Chevy TBI?

Discussion in 'Other Automotive Tech & Talk' started by Jamie Miles, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    Lets say "theoretically" I have an '89 Chevy truck, and the TBI 350 in it spun a rod bearing today and it's now got a very bad knock in the bottom end. Well, I just happen to have this nice 351w sitting around, and as it turns out, there are SBF to Chevy bell housing adapter plates available, and adapter plates available to mount the Chevy TBI setup on a number of intake configurations... and by my measurements, if I put a set of frame mounts on the truck for a 4.3 V6, and use 80's crown vic rubber mounts on the engine, it would be very close to bolting in.... Why wouldn't the Chevy throttle body fuel injection run the 351w?

    I drove the truck to work today and it spun a bearing on the way there. To it's credit, it made it 10 more miles to work with the rod knocking bad, and then made it 35 miles home this afternoon, and it still hasn't spit the rod out. I've had this idea of dropping a 351 in it since the day I got it, and now I've got a reason to try it.. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  2. mean_maverick

    mean_maverick Senior Member

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    should be that hard as long as your other sensors will plug/screw into the intake.... or find an '85 Vic with a 302 and rob the stuff off of it. (most '85 models have a TBI setup, i have one in the basement)
  3. Joe Dirt

    Joe Dirt six poppin'

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    the biggest issue will be to make it work with the ford dist. I do believe
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  4. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    Aren't many sensors on it, but I'm sure what's there could be swapped onto about any engine pretty easy. It's a very basic setup. I'll have to look into the distributor. Could always just leave the carb on it as well.
  5. facelessnumber

    facelessnumber Drew Pittman

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    Can solve that with an HEI conversion.


    Jamie, you should do this. And when you do, please thoroughly document what you did to make the TBI work. This could end up being a very economical and clean way to get EFI in a Maverick, as there would no longer be the clearance problems typical of 5.0 EFI, it would look somewhat carb-ish, and the GM TBI isn't totally unsupported by the aftermarket, unlike that one-year bastard Ford TBI...

    Plus, for those few folks that look at my HEI distributor with digust when I open my hood, I could really piss 'em off with this!
  6. Joe Dirt

    Joe Dirt six poppin'

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    The EFI style HEI is without the coil in the cap has no internal or external advance it is computer controlled.

    My concern was with with the firing orders being differant may be what presents the problem considering the distributor reluctor wheel will have differant spacings between the chevy and ford.

    Holley may have some solution as the 2brl TBi kits are GM based
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  7. markso125

    markso125 Member

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    You would have to have a new eprom chip made, they have been doing this to AMC motors for years so it is nothing new. The problem with just sticking it on is the 350 has a different air/fuel ratio requirement and if you just stuff it on a different motor you can either lean the motor out or blow black smoke all day.
    A buddy of mine did that same thing with his 454 thinking it would give him better fuel economy over his carb, turned his burban into a smoking dog... heck the guys in the 4 banger dodge minivans were pickin on him..:cry:

    here is a good place to start looking for chips if you are going to go that route
    http://tbichips.com/
  8. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    Just use a Chevy TBI and run with it with a megasquirt. I could do the same in my case, but just thought maybe I could get around it.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  9. markso125

    markso125 Member

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    Also the Chevy TBI really does not care what distributor you use, all it is for the most part is just an electronic carburetor.


    [​IMG]

    This is the howell TBI kit for an AMC V8 it shows everything that you would need to make a TBI unit run some of it you would not need if you were leaving it in the truck. Those motors also used a duraspark distributor. So unless you have a EFI distributor you should be fine to run the current one you have.
    http://www.howellefi.com/customer/product.php?productid=16256&cat=280&page=1
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  10. facelessnumber

    facelessnumber Drew Pittman

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    I'm not sure you couldn't run the Ford distributor, but... Not all HEI's are coil-in-cap, some of them are "divorced" from the coil and use a smaller body. I know these are available for the 302, not sure about the 351. This, I think, is what the TBI (and TPI) distributors are based on, and I wonder if the guts would swap over.

    Either way, I would think some sort of hybrid distributor could be made using the TBI one and a cheap Ebay HEI conversion distributor. Wouldn't be a very expensive experiment anyway...
  11. facelessnumber

    facelessnumber Drew Pittman

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    Maybe... But I'm thinking the air/fuel requirements of 351 cubes vs. 350 would be pretty close.
  12. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    Pretty much what I was thinking..
  13. markso125

    markso125 Member

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    Did you even read my post? The TBI system is in not connected to the distributor, the only way he would need something different is if he had a TPI injection system.

    It is a hard one to say considering we all know how anemic the windsor V8 is on the exhaust side especially in comparison the SBC. To expound on it more, chances are the motors maintain a different stock intake/exhaust duration on the cam shaft, add that with the probable different compression and the different sized intake/exhaust ports on the motor and add all those variables together and you can have a completely different fuel/air ratio.
    But going along with that line of thinking my question is this. What would happen if you pulled a nicely tuned carb off of a 351 windsor, then stuck it on a 351 modified, or a 351 cleveland. Would it run as it is with no adjustments whatsoever? Well there is a good chance it will run, but will it need to be tuned up for the motor?..... That same carb might run circles around everything on the windsor, but on the cleveland it might be slower then molasses in january.
    Those chips are engine specific and they are made for the factory air/fuel ratio off of the stock configuration. Thats why if you do any performance mods to an engine utilizing one of those systems you need a modifier chip because you can actually hinder performance instead of help it.
  14. facelessnumber

    facelessnumber Drew Pittman

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    I did, after I finished typing mine. I have a three year old son, so I don't always start and finish a post within a couple of minutes. But the first thing I said was I'm not even sure the distributor matters.


    I have no doubt the ECM will need to be tuned for it to run optimally, but I also would be very surprised if it's not at least in the ballpark to start with. When you swap stock EFI systems around on among SBC's, or make major mods, yes typically you'll need a chip burned, but not always. Changing between 305 and 350? Absolutely. It will run like crap either way you go. But the 350 ECM runs fine on a 327. 305 stuff works fine on a 267 (yuck) and you can even swap ECMs between a 4.3 and a 305, albeit a stock one. People do this on S10s all the time. It would surely be close enough to try it out and then dial it in later. There's very likely some difference, but it's not like a stock '89 350 with TBI, cat and manifolds is a fire breather.
  15. RMiller

    RMiller My name is Rick

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    Turbo City used to build kits with GM components for about anything. Their web site no longer lists them but it may be worth a call to them. They had chips, distributor recomendations and the works.
  16. markso125

    markso125 Member

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    I understand that I have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old :thumbs2:
  17. ford84stepside

    ford84stepside Lone Wolf

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    SBC's are cheap......:rofl2:







    While I like the idea of a FORD in a Chevy, will it fit? What about the oil pan, exhaust, are the rad hoses on the right side? Lots of things to consider. I know you will have to build mounts. I would stick with a carb, much less trouble. Manifolds or custom headers? I don't know of anybody with off the shelf headers to fit. Then custom built headpipes and down tubes. Unless you can do all this yourself Jamie, I'm thinking big shop bills for the custom stuff. I put a Buick 231 V 6 in a 1978 Toyota pickup one time. Had to fab up my own mounts and exhaust, which consisted of 2" tubing, pie cut and welded because I didn't own a tubing bender. Used the GM 4 speed tranny and factory shifter, had to fab a bracket for the Toyota hydralic clutch system. Factory 2bbl and one wire for the HEI, used manual temp and oil guages. Not saying you can't do it, but asking is it really worth it? A reman long block SBC would be cheaper in the long run. Maybe not as fun, but this truck is a daily driver, right? So I'm thinking it needs to be reliable, not a one off hot rod. Just my :2cents:, take it for what it's worth....
  18. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    I drive it regularly, but I wouldn't consider it a daily driver, though it served in that capacity for several months last year when the Maverick was down. From now on, it'll be used for what I originally bought it for, a backup vehicle and something to haul junk around with. We'll see how the 351 fits when ever I get around to pulling the 350 within the next month or so. I've measured a few key points, and I know that it will at least drop into the truck and bolt in with a few simple mods.

    As far as shops go, the only shop I take my vehicles to is the Miles Back Yard Shade Tree Shop, and you're speaking to the chief mechanic on duty. :rofl2:
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  19. facelessnumber

    facelessnumber Drew Pittman

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    Lots of room under that hood, plenty of space for exhaust, aftermarket radiator can happen if it comes to that... No accessories I can think of that couldn't be adapted or replaced with Ford stuff. And all the more awesome if it can be done with the Chevy EFI. The major hurdles I see are the mounts, and maybe HVAC box clearance? I had to notch that and fiberglass it to retain the AC when I swapped an SBC into a Bravada, but it wasn't hard. I don't know if that will even be a factor in this swap, just another thing to think about.
  20. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    Well, 351w idea is out. Went and looked at and payed for a 350 out of a '93 GMC Suburban today. Real clean engine, complete from intake to oil pan with all front accessory's. He showed me the rest of the parts he had from the truck, all in real nice shape including the instrument panel showing 72,000 miles! He said a tree fell on the truck in 1999 and he parted most of it out. Guarantee's it to run perfect, or he'll give me my $500 back. Can't beat that. Should have truck back on the road again in about 3 weeks.

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