One of our favorite long term projects, this 1987 Silverado was brought in mainly to add cruise control, an attractive intake with cool fresh air, new modernized gauges, “smart” fan controls and a computer controlled AC system. The customer also complained that the truck smelled like fuel, had a lacking power band, and was seemingly out of tune. We baselined it on the dyno for a comparison and began constructing a game plan.
Originally the truck was set up with a GM 383 HT Crate engine, NV4500 manual transmission and an Edelbrock TBI (throttle body injection) to MPFI (multi port fuel injection) system. This system converted the trucks original 2 injector intake manifold to a 8 injector setup and a computer that originally came in a 1992 Camaro/Firebird.
After exhaustive research we concluded that the best intake for the application was a Edelbrock Pro Flow XT, and we added a custom Comp hydraulic roller cam to match the requirements of the customer. While we were perfectly able to tune and modify the 1992 Camaro computer the Edelbrock MPFI system had replaced, we told the customer that the results would never be as good as if we used something more modern. We suggested to go with a LS1 Coil per cylinder computer equipped with drive by wire which also facilitated a cleaner cruise control install. Instead of adding more boxes and throttle cables to the truck we were able get the LS1 computer to control the cruise control.
The gains in driveablity were enormous! The truck smells cleaner due to the now working evaporative emission system, two high flow cats, and a modern fuel injection system with the most modern proven parts GM has ever used. Before, the truck felt like it had the powerband of a diesel. It was hard to drive, required constant shifting, and careful planning was required as to not get ran over pulling out in traffic. Now the truck feels light on its feet. The power is extremely smooth and linear. Cruise control works which comes in handy for the customer’s long drives and the AC is completely controlled by the engine computer allowing for smart use of the engine’s cooling fans and compressor usage.
The whole build was focused around off the shelf GM parts that are readily available. The owner intends, and has already put quite a few miles on the truck. In his words “he plans to drive it until he dies!” Focusing the build on off the shelf parts ensures that the truck will be in service for many years to come. The only wearable part that did not come from the GM catalog was a cable speedometer sensor!
The engine is controlled by a 2002 Corvette computer. The spark plugs are fired by 8 LS2 coils which are found on late corvettes. For fueling we opted to do 2 Aeromotive 340 stealth pumps, one in each tank (the truck has both original fuel tanks, left and right). The system uses a 2004 Corvette fuel filter/fuel pressure regulator combination. For injectors, since emissions and clean operation were a big concern we used new bosch EV14 injectors found in 2012 Corvettes. Everything from the Evap solenoid, all engine sensors, electronic throttle body, and fly by wire throttle body were off the shelf GM parts. A EFIconnection 24x billet front cover, crank reluctor, and distributor provides the signals needed by the 2002 corvette computer.
Fresh air is provided by a special air box made to the front headlight grill area. This provides intake temperatures no hotter than 15 degrees above ambient. This provides consistent performance and the best fuel mileage. The intake and some other projects on the truck were fabricated by Farrell Creation & Restoration in Mooresville, NC.
Cooling is done with two high quality Spal fans wired to run both on low and both on high for the quietest and most efficient operation.
The dash gauges are Autometer Ultralight 2’s. We even wired in a OBD2 scan gauge called Aeroforce Interceptor so the customer can pull up vital stats on the engine and even record horsepower/ fuel mileage.
A special rear view camera was installed that displays in the vehicles rear view mirror. When not in reverse the mirror shows GPS navigation! The truck now has all of the amenities of a modern full size truck, with the old school look.