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Old 08-10-2017, 02:03 PM   #1
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Opinions on this engine/combo?

I have a 1981 Chevy C10 pickup that I first did a frame-off rebuild in high-school with my dad. We put a 1989 350 TPI out of a Trans Am in it back in 1993 or so. Well, frame off rebuilding all over again and I want to keep it TPI. Looking at getting this Chevy Performance SP350 then get the TPI Vortec base, and having the plenum, runners, and base extrude-honed. Not sure what computer to run it with as I have the Accel computer from 1993 and no way to communicate with it. Anyone done this combo? Don't know if I'm missing anything. Thanks for any opinions.
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Old 08-10-2017, 03:13 PM   #2
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

A lot of $ to pay for an engine you could build yourself for less than half the price. Rebuild the longblock you have. A set of Vortec heads, Alex spring kit, and LT4 hotcam, and you would be right there.
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

Hard to find vortec tpi bases anymore. I guess sdpc still does tho
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:22 PM   #4
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

I got mine from SDPC last year and they still have them in stock: https://sdparts.com/i-23896057-sdpc-...baseplate.html
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:32 PM   #5
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

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Originally Posted by dmccain View Post
A lot of $ to pay for an engine you could build yourself for less than half the price. Rebuild the longblock you have. A set of Vortec heads, Alex spring kit, and LT4 hotcam, and you would be right there.
It can be had for $3300 which seems reasonable to me for brand new. Just wondering how this motor would do with TPI
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

First off, this is hotrodding, and there's ALWAYS one more part that for a little more money, makes things a little bit better. It's an endless cycle, and you have to look at your budget, your skills, your timeframe and your goals and ultimately make a plan and stick with it, regardless of what "we" would do.

That being said, two thoughts stick out.
1) I think that engine with a TPI would be an awesome engine. The TPI as always will reduce peak HP numbers, but it'd be an awesome street engine with plenty of fun torque.
2) Way too much money for what you're getting. I'm right there with DMCCain. Rebuild a vortec block with an LT4 hotcam. Less money, more motor.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:24 AM   #7
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

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Originally Posted by Abubaca View Post
First off, this is hotrodding, and there's ALWAYS one more part that for a little more money, makes things a little bit better. It's an endless cycle, and you have to look at your budget, your skills, your timeframe and your goals and ultimately make a plan and stick with it, regardless of what "we" would do.

That being said, two thoughts stick out.
1) I think that engine with a TPI would be an awesome engine. The TPI as always will reduce peak HP numbers, but it'd be an awesome street engine with plenty of fun torque.
2) Way too much money for what you're getting. I'm right there with DMCCain. Rebuild a vortec block with an LT4 hotcam. Less money, more motor.
Appreciate the feedback!
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:03 PM   #8
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

If it's already TPI just see if you can find a mid-mileage LT1 as a pullout. IMO that is your best option. A few small bolt ons and you will be at 300hp and still using the stock ecm.
If that isn't agreeable for you look into Rbob's system at dynamic efi
http://www.dynamicefi.com/EBL_Flash.php
He is very helpful and many members here run this system since it uses the stock ecm.
If you can find a mid-mileage vortec engine that will be preferential over rebuilding an engine. I'm sure you're aware that it would be $500-1000 in machine work plus new parts and gaskets. You'd be better off buying an engine from Summit or another national chain. It is no longer worth it to rebuild a sbc or LS unless it's going to be a higher horsepower or RPM engine and in another 5-10 years it will be a waste of time and money to rebuild a sbc.

Last edited by Tibo; 08-12-2017 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:21 PM   #9
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

When this combination runs well it is a really good road package. Unfortunately mine has only ran really good for about 1 or the 7 years I have owned it. Now it will start and idle when cold, but die after it is warmed up and won't start with out ether.

I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a car worth maybe 1200. I replaced the TPS switch and set it and it still won't start with out a shot of ether, and after it warms up it won't hardly run. so I am going to put it in the craigslist for parts and be done with it.

I miss the days of carburators, all this fuel injection is nothing but a way for mechanics to get rich LOL. I figure the rims, spoiler and t tops and some of the body parts should be worth $500 with out a title. Not to mention a good transmission, and engine if the darn thing would be getting fuel. I just want it gone and never want to see it on the hiway again.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:36 PM   #10
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

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Originally Posted by Colemaro View Post
I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a car worth maybe 1200. I replaced the TPS switch and set it and it still won't start with out a shot of ether, and after it warms up it won't hardly run. so I am going to put it in the craigslist for parts and be done with it.

I miss the days of carburators, all this fuel injection is nothing but a way for mechanics to get rich LOL.
The days of Carburetors, when engines would just run until they broke down and needed rebuilt because there was no monitoring system to prevent such failures and damage from occurring.

The days of Carburetors, when a "good" engine would last 100,000 miles.

The days of Carburetors, when a car that got 20 mpg highway was economical.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #11
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

Yup all those ,"problems", were easy to diagnose. You changed your oil and checked it you would see any leaks or problems because you didn't have a kazillion other things in the way. Gauges would give you a read out for oil pressure, water tempuratures, and amperage,( they even had idiot lights on them back in the "good old" days) you just had to pay attention. I had many carbed cars that had 180 or more thousand on them. the key was maintance. True on the economical side of things, my 305 TPI would get 23 MPG on the highway and my 79 Z28 350 with a holley carb, 4 speed and 326 rear gears would only get 25. You can go ahead and diss my preference Tibo, it doesn't bother me, I won't be owning this lemon that much longer anyways.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #12
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

The cold start enrichment on carbs that washed all the oil off the cylinder walls and fouled the crankcase with fuel diluted oil.... resulting in 75k miles engine life..... those good old days?

Fuel injection and modern oils are responsible for doubling engine life in the last 30 years.

Do you have to learn about it to work on it? Sure. But the depth of knowledge required is not any worse than being a *really* good carb tuner.

Can billy jo bob and his cousins get a carb running well enough to move the car using a crescent wrench and a flat head screwdriver? Sure. Chances are it won't be any good at all or they just bought a new carb and slapped it on - that's not any different than the new self learning EFI systems.... You people still know nothing about what you are doing - some engineer set it up for you either way.

Anyone that *really* knows carbs also knows EFI or can easily learn it if they have the motivation. Being a stick in the mud is just going to get you left behind in the dustbin of history.

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:19 PM   #13
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

I miss the good old days of candles and sunlight. Electricity is just a way for electricians to get rich!!!!!!!!!

Nothing wrong with carbs. Nothing wrong with swapping to a carb. ....but your car not running isn't the fault of EFI. Don't diss OUR preference based on YOUR lack of understanding of it.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:24 PM   #14
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

to all you egocentrics out there. It asked for my opinion, I gave it with out being corrosive towards any one. 75k engine life, you must have really been bad on your maintance. Refering to any one that used to work on their cars when it was a carburated world as "Billy Bobs" just shows me how shallow the thought process is and narrow the possibilities for any thing but your view. I can tell you know as much about carburators as I do about fuel injection. I can tell you have no first hand knowledge of the longevity of engines that were produced and ran in the late 70-80s. I do. If you took care of your engine it took care of you. If you ran cheap oil then you got inferior results. etc etc etc. Same thing can happen on these 26 year old MODERN engines you are touting. Fuel injection to me is a PITA as far as troubleshooting, and money involved for parts. One thing goes out of alignment and the whole engine runs like crap. But, you are entitled to your narrow ideals of what is the best and I will adhere to mine. All I know is that my 91 Z will never be driven on the road again. so go ahead and waste your time dissing me some more as now I find it amusing.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:33 PM   #15
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

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Fuel injection to me is a PITA as far as troubleshooting, and money involved for parts.
This can be true lol especially when its a wire or ground gone bad and you have to find it. Sometimes sensors crap out. But for certain combos it is definitely nice to have. Once you learn it and its working, you cant beat the capability. Again, its not for every one or every combo.

Sorry you had bad experiences with it. But something went wrong and needs fixed. You have to diagnose. Its likely something simple.

I've had several thirdgens with oem efi and original sensors run just fine.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:05 PM   #16
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

Heh. I know more about carbs than you do I'm quite sure.

Have you setup and ran any blow-through turbocharged carb setups? Tuned many carbs on the dyno? I've probably rebuilt and tuned more carbs than you have every seen in person. Holley, Rochester, Edelbrock, Weber, and others. Once you understand pressure differential, emulsion, and venturi physics it's all pretty simple.

But fuel injection is pretty simple too. Just because you don't have the skill set to troubleshoot both systems effectively doesn't mean there aren't people who do.

There's a lot of professional technician such as myself, and enthusiasts on this forum that deal with both systems effectively and can transition back and forth between these two fuel management systems seamlessly.

I have both a flexible carb adjusting screwdriver, and an oscilloscope and am proficient in the use of both.

GD
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:46 PM   #17
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Re: Opinions on this engine/combo?

Well that took a turn! Ha, thanks for the replies. I am one who is far better working on fuel injection rather than carbs. I started with TPI at 14yo two decades ago and never really got into working on carbs. I am going to go with this combo (probably going to build a copy of the crate motor rather than buy that one).
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