Prior to Build
Several years ago and about 17,000 miles, I replaced the 2.8L (173cid) short block with a stroked 3.4L (207 cid) and flex plate from A.R.I in Kansas City (direct swap for 2.8L). At that time, I had the heads rebuilt and ports polished, installed a Crane PowerMax 2030 cam, Magnum 1.6 roller rockers (more lift), double roller cam chain, reduction pulleys, B&M transmission kit & fluid, and a 3″ cat back. Ran great until the fuel injection problems hit.
In this document I am not going to tell you how to do every step. You need some good mechanical and electrical skills and a good repair manual for your car. Follow instructions that come with every part, and be prepared to get frustrated finding everything you need. I bet I went to parts houses and Ace hardware 25 times, along with many on-line purchases/returns and phone calls to manufactures.
In preparing to convert my engine to carb, I decided to also remove the air conditioner, as it has not worked for years and I don’t use it.
Also, this setup does not support the cruise control. Maybe I’ll figure that out later.
During this procedure, do not cut off any harness connectors. Leave them all there until you get things running, and you are sure you don’t need them
Take lots of photos as you tear down. Easier to look at a photo then try to remember how everything was.
- Disconnect battery.
- Drain radiator. If its been a while, now would be a good time to remove the radiator, take it to a radiator shop and have it cleaned out and leak tested. You can leave the fan cage in the car. Next, remove the serpentine belt and check the tensioner. If worn, replace it.
- Next remove anything on the front of the motor, air conditioning compressor, alternator, water hoses, electrical connections. I also removed my gas recirculation tank and all the vacuum plumbing from it. In the process I also be removed the coil and brackets.
- Remove your TPI intake. Be very careful when disconnecting the fuel lines. These are high pressure lines (48psi). Follow procedures in your repair manual. After the fuel lines, it’s pretty simple. you’ll also have to remove your lower manifold, distributor and valve covers.
- Don’t throw out anything until you are running. You will need to move temp sensors, etc. from old set up to new.
- Clean up all gasket surfaces still on the motor and the valve covers if you will be re-installing them. Make sure valve covers gasket channels are straight. Make sure you don’t drop any debris in the motor, use towels to cover open areas.
- You will have to remove the valve covers and push rods to install the new intake manifold gasket.
- Install the intake manifold. This is a two part manifold. Edelbrock provides very detailed instructions, follow them.
- Move your temp. sensors from old intake to new manifold.
- Install your push rods and adjust as shop manual states. Once push rods are in place and torqued correctly, you can install valve covers. Use new gaskets or silicone on valve covers as these covers are hard to seal. I used silicone, as they always leak when I use a dry gasket. Just a small bead around the flange and screw holes. Install snug, let dry one hour, and re snug down the bolts.
- Install your carburetor. I used a Holley 390CFM 4bbl. Follow the instructions with the carb you are using. I needed a 1/2 inch spacer to raise the carb up high enough so the throttle linkage would clear the valve covers. Don’t over torque the mounting bolts, many a carb has been distorted by over torqueing.
- You can either change your current in tank fuel pump for a low pressure (carb) unit, or use a by-pass regulator to provide low pressure (4-6psi) to the carb. I decided to go with the regulator. If you will be using a bypass fuel regulator, now would be a good time to install. Make sure to use good sealant, as the fuel lines are high pressure. I installed a small in-line see thru filter and a fuel gauge in the carb feed line for convenience in setting fuel pressure and seeing if the carb is getting fuel.
- When the car is drivable, it is recommended you have a transmission shop adjust the TV cable.
- Connect all radiator hoses and make sure clamps are in good shape. I had to re-vamp a couple of hoses due to moving things around.
- Thermostat Housing My original thermostat housing did not work with this manifold, as it was pointed right at the back of the generator and there was no way to connect hose. I cut the end off the housing (about an inch) and found a radiator hose with a tight S shape in it. I cut out the S shape, used it to connect to a modified original top radiator hose, and it works.
- If you changed any pulleys or serpentine drive accessories, you will need a new serpentine belt. I used a piece of rope, wound it thru the pulleys the correct direction, and measure how long of belt I needed. I purchased a belt 1″ shorter to give tensioner room to work. There are several videos on YouYube.com that demonstrate.
- Install serpentine belt.
- Install distributor. I used a Mallory V6 2.8L & 3.1L DIST – part # 4569201 From Classic Industries. I had to use the bump method to get the gears to mess. While putting slight down ward pressure on dist., bump the starter. Mine slid right in.
- Wire distributor and coil. Follow instructions with distributor. If your spark plug wires are old, replace them.
- Install all vacuum lines. You will have a lot less that originally. Use new lines. I used silicone lines. Don’t forget your power brakes vacuum, PVC, etc.
- Re-install radiator if you took yours out, connect hoses and fill. Don’t forget to hook up transmission cooling lines, and check transmission flued level.
- Next, look around and see, is there anything else that needs to be installed? You setup is most likely different from mine, and I may have skipped over something.
- If everything looks good, connect battery.
- Follow starting procedures from your carb. and distributor instructions. I used the vacuum method to set timing. With so many changes to my engine from factory stock, the stock settings were not working well. Hook up a vacuum gauge to the manifold vacuum, and adjust distributor for max steady vacuum, then back it off 2lbs. This should get you really close to what the engine wants.
- Check everywhere for leaks.
- Don’t forget to have TV cable checked by transmission shop.
- When I was done, all the original gauges are working fine, just have to take the light bulb out of the ‘Check Engine’ indicator sometime.
- I also had to cut a hole in the hood to clear air cleaner. I used a very fine metal saber saw blade and took my time, hole came out great. I plan on adding a low profile cowl scoop soon.
- Edelbrock claims a 25 horse power increase with this manifold and carb combination. I would have to say they were right. I still need to fine tune my carb, but right off, full throttle acceleration sets you back in the seat like never before. Even my wife noticed the difference when she took her first ride (she refuses to drive it because it is my baby). Car was chirping tire on 1st to second shifts, and spun the tires on a full throttle stab at 20 MPH. You get pushed back in the seat when the secondary barrels kick in.There are a lot of people out there saying you can’t get any power out of these small V6’s, but I dare to differ. My car is running like it has a fresh 350 in it. Very smooth and responsive.
- I think the reason this set up has more power than the stock TPI, is the stock TPI was designed for emissions control and the air intakes designed for noise. I don’t care about a little engine noise and I really like the boosted power this upgrade has given me. I am still running PVC, so emissions should not be all that bad.
- The reason I did not put in a 350 or an LS, is with my setup, I have less weight (over 100 lbs less than a 350), better handling (engine is mounted back further), and I did not have to change transmission, suspension or brakes.
- Since I now have this up and running now, after 4 months, maybe I’ll try an Go EFI from FITech in the future and see what the does for me.
- Hope everything worked out for you, happy driving.