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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello E.C.C.,
Okay, I have an '82 Elco I just purchased about a month n a half ago, the guy who had it before me spent over 2k in the motor in machining and valvetrain work and bought a NEW 700r4 trans... He tried to make a racecar (epic fail) and all I want is a medium-range HP traveler/commuter. My problem is that he rigged the intake/carb for ZERO smog, in a smogging state. I hate carburation anyways and i would like to go towards an LT-1 type set-up without the pricetag.

So my question is, is it possible, using the appropriate ECM, harness, and fuel-system mods, to directly bolt on a TPI set-up off of an 80's model camaro/firebird? I am a huge fan of TPI, believe in its reliability, and power...and seeing those huge runners comin off the plenum.The motor that's in the Elco now is the factory 305 *based on the casting #s* with the factory heads... Any info is appreciated!
 

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Hello
Im in the begining stages of converting my 82 elcky to TPI also. I found a lot of info in the FORUMS section for LT1/TPI-EFI's and also at maliburacing.com. There are several books devoted just to TPI conversions out there too. In my case I traded a couple of carbs and a intake for a TPI sys that someone else had given up on because it was too complicated and expensive. All i can say is that it is complicated and expensive if you dont get a complete set-up all from one car. I'm piece mealing mine together and trying to get compatible parts has been a pain . One suggestion is to look into aftermarket systems and even thier retrofit sysytems like the one FAST puts out. Reconfigureing the OEM electronics is what I consider the hardest part, but there are dozens of forums and people that have done this conversion many times. Do your research first it will save you a ton of time and money.
Good Luck Mike
 

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IT is very doable, but not for the faint of heart. It is also not cheap. I picked up a 'Complete" TPI setup, including all the wiring harnesses, for $200. My total to get it all up and running was close to $1800. In the end though, it was worth it. Car runs great, has a lot of torque, will chirp the tires in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, gets 21 mpg on highway.

You will want a setup from an '86 if you can find it to match up with your heads. Don't get an '85- they had a funky ECM for that year only. '87-up will work, but you will have to massage the intake to get it to fit.

If you want more info, I have a lot of detail on my website listed below in my signature. Go to the TPI page, and you will find a lot of links and uploaded files and spreadsheets. Feel free to ask questions.
 

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Before my LS1, did a86 tpi swap wire for wire into fusebox factory style. Because of age now, I would not reccomend this with old harnesses. I,d reccomend either howell or street & performance, -they both actually make the harnesses. You need a proper cam also Better harnesses use speed sensor, you need $130 adapter to use your cable speedo.I had homeported 305 H.O. heads & crane compucam& mildly cleaned up factory runners. For the good part, 305 with 260 comp cam was a DOG with carb, couldn,t believe the extra grunt up to approx4500 to 5000 rpm. then even my version became a restriction. GREAT for street though. As others said, Alot of work & $ to get going, but not bad result. Personally though, in 2011, you may want to look into a pickup 5.3 ls setup as `affordable' for the result. Newer, matching setup, no oil leaks & probably easier to get past emissions. There is a new hp book on ls swaps by shawn henderson ofretro lsx that has a g-body 5.3 example swap. Something to consider,don,t regret my99'LS1/t56 swap I completed in 03'.:secret:p.S.- Tuned port injection specialties is one of the originators of the tpi swap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you everyone for the help. I have been doing GOBS of research on this topic and I am still more and more suprised by it... I have been finding the manifolds+plenum+runners, and even in some cases injectors/throttle body/ECM and harness for around $400... I am fairly sure the motor I have now is already tuned with a bigger cam based on exhaust note and difficulty of timing, so if a bigger cam is neccessary, im good... I do NOT want to go LS simply because of the price tag... I'd like to ATTEMPT to do the entire swap, cleaning up old parts and purchasing some new for under $700. I know how to make this car scream down the strip, however I'm going for BUDGET not bankrupt... I will invest the funds for this swap into wiring and fuel delivery more than anything, however I will be keeping a keen eye out fot the '86 intake setup... another tech question...

In tuning the ECM, post install... is there any available software out there that is already "preset" to the flow of my heads/air-fuel ratio/etc... or at least a program I can play with? I will be using my stock exhaust manifolds and will be keeping the 700r4 for YEARS to come... so is there a TCM prom to handle as well???
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
something else I just researched using visual aids, I noticed that all the carburated intake manifolds have an extra port used as a coolant passageway... however, the TPI style manifolds have this port blocked... at least the ones I have seen... So... will this set-up still work??? I appears that at least 4 of the coolant passages that go into the block are still available with the TPI manifold...
 

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Although my memory is a little dated now on tpi info, afew more points to make to you. TPI in particular will not do well with a small lobe center, long duration, low vacuum producing cam. If you have the spec sheet, you can contact someone likeT.P.I.S. to see if it could be run. Yes there are `mail order tunes' made to spec.Could also check with EFI Alchemy, their tunes may be cheaper. Another reason for proper camshaft selection is intake manifold tuning, in other words TPI runners are tuned for lower rpm torque. If you use a wrong,highrpm cam & do get it to run, the cam won,t make power till the intake is not making power. Make sense? Another fact is you can use a later harness with the 85-86 head pattern. Don,t quote my memory for certain on these year changes, Approx 88-89 went from 9th injector cold starting to being programmed in to the 8 injectors, also V.A.T.S. kicked in, which requires either computer removal or a bypass module. All early units were M.A.F. sensor systems, I think 90-92 was the speed density. Don,t worry about the water passages. we're not trying to be the harvengers of doom on you doing this project for cheap, just trying to make you understand fromsometimes hard learned experience what is involved & why compatibilityof all parts is necessary.This is why complete, already running EFI swaps are so popular now.:let_it_all_out:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all the input yet again... Still diggin around still trying to set-up a gameplan... Thank you for the info on who to go to for the tunes... I know that my "$700" budget is WAAAYYY LOWBALLIN... but I'm attempting to do this to prove a point to a select few individuals, and at the same time save some coin... I don't really care if the parts are used or not, as I am pretty proficient at restoring older, worn down parts... With that in mind, I'm fairly sure almost all of the $$$ is going to be going into a new set of injectors and the electrical... If possible...Does anybody have a wiring diagram by chance with a way to use the factory wiring with this type set-up??? Can I 86 the original ECM if I am going this far already??? This is what I am mainly concerned with... Thank you.
 

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If you go to my website( See my signature), I have spreadsheets on the wiring that will tell you exactly what needs to be changed- I think it is 6-8 pins in the harness. There is also a spreadsheet there that details every part that I needed to make the swap, including the costs.

You may get by with a lower budget by using used parts. The TPI system I used was off the car when I bought it , so I had no idea what worked and what didn't. I didn't want to get it all installed, and find that I could not get it to work. Troubleshooting the system with unknown parts was going to be a bitch. So I went with more new parts than maybe was required. A good rule of thumb I have heard before is to plan a budget, and then double it. Expect the worst, and if you come out ahead, then you have money to burn.

The harness I used, being old, required many new connectors to replace the broken ones. New ( or refurbished) injectors is a good idea. It is a real pain to swap them out if they don't work. Eliminating the 9th injector is also a good idea, since they are no longer available, and usually don't work. You can do the tuning yourself with a free copy of TunerPro, and some eprom burning equipment form Moates.net. Fuel delivery can get expensive if you want to do an in-tank pump. Doing an external pump will be a little cheaper. You'll need to switch to electric fans to clear the intake.

In my spreadsheets there is a also a step by step project plan, detailing all of my "To do's". It will be good reading to get a feel for what is required for the R&R. Do a lot of research before starting. Get a 3-ring binder with dividers and keep everything you find organized. You will refer back to that binder many times during your project and after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, I will be getting my first pieces in this week... I will be trading my current carb/intake setup straight accross for a fresh TPI manifold, runners, injectors, distributor, ecm, and rails off an 86 firebird!!! PERFECT!!!... not bad i think...Thank you to darbysan for the info! I am currently searching for either a salvage gas tank, or a cheap 35-40psi inline pump... recommendations??? CHEAP IS KEY!!! On that note, should i upgrade the fuel lines to a thicker, more durable material than the cheap ass 29 year old hoses??? i don't have the funds for the badass braided lines, any rec's???

Keeping in mind that i must be smog legal, are there any "special" smog hook ups on the manifold short of the EGR valve??? And if so, can the manifold be "tapped" to accept various inputs, vaccum lines, etc??? I would also like to retain the function of my top vents for the a/c...

And finally, does anybody know any NEWER, cost effective serpentine belt set-ups that would mount on the block and heads on this motor, all the while retaining the smog pump??? I hate screwing around with more than 3 freakin belts!!! and you get smoother power from a serp set-up...

I just realized, based on what I'm currently doing and aiming for, this entire swap, if everything goes "AS PLANNED" and as estimated, is at a total cost of an old intake and carb, and about $300... cross your fingers and advice is EXTREMELY APPRECIATED in terms of cost-effectiveness...
 

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Good trade! Now, for the info. You will need Fuel Injection Hose to replace the old rubber hose. The old hose will not hold the pressure, even if it was new. You'll need about 10' of 3/8" hose, and I bought a roll of 25' of 5/16" on e-bay. I used the 5/16" as the vent line to the tank. This does not need to be FI hose- regular gas hose is Ok here. I used the stock metal return line for the FI return. You'll need some 5/16" FI hose ( maybe 6-10') to hook up from the Fuel rail to the Return, and in the rear from the return line to the tank. Do not use the Vent connection on the Fuel Sender for the return- there is a baffle in there that will restrict flow. Most Elky senders have just two connections- one the fuel out, the other vent. If you don't get a FI sender, then you will need to make a third connection for the fuel return.

For the pump, you will need at least 50 PSI. For an external pump, I have seen a Ford Pickup pump used ( E2000 AIRTEX), as well as a Datsun 240Z pump (e8312). Walbro pumps are the better aftermarket pumps. For the fuel filter, use Fram G3870. It has 3/8" barb fittings both sides. Use FI hose clamps. Buy them on Ebay. I used 2 for every connection on the pressure side to be safe.

As for the Serp Setup, it is not a budget swap either. Most have the AC on the passenger side, so you wind up having to swap condensers and AC lines. My HD alternator did not swap, so I had to buy a new one. The AC compressor might have fit, but the clutch and pulley's were different, so I bought a new one there too. Some of them do not leave enough room for the TPI Intake. I would look for one off an F-body car, just to be safe. IF you get it, get the AIR pump connection parts and valves as well. Others can chime in here if they have had success with others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thank you again for the info...
Along the lines of fuel delivery, I am still debating whether or not just to buy a used F.I. tank, sender, and pump from a salvage yard and go from there... however, the inline is SOOOO much cheaper, and retain all my factory wiring + connectors... I will probably end up tapping a hole into the tank for a return line, other than that, fuel system is not too much of a concern...

I had another brainstorm however, considering I removed the old smog pump/connections *which weren't connected anyways...pieces MISSING!!!* would the new ECU and EFI setup notice a richer air/fuel ratio??? Just a thought... and if it does notice such a difference to cause a check engine light or poor *or no* operation, then can the o2 sensors be bypassed? or can the ECU chip have the proms for the o2 sensors deleted, along with the proms for the trans, and have proms added for combustion chamber cc's, spark, etc??? Is there ANY free software that is simple to use out there so I can prom the chip myself??? or at least anyone who performs these tasks cheap??? The ECU at this point is my BIGGEST concern!!! I looked up the smog requirements for putting in a different motor in vehicles, but considering I'm only changing components, do I use the old, or the newer smog pump? Keep in mind it's the same GM block and heads... just different intake...

On the note of the serp setup, I'm not too concerned *for now* about not having a/c, however I would like to find the air pump/p.s pump/alternator/compressor package off an '86 EFI car... Any rec's??? As it stands right now, I'll probably keep the factory 4 belt system on it until I can afford the time/patience/funds for a serp setup from a salvage yard... doing this i think would also give me enough time to polish the "new" alternator/air pump/compressor to a mirror finish*considering they're made of aluminum... my manifold setup will also be polished...
 

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thank you again for the info...
Along the lines of fuel delivery, I am still debating whether or not just to buy a used F.I. tank, sender, and pump from a salvage yard and go from there...

I had another brainstorm however, considering I removed the old smog pump/connections *which weren't connected anyways...pieces MISSING!!!* would the new ECU and EFI setup notice a richer air/fuel ratio??? ...

On the note of the serp setup, I'm not too concerned *for now* about not having a/c, however I would like to find the air pump/p.s pump/alternator/compressor package off an '86 EFI car... Any rec's???
I found my used FI tank and sender in a salvage yard for $75. They are not easy to find, but they are there. The only difference in wiring is a hot lead back to the pump, which you will need anyway. Many of the FI tanks were 22 gal, an added bonus.

If you go external pump, the 280Z pump is supposed to have a return fitting included on the rear of the pump. Essentially, you pump your return fuel right back into the pump. Not sure if this is a good idea, but... Also, without the baffled tank, you will need to keep fuel level at least 1/4 tank at all times. Additionally, external pumps are pushers, not pullers. Keep them as close to the tank as possible, and as near the bottom level of the tank. Otherwise, you will burn them up pretty quickly.

You do not need the AIR pump and connections to make the system work. You may need them to pass smog. Stock stuff fits fine. You do need the O2 sensor. Without it, your system cannot adjust air/fuel ratio. You will also need the MAF sensor, TPS sensor, manifold Temp Sensor, Water temp sensor, and EGR solenoid. If you don't have to pass smog, you can delete the EGR stuff, with some programming on the chip. As for programming, get Tunerpro. It's free, and available on line. Easy to use, once you get it set up. Lots of stuff you can adjust.

For the Serp Setup, as said before, F-body.
 

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Okay, I will be getting my first pieces in this week... I will be trading my current carb/intake setup straight accross for a fresh TPI manifold, runners, injectors, distributor, ecm, and rails off an 86 firebird!!!
Are you getting the Engine Harness as well? If not, aftermarket harnesses are available, but are pricey. Also, the MAF sensor is very pricey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ya, i'll more than likely find a tank and sending unit and whatnot... the thought of being stuck on the side of the road simply because it wasn't full enough doesn't entertain me... along the lines of the software...thank yoU!!!I'll be diggin around into it a little more later... This newer intake came with EVERYTHING but the harness, throttle body, MAF sensor were included which is nice...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay, so I had a possible solutions, just getting opinions here... For the EFI pump... I would like to stay at a low budget and retain funationality... So I thought..."what if I tapped 3 holes in the bottom of the tank (one center, far left, and far right) used the appropriate fittings, the walbro in-line pump, and efi hose?" I figured if "sloshing" were a problem, then adding multiple exits from various locations should "solve" the problem...no? I would invest a little cash in a piece of sheet metal to gaurd the pump and hoses from the elements should I do this... If this were feasible, then I could be paying $120 for the full get-up versus like $200 right??? Second opinions are encouraged... And yes I know that by tapping not 3, but 4 (one for return) to the tank, I'd be running the risk of leaks, however I may just tap 2 into the bottom of the tank (delivery and return) to avoid this... I've read other forums, and this idea seems like the cheapest way to go without messing around with the old sending unit and whatnot...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okay, one more small problem... I downloaded TunerPro, however I can't find any bins??? Nor have I had a chance to use the program... PLEASE HELP!!! I downloaded 3 bins, but can't figure out how to work it!!! Does anyone have any bins, or instruction (step by step) how to use TunerPro???
 

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probably the best method on that line of thought would be to tig weld a sump into the bottom of the tank- - - after proper cleaning methods of course. this would extend your range even without baffles.:poke:
 
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