Do you Smoke? It is better if you didn't, but the COLOR of your smoke can tell a lot.Of course I am talking about automobiles! Over the years, manufacturers have improved components we use in our automobiles including lubricants and fluids, but sometimes we still see tell-tale signs of a problem when we see smoke. It is important if you see any kind of smoke, to make a mental note of what it looks like.
Black smoke = Too Rich or Rubber Burning
If the problem is only when the engine is cold and has a carburetor, look for a choke problem. Check your tailpipe. Is it black & sooty? There are many causes of rich. Carbs have needle & seat and fuel expansion issues. Fuel injection relies on sensors that signal the ECM. Vacuum leaks cause an un-balance condition whereby cylinders misfire and ruin sparkplugs. AND then there is the NEW engine setup. Start with a baseline and work from there. A compression test and vacuum readings give you a good idea of general engine health. A BIG side-effect of too rich, too long is; the un-used fuel will end up in your oil. NOT GOOD!
Burning Rubber? Shame on You. It will cost you some new tires soon!
White smoke = Antifreeze or Transmission Fluid
Be careful with this one. Antifreeze in the exhaust is NEVER good. Usually, this is caused by excessive OVERHEATING or a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head. Usually, the fumes smell 'sweet'. Don't run the engine in this condition! This is the #1 cause of engine failure.
Another cause of white smoke can be transmission fluid getting into the exhaust. If you have a transmission (Ford or GM) that uses a vaccuum modulator valve, the diaphram can crack and allow transmission fluid to be drawn into the intake system. In severe cases, the clouds of white smoke can be huge. Low transmission fluid is the #1 cause of transmission failure.
Blue / Gray Smoke = Oil burning
This is common with older engines that have many miles on them. Engines from the 60's & 70's typically needed some type of engine work before 100,000 miles. Valve guides and seals went bad, and poorly maintained lubrication systems caused the need for much of this work. Newer engine designs have pushed the mileage barrier closer to 200,000 or more miles. IF your car smokes (blue) all the time, and has that 'oil burning smell', check and make sure you have a PCV system that works properly and that you have provided venting for the oiling system. Spinning parts need to BREATHE. Otherwise, it may be time for some engine work.
This article explains the pros and cons of modern day aftermarket fuel injection systems available for just about any vehicle past or present. In just the past 2 years, the options available have gone from a simple four barrel replacement to dozens of throttle body replacements for almost any type of carburetor. You can find a system that fits your needs at https://www.holley.com/products/fuel_systems/fuel_injection/sniper_efi/. FAST also makes comparable kits.
Why it is better!
No Choke! You don't have to set or engage the choke. You don't 'kick it' off fast idle. You don't need to wait for the engine to warm up a little bit.
No float or 'needle & seat' issues - Carbs have long had known problems with float levels and needle & seat problems. If the inlet needle sticks, it can allow the fuel to overfill the carburetor and then leak fuel all over the hot engine. This is a fire hazard and you could lose your entire investment.
Consistency - The engine starts the same way every time. Hot or Cold, the electronics control the idle speed and monitor the engine parameters so that the adjustments are correct every time.
Fuel Mileage - The electronics monitors and adjusts the air/fuel ratio automatically. The ideal (theoretical) air-fuel ratio, for a complete combustion is around 14.7:1. This ideal ratio changes with elevation and weather conditions which the electronics automatically compensates for using EFI.
What are the cons?
IF you ever had & used a 4 barrel carb before, you will remember that familiar 'kick' when you engaged all 4 barrels. It was fun and it gave you a sense of massive acceleration. With EFI, that doesn't happen. Since the computer is controlling the fuel, it simply adds more fuel & air as the throttle is pressed. It is SMOOTH acceleration. No KICK!
Most likely, the fuel pump & tank will need to be upgraded at the same time. This adds an additional $500 or so to the cost of the upgrade. Fuel injection pumps require a pressure around 40 psi or higher while carbs use pumps in the 5-7 psi range. In addition to this extra pressure, un-used fuel is usually routed back to the fuel tank by means of a return line. This can cause turbulence in the tank which in turn can cause cavitation in the fuel pump supply. To prevent this, EFI tanks have baffles that prevent this from happening.
It is also recommended to use an in tank pump. Cavitation is less likely and the pump operation is much quieter when using in-tank fuel pumps. The good news is, you can find complete tank kits to fit almost any vehicle from Holley or Tank's Inc.
1rst, get the fuel system ready. Install 2 fuel lines, a supply and return line from the tank to the old carb area. This line & connecting hoses MUST be rated for fuel injection purposes. If you are installing a new tank with in-tank pump, install the tank and then install the correct in-line fuel filters.
The EFI KIT is amazing. You need a power wire, and you need to add a 'bung' to the exhaust for an O2 (OXYGEN) sensor and install the temperature sensor. The rest of the sensors (throttle position, IAC (throttle control), Baro, fuel pressure regulator ) are all part of the UNIT (TBI). Bolt the unit on, connect the fuel lines, and the EFI controller will start the AUTO-calibration. That is it!
IF you have additional questions or would like a quote for your vehicle, please text, email or give me a call anytime!
Stay tuned for my article on Ethanol, fuel mixes delivered to the pumps and how it affects your car, plus venting and fuel expansion problems.
Copyright 2019 Rick Rossi / Moparresto You may copy and/or forward this document in it's entirety only.
Whether you are buying a new project or working on an existing project, consider the practicality and dependability before you start spending your hard earned money! There are pros and cons to every decision making process, but the key is not to waste time & money on something that may change. There are many subjects of discussion but the 2 major decidng points in the beginning of your decision making process are:
From this point, what does original mean? If no concern, skip to the next step.
Step: Define Original
Are you THINKING ......
Absolute Original - no modifications. IS as was! Concours type restoration.
Safety Modifications Only - seat belts, dual master cylinder, tires
Drive-ability - ignition and/or generator conversions, factory disc brake upgrade, etc
Perception - As long as it looks ORIGINAL
No Permanent Modifications - everything can be returned to stock
Each of these decision points have an affect on the safety, drive-ability, dependability and all around general use of the automobile. Decide NOW, before moving on to other decisions points in the next steps.
Step: Not Original
This step makes decisions much easier, but now we have budget, needs, wants & desires to contend with in addition to any carry-overs from the original category. AN example can be you still want drive-ability and safety in addition to that supercharged Hemi.
Step: Review Technology
There are a lot of choices you can make but understanding WHY you are making the choice makes sense.
Brake systems - Cars prior to 1967 had a single reservoir master cylinder. As of 1967, Federal law mandated all cars produced after 1966 should have a dual reservoir master cylinder, emergency flashers, and seat belts. Beyond the master cylinder, disc brakes proved to be superior over drum brakes, especially in the front where most of the braking is done. There are simple factory conversion kits that make your car safe or you can spend serious money on cool stuff with superior stopping power you may never need or use.
Safety Belts and Harness - as stated above, vehicles beginning with the 1967 model year were required to have safety belts and somehwere in 70's that was upgraded to the harness style we have today. It should be noted that belts were some times an option before 1967. Any type of these belts are available, but keep in mind that shoulder harnesses need a secure, high mounting point for that type of belt.
Ignition System -Until the late 1960's, most cars used "points" or breakers to trigger the ignition. It was a mechanical and generally un-reliable method that became obsolete with the advent of electronic ignition. The need for a tune-up every 6 months went away with new technology. Today, ignition systems can function reliably for 100,000 miles or more compared to 10,000 miles at best with points. Electronic ignition adds reliability to your car. You can purchase anything from simple stock looking kits to exotic MSD style electronic kits for your car.
Fuel Systems - This is tough subject, but, a lot has changed over the years with fuels that are available and what they are designed for. Simply put, today's fuels are designed for fuel injected cars. In the last 8 or 9 years, the carburetor has gone the way of the do-do bird. They are simply inefficient. Worse yet, the fuels today are not designed to work with carburetors. It is true that they work, but, there are problems that arise dealing with carburetors on a daily basis.
Some common carburetor problems are:
Hard re-start after hot-soak (turn off the car, wait 10 minutes). This is because fuel dumps from the carb and floods the engine.
Poor cold performance - carbs had chokes. You had to push the pedal down once, start the car, and warm-up performance was marginal at best.
Sticking Needle & Seat and Floats - This is a common problem with carbs. If the fuel control valve sticks (needle & seat), you have a fire hazard on your hands. Fuel will keep pumping and leak everywhere. This is a very common problem and if you don't know the symptoms, you can lose your investment.
Vent Problems (gas smell) - Older cars (pre-1970) had venting issues. Most vents dumped fumes under the car somewhere. Charcoal canisters & closed vapor systems were added in the 1970's, but carbs were different for these systems.
Fuel Types - Today's fuel systems are pressurized and the expansion characteristics of the fuel is different than it was 15 or 20 years ago. In addition, Ethanol has been added to most fuels that can deteriorate seals, ruin carburetors, and in severe cases bend pushrods and cause internal engine damage.
Consider Fuel Injection
Carbs are expensive and today, there are many fuel injection kits you can purchase that may cost a little more to install, but pay off handsomely in the reliability and dependability department. If you even think you might consider fuel injection, don't buy that carb!
Step: Formulate you plan
This is where you throw in the bells & whistles like keyless entry, power windows, air conditioning, wheels, custom paint, electrical system upgrades, etc.
It is now time to start shopping for estimates, putting together time-lines and budgets.
The #1 Rule is; 'DON'T DO IT TWICE!'
Copyright 2019 Rick Rossi / Moparresto You may copy and/or forward this document in it's entirety only.