If you’ve been a fan of EngineLabs for any amount of time, you’ve likely at least heard of EFI University, run by Ben Strader. Recently EPARTRADE published an installment of their Race Industry Now tech and business series with Strader. Host Brad Gillie — who you might recognize from “Late Shift” on SiriusXM Channel 90 — talks with Strader about a wide variety of subjects, ranging from how EFI University came to be, through Reno Air Race projects.
The pair discuss some of the philosophies of learning incorporated into EFI University’s courses. “My real goal is to teach people how to think critically, not what to think,” explains Strader. “I don’t want the students to leave here and just build engines and tune ‘my way.’ One of the very first things I tell my students on the first day of all of our courses is, ‘I dare you to not believe anything I say.’ The truth doesn’t require you to believe in it.”
The truth doesn’t require you to believe in it. — Ben Strader, EFI University
By teaching students how to develop their own workflows and methodologies, Strader is essentially teaching them how to fish, rather than giving them a fish. Gillie also brought up the subject of EFI versus carburetors in the modern age. Anyone who has read our articles with Strader on the subject before knows, he’s quick to give carbs their due.
“I think it’s fair to point out first, that doggonit, those carburetors do a really great job of keeping engines running and running well. I think the biggest advancement is that EFI has the ability to control more than just fuel delivery. It’s really a complete vehicle management system.” Strader explains, as he details how involved modern EFI is now, essentially tuning the engine as eight one-cylinder engines, instead of one eight-cylinder engine.
Strader also speaks a little about the advanced diagnostic and research tools at his disposal at the school, including both a Spintron valvetrain analyzer and a full eight-channel Kistler Combustion pressure analyzation system. “We can drill and tap holes through the cylinder head directly into the combustion chamber, and then thread in this sensor, which allows us to see the actual chamber pressure all throughout the four strokes of the engine. We can do that for all eight cylinders, in real-time.” Explains Strader.
Strader also discusses the Delta Lambda group, its mission, and its practices. Besides bench racing, and getting to hear some cool stories and history, the interview highlights Strader’s commitment to sharing knowledge. He’s often said that his personal goal is to share information that has traditionally been guarded (or just unavailable to the average enthusiast).
The interview is well worth the time investment, so we highly recommend that you give the whole thing a watch (or a listen, that works as well).