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I have an 86 iroc tpi in my 79 Elky backed up with a 7004r. I've had a vacuum leak that has been getting worse, so the time has come to re-gasket this tpi setup. The leak is at the intake, front right above number one cylinder. A little brake cleaner sprayed on it confirms the location of the leak, as well as the visible coolant spewing out and then runs down the side of the intake along where it meets the head and then drips off the back of the engine.

I bought a top-end gasket kit and today I fired her up for the last time before I began to tear apart the tpi and intake. Took all kinds of pictures of all the wiring harnesses and sensors, injectors, etc. Basically I have a really good digital picture album of how everything was routed around the tpi. The iroc engine was installed by the PO and a painless harness was used, and luckily I do have the painless manual to go along.

Now the fun begins! This thing is intimidating! This is more than just a simple job like you would have with an ordinary carb and intake to replace a leaking valley gasket. Nearly everything needs to be disassembled just to get down to the intake on the tpi and reach the bolts to remove it. Making it more difficult is figuring what order to remove stuff, a service manual sure would be a great help here.

I began at 6 pm tonight. I started by disconnecting the battery and removing the distributor cap and leads. Then unbolted the alternator and swung it down and out of the way. I started to unplug any wiring at the sensors I could reach and diligently marked everything with mask-tape and a sharpie. Un-clipped the throttle cable and TV cable and took the mounting bracket off. Loosened off many hose clamps and pulled off coolant hoses and pcv and ccv lines as well as a few vacuum lines.

This is an amazing unit this tpi setup. There are so many parts and pieces to it, and you just have to keep removing bits one by one to get at the bits or bolts beneath what you just took off to get to the next thing you want to take off. As you star to get the smaller stuff out of the way I was finally getting to where I could remove some of the bigger components and have it begin to look like I have actually done something beside make a rats nest of loose harnesses and wires.

Off came the MAF and air ducting and cone filter, exposing the bolts for the TPS which came off next. It also occured to me at this time that as you get some of this big stuff coming off, it exposes more harness ends and sensors to be unplugged and marked plus a vacuum line or two. I could now see all the bolts for the intake tubes and got them all out. The plenum is now loose and is ready to lift off, but there are more wires and stuff hooked under it yet.

It was now 9:30pm and being as it took the use of the flashlight to remove the bolts on the plenum I decided to call it quits for the night and leave it hanging loose until I can get back at it tomorrow morning with daylight. I was no longer able to easily see what was still clipped to the bottom of it as darkness was falling fast. Not easy working on this out in my driveway, but you do with what you have.

I think the plan of attack when I get back at it tomorrow will be to start with more pictures again. Stuff that couldn't be seen when I started is now visible and the pics should help me when I reassemble to show where stuff goes, or how things were routed around and under things when I took it apart. I will also have a good idea of what hoses and lines I should replace with new rubber. Might as well have everything new after the work it takes to get to them, so a trip to the parts store will be in order.

I'll try to add some pictures of the process to help explain what I'm going through with this and my progress as it goes. I do hope I will be able to get it all back together ok and have it fire up and run properly when completed.

Oh yeah! I guess I should mention that if I'm going through all this pain and agony with this regasketing, then I might as well install the little blue bottle which will hide in the smugglers box behind the drivers seat. I have a brand new unopened NOS system for this tpi engine that I traded some decal work I had done on a dragclub members mustang a couple weeks ago.

So until Chapter2 tomorrow, I've gotta get some sleep, but why do I feel like I'm going to be dreaming about wires and sensors and hidden bolts and stuff! :yell:
 

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the wireing on the tpi is pretty simple,being batch fire you only have L&r injectors and everything else is dedicated connectors .i do one in about 4 hours. not a lot of vacuum lines or tubes like a carb motor. try to avoid the felpro blue base gaskets they never seem to seal very well very long.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
the wireing on the tpi is pretty simple,being batch fire you only have L&r injectors and everything else is dedicated connectors .i do one in about 4 hours. not a lot of vacuum lines or tubes like a carb motor. try to avoid the felpro blue base gaskets they never seem to seal very well very long.
4 hours?!!! I probably stood and looked at it for four hours just figuring out where I was going to start! :poke: The intimidation factor was extreme!

The top-end gasket kit is a felpro I have. I havent opened it yet, but am guessing I have these blue base gaskets in there. Anything I could do to help them seal better? Or should I take it back on monday and request a different kit? I do have plenty of ultra copper o2 sensor-safe rtv here.

How about torque specs? Can you share with me any numbers. Any other advice fir a first-timer to help me avoid any common problems or mistakes?
 

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For me, I always had trouble getting the Plenum and air tube gaskets to seal. I now put a thin smear of sensor safe RTV on both sides of the gaskets before assembling. And watch out that you don't switch sides with the gaskets. There are a couple that look really close, but won't work if you put them on the wrong side ( ask me how I know!). Don't over-torque the bolts- the plenum is aluminum and can easily strip. Use a little anti-sieze on the bolts.
 

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i use the gm or engineteck. detroit makes a good one for them, felpro is a good gasket but thier intake base gaskets are hard and not very conforming.the rest of the gaskets are fine.i have tried all different sealers on them and still they leak in a year or so.they were great on the old cast iron intakes but dont seem too good on the new aluminium intakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, thanks for some tips! I did notice the slight difference in the tube runner gaskets after reading this and will make sure I get the right one in the right spot upon reassembly. A smear of RTV will be applied to them as well as some anti-seize on the bolts.

If I am doing this, I am going to only do it once! So I will go the the GM dealer and get another pair of GM intake base gaskets. I figure I best be safe and not have to worry that I need to tear this all apart again in short time because something leaked.

Yesterday I got the rest of the tpi disassembled right down to the bare intake just leaving the EGR still attached. I removed the distributor after marking where the rotor was pointing as well as scratching a mark on the base of the shaft and intake so I can be close when all goes back together and ready to fire up. I left the intake on because there is rain in the forcast and I didnt want any moisture down in there in case it rains for a week or two.

I will have plenty to do in cleaning up all the other parts in the shop while it rains. The plenum and runners are caked with carbon and crud build-up, so I might need to get a few gallons of varsol to dump them into and let soak. I figure with this much taken apart or off the engine, I may as well do a cosmetic cleaning and painting all through the engine bay. The engine itself could use a good shampoo, so I will plug off any openings and give it a good cleaning.

I bought some anodizing paint and want to add some color to the plenum and runners. It's temp rated to 500 degrees just like engine enamel is, so it should be fine I hope. If it turns out well, I may do the same treatment with the intake once I have it off and cleaned.

I did notice that the wire from the EGR was not hooked up to anything. It was just coiled up under the plenum. Will need to find out where this should go, or if it even needs to be connected at all. I guess it's time to start reading the manual for the painless harness.

Seems to be a huge project, but I'm becoming more comfortable with the tpi. It's not as intimidating as it was before I started this.
 

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The wire from the EGR is the temp sensor, which tells the ECM that the EGR is working. If you are not getting any codes, then it has been bypassed. It can be eliminated in the programming of the ECM, and can also be bypassed by grounding. Painless ships harness with or without Emissions wiring, so it's likely that it was taken care of in the harness.
 

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my tpi harness was a painless and didnt come with the wire for the egr sensor and has never set a code for it. on the tubes i use the red permatex sealer,you can use rtv on these because there is no fuel going through them. gas eats up silicone rtv.always use anti seeze on aluminium as disimular metals attack each other.let it run for about 1 hour and retighten all of the intake bolts includeing the throttle body.
 

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zombieking,

I had this same problem when I converted my Elco to TPI... the blue Fel-Pros worked fine for me... just ensure you use RTV on BOTH sides of the gasket!!! Also, I'd recommend "The Right Stuff" made by Permatex... Sealed pretty nicely and went down easy! Good luck!
 

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You guys with Painful harnesses ought to verify the park/neutral switch is working in your cars. Likely not in the 79 since it didn't have one @ the column.

It's going to keep EGR from functioning and prevent use of proper fuel and spark tables, hurting mileage and drivability.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I need to follow up with this post, after all, it has been on-going for more than a month now. Ok, so I work slow, and at a pace I can trust to ensure I do a good job and get everything right just the way I want it.

The main reason for the duration of time to complete this task is, 1: I work slow and methodically, 2: The job gets bigger as I progress, 3: I only get a couple hours each night to work on it, 4: As money allows to get all the little things I need to continue on the path I've chosen.

I've been taking some photos of the progress so far, and being as we all love pictures here, this is a picture of what I started with.







A pretty scaley ugly dirty rusted and corroded, but still cool looking tpi engine. Third pic shows where the intake is leaking above #1 cylinder around the water passage.

MAF, Throttle body and linkages removed and Plenum ready to lift out.



Plenum is loaded with crud, lots of cleaning needed here.



And some of the unexpected surprises you find under a dirty crusty plenum. Mr squirrel wont be sleeping under here any more!



The obsessive compulsive in me shows with all the small pieces of tape which mark every wire and hose to where is connects.



Now we can really see the leak and why this needed to be done. Coolant pooling on the intake. Was a bigger leak than I thought. No wonder it ran like crap before I started tearing it apart. Massive vacuum leak and probably sucking in coolant at the same time.



Down to a dirty intake and ready to unbolt. At first, this was all I was going to do with this engine, simply replace the intake gasket and button her all back together. But plans change, and how could I live with such a dirty crusty engine like this. I need to make it more purdy!



More to follow, but it's late, so I'll leave it for tomorrow.
 

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4 hours?!!! I probably stood and looked at it for four hours just figuring out where I was going to start! .
i had to laugh.and laugh out loud i did. if only i had a dollar for every time i stared at a project before i started it. I would probably have enough to put a custom paint job on my sprint including hand pin stripping and six cold beverages still have a few dollars left in my pocket
 

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zombieking how do you like the 86 tpi? I have a 350tpi out of a vette it was to go in my 67 chevelle but those plans changed and now i am thinking of putting it in my 72 sprint. what did you have in your 79 originally
 

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The elky was born with a stock 305 originally, but I bought it with the tpi already in it. I like the engine a lot compared to any of the other 305's I've had or have. This is a pure torque monster with a ton of get up and go. I do wish it was a 350, but it is what it is, and you can't ignore the coolness factor of the plenum and runners under the hood. I would even consider adding a tpi to the carburated 305 in my S10 if I could find the pieces for a reasonable price.

The only downside until I can do some more drive-train and suspension upgrading on the elky would be that with all the torque it puts out it is very easy to spin the tires. You have to leave at a stoplight as If you have an egg between your foot and the gas pedal, and flooring it at any speed under 25mph will break them free again. This is even with the 275/60/R15's I have on the back.
 

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thanks zombieking for the heads up on keeping the rears planted. perhaps this winter i will blow the dust off the tpi and put'er to use. there is a back road in Ixonia Wisconsin that i am trying to re-pave 8 inches at a time
 

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finished the tpi swap today couldn't wait for winter now just have to get her out of the body shop so i can experience that torque you were talking about
 
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