Corvette Forum Tours K&N’s Southern California Headquarters
This Chevy Nova Has a Secret
The clean ’72 Nova in the photo above is owned by one of K&N’s engineers, who has used his own personal vehicle as a test bed for one of the company’s latest products. Under the hood is a rather standard looking small block Chevy V8 with a Edelbrock carb. However, a quick peek under the carburetor reveals what looks like a carb spacer.
That’s no ordinary spacer, but instead the K&N electronic carburetor injection kit. This kit promises to bridge the gap between carburetors and entry-level fuel injection kits while being dead-simple to own and use. The premise is that, by using the included wideband oxygen sensor, this one-inch spacer has a small LS3-style injector that can add supplemental fueling where the carb may not be able to. Most practically, this kit should eliminate any cold start issues with a carb, and the need to use a choke.
Being honest, at first glance, other than quick-and-easy cold starts with a carbureted engine, we didn’t quite “get” the need for this kit. That is, until K&N’s engineering team walked us through what the system can do.
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While it is billed as an easy plug-and-play solution for carbureted engines, the Microsoft Windows-based software that is included actually offers a solid amount of flexibility. The system’s controller is mounted on the fender (seen in the upper-left corner of the first image). It is heat and weather resistant and offers a quick insight into the running condition of the engine, thanks to that wideband O2. The supplied software can adjust the system and target air-to-fuel ratios for different fuels, like pump gas, E85, alcohol and even fuel blends, like “E50,” for example. Adjustable on the fly, this system can control idle AFR target and has programmable fail-safes. This means if the oxygen sensor detects a lean condition, even with cruising or on throttle, it can reactivate the system instantaneously and provide supplemental fueling.
To be frank, we held some suspicions about the efficacy or the need for this system when we first heard about it. However, seeing the flexibility the systems offers, we are believers. It’s easily installed, 100% removable without any sort of permanent changes to the engine or engine bay, and, at around $500, it does effectively bridge the gap between people who want to keep their cars original and enjoy the simplicity of a carb, and those who are hunting for an entry-level fuel injection conversion kit, and want the tuning options afforded by EFI.
At present, K&N is offering its electronic carburetor injection system for Holley 4150-style carbs, Holley Dominator systems and Quadrajet carbs. Interestingly, the Dominator system offers second supplementary injector and additional software tuning options, to account for differences in carb design. The company is still evaluating further carburetor options for its ECI system. The kits are on sale now, starting at $499.
Photos: Corvette Forum