness tailored for the Hyperspark system, necessitating merely two additional connections alongside the standard power and ground links. Both the Hyperspark and the Sniper 2 mandate a 12-volt switched power source, which I sourced directly from the keyed ignition switch. Subsequently, the installation entailed fitting the provided coolant temperature sensor as well as the oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is accompanied by a clamp-on style bung, eliminating the need for welding in this particular instance.
Give Me Fuel And Fire Up
Once the throttle body and ignition system were successfully addressed, the focus shifted to establishing the fuel delivery and return lines. For this, I made the decision to use one of Holley’s EFI fuel tanks. This choice was particularly appealing as it maintains the fuel pump’s placement within the tank, as opposed to an external mount. This configuration boasts several advantages. For one, it significantly reduces noise levels compared to the distinctive whine of externally mounted pumps. However, the most crucial advantage lies in the fact that positioning the pump within the fuel itself leads to improved cooling, enhancing its long-term reliability.
From there I routed the recommended 3/8-inch fuel line from the tank, ensuring it passed through a fuel filter before connecting directly to the EFI unit. Notably, unlike its predecessor, the Sniper 2 lacks internal regulation, necessitating the incorporation of an external fuel pressure regulator following the Sniper 2’s output. This regulator assumes the role of managing the fuel pressure while also serving as the point of return to the tank.
At last, with all components in place, wiring complete, and fuel lines connected, the moment arrives to run through the setup wizard and fire it up. Following Holley’s guide, smoothly navigating through the procedure, while making use of the same 3.5-inch display that remained from the previous generation — a seamless experience. Before I could fully grasp it, the time had come for the first start. Remarkably, within mere seconds, the ECU adeptly established a consistent idle. Just a few minutes beyond that milestone, I found myself ready to embark on a nice long drive, so the ECU could start its self learning procedure.
Holley Sniper 2 Results
So how does it actually drive? Excellent! From the outset, the enhancement in throttle response is immediately evident, and the car is much happier while accelerating. I noticed a significant improvement in fuel economy and now I no longer worry about the manual choke it had previously. Now, when I head out in the mornings the car starts immediately and finds its idle like any modern car would. Holley’s Sniper 2 is truly one of those rare, special mods that both greatly improve engine performance and daily driveability.
Overall, the installation was pretty straight forward and since I lack a high-level of mechanical aptitude, it took me about 3 solid days to get everything dialed in. If you’re halfway decent at wrenching I see no problem getting this done in a long weekend or even faster. The initial set up and self learning works wonderfully if you follow Holley’s instructions closely.
One important thing to consider if you’re planning on doing this for your own ride is that the vehicle ran great before the conversion. EFI isn’t magic and if your engine isn’t running right before, this will only exacerbate problems. So, is Sniper 2 worth it? Well, if you’re tired of fiddling around with carburetors and would like some modern reliability without sacrificing too much of the vehicle’s vintage charm, then definitely!