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Saturday, November 11, 2006

 

EFI University

The EFI University advanced classJerry (the boss at DIY Autotune) paid for me to take the classes from EFI University as part of my training for my new job. I took both the 101 and Advanced courses. Both classes took place at Forged Performance in Marietta. They're an import performance shop which specializes in Nissan Z-cars, although they had quite a few other things sitting around their shop, including an Eclipse with a turbo 420A, a stock looking Infiniti with a Vortech blower, and a sleeper Subaru. The shop owner, Sharif Abdelbaset (on the right in this picture, with the red hat), has an absolutely evil looking twin turbo 350Z that we used as a test mule in the Advanced class. When not detuned to keep careless trainees from breaking it, this Z car can post more than 560 hp on the shop's dyno. Which Sharif was happy to demonstrate after the class was over.

This Z car drips with evil.The 101 class starts with a day that's primarily review if you've studied the MegaManual or read up on how fuel injection works. The EFI University curiculum does take a one size fits all approach, which is handy for someone who walks into the class with no knowledge of EFI but is a bit slow of an opening for those who are more experienced. Still, I did pick up a few interesting pointers I hadn't known in the overview. After explaining how EFI works, the next section of the 101 class covers basic tuning principles. There's a lot they cover there, and the instructor who taught the course, Chris Macellero, has years of experience at dyno tuning. The most eye-opening part of the 101 class, though, comes at the end of day two, when the instructor puts a car on a dyno and demonstrates some of the tuning principles, showing the effects of changing air/fuel ratios and spark timing. The 101 class is mostly lecturing and demonstrations; not very hands-on.

In the Advanced class, though, the students get to drive a car (in this case, Sharif's black Z) on the dyno and practice changing the settings. It starts out with the basics (seeing how it feels to drive the car on rollers instead of the road) and ends with a series of full throttle dyno pulls. Chris had deliverately sabotaged the Z's tuning for the class to give us a lot to straighten out, always erring on the side of not breaking things, of course.

I definitely picked up a lot of useful dyno tuning tips there, which is the biggest focus of the EFI University classes. The classes are not as much about installation or design as about dyno tuning adjustable EFI systems. It seemed the members of the 101 class were about evenly split between shop owners and enthusiasts, while the Advanced class was mostly people who were in the tuning business or looking to get into it.

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