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Old 04-12-2010, 07:06 PM
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Swap TBI for Carburator - 1989 454

Funny how I hadn't been on this forum for several years and here I am right back at it.

I have a 1989 Chevy 1-Ton (C3500) with a 454 that is equipped with TBI.
It fires right up and runs pretty well. If I tap the throttle, the truck lunges forward but if I try to give it a bunch of gas at once, it wants to fall on its' face.

Eventually I'd like to do some upgrades to it, but i was first considering getting rid of the TBI and putting a carburator on it. I noticed the distributor isn't vacuum advance (it has an external coil), so I was wondering if the fuel and ignition systems might be tied together by some computer-crap somewhere...again, funny how I fix computers for a living and I hate them in cars...

First, is this replacement reasonable? If yes, what should I look at for a carburator? Ultimately I'd like to go through the motor and do some mild enhancements and it'd be cool to NOT have to buy a new carb when I do this. In terms of performance, factory HP rating is 230 on this motor...I have no real concept of how much that is, but I know the cars that I always thought were cool (old camaros, chevelles etc) were somewhere around 400 factory...and from what I understand, it doesn't take too much to get power out of a 454...recommendations?

thank you.

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:43 PM
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the tbi runs nice for a daily driver but is very lacking in performance.. you'll have to ask yourself what you want out of this truck. your current problem, either your fuel pump or pressure regulator is shot. try to find a place to pinch off the return line with a pair of vise grips. if it runs fine then it's your regulator.

a big truck like that will never be a huge performer. i like the tbi for the driveability.

however, if you want to go carb it's not that hard. earlier 454 tbi's just used a 4 barrel intake with a tbi adaptor-- so installing a carb is simple. if not you'll need a 4 barrel intake.

for the distributor you'll need a gm hei to make it work. one wire plug and play.

for the fuel supply i would remove the in tank pump and install a proper psi pump on the frame or under the hood. the factory tbi pump can supply around 13 psi but i am unsure if the pump can supply enough volume to a 4 barrel carb.

i hope this helps!
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:38 PM
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well it does have a little oomph, considering how heavy the entire thing is. i kind of figured if I could up the performance a little that it would have a little more oomph...maybe even change the gears in the differential.

I actually have an aluminum intake manifold kicking around here somewhere, I'm just not sure if this BBC has oval or rectangular ports. Heck, come to think of it, I have some decent heads back in NY with bigger valves in them to match the intake...a little cam action, a carb, some headers...might be just the ticket.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:17 PM
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also
I read something about...if you have a roller cam that you will need to change out the distributor drive gear or you'll wreck stuff.

Is there any way of knowing whether or not I have a roller cam without physically removing it? Did Chevy put roller cams in production engines circa 89? Would casting numbers tell me anything?
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 PM
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Highball

Unstable,
Your '89 Chev 454 is not a roller cam engine. It is probably an 8N block. I did own one. Then on to a 95 and it was a roller cam engine. Now I have a 99 and it is the Vortec engine. One bit of advice. before you do any fuel system changeouts check on the emission standards your state has. If it isn't rated and compatible the Smog System Tech will probably not pass the vehicle until you present the information on the carburetor certifying its approval for that use. I live in California and what a pain.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:57 PM
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89 454 duelly

I also have a 89 Duelly and all I did was MSD 8.8 PLUG WIRES/Replacment MSD Coil/ And Autolight plugs and Royal Purple in crank case and it came to life !! It has TBI and seems to respond well /Trans 400 TH shift kit, Good Luck
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:37 AM
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:39 PM
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The TBI system is tricky to work with at times, and can take more money and time to get right, but once you do it will be leaps and bounds better than any carb. You may end up giving up some power, (probably just top end, I hear low end power is often better with TBI) but the mileage and drivability will be much better.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unstable
Funny how I hadn't been on this forum for several years and here I am right back at it.

I have a 1989 Chevy 1-Ton (C3500) with a 454 that is equipped with TBI.
It fires right up and runs pretty well. If I tap the throttle, the truck lunges forward but if I try to give it a bunch of gas at once, it wants to fall on its' face.

Eventually I'd like to do some upgrades to it, but i was first considering getting rid of the TBI and putting a carburator on it. I noticed the distributor isn't vacuum advance (it has an external coil), so I was wondering if the fuel and ignition systems might be tied together by some computer-crap somewhere...again, funny how I fix computers for a living and I hate them in cars...

First, is this replacement reasonable? If yes, what should I look at for a carburator? Ultimately I'd like to go through the motor and do some mild enhancements and it'd be cool to NOT have to buy a new carb when I do this. In terms of performance, factory HP rating is 230 on this motor...I have no real concept of how much that is, but I know the cars that I always thought were cool (old camaros, chevelles etc) were somewhere around 400 factory...and from what I understand, it doesn't take too much to get power out of a 454...recommendations?

thank you.
I'd be interested in your TBI Setup if you chose to get rid of it Ill even give you a qjet intake and carb and distributor from my RUNNING and DRIVING 454 engine.

I'm looking for a TBI setup to put on my truck. I really want a 90-ish with a 4L80E controller in it but i can snag the wiring and computer from another truck down the road if i ever get to the point of swapping in a 4L80e.
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