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It has taken 12 rough years bouncing from shop, to rented garage, to even more shops to get this car together. Through major setbacks, such as weathering the waters of Hurricane Sandy, the long, strained life of this ’65 Barracuda is about to take a turn for the better.
The Paxton huffed 360ci motor just never really ran right. It struggled to keep a tune, or idle properly and driving an automatic with two achy feet gets tiresome after a short while.
To solve the massive drivability problems, it was time to ditch the carb and convert to modern EFI. Blue Sky Performance and Restoration in Budd Lake, New Jersey came to the rescue with a Holley Sniper EFI system in hand.
Proprietors Jesse Barratt and Jeff Manzella eased worries, calmed nerves and then made space for the ’65 Barracuda in their extensive shop. Then the guys showed just how Holley EFI will help chase my carbureted blues away. Lead tech Jeff has done more Holley EFI installations than he could count on all his digits (plus the crew’s as well) and promised that my inconsistent tune would be a thing of the past. So follow along as we take the first steps towards getting this Barracuda back on the road:
Here’s our parts table. Working with Holley, we put together a healthy parts list, including a Holley Super Sniper Stealth 4150 EFI kit, Sniper Hyperspark Coil, a 318-360 Pro Billet distributor, Billet EFI Bypass Fuel Pressure Regulator, Sniper EFI Fuel Tank System and a Holley Dominator single plane intake. Add in some needed fittings and hose, and we were ready to take on the world!
Jeff Manzella of Blue Sky Performance and Restoration in Budd Lake, New Jersey starts the teardown of the Barracuda’s innards. All of the induction and fuel systems will be removed, and some of the ignition system will be modified.
This Chrysler 360 was built ten years ago but has seen little to no use. Everything is clean and ready to take on a new life with fresh Holley parts. All of the surfaces have been prepped for our next step.
First to be installed is this used, but classic Holley Street Dominator intake manifold. It came bead blasted and ready to install.
Installing and phasing the Hyper Spark distributor. This is how we are setting the reference angle to sync the ignition timing with the Sniper EFI.
Once the distributor has been properly phased in, we can install the distributor cap and move on to the next step.
The Sniper Stealth 4150 kit features a throttle body which mimics the look of a carburetor for a sneaky execution. All wiring will exit the rear for a clean look.
There are lots of ways to wire a Sniper depending on your accessories and ignition type. This is the diagram for the HyperSpark ignition.
Keeping everything cohesive, clean, and tidy is a must, especially in a small engine bay like on our Barracuda. Here Manzella mounts the main relay and fuse for the system out of the way on the back apron.
Depending on your application, the wiring can be customized to fit your needs. Manzella sets his sights on the wiring layout that will power the HyperSpark ignition box.
Here we are soldering the final wiring connection. These are very important to the system, so strong connections are vital to the health of the build. EFI systems are very sensitive to voltage issues.
We mounted the HyperSpark coil on the inner fender alongside the main relay fuse.
From the engine bay, we moved on to our fuel supply. Here Manzella sets the fuel pump height based on the measurement we took of the Barracuda tank depth.
Here we have the completed fuel pump assembly.
The fuel level sensor needed to be custon-built to line up with the depth of the fuel tank. After Manzella verified the measurement was correct, the fuel level sensor and the corresponding gasket that is included in the kit was installed.
Here is the completed fuel tank which features a single, clean connector for the wiring.
Here we are pre-installing the fuel tank vent, pressure, and return hoses. Once the tank is installed in the Barracuda we won’t be able to get to these connection points.
The feed and return fuel hoses were run down the inside rocker panel of the Plymouth.
Manzella mounts the Holley fuel pressure regulator that will have a reference line run to manifold vacuum so fuel pressure will rise as boost rises.
These fuel line connections from the fuel pressure regulator to the Sniper throttle body were easy to put together using Earl's fittings.
One great thing about this Holley Sniper set-up (among many) is that the throttle and transmission linkage already present in the Barracuda connect just like if it was a carbureted ride. No modifications needed here!
Back under the car, Manzella welds in the bung for the wideband O2 sensor. This is what gives the Sniper closed loop fuel control, allowing the system to trim fuel mixtures for you to get the perfect air fuel ratio. There must be NO exhaust leaks in your system. That will introduce air and cause the sensor to become inaccurate.
Here Manzella does the initial programming of the system and checks to make sure all sensors are reading accurately and ready for its first fire. Stay tuned for the next chapter, where we complete the tuning and test drive our newly EFI converted Barracuda!