EFI and Road Trip

Throttle Body Rejection (TBI to EFI Swap)

This project started when I found a 1.8 turbo port injected intake for sale several years ago, and started slowly piecing things together for an eventual swap after that. Since all the factory supporting parts aren’t that easy to find, I just started fabricating everything else needed and used what was laying around. Modifications include Sunbird fuel injectors and fuel rail, machined brackets for the new rail, a stainless bracket to mount the MAP sensor, stainless injector bung bolts, a fabricated bent stainless throttle and tv cable bracket, AN line adapters for fuel feed and return, and a modified fuel pressure regulator. This all also wouldn’t work without the serpentine belt system swap I did shortly beforehand, which I’ll detail briefly below. Also new air intake tubing and filter which sits above the carbon canister location. Added a wire for the second bank of injectors, a few changes in Tunerstudio and it was up and running with four injectors instead of one. It feels a little smoother, and (I think) looks so much better than the TBI setup.

efi > tbi

As for the serpentine conversion, manually adjusting the belts all the time got old, and all the parts from a later model 2.0 bolted right up. Swapped from a 12si to cs130 alternator with an adapter harness, also a GM type2 power steering pump, modified pulley, a custom support bracket because the 2.0 and 1.8 intakes are a little different, and that’s about it. Easy belt changes and no adjustments have made it well worth it.

Road Trip !

I always thought it would be fun to take the car on a big road trip, so I loaded up the family and went for it. Getting a 35 year old car ready for a 2000 mile road trip did take some doing, and it wasn’t without its pitfalls either. For me, that was part of the fun and challenge of it. Incidentally I think I may have been the only one with that mentality.

Several months ahead of time, a long list had been made for all the work I needed to try and complete to the car before the trip. Everything from children’s cupholders for the back seat to mechanical work. I’m not going to go into everything, but like most long lists, some things got dropped, some things I ran out of time for, but most of the things were completed and helped smooth along the trip. Here are the major items: factory rear springs to support the many extra pounds, new radio and speakers, quieter muffler for the long ride, roof rack and carrier for luggage, and a sealed beam to led conversion for better visibility. The other important list was of every possible part and tool I could think of and then find space for to bring along for when things went sideways…

Part 2 : When Things Go Sideways.
The trip was split up into four 500 mile sections. After going through some heavy rain during the first leg, the car developed some pretty obnoxious belt squeal. I noticed that my power steering pulley wasn’t quite concentric and thought that may be contributing to the problem, so I pulled it off after we reached the halfway destination, grabbed a hammer, and proceeded to true it up by strategically whacking it. Shockingly, this worked really well and it ended up nice and concentric. Moving on.

500 miles later, when we were entering the town of our destination visiting friends, it started to shift funny and ended up stalling at a stoplight after not downshifting. I manual shifted it a few more miles to get there and then started looking around. The whole underside was soaked in auto trans fluid, and from where it was I was guessing the circa 1986 pan gasket had given up. So I got one ordered from the local parts store, picked it up the next day with some fluid and supplies, and went to work. Then a few days later (I took my time) I had a successful test drive and we were off on the return trip!

getting the new pan gasket in

The first part went by without any trouble. Day two however, a half hour in and the car started hesitating hard and losing power on the highway. So I pulled off into a park and ride lot to try and figure out what was going on. After messing around and the car not starting for a half hour, I figured out that the wiring harness connector for the coil wasn’t connecting properly. The car would start and run fine if I pushed down on it and held it there and die when I let up. Wrapped it in some gorilla tape and away we went! Don’t tell anyone, but a month later, the gorilla tape is still holding it together :).

Overall, it was a fun experience, if a little tense at times. It was spacious and comfortable enough for the four of us and everything we needed, and got us there and back. It got some interesting comments along the way too. Now I just need some more power for the big hills and extra weight.

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