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Old 09-05-2008, 05:06 PM
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Howell TBI question

I'm seriously considering a Howell TBI system for an AMC V8. They seem to get pretty rave reviews in the Jeep community. However....

A while back I ran across a post on one the Jeep forums and a seemingly very knowledgeable fella said they were a waste of money because...

You could easily duplicate it for a lot less cash by finding an early '90s GM truck with TBI and by going his route you could also have a system where the PCM would interact with the distributor and control the spark advance...Howell system doesn't have that feature.

He had a quite lengthy post and he laid out all the details about how to do it. I just can't find that post.

Anybody have any input?

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Old 09-05-2008, 07:39 PM
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you'd need to use a magnetic pickup distributor with the advanced locked out and the ignition module for a early 90s chevy truck
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:11 PM
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Go to www.theamcforum.com, register and PM a guy that goes by mountianmoron about EFI.. He has a very nice AMX with a EF! 390. he should be able to point you in the right direction as to what to do
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:05 AM
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i know of a few people who have done it using a factory GM setup.

i took a quick look & this seems to be a pretty good write up on it,
http://www.bustedjeep.com/projects/gmtbi.asp

also look here,
http://www.jeepsunlimited.com/forums...hreadid=474943

you can probably find some more info over at,
http://www.justih.org/Binder-Bench/

don't forget, with the right hardware, you can even tune it yourself. the hardware doesn't cost that much.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:49 AM
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I have been reading lately a site called Customefis.com, which sells kits to use a GM TBI on any engine. This may be the guy you ara looking for, on his site, he does mention how his set-up does have the PCM interact with the distributor and how other aftermarket kits do not do that.
Has anybody heard of this company, or bought stuff from them?
It seems like a nice way to go, it would allow me to have a GM EFI on my 250ci inline 6 Chevy engine, with the advantage of being all Chevy (easier to find parts in the future...). One of the kit they sell also allows to buy used EFI parts locally to keep the cost down...
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:54 PM
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wave, from my understanding the guy at Customefis will give you some info up to a point, & then for more you have to pay. most if not all his info he got for free from DYI sources, im not knocking the guy for putting it together & charging for it. he has put it in one spot for the people who don't want to take the time to search for the info on their own. that information is on the internet for free, it does take some searching to find it, but a lot of what he will tell you is in the links i posted.
there are other companies that sell conversion kits that use factory GM components. anything from just the instructions up to a complete setup including the intake & fuel rail with injectors and ECM with a chip.

TBI is a pretty easy conversion, for most people finding everything is the hard part.
you can actually get pretty much everything you need from a wrecking yard.
if you use a factory harness, you need to be able to read a wiring diagram.
if you carefully do the research & get all the parts together, you can go from carburetor to TBI in a long weekend. but i wouldn't recommend trying it on your daily driver as you may run into problems.

i need to mention that DYI tuning the chip will more than likely be needed to get the best performance & fuel mileage from the swap. its talked about in one of the links i posted. even for someone with a factory stock system, there are some gains to be found.

i thought i would mention that besides buying the hardware to burn your own chips, you can get the Embedded Lockers, or EBL for short.
its based on a GM TBI ECM & does have some advantages over the factory TBI ECMs, much faster data logging being one of them.

http://www.dynamicefi.com/
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:35 PM
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Thanks, SoulHunter, that's quite interesting, although a bit scary at first!...
So I guess that's where I ask the question: has anyone ever installed a GM TBI on a 250ci ilnine 6 engine? And is there a place where I can find specific info about this swap?
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:56 PM
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im sure there have been some TBIs put on a few inline 6 cylinder motors.
i think the two biggest problems for you would be the distributor & maybe mounting the TBI unit. if you have a chevy motor you can probably use some parts from the distributor you have now & put the needed HEI components from a 4.3 in it & do away with the vacuum & centrifugal advance.
mounting the TBI unit to the intake probably wouldn't be too much of a problem. if they don't already make adapters, you can probably have one made.
for the chip, you could probably start with a MEMCAL for a 4.3 V6 & work from there.
i would think the knock sensor & knock module for a 4.3 would work ok too.
there may be some good info on your swap over at,
http://www.fullsizechevy.com
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a401cj
I'm seriously considering a Howell TBI system for an AMC V8. They seem to get pretty rave reviews in the Jeep community. However....

A while back I ran across a post on one the Jeep forums and a seemingly very knowledgeable fella said they were a waste of money because...

You could easily duplicate it for a lot less cash by finding an early '90s GM truck with TBI and by going his route you could also have a system where the PCM would interact with the distributor and control the spark advance...Howell system doesn't have that feature.

He had a quite lengthy post and he laid out all the details about how to do it. I just can't find that post.

Anybody have any input?
The Howell kit for 1200 bucks is almost a bolt in installation. True it doesn't use electronic spark control and it doesn't feature closed loop O2 sensor operation.

Going the junk yard route, you will have to optain a lot of stuff from a doner vehicle:

- All wire harnesses necessary to operate the system. These are fairly easy to identify that which are on the engine. But others are part of the chassis harnesses. If you're not building an emissions legal system there will be a lot of wire for functions your not using. You really need to get a good electrical manual for the vehicle that supplies the parts. Electrical is by far the toughest part of the swap. A late 1980s thru early 1990s with the 4.3 liter six is ideal to start from.

- You will need the TBI fuel pump, these deliver from 15 to 20 pounds pressure. Usually mounted inside the fuel tank. There are aftermarket pumps for external mounting.

- Fuel lines; TBI systems use dumb pumps so they must have a return style regulator which then demands a line that feeds pressure from the pump and a line to return unused fuel to the tank.

- The TBI unit itself, these have the bypassing regulator built in, whew one problem solved.

- You will have to fabricate or procure an adapter, not a problem most any hot rod store can get one.

- To use the timing feature you will need to adapt the guts of the GM HEI V6 distributor. Problem you get into is that some V6's are timed as two separate 90 degree threes with a hick-up between banks, others 4.3s use a split crank pin so they time like a regular 6. You gotta know which guts go with which layout. Not difficult but something you have to remember to pay attention to. Perhaps a better way is to use a crank trigger.

- Relays, GM uses bunches of relays to manage the fuel pump and emissions equipment. If you don't need emissions, the pump controllers are always a good idea, especially on a rock crawler as if you tip it over the sensors and relays will shut off the fuel.

- The computer has a vehicle security system in it, this is easy enough to defeat if you can get the original key. The brain is looking for a simple resistance, if you can get the key you can measure it, other wise you've gotta go the Radio Shack and buy a fist full of quarter watt resistors and use the good old cut an try method. Or have the security system defeated with a new PROM.

- A new PROM, not absolutely required, but your jeep isn't going to weigh the same, not geared the same, doesn't use the GM transmission, and isn't exactly a 262 cubic inch V6 with the same cam and compression. So cleaning up the logic will help and you can eliminate the speed limiter and security system in the GM chip at the same time.

Yes this is cheaper than using a Howell, Edlebrock, or Holley TBI but you will trade the cost difference in time. A good estimator is to take the pay you make at your job and divide it into the cost difference between a bought unit and a junk yard unit, that will be about the hours you'll spend making it work.

Bogie
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:37 PM
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oldbogie is right on the VATS if you go with a later system, like 96 & newer which is know as OBD2, or use one from a thirdgen F body TBI from around 89 & newer. the 88~92 TBI pickups didn't use VATS, but the ECMs they used had the slow 160 Baud rate. this only comes into play when trouble shooting or data logging to tune the chip.
the 93~95 TBI pickups also didn't use VATS & used a better computer with the much faster 8192 Baud, its also referred to as a PCM because it also controls the shift points if it has an automatic transmission.
to use the 93~95 TBI PCM, the chip would have to be tuned to turn off all the transmission related stuff, unless you put a 4L60E in it.

getting a complete kit will be a much quicker install & you would probably have few problems getting it running.
i don't like the ideal of using parts that i can't get from the local parts house on the weekend. i say if you get a kit, get one that uses GM parts.
something else to think about if you go to fuel injection, there aren't many shops around that would touch it even if it has all GM components, so more then likely you will need to learn how to trouble shoot it yourself.
i enjoy doing things like this, its part of the reason my 83 Monte Carlo has TPI from a 92 Camaro.
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