Quick Install: EFI on Any Older Pickup

A Chevy EFI

Story and photos by John Kiewicz

In the past, trying to convert your older truck from standard carburetion to modern fuel injection was not only difficult, it was costly as well. Assuming you could install all the parts correctly, you would have to use a laptop to perform special calibrations, which most people know nothing about. As a result, modernizing your older pickup with electronic fuel injection was seemingly impossible.

Of course, there are lots of reasons why truck owners value EFI: slightly more power and improved fuel economy, reduced tailpipe emissions, significantly better throttle response, vastly improved cold start-up and the ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions like altitude, temperature and engine load.

Thankfully, a company called Fuel Air Spark Technology has created a new "EZ-EFI" fuel-injection system that is relatively simple to install and that does not require custom programming. And the beauty of the EZ-EFI system is that it fits any make's engine and any style of engine, as well as any cylinder configuration (V-10, V-8, V-6, I-6 or I-4).

For installation, the only requirement is that your intake manifold has a standard Holley (4150 style) "square bore" opening — which is common on many engines. Otherwise, no special intake manifold is needed because the EZ-EFI throttle body will use the original carburetor-type throttle linkage, and it works with just about any type of ignition system, factory or aftermarket.

Once bolted in place, the system is plug and play. In fact, it's self-tuning, so as you test-drive the system, the computer is learning and building an increasingly more precise air/fuel mix. The standard single-throttle-body EZ-EFI setup can support engines up to 650 horsepower.

To test the ease of installation along with the true effectiveness of EZ-EFI induction, we installed the system on a 1971 Chevrolet C-10 truck that was powered by a new 383-cubic-inch V-8. The installation was straightforward and was accomplished in one day. To validate the performance benefits we conducted before-and-after chassis dyno testing along with before-and-after fuel economy runs over a 125-mile test loop.

B EFI Kit

The system costs about $2,000 (depending on options) and contains everything needed to convert your truck's carbureted engine into a modern EFI performer. Contained in the master kit (part No. 30227) is a complete throttle-body assembly (with four integrated fuel injectors), EFI control unit, hand-held control module, complete wiring harness, a wide-band oxygen sensor, a coolant temperature sensor, an electric fuel pump and a fuel hose kit with Army/Navy fittings.

 

C Carb remove

This is the look of the Chevrolet 383 V-8 engine with the Holley four-barrel carburetor. The engine ran strong and smooth with the 750-cubic-feet-per-minute carburetor, but we wanted more responsiveness, performance and fuel economy. To begin, remove the carburetor, inlet fuel lines and the mechanical fuel pump (if applicable).

 

D EFI pump

The EZ-EFI throttle body is aluminum and mounts to any intake manifold that features a common Holley 4150-style square bore opening. Install the throttle body, tighten the retaining nuts and then reconnect the throttle and transmission linkage. The EZ-EFI system comes with a billet aluminum adjustable fuel-pressure regulator. We installed the regulator on the front of the cylinder head and then installed the high-pressure fuel line that comes with A/N fittings.

 

E EFI computer

Mount the control unit in a secure location as far from heat as possible. Afterward, attach the wiring harness' main connection to the control unit. From there, connect the control unit's main power and ground wires to the battery. Each of the wires on the main harness features a tag that identifies where to connect it on the throttle body. Here, we connect the manifold air temperature sensor wire. Total time to connect all wires to the throttle body was less than five minutes.

 

F EFI electric pump

The system requires a steady supply of fuel delivered at 43 pounds per square inch; as a result, a stock (carburetor-type) low-pressure, mechanical fuel pump will likely need to be replaced with a high-pressure, electric fuel pump. The new pump and quick-connect wiring was included with our kit, but some applications may not require its installation.

 

G EFI sensor

To allow the EZ-EFI to determine the proper air/fuel ratios while driving, a wide-band oxygen sensor is required. Our kit included a weld-in, threaded bung and oxygen sensor. We mounted the sensor just behind the exhaust header collector.

 

H EFI programmerOnce the EZ-EFI system is installed, you will use the supplied hand-held control module to manually input data specifics regarding your exact engine. You will be asked to identify items such as cubic inch displacement, number of cylinders, desired idle speed, engine redline and more. Once complete, you can start the engine. As the engine runs, the computer receives input from the various sensors and will continually make proper air/fuel adjustments in real time.

 

I EFI Dyno

It is well known that EFI usually does not significantly improve power over a well-tuned carburetor. However, EFI is known for producing lower emissions and significantly better fuel economy. We took our '71 Chevy C-10 to Hennessey Performance for before-and-after dyno testing to determine how our power output had changed. With the Holley four-barrel carburetor, the engine made a peak output of 363.2 hp along with 414.7 pounds-feet torque. After installing the EZ-EFI, the truck produced 366.6 hp with 423.8 pounds-feet torque. Additionally, we did before-and-after fuel economy testing (over the same 125-mile test loop) and realized a 4.1-mpg improvement. Of course, what we most appreciate is the significantly crisper throttle response and much smoother cold starts.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT

J EFI finish

Sources

Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST); www.fuelairspark.com; 877-334-8355

Hennessey Performance; www.hennesseyperformance.com; 979-885-1300

 

Comments

That's a pretty good mod. For the amount spent though I will be putting 99 Dodge 5.9 injection/intake/heads on my 318 Magnum stroked to 392 for my 1972 RV.

But then again, this one has less sensors to go bad.

It would be interesting to see the dyno charts to see where the EFI system made the most improvement over the carb. Now if they could also incorporate this into a simple HEI distributor kit to further tune and adjust it would really be impressive to see what improvements could be made.

I think this is a good idea, but for two grand is quite expensive.

The power increase would be better.

In Australia we used to call them throttle body fuel injection.

I suppose it comes down to how many mpg's you can gain.

I had a early model 88' Silverado sb 2wd with a TBI 350. It was simple to work on and reliable. The truck had a lot of new gadgetry for the time and gradually became a headache after a decade of use. The TBI on these trucks weren't a whole lot different than a carb setup.

Fords EFI at the time was definitely a better use use fuel injection but the TBI GM's were simplicity at its best.

I always wanted to find a 87' old body style Chevy/GMC with a 350 TBI. Pretty rare find nowadays.

Basically just an electronically metered carburetor AKA as Al pointed out, TBI. I think the biggest selling point is the no-tuning-required part.
Otherwise its nothing terribly impressive or super advanced given the number of after market MPFI kits for these motors floating around at similar price levels, and lets face it, if you are doing this kind of swap you can probably get it tuned well enough to run and then take it to someone to massage those last few HP's and MPGs/ drive-ability out of it.

This is not much diff. than the Holley Projection system I have seen before! nice truck, but I would prefer a short bed, and not in snot green.

I did the holley system on my buddies 77 Dodge 200 with a 440..It does work good,didnt notice more power then a aftermarket carter that we used,but it had more than the stock thermoquad ,carb..

But a carb can be changed in a matter of 10 minutes,rejetted for more power ect..at a lower cost and it is just as reliable,if not more so...no injectors to ever worry about,no expensive fuel pump ect...

Though ,efi is good for a powerful engine when you floor it,take your foot off right away,when your front end raises (splashes fuel around in the bowl of the carb) such as with my 68 Charger 440 that is 96.99% stock low 12 second 1/4 mile car with 275/60/14's ,with a carb it may starve for fuel for .002 seconds or bog worst case stall,but a guy knowing how to work with carbs can easily overcome that issue,as I did...

I know alot of people in the past had problems with carbs because of lack of maint..my old man got 170,000 miles off of his carb in the 70's with just spraying it with carb cleaner every few months,he never had a prblem with any of his rides from the 50's-late 70's Mopars,Fords,GM products all bought new kept 10 years always had 3 cars at a time..

If you have a carb spray it with carb cleaner ,if the carb is in good shape it ensures it runs perfect..Replace your choke as that makes a old carb hard to start,if your car runs great warm but hard to start when cold,your choke is no good on your carb for your truck or car..

Like today to keep you fuel injectors clean you need to add a bottle of fuel injector cleaner every 3000 miles to ensure no carbon build up.long injector life..Never sea foam an engine omg !!! I see these guys on youtube revving the hell out of their engines ,not good..add injector cleaner avoid sea foam !!

I myself prefer carbs on older vehicles,jet them out and its still better than a fuel injection system,more reliable or just as, and the fuel pump is on the engine not in the gas tank !! and cheap and easy to change...No $800 fuelpump like newer vehicles...$40 and a fuelpump can be had for my 68 440 Charger !

Remember do a burnout daily,its good for the environment !!

@devilsadvocate
You right. Throttle body fuel injection was used because of costs for the manufacturer and as crude as electronic were back then it could support such a system.

Bosch came out with mechanical multipoint fuel injection in the late 70s, but it was expensive and fitted to prestige Euro cars.

But when electronics supported electronic multipoint fuel injection, it became available to the average Joe.

Then the benefits of the gas engine became evident.

Some aren't going to like this but diesel is now where gas was with the advent of electronic fuel injection in the 80s.

That's why I have a very hopeful view of diesel in the future.

@CANADIAN DODGE RAM OWNER
A guy I new used to run at the drags in with a Holden 308 V8 HQ Panel Van.

Actually some Chev small block parts interchanged with it.

But this engine had a 90 degree V and was a bit of a pig of an engine with its 253 cousin.

On the road he ran a 780 with vacuum secondaries and at the drags a 800 double pumper. Boy did that thing drop two huge rivers of fuel down the throat.

We got over 500hp out of it, not bad for 1981 with a 5 litre engine.

Use to get less 8mpg out a vehicle that weighed 3 500lbs.

That's one classy Chevrolet. Someday I'd like to get one of the 1967-1972 Chevrolet trucks and restore it like this. Efi would be a nice upgrade to a SBC or even BBC. Without a doubt that bodystyle is the nicest design they ever made. Single headlamps, round wheelwells, very very clean looking! Too bad they don't make them like that anymore. I might still be a Chevy guy.

The 67'-72' is the best body style of any truck ever. Unfortunately, they're getting harder to find now.

here in Florida cold-start is not an issue but the EFI upgrade really does bring the Chevy to life in terms of smooth idle and driveability. My 88 pickup had the 4.3 motor with the TBI system and performed well, got good mileage and was bulletproof for almost 200k miles. Holley has been making TBI style upgrade kits for a long time.

This realy isn't too different from the old holly pro-jection. I have a few buddies who put GM TBIs on everything from a 250 six to a 527 tall deck. Not fast, but they start and idle better, pull more consistently off the bottom and even improved fuel consumption (on the 250). Best part was how CHEAP you could get almost all the parts from a bone yard.

$2k is a lot, but for 4.1 mpg, you could make it up over a few years. Heck, for some guys that might be a 30% improvement.

And thinking about it, I know cold weather people would take it in a heart beat over a carb. Most of the trucks in Minnesota are EFI now, just because its so much more convienient.

I have a co worker who is restoring an older Ford, I'm going to make sure to tell him about this.

"The 67'-72' is the best body style of any truck ever. Unfortunately, they're getting harder to find now."


@Magnum, I totally agree! Nobody has ever topped that truck! Not even Ford. The Chevrolet trucks of the 40's, 50's and 60's were the best in American history. And the 67-72's were the crown jewel. I really truly do love old Chevrolets!.

@ FordTrucks

I'm rolling in a 2012 Ram but would sacrifice it for a mint 67-72 GM in a heart beat.

The new trucks have amazing features but they don't have the style of these trucks.

This is why it's impossible for me to be brand loyal lol

IMHO, for the price, unless I already had a really special engine, I would sell the existing engine and look into an LSx drivetrain swap.

This truck was Chevies best bodystyle! I love it.

The 67'-72' is the best body style of any truck ever.


@Magnum, AMEN TO THAT. Long live old Chevrolet! I can't stand GM for ruining them now.. The day Chevrolet breaks awya from GM will be their day of true freedom.

Love this...the system costs 2 grand... I put a 2007 LQ4 6.0L in my 87 Wrangler (in 2008...7000 miles on it) for less money than that!

Why anyone would blow 2 grand to retrofit some jury-rigged aftermarket EFI system onto an ancient, obsolete engine when you could get all the same benefits, plus more power, better mileage, and better reliability for less money just by tossing in a take-out Gen III SBC is beyond me.

It's general consensus, even among Ford fans like myself, that the '67-'72 Chevys are aesthetically (looks-wise) the best pickups ever made. For Ford, my personal choice would be between the '67-'72 ("bumpside"), '73-'79 ("dentside"), or '80-'86 ("bullnose").
Pickup truck design definitely peaked around the early 80's. The late 80's and later have too much plastic, the mid 90's and later are too "aero," and any pickup made after about '03 or '04 is so ludicrously macho that you have to wonder how secure the average pickup owner is about his manhood.

In the US, if you drop an engine newer than the chassis, does the emission standards have to meet the chassis age or the engine age?

@Jason H. - I'd have to agree with you on this one.

@Big Al from Oz - I believe that the age stamped on the VIN is all that matters. I know that with motorcycles, one only needs to meet the safety requirements of the era that it was built. I believe that Canadian law is similar to USA law in that regard. The only exception I can think of is California which bans older commercial trucks without modern emissions from hauling in the state.

Here is a fantastic news 'clipping' on the psychology of people who want 'high' performance vehicles. This post has little to do with EFI. It's to good not to pass on.

From what I've read, a lot of the information could be transferred to contributors on this site.

Quite interesting.

http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/australians-like-knowing-they-can-speed--even-if-theyre-not-allowed-20130405-2hccy.html

Thanks Lou.

I don't miss carbs, on my 77 Monte Carlo's 2 barrell carb the choke was always getting stuck and I had the carb rebuilt several times. My 73 Chevelle was not as bad even though it had a two barrell but that was a 350 and the Monte was a 305 with leaned out carb jets to meet the later fuel and emmission standards. The GM cars of the 60s and 70s the motors would stall when you put them in reverse even after they were warmed up. The Chrysler I had and the IH were not as bad about stalling. I would definitely have put this in my Monte or my IH if I still had them. The fuel injection systems today are so much more reliable. I would put an electronic ignition as well in an older vehicle that didn't have one, especially if I were driving it frequently.

I always had better luck with the Holley's than the Rodchester's but I do not miss either.

BigAL FDU: from what my experiance tells me, it all depends on what state you live in also, as you not only have to meet the Fed. EPA standards, but local state ones as well, where I live, you can do whatever you want to what ever yr vehicle you want, so long as it is older than 1986, (the vehicle that is) for safety that is, then the emissions follow what ever yr the engine is, as long as the engine is not older than the vehicle, but who would do that anyway, no one ever put an older engine in a newer vehicle? right? this is goverment after all! but when you put a newer engine in an older vehicle, it must meet the emission req. for that yr. of engine manf. So with that said, it is always a good idea to use something like a E-Rod engine, like the ones from GM, with all the electric controls that come with the kit. From what I am told the 1986 yrs cut off, is the yrs of manf. that is required to meet all the local emissions testing, anything newer than that must run within the allowable areas of exhaust emissions for the yr of manf. of the engine used, I know it is complicated.

That is one sexy Chevy. I like the 1967 to 1972 Chevrolets way better than the GMCs of that era.

‘EFI usually does not significantly improve power over a well-tuned carburetor.’

‘EFI is known for producing lower emissions and significantly better fuel economy.......(over the same 125-mile test loop) and realized a 4.1-mpg improvement.’

4 mpg lets round it up to 5 (lets assume an average truck of that age produces 10 mpg thus 5 would be (125x4%=5) saving 4% however lets round it up to 5% of 125 miles, lets also assume the average gallon of gas is at $4 thus the saving is (125/10 mpg= 12.5 gallons x5%=$0.625) saving $0.625 for 125 miles, lets also assume that truck makes 24,000 miles per annum now the remaining is the math).

24000/125=192x$0.625=$120 savings per annum. Wall Street hyenas and vultures “Bernie Madoff & Charles Ponzi’ would opine their Return On Investment is better for $2,000 per annum.

Another math version
125/10 mpg= 12.5 gallons x$4=$50x5%=$2.50 for 125 miles
24000/125=192x$2.50=$480 savings per annum

My dad had an 86 Ford with an EFI 302 when I was a kid (mid 90s). Idk if something was wrong with it or he just didnt like it but he converted it the other way. EFI went out the door in place of a carb.

@sandman4X4
No, I was talking about using a newer engine in a older body.

I noticed a couple of comments alluding to that due to the cost of the system.

Here if we use a newer engine our vehicles emissions standards must meet the engines year of manufacture, not the vehicles.

To all, the link I placed above: The last 3 paragraphs describe what vehicle buyers look at. I should have mentioned that in my comment.

@David Robertson- Story problems aren't your strong suit, are they...
Savings work out to ¢11.6/mi using your base numbers. That's around $14 on the 125mile test loop and an ROI in just 17,241 miles. Not too shabby.

That is one sexy Chevy. I like the 1967 to 1972 Chevrolets way better than the GMCs of that era.


@Liam, I think Chevrolets were all better than the GM's up until the front end switch in 2003. That's when the Chevy's got ugly with the slant eyed China man front end. The GMT900's without a doubt the Chevy's were the uglier of the two. Probably the ugliest truck in the industry. These new ones are a toss up. The GM still looks like the 900 GM to my eyes, the Chevrolet is much improved to where they're about equal looking again depending on what grille you like. I don't think either is as good looking as the new Dodge or that Atlas though. I'm with you and others on the 67-72 bodystyles. It was and is hands down the best looking truck in Chevrolet history. Although I do like the 50's too, just not as much. I'm even in the camp that thinks it's not only the best looking Chevrolet but the best looking truck from any of the Big 3 ever. If you stuck a fuel injected SBC under the hood and gave it some modern interior creature comforts, They would be no need to buy a new truck.

Good article! I have the fast system on a Chevrolet Smallblock 427 (Dart) and it works flawlessly. We actually have it in an 85 Mustang. Sorry Chevy guys, it's light! But we're running your power! Most Ford guys are Chevrolet engine guys around here for the race cars. Go to the Mustang fests and you'll see lots of Gen 1-2 SBC's and lots of Gen 3-4 SBC's as well in Mustangs. The fuel injection upgrade from both Fast and Holley (there's others now as well) are becoming popular. We just don't like your trucks. Sorry. They're just too chintzy built and really ugly looking now. (What's with your monster flares?) However, I'll say without hesitation I'd own one of the 67-72's and be proud of it. I like it better than the old Ford's. Chevy had a winner there. After the 90's were over they should have just gone back to that style. They haven't been the same since.

This is about more then mileage. They will start better if working right, better throttle response, and if the owner took this truck on some hot rod tour long haul, when they get to the elevation of say Colorado, a carb would be nasty if it was tuned for sea level.

I would take another 69 chevy like my first truck, or a 72 shortbed as my dad had. great looks and a great suspension, as alot of Nascars top series use the truck arm suspension.

When it comes to Chevrolet. the 67-72 trucks are where it's at! The 73-87's in 4x4 trim were awesome too! I wish they'd bring back a truck that looked more like this. These new ones are too big and gaudy. About repulsive to look at.

Not too tough to improve on the fuel economy of a 750 double pumper. You could have put just about any other carb on there and seen the same results.



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