Fuel injection, it’s what most people want on their 4-wheel drive. It’s economical, it’s reliable and you don’t have to worry about stalling the motor during steep ascents, descents or side-hilling. Moreover, we typically find ourselves looking for both an easy and cost effective way to upgrade our rigs.
When I started my project Land Cruiser, I knew exactly what I wanted and I still do with just a few small variations. For example, I originally thought that 33″ tires would be the biggest I would ever want or need, now dreams of 35’s or 38’s fill my mind during siesta time. Aside from that and a few other small changes, I always knew I wanted a mildly built Chevy 350 mill under then hood with either an SM420 or a Turbo 350 transmission. A well used, but healthy 350 motor was dropped in under the hood thanks to a good friend of mine who didn’t need it anymore. A Turbo 350 slushbox was shoved underneath to take my mind off of dealing with a shifter in my right hand, the wheel in my left and the CB or candy bar in my middle hand.
With the motor sitting brilliantly in place under the hood, it was now time to decide on the proper method of supplying fuel and air. The transplanted motor is a 1987 model that came from the factory with Fuel Injection so I didn’t have to worry about changing intake manifolds, blocking off the fuel pump opening and the other modifications that might come to bear. The next step was to determine who had the most complete kit available that would be as close to a bolt on kit as possible. I didn’t want to spend countless nights hacking apart and trying to figure out the parts I needed from a salvage yard vehicle, I was craving trail action! Nor did I want to get an aftermarket item that required special tools, massive tuning or constant maintenance. Lastly, I wanted to be able to find replacement parts for the system at any automotive parts store. Sound impossible? I was starting to think that myself. My journey in search of such a beast took me on a three-week endeavor talking with many of my colleagues in various automotive industries, and after considerable time and countless phone calls my search was narrowed. Lo and behold, we actually found what claimed to be a “bolt on” fuel injection kit that many thought would be the answer to my prayers. Enter Turbo City, in Orange, CA.
Turbo City offers an aftermarket fuel injection kit that claims to truly be, “a bolt-on unit”, with a few small modifications. In fact, it’s a universal kit designed to be used in a variety of applications with minor modifications and fabrication that nearly anyone can do. For example, with this kit you may find yourself rerouting fuel lines, adjusting or making a simple throttle linkage and plumbing some vacuum lines. The system that we ordered (part # 970-100) starts its life as a stock, GM throttle body unit with commonly used and available parts and sensors such as the knock sensor, the O2 sensor, weather-tight connectors, ECU and so on. From there, Turbo City applies their magic. They start by building their own computer chips in house to increase power and efficiency, while maintaining reliability. They also make their own wiring harness and while packaged, all sensors come pre-connected and labeled for ease of install. And let me tell you, it’s a piece of cake to bolt this baby on! The only difficult part is locating the computer and all of the sensors, which we’ll cover to some extent in our installation.
Once we had the Fuel Injection all bolted on, about 4 to 5 hours of solid work, we ran a few short tests to make sure we had power. Next, we dropped 5 or so gallons of gas into the tank and were ready to turn over the motor in our Cruiser. A quickening of the heart, crossed fingers and a turn of the key produced a healthy VROOOOM!!!!! It actually started and ran the first time around, a real pleasure for such a major change to a motor. A rough idle and some black smoke were quickly dispensed with once we diagnosed a faulty EGR valve (by no fault of Turbo City; it was an original anyhow) and we were drivin’ down the boulevards in fuel injected style.
None of the other kits we looked at had nearly as many benefits as the Turbo City fuel injection kit. Installation was not only easy, but also quick. The fuel injection system comes with everything you need to bolt it on and the instructions are well laid out. The vehicle’s fuel injection has performed flawlessly in the past few months and in varying altitudes. All of these reasons and more make this kit your choice for bolt-on fuel injection.
Begin this and any installation that deal with electricity or fuel by disconnecting the battery. This is something that is typically overlooked, but it’s an important safety measure. Next, take stock of both your vehicle and the fuel injection system and plan out where you are going to mount all of the system’s sensors, wiring harness and the computer. We decided to place our sensors on the firewall, just above and to the sides of the distributor. The wiring harness is quite long and you have the option of shortening it, but we decided not to risk splicing wires and possibly ruining a very expensive wiring harness or putting our selves at risk of causing a short circuit later. Instead, we simply looped the harness out of the way of heat and moving parts and secured it using Adel clamps and the vehicles existing loops.
Once you’ve decided where you are going to locate all of the components, you can really start in any way that you like. We first started by bolting the throttle body onto the intake manifold. Once this was done, we started installing all of the sensors, such as the O2 sensor, the knock sensor and so on. With the wiring harness literally laying on top of the motor, we located and marked the area where our computer would sit. We decided that the glove box would keep the ECU cool and dry and provide adequate protection. Once we knew where the ECU would sit, we then marked the firewall, from the inside, where the wiring harness would need to pass through. We then cut out a section of the firewall slightly larger than the harness, which would allow it to pass through without chaffing. Once this was done, we passed the connectors from the harness through the firewall to the ECU, plugged it in and then secured it with ½ inch rubber bushing to the floor of the glove box. This would space the computer up above the glove box floor giving it adequate airflow and isolate the ECU from some of the bumping and jarring that might take place during our expeditions. With the ECU mounted and the harness plugged in, we secured the bulk of the wiring harness with Adel clamps.
The next step was a bit more difficult and took some time to figure out. It was now time to install the low-pressure, electric fuel pump. The pump itself must be installed below the level of the fuel tank. This was easy for us because the gas tank on a ’74 Land Cruiser is located inside the vehicle and underneath the passenger seat. We found that the best location for us was on the side of the frame rail, above the forward, rear spring mount, thus providing good protection. Next we took a trip to our local Toyota dealership to try and decipher the 6 metal tubes that were protruding from the gas tank. Although the dealer had no fuel tank schematics, we were able to figure out the feed and return tubes, leaving the rest for either pressure relief or emissions. Needless to say, we did finally figure it out after about 20 phone calls to friends and acquaintances. Once this fiasco was tackled, we hooked up the electrical wires, all of the fuel lines, and secured them with Adel clamps and hose clamps.
Finally, with everything mounted and secured we applied power to the system by attaching the correct wires to both the battery and available slots in out fuse box. Note that we still haven’t trimmed or shortened any wires yet.
Once all connections were made, we connected the negative battery cable back to the battery and watched for smoke. Happily, there was none. We then proceeded to check for correct voltage to specific areas of the system and measured resistance on particular sensors to ensure that everything was the way it should be. With everything checked and double-checked we started the motor. Everything worked as planned and we ran it through its paces.
Now that everything was operating correctly, we took the time to protect any exposed wires within wire loom. We also lengthened and shortened a few wires to hide and/or protect them. When this was all accomplished, we took the Cruiser on its maiden voyage around the block in fuel injection style.
Texas in the summer. Such a mild climate. Perfect for wheelin’ in the scorching …