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Looking to buy a TPI engine...

Discussion in 'The Injection Section' started by thatK30guy, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    ...here in town at the local repair shop.

    Its an '87 year, I think he said, out of a Corvette. Complete from bottom up but no wiring or computer as they stay in the car.

    The engine started knocking so they got another replacement for it and now the "bad" engine sits on a stand. Enter me...:D

    I asked how much and the shop owner thought $500. I told him (:wink1:) I see them on eBay, complete motor with the harness and computer for $500. Plus the traveling fees add extra to that depending on where the motor is. He told me to think it over and get back with him. He sounds like he will take less, so, what do you guys think?

    What is a knocking 'Vette engine worth? What would you pay for it even though you can rebuild it or use the top end on another motor.

    Are harnesses easy to come by for these motors? And computers, too?

    I'm thinking of starting at $250 for the whole thing and working up til he's happy with the amount.
     
  2. Cricket

    Cricket 3/4 ton status

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    Ask him if he'll take the Ex in trade.
     
  3. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    No thanks. I'm done with her and prefer to forget about her now.
     
  4. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Wiring is easy to find for those MAF cars, and is the same between the Camaros, Corvettes, TA, GTAs etc.

    The Corvette should have a set of aluminum center bolt heads, which will bolt onto any other small block no problem. They flow quite well for a stock head, and can be used with some pretty high compression ratios...

    If you can get the whole shebang for 400 bucks or so, you've done pretty well already. Those heads for for more than that alone, and you'd be getting a bunch of sensors, the TPI intake etc as well.

    Parts in general are relatively cheap for TBI and TPI. Just make sure you get the mass air flow sensor with the engine, as they can get quite costly. I frequently see MAF wiring harnesses on Ebay for between 50 - 100 bucks, just try and find something that hasn't had any wiring cut off it, then you can almost just bolt it on. Just need to add a few power ignition feeds, constant power feeds, grounds the diagnostics port, check engine light, and a few other similar things.

    I can help you out by disabling VATS, EGR etc, but can't do any engine tuning. If you do need a chip made, its gotta be soon, as my programmer is going with my TPI engine when it sells pretty quick...
     
  5. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Are you sure the TPI is still on the engine? If someone swapped the engine for another one (new or rebuilt) i'm sure they used the TPI system over as well since new or rebuilt engines do not come with the TPI unit. Also i would not pay anything more than $100.00 for an engine that is already known to have a knock. Think about the abuse that engine has seen while in the Vette. I can guarantee you it wasn't babied. I don't think that the 87 Vette had aluminum heads that year either and even if it did they are not the best heads, they are world product heads that are supplied to GM and they have much to be desired.
     
  6. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Scott, I was at the shop personally and saw the engine on the engine stand and also saw the replacement engine on the floor where the guy was working on it.
    Both engines looked the same as both had the TPI, everything on it.

    Are the Painless wiring systems worth a crap? And like their name, are they painless to install? Or would I be better off finding a used harness from a car like off eBay?
     
  7. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Well Wes, if you've seen them both side by side and know the TPI unit is with the engine then i wouldn't give more than about $300.00-400.00 for it.
    I'll bet the guy bought some sort of aftermarket TPI stuff and that the new engine isn't exactly stock either.
    I hate painfull harness's. I would get one from Street & Performance but they don't give them away either. I had one i bought from them years ago and it was a quality product and was factory wrapped and terminated with the correct size and color of GM wire unlike the painfull harness's i've seen in the past.
     
  8. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I'm not a big fan of painless either...

    I built my harness from scratch, and totally integrated it with the stock truck wiring, even used the factory 1980 fuse block!

    These TPI units are super simple, 90% of the wires run from the sensor straight to the ECM, there are only about 7 - 8 wires that you need to hook up to stuff elsewhere in your truck including power wires, an ignition wire, SES light output, injector power feeds, EGR power feed and propablly one or two I'm forgetting just going off the top of my head. The factory wiring harness would be pretty easy to adapt without any major wiring changes.

    When they come un-hacked, they run through the passenger side firewall of the car through a grey connector, packed in with hot glue. You can use a heat gun to melt the glue, and pull the wires through since you may need to lengthen or shorten em. I personally just ran them through a grommet in the firewall. Under the dash, there should be four connectors, two go to the ECM, the small 6 pin goes to power feeds for the injectors and EGR, and the third big one has the power feeds for the ECM, ignition wire, park neutral, SES output, ALDL stuff etc. You can move the 6 pin connector's wires over to the big under-dash connector, and you can easily find the other half of that connector up near the core support to inner fender connection on many mid 80s S-10 trucks at the wreckers.

    The colors are all pretty simple, and using the wiring diagrams on www.thirdgen.org you can get all the info you need.

    Only thing I'd suggest is to leave the factory harness as is, and bolt it all up. Don't be silly like me and integrate everything, or cause yourself un-needed greif by tearing the whole harness apart to remove extra connectors for emissions systems or whatnot. Just cut them off just inside the looming, and leave them hooked up on the ECM side. You'll be done your wiring 10x as fast as if you try and do it yourself, lol

    One other suggestion as far as mounting the ECM goes, get yourself some heavy duty 2.5" wide velcro, stick half of it on the back of your ECM, and the other half on your air box just under your dash, just to the left of your glove box where the heater outputs heat for your feet. You can then mount it in such a way that you can easily get at your chip in the future. The Velco won't let go, and helps absorb some vibrations that could otherwise affect it :)
     
  9. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    $3-400 is pretty decent. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't think he can find someone to pay $500 or so, someone probably is.

    If I'm not mistaken, the AL vette heads are L98, anmd while not that great, they are better than previous heads. HOWEVER, unless you want to spend serious $$ on intake or heads, get them. You aren't going to find cheap heads or intake that will allow you any options.

    Forget aftermarket harnesses. If this is for your '85, you can make stock work and save yourself a bunch of money. It's not THAT difficult, it just takes time. Factory service/wiring manual is a necessity IMO. You WILL get frustrated and angry trying to make EFI work without the manuals.

    Don't forget (and remind) the seller that you will have to buy a new pump, run fuel lines, and so on, that makes the cost and time much more than his sale price. You could throw in fuel tank(s) as well if you want a baffled one. :)

    Corvette stuff is opposite Camaro. (fuel lines, alt and AC too?) HarryH3 is the one that did a corvette TPI swap as I recall.
     
  10. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Harry and I have been swapping emails. I'm learning a lot here.

    Today I went back to the shop to haggle the owner on the price. Turns out he wanted to keep the aluminum heads. I told him that defeated the whole purpose of buying the engine. So he let me take everything else but the heads....for free!

    After getting everything loaded up and unloaded at home, I noticed several missing parts but figured since it was free, it won't be that bad to find the necessary stuff I need to get it to run again.

    One thing I can already say I need for it now is one side of runners since a hole got punctured into a tube and another tube got a big dent in it. It looks like he kept the torx screws that fasten the runners to the intake and the TPI housing, too.

    Anyone tell me how to go about taking all this stuff apart to clean them? I'd like to take all the aluminum pieces and get them glass beaded.

    I will be taking pics of everything soon. I know I didnt get everything as far as a complete motor goes. But like I said, you can't beat free.
     
  11. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    You might hit Ryan up with the glass beading and what not. I know he polished the heck out of at least one setup, so he probably has some practical ideas.

    There is NOTHING cheap on this system lol. I consider cheap $5 BTW. You need to tally up a list of the parts you are missing then start adding that up. Free parts are good, but the hard parts are the cheap ones. It's the sensors/injectors/fuel system that kill you.

    I'm sure somehow you can get the runners straightened. Keep on eye on thirdgen.org for parts. I've got a spare set too, since they do dent easy.

    Someone used to sell a kit that had all the torx bolts in it as I recall. You NEED those to make assembly/disassembly even close to easy/possible. It's a pain, they are metric, and they are varying lengths. Either a new or used set is the way to go.
     
  12. 99GmcClassic

    99GmcClassic Registered Member

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    Imo buy a tpi setup get a set of vortec heads and the S&D vortec tpi intake :D
     
  13. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Unfortunately that isn't a cheap or easy option. :(
     
  14. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    My plans are to get a pair of Edelbrock Performer heads. They make them specifically for these TPI's and price range is around $1200-ish.
    Edelbrock also makes intakes and runners for the TPI's also but I'm gonna keep what I have. They're there and free. :wink1:
     
  15. bowtiepower00

    bowtiepower00 1/2 ton status

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    Good score for free. The Vette TPI system is designed to work with early style (pre-87) intake faces, so you can use just about any head you want. Only the F-bodies with iron heads used the late style intakes. The Edelbrocks flow like ass compared to newer designs. AFR makes the best, for around $1400 or so, complete. Brodix makes some Iron Killers that run about a grand, complete. There are a number of choices if you want to go Iron, too.

    That Vortec base is over $300 alone.

    The factory TPI stuff makes torque like there's no tomorrow. It runs out of breath above 3500 or so, that's why the car guys get rid of it.

    The block should be roller cam ready. I would go with a GM hot cam, or similar Hydraulic Roller, a decent set of heads, and a little tuning. The GM cams are the best for the price. Used LT1/4 cams run well w/o tuning, and are cheap on ebay, etc.

    If you really need to make some power, stroke it, but that probably won't be necessary.

    Everything you've ever wanted to know about TPI (or TBI for that matter) is over at thirdgen.
     

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