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As a proud Virginia owner of a 1985 El Camino, would like to remove the ECM. The engine which has less than 3000 miles seems to run rougher than before--just not smooth anymore. The ECM is original and it is evident the wiring harness is well worn. Would also like to get back to a 'basic' pre-electronically controlled machine. One an 'old person' understands and can work on.

Am not certain what a removal would involve. Understand the E4ME carburetor and distributor will have to be replaced. All of the emissions were removed long ago. Am a bit uncertain about the transmission/torque converter. Do not think the ECM controls them, but again do not know. If anyone has any information/instructions on how to remove/disable the ECM functionality it would be appreciated. Also, a good source for buying the requisite parts.
 

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Hi JD47, welcome from Idaho. Glad you've joined us. The better mechanics should step up and explain the process. Enjoy and have fun.
 

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The harness going down the passenger fender well goes to the ecm in the kick panel. By dropping the inner fender you can remove the harness.
Make a small plate to seal the hole.
the small harness coming to the ecm from across the dash will not be used - except for the black wire which is a ground. You can cut it and extend it
to a new ground location there in the kick panel area.
The two small vacuum lines you need for the Heat/AC controls.
 

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Welcome JD47 from Pittsburgh Pa. I also have an 85 and thinking of doing the same thing.
Will follow this post for more info. Russ
 

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You shouldn't have any problems with a non-ecm HEI and carb. The only thing I'm not sure about is the trans. If you have a 2004r I think there is a work-around, I saw a few articles on 700r4's that are essentially the same trans and a by-pass at the pressure switch and you should have the lockup control wire already at the brake pedal. If you have a non-lockup trans there shouldn't be anything else necessary. Hopefully someone else has a bit more on this.

Joe
 

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Wrote this years ago. Hope it helps.
 

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As a proud Virginia owner of a 1985 El Camino, would like to remove the ECM. The engine which has less than 3000 miles seems to run rougher than before--just not smooth anymore. The ECM is original and it is evident the wiring harness is well worn. Would also like to get back to a 'basic' pre-electronically controlled machine. One an 'old person' understands and can work on.

Am not certain what a removal would involve. Understand the E4ME carburetor and distributor will have to be replaced. All of the emissions were removed long ago. Am a bit uncertain about the transmission/torque converter. Do not think the ECM controls them, but again do not know. If anyone has any information/instructions on how to remove/disable the ECM functionality it would be appreciated. Also, a good source for buying the requisite parts.
If you do this? you can still use the lock up option in the 350c trans. Let me know if you do this and I'll try to get the wiring posted
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you do this? you can still use the lock up option in the 350c trans. Let me know if you do this and I'll try to get the wiring posted
Thank you for the message and offer. Been awhile since I have been able to get back to having fun again. After a whole bunch of reading and checking out the options/risks associated with the carb/ecm change, as well as the cost of the replacement parts, it seemed as though investing $250 in a rebuilt/guaranteed E4ME carb would be the lesser of two evils. So, ordered the carb today. Who knows if it will fix the problem. If not, then the carb can be returned and will go with the next option. Sort of seems like the 'chicken' way out. Supposedly keeping the original stuff is more 'desirable' then making the changes. Who knows!
 

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Who did you order the carb from? If it’s any kind of parts store or mass rebuilder, good luck; you’re probably going to get junk. There are a few Quadrajet specialists out there (Mountain Man is often recommended) who fix them right. The mass rebuilders mix and match similar parts from multiple carbs that likely were iffy before they got broken up. The warranty is just words on the box saying ‘we’ll keep swapping them ‘til you give up!’.
That said, I’d suggest having your core rebuilt or buy one outright from a pro (for God’s sake, don’t turn your original in as a core!!) and keep the computer stuff. I have 170k (? maybe more) on mine; all the smog stuff works. Dad had the original carb rebuilt about 15 years ago. No issues since.
Patrick
 

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As others stated, you'll need a non computer controlled carburetor and distributor; stock distributor gets it's timing curve info from the computer, so once that's gone, you'll need a standard HEI unit. 200 4R trans gets the signal to go into OD from the computer also, but you can get a kit to control that thru engine vacuum or a manual switch. I've done each of these things on my '87, using a Holley 670 cfm carb, GM HEI distributor (part #93440806) with the distributor power pigtail (part #12167658) and the TCI lockup wiring kit (part #376600). I got all these from Summit Racing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Who did you order the carb from? If it’s any kind of parts store or mass rebuilder, good luck; you’re probably going to get junk. There are a few Quadrajet specialists out there (Mountain Man is often recommended) who fix them right. The mass rebuilders mix and match similar parts from multiple carbs that likely were iffy before they got broken up. The warranty is just words on the box saying ‘we’ll keep swapping them ‘til you give up!’.
That said, I’d suggest having your core rebuilt or buy one outright from a pro (for God’s sake, don’t turn your original in as a core!!) and keep the computer stuff. I have 170k (? maybe more) on mine; all the smog stuff works. Dad had the original carb rebuilt about 15 years ago. No issues since.
Patrick
Agree with not going to a parts store or some 'questionable' source. Mountain Man--they do not have a web site as far as I can tell. The eBay Mountain Man references only indicate fuel system parts, nothing about complete carbs. Called Mountain Man several times. No answer and left messages. No return calls. Mountain Man may have been the best place to go, but hard to do without making some sort of contact. Ended up buying from National Carbs--Florida. They have a professional looking web site, answered the phone after a couple of rings, and spent time answering many questions ranging from their rebuilding practices to the 'guarantees'. Will see what happens. There is a $50 core charge. But, after reading your message and advice--will not return the core.
 

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it's called Mountain Man Fuel Systems, and they primarily run a Facebook page, and not much of that at all. Husband and wife ARE the business, no other employees I've been able to determine based on research. MM will actually send you your own rebuilt carb back to you if you specify you want it for originality. They're sharp, I talked to them twice about a year apart for 10-15 minutes each time and they remembered me and my plans even though I didn't actually have them do any work yet.
As for not returning calls, being a small shop, and it currently being a pandemic, I'm not surprised. Send them an email or use Message on Fbook, they will respond.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Appreciate the information. Given the size of the business, their 'silence' is understandable especially during all of the virus crazy. As mentioned, have all ready ordered a carb from National Carburetor. If that doesn't go well then will give Mountain Man another try.
 

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Mountain Man is the only way I will ever go ! I have been running a non eco carb they rebuilt for 7 years and it is still flawless. I removed all my junk and eco and you will have to go to a NON feedback carb and distributor ! You will love the "normal" non computer setup if you do it right.
 

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Im running a TPI ran by an LS1 ECU the only non GM part needed is the timing chain cover. Check out my build in "engine topics" it is time consuming but??????
 
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