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Adding Fuel Injection

Posted in How To on December 1, 2011
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Photographers: Darren Ruzicka

Fuel-injection swaps seem to be catching on for all types of off-road vehicles these days. The aftermarket support is incredible when it comes to fuel-injection swaps, but what if you want to do a junkyard fuel-injection swap?

At first glance it would seem like it’s not too difficult, but appearances are not what they seem when it comes to fuel injection. Most fuel-injection swaps involve either a multi-port fuel injection (MPFI) or throttle body fuel injection (TBI). For cost and simplicity reasons a large number of the swapped-on fuel injection kits are TBI kits that fit on existing intake manifolds. These TBI kits are very affordable and reliable for off-road use. One of the biggest reasons to add one of these is never having to worry about stalling out on a steep climb. Well, that and the fact that retrofitting fuel injection (usually) improves fuel economy, engine power output, and gives cleaner emissions out of the tailpipe.

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Many companies offer self-contained TBI systems that are very affordable and user friendly for the average person. Companies like Howell, Holley, Fast, First Fuel Injection, Edelbrock, and Affordable Fuel Injection all have EFI systems that will easily outperform any junkyard fuel injection system and they are guaranteed to work!

A cheaper, but riskier way to attain fuel injection is by piecing together a GM TBI unit along with all the necessary sensors, relays, ECU and wiring harness from a junkyard. You should plan on spending at least $400 for everything you need, but if you have faulty parts the price quickly goes up. If you’re planning on installing it into a non-Chevy V-8 be prepared to spend endless hours trying to get it to run. If you want the system to control the timing advance, some distributors will not be compatible with this system.

If you’re trying a junkyard swap with a GM TBI, the ECU has to be run inside the cab since it is not intended to be mounted in the engine bay. Here you can see why installing junkyard parts will create troubleshooting problems that will be difficult to diagnose with the factory tangled mess of wires. Aftermarket kits come in longer lengths with everything pre-labeled to ease installation.

If you’re not fully prepared to wire up, modify parts, and troubleshoot problems that will no doubt arise, junkyard swaps are just not worth the hassle! Take it from someone who saw a good friend drop more than $1,200 trying to retrofit a factory GM EFI system onto a Ford engine. You’ll end up spending more money on troubleshooting, labor, parts, and time. Not to mention that your truck will be hung up for weeks as you try to make it run correctly.

Unless you have extensive knowledge of computer-controlled fuel injections and how to properly input every reading they get, then we’d highly suggest leaving the creation of a retrofit fuel injection system to the professionals. You can find professionally built EFI kits for under $1,000 these days. And some EFI kits are self-learning systems so they don’t require dyno time and tuning to make them work great!

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Howell Engine Developments
Marine City, MI 48039
Holley Performance Products
Bowling Green, KY 42101

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