Don’t get me wrong I like the simplicity and reliability of carburetors. They have their place but I wanted to give my old Bronco a chance to shine in 2011 or at least by 2012. If NASCAR can EFI then so can the rest of us. I have done many searches on many forums and there is not a ton specific information on adding fuel injection on carb’d 460 ci Ford engines. From what I found the “kits” –Holley, FAST Efi, ect.- cost a lot of money and underperform. Once upon a time I had a Holley kit installed on my Bronco, I put the carb back on.
I was lucky enough to work with someone who had a simple answer-Megasquirt. There is a little bit about Megasquirt on this forum but not very much. The guy I worked with has a Magasquirt engine controller on a heavily modified BMW, turbo charged, Ford EDIS ignition, electric fans, water injection all being controlled by Megasquirt. This car hauls a@@. After seeing the success that he had with his car I started to research performing this on my 460 powered 1978 Bronco and it did not seem impossible to do. The information on the Megasquirt fourms is really straight forward. I admit that I have a good resource to help with tuning and assembling the actual Megasquirt. But now that his project is nearing completion I feel that if you put in enough time reading and researching what you want to achieve, EFI’ing anything you want is possible. The cost of the technology and the abundance of junkyard parts make the expense of this conversion much lower than any prepackaged EFI system.
I have a 460 out of a 1978 van in my Bronco. I rebuilt it in 1997 and it has about 25000 miles on the engine. My initial plan in doing this conversion was to replace the top end of the engine with the top end out of an EFI 460. One quick note here it is 100% fact the efi heads and manifolds are different than the carbed heads/manifold. This would give me all of the fuel injectors, tps, iac, ect that you need for Megasquirt. I found a complete engine out of an 89 F250 on Craigs list. Got lucky on this I bought a complete engine, transmission, and transfer case for $200 and sold the transmission two days later for $300. I removed the heads and took them to get machined and checked out. They ended up being cracked. Looking back this was a good thing because now I had to figure out how to make the carb’d manifold work. This really was not difficult, I asked a question on the 460ford.com forum and I got a replay back from someone who could help. I took off the Edelbrock performer manifold to have injector bungs and fuel rails made for foundation of the fuel system. I have to say this is the way to go, it also looks pretty cool.
While the manifold was being modified I installed the serpentine belt pulleys and brackets. I actually got half of the set up from a 94 van so I would have the Saginaw pump. One trick here is on the older model vehicles (70’s-mid 80’s) with Saginaw pumps, if you take off the power steering hose and it has a 45 degree flare on it take the fitting out of the back of the pump. This fitting will replace the fitting in the back of the newer pumps and allow you to use 45 degree flare fittings so you can make a power steering hose. I then went to a hose shop and got two 45 flare 90 degree reusable hyd. fittings and made a hose. I also installed a Lincoln/Cougar two speed electric fan, 3g alternator, and engine oil cooler.
When the intake manifold came back there were just a couple of things to figure out. My plan was to use the EFI upper plenum on the carb’d manifold. Doing this will allow me to use the idle air control motor and throttle position sensor. This of course did not bolt up, but I made a simple adapter plate out of some ¼ inch steel plate. The throttle body was installed upside down so the throttle linkage would hook up on the left side. I had to make a new throttle rod but the old throttle rod end fit on the throttle body so pretty simple. I used the EFI Hall effect distributer and will also use the EFI coil. I have not gotten them but I will use a GM air intake temp, GM coolant, and an Innovative Motorsports LC-1 wide band O2 sensor. This covers all of the sensor inputs.
As far as the fuel system goes this is also pretty straight forward. I got a good eBay deal on 8 new 24lb hr. fuel injectors rather and cleaning up the ones that came with the used engine. The factory injectors were 24lb hr. my engine is pretty mild so these should work well. Once the injectors were installed I started to plumb the fuel lines. I also bought a used Walbro 255 LPH electric pump, this a universal inline electric EFI fuel pump, cut the factory fuel line and mounted the pump on the frame. I put a fuel filter on the suction side of the pump and will put one on the pressure side, haven’t figured out the second filter just yet. I had to remotely install a fuel pressure regulator-also used from ebay- and from the fuel regulator I ran a fuel return line back to the tank. I cut the fuel fill tube and put in a tube with a 3/8 inch barb to return to the tank. For now this was faster and easier than putting the return directly into the fuel tank, and this set up worked when I had a Holley EFI system.
This is where I am at now on this conversion. Probably the easy stuff is done; the tuning and wiring are going to be the challenge. If it works it will be worth the effort. I am planing on getting the wiring completed in the coming months.
I am hoping to build a 460 EFI for my truck when I get some extra cash. I did have an EFI home grown kit (I didn't keep any of the details when I sold it ), but had to sell it so I could take care of some other things. I'm looking forward to reading how you make out.
Kent Island, MD
FrankenTruck lives! > '78 F250 SC 4x4 D60's 351M
2012 Flex SEL
the physical stuff is the easy part of efi. Megasquirt is hard to tune without a dyno and a wideband air fuel gauge. I tried a megasquirt build like 6 years ago and it didn't pan out. I'm not sure it would be worth the hassle for me to try it again. The problem with megasquirt, like many stand alone ecu's, is that engines run differently at different temps, elevations, loads, rpm, throttle opening, knock thresholds, etc. Modern ECU's run efi systems so great because they are tuned for all those different variables. The typical megasquirt isn't. You could spend hours setting up a crackerjack tune to get the most on the dyno, then drive down the highway and over a mountain pass and have the engine hiccuping.
'04 4wd Excursion Limited PSD tow rig, studded, Sinister Egr delete, redhead steering box. V codes, Dana 60.
78 4wd Supercab on RCLB frame with 5' flatbed,frame bobbed 6", 460/C6/NP203/205 doubler, 05 superduty one tons, cage arms, deaver 6" springs
Moonley, send me an IM and I will give you the information on where I had the intake manifold work done. I know what it cost me but do not know what your needs are and it is best to talk with they guy that actually did the work. The throttle body and upper plenum are from a 1989 Ford F-250 7.5L
Hasteranger sorry to hear that your Megasquirt project did not go as planned. I hope my project does not have the same fate. I do know the hard road is in front of me. There have been a lot of changes in the Megaqsquirt world over the past six years. I am planning on a wide band O2. Yes OEM ecms run well in all conditions, I hope Megasquirt can run will in all conditions also. I will be interesting/challenging to find out.
How did the performance end up on this conversion? did the performer intake with the non EFI style heads do well with HP and gas mileage? i know that the stock EFI heads and intake are pretty flow restrictive.
A few comments on EFI... based on running it on a "hot rod". The biggest benefit on an older V8 is adaptability. Fuel is straight gas or 10% ethanol? Doesn't matter. It adjusts. Sea level or 7,500'?. Doesn't matter. 20 degrees F or 100 degrees F? Doesn't matter, it adjusts. Want to run plenty of ignition advance and lean AF at cruise? Straight forward. Want A/F dialed in at 12.5-13.0 at WOT? Straight forward.
Mine uses a carb manifold with injection bungs welded in as pictured. The manifold works fine.
I ran my "hot rod" from IL to CA and back in a week in early fall. Spent the night at Flagstaff at 7,500'. It was the first freezing night of the year. It stated and ran with no problems in the AM. Later the same day, at or below sea level near the Mexican border and 100F, no problems either.
Cruise tuning can help MPG also.
One hard part is the fuel supply system. A carb keeps enough fuel in the bowl to "cover" momentary gaps in fuel supply caused by low fuel level and slosh. Not so with EFI. If the fuel pickup gets uncovered momentarily with a frame mounted pump, she will stumble or go lean. Less than 1/4 tank greatly increases possibility of this problem. Also, high pressure EFI pumps do not like to "suck". They tend to cavitate, get noisy and fail. They are best mounted below fuel level with a big low restriction feed from the tank. Not always practical.
Bullet proof solutions for fuel supply are in tank pump with effective baffling, fuel sump welded on the bottom of the tank, or a remote fuel sump. The remote sump is a small tank, ~ 1 qt, fed by a low pressure carb type pump. The high pressure pump feeds off the bottom of the sump. Return of excess fuel to the tank feeds off the top. The sump will cover short periods the OE pickup is uncovered.
My hot rod uses an in tank pump (custom). My Dent (when I add EFI) will probably use the remote sump.
One new option for the remote sump is a pre-packaged Edelbrock unit that can be fed from a conventional mechanical fuel pump. Looks nice and a bit spendy (Summit).
The other opportunity with EFI is tuning time. Older systems, like mine, are not self learning for AF ratio. Each load point needs dialed in which is fun (for me) but time consuming. Data logging with a PC hooked up the to the engine while driving is a key tuning tool.
Newer systems have self learning AF which greatly reduces tuning time. Dial in the desired AF, drive it and will set itself. Either way, a wideband AF is critical I think.
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