Being from the younger generation, I have zero experience with tuning a carburetor on a modified engine. I have rebuilt original carburetors and made them work, and I have learned how to adjust idle mixture and set the transfer slots using a vacuum gauge, but that is the extent of my knowledge. I do plan on learning, I now have a 61 F100 with a V8 swap and I just put a Holley 600 on it that I plan on tuning now, after I put a cam in it, and again after I save up for aluminum heads just to give myself some experience with different combinations.
I rebuilt the Holley 600 vacuum secondary carb that came with the car, but it still had issues, the biggest of which being transitional throttle from idle. When I would stop at a stop sign or red light and tried to take off, more often than not the car would die unless I let off of it. It would do the same if I tried to pass someone on the highway. My best guess after putting an accelerator pump in it was maybe the secondary opening spring was either too light or too stiff, but I decided to fix all my problems at once with the Holley sniper.
It was a big expense, and yes I am aware that a carburetor can run just as well and produce just as much horsepower, but I ended up buying a Sniper Stealth (most people think it has a double pumper unless I take the air cleaner off), Hyperspark distributor, and Hyperspark ignition box and I'm very happy with it. Here's all the upsides I use to justify my purchase:
- The car starts at the first hit of the key whether it has been sitting overnight or for a month.
- It controls my electric fans and will eventually supply signals to my gauges (I plan on running the Dakota Digital cluster) without the need for 3 coolant temp and 2 oil pressure sending units. It also has the ability to kill the engine if oil pressure is lost without running a seperate circuit, as well as the ability to bypass this in the case of a dead oil pressure sending unit.
- A lot more information available for troubleshooting issues. The sniper measures all kinds of data and will tell you anything you could ask for over the handheld screen. As well as your basic oil pressure, rpm, coolant temperature, and voltage, it also reads fuel pressure, vacuum/boost, AFR, and more. If you added up the cost of all the gauges to read everything the Sniper reads it would cost more than the Sniper itself.
- Being on a budget, I can't afford to buy every engine mod I would like at once, I plan on upgrading incrementally as I save up over the years and the system will self tune every time when I do first a cam, then aluminum heads, then a stroker kit, then a single plane intake, and eventually a roller cam setup. This saves me all the time of tuning it myself with each combo or the cost of taking it to a dyno each time to have it done.
- I don't plan on making a full blown drag car out of it, but I do live in the same town as a historic drag strip (George Ray's Wildcat Dragstrip) and I would like to run it a few times. The sniper has a configurable 2 step as well as nitrous control for the solenoids and timing retard if I ever decide to add that. It can also be used to control a transbrake.
- I can adjust my fuel tables and timing curve without pulling fuel bowls or tearing a distributor apart. Again, I don't need it to be the fastest thing on 4 wheels, but I do plan on taking it to the strip, making a run, hooking up the laptop and tweaking a few things, and seeing if I can improve on it. I feel like the ease of making changes to the tune will keep me excited and interested in tweaking things whether it's for ETs or MPG.
The way I see it, the sniper system gives me plenty of room to grow. It is also completely reversible in the future if I ever decide to restore back to stock, and I could put it on anything else I own if I wanted to. I plan on keeping the car forever, and making many changes over the years, so I decided it was a worthwhile investment for me.