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1980 - 1986 Bullnose F100, F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Early Eighties Bullnose Ford Truck

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Old 05-19-2011, 01:28 PM
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What year did they start using computers?

I've searched FTE and Googled this question and can't find the answer. Maybe I'm asking the wrong question, but here goes: What year did Ford F150s come out with a computer? I know they've had electronic ignition since the early 70s, but what model year of the F150 did they introduce a "computer"?

The reason I ask is that I'm contemplating my next vehicle, although it may be some time from now. I currently have a 1986 with EFI and it is, of course, computerized and has all kinds of sensors. I think for my next truck I want a 300 I6, C6 transmission, no dual tanks, no EFI, and as few electronics as possible. So what is the newest F150 I can look at and say yes it has electronic ignition but no other electronics controlling the engine? Or could a carbeurated engine have the distributor changed to something that didn't require so much electronics?

Also, could a "crate engine" with a carbeurator be put in something relatively new but have the pollution stuff left off and not be hooked in to the computer? I'd even go manual choke if that would simplify the engine.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:34 PM
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I believe the first year was '84. You could do a duraspark conversion from the feedback carb to a non feedback carb. Use the search function here for a duraspark conversion, it'll tell you what you need.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:37 PM
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For the 4.9L engine in 49 state calibration, it was 1984, but I have read that it came maybe a year earlier in California.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:20 PM
81-F-150-Explorer 81-F-150-Explorer is offline
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First year of computers was 1978 EEC-I, and 1979 EEC-II, these were for cars only.

First Year of Computers in the pickups, for the V8s was in California for 1980.
EEC-III / DS-III

First Year of computers for the 4.9L in california, was 1981.
MCU / DS-II

First Year of Computers for all 50 states: 1984
EEC-IV / TFI-IV

So if you stay away from California or High Altitude models, the first year was 1984.

The first year for electronic ignition was mid 1974. Duraspark-I Black Grommet. 1975 Duraspark-I green grommet.

The First year for DS-II was 1976.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:17 PM
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As usual, 81-F-150-Explorer is correct. To add to what he said:

To meet tightening emissions standards, the 1984 - 1986 models equipped with the 300/4.9, carbureted 302/5.0 2V (later models were EFI), or 351/5.8 2V (excluding 4V "H.O." models), and some 1981 - 1983 California models came with an EEC-IV engine computer, TFI ignition, and an electronic "feedback" carburetor. Think of this system as a "bridge" between standard mechanical carburetion and electronic fuel injection: the feedback carburetor system.

These models can be readily identified by the distributor. The ignition module will be bolted to the side of the distributor along with a plug wire harness. The EEC engine computer controls all the timing functions, so unlike the older models, it will not have a vacuum advance. These models also will have an O2 sensor in the exhaust manifold, a MAP sensor on the passenger's side inner fender, EGR and EVAP system solenoids, and a unique computer-controlled "feedback" carburetor, identified by a feedback solenoid and wire harness plugged into the front of the carburetor. Depending on the model, the EEC engine computer itself can be found under the dash or under the seat.

Using an O2 sensor and various other engine sensors and solenoids, the EEC engine computer controls the air/fuel mixture at the carburetor, engine timing, and all emissions. It works just like modern electronic fuel injection does except it utilizes a carburetor. And, like any other EFI system, if any of these sensors or emissions components are missing or removed, the system will not work correctly. For example, if the stock "feedback" carburetor was replaced with an earlier, all-mechanical model or an aftermarket carburetor, the vehicle will still run, but the engine computer will not know what to do with it because it can't "read" what the carburetor is doing and adjust the air/fuel mixture. As a result, the EEC computer will revert to a fail-safe "limp home" mode and lock the ignition timing, which will in turn hurt emissions, economy, and performance.

You can get a 1984 - 1986 with the EEC-IV engine computer and retrofit it with a conventional, all-mechanical carburetor with a manual choke or even an automatic "hot air" choke (no electronics) and a conventional points ignition fairly easily. Or like billt28 said, for better performance you can use the 1980 - 1983 stand-alone Motorcraft Duraspark II electronic ignition that uses it own ignition module. Doing this will render the engine computer and all electronic emissions components useless, so keep that in mind if you have emissions testing in your area. A lot of members in here with the engine computer and feedback carburetor models have done this conversion, including myself.

As for the transmissions, ALL of the transmissions from 1980 -1986 were mechanical, including the AOD (Automatic Overdrive).
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:51 PM
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Dual fuel tanks with a Carb (4.9 eng) is a good thing to have, in the early EFI years the fuel system got kind of messy.... and pricey to fix.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:50 PM
81-F-150-Explorer 81-F-150-Explorer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LARIAT 85 View Post

and some 1981 - 1983 California models came with an EEC-IV engine computer, TFI ignition, and an electronic "feedback" carburetor. Think of this system as a "bridge" between standard mechanical carburetion and electronic fuel injection: the feedback carburetor system.
Actually before 1984 it's either the EEC-III/DS-III or the MCU/DS-II.

Quote:
These models can be readily identified by the distributor. The ignition module will be bolted to the side of the distributor along with a plug wire harness.
Not on the earlier EEC or MCU models. The ignition modules are bolted to the fender just like conventional systems.

The following is only true for EEC-IV/TFI-IV.

Quote:
The EEC engine computer controls all the timing functions, so unlike the older models, it will not have a vacuum advance. These models also will have an O2 sensor in the exhaust manifold, a MAP sensor on the passenger's side inner fender, EGR and EVAP system solenoids, and a unique computer-controlled "feedback" carburetor, identified by a feedback solenoid and wire harness plugged into the front of the carburetor. Depending on the model, the EEC engine computer itself can be found under the dash or under the seat.
The EEC-III will not have a vacuum advance, but the MCU will have vacuum advance as it uses the DS-II. The computer controls timing on the mcu by bleeding off vacuum to the distributor.

The MCU also do not have a MAP sensor. The EEC-III has a Crank position sensor. Both have a feedback carb and O2 sensor and evap solenoids. The EGR is conventional. The mcu is found in the engine compartment.

The following is true for all systems..

Quote:
Using an O2 sensor and various other engine sensors and solenoids, the EEC engine computer controls the air/fuel mixture at the carburetor, engine timing, and all emissions. It works just like modern electronic fuel injection does except it utilizes a carburetor. And, like any other EFI system, if any of these sensors or emissions components are missing or removed, the system will not work correctly. For example, if the stock "feedback" carburetor was replaced with an earlier, all-mechanical model or an aftermarket carburetor, the vehicle will still run, but the engine computer will not know what to do with it because it can't "read" what the carburetor is doing and adjust the air/fuel mixture. As a result, the EEC computer will revert to a fail-safe "limp home" mode and lock the ignition timing, which will in turn hurt emissions, economy, and performance.

You can get a 1984 - 1986 with the EEC-IV engine computer and retrofit it with a conventional, all-mechanical carburetor with a manual choke or even an automatic "hot air" choke (no electronics) and a conventional points ignition fairly easily. Or like billt28 said, for better performance you can use the 1980 - 1983 stand-alone Motorcraft Duraspark II electronic ignition that uses it own ignition module. Doing this will render the engine computer and all electronic emissions components useless, so keep that in mind if you have emissions testing in your area. A lot of members in here with the engine computer and feedback carburetor models have done this conversion, including myself.

As for the transmissions, ALL of the transmissions from 1980 -1986 were mechanical, including the AOD (Automatic Overdrive).
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:11 PM
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william.a.vose
I would stay as far as possible from the earlier systems unless you are going to pull it off and throw it away. If you go to the heavier trucks, F-250, F-350 then the 351 HO and the 460 were still non-computer into and possibly through 1987. They also were non-catalyst so that is another issue you wouldn't have to deal with unless you are in California.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:29 PM
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I stand corrected, 81-F-150-Explorer.

I don't think anyone in here knows more about the early 1980s computer controlled F150s better than you do.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:57 PM
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Thank you 85 Lariat.

Well, living in California, it's either you know these systems or junk your vehicle.

Absolutely nobody likes working on them, so having someone else do it is out, and the parts are almost non-existant.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:26 AM
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Thanks

Thanks guys. You've helped me a lot and now I have a pretty good idea of what my next truck will be. Depending on how much more trouble my '86 gives me, I may be getting a new one sooner than later.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:53 PM
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I think I disagree. The reason I "think" it is because I'm not sure I understood all that was said. However, I do know that '82 F150's w/the 351W came with EEC IV/DS III. I own two of them and I don't think they are CA-spec. One was made in Kansas City and sold in Wichita, while the other was made in Michigan and sold up north some place.

As for staying away from them, the fact that a truck has a computer could be an advantage since not everyone wants one so the prices come down. In fact, many of them aren't running too well these days so the prices come down even more. But, the changeover isn't too difficult, although you have to live somewhere that doesn't have emissions inspections.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:53 PM
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