For most of its life, the term "hot rod" meant horsepower, the ability to go fast, and carburetors. People now, however, expect more out of their classic cruisers, whether they are hot rods, customs, or trucks. Drivability and reliability seem to have taken the throne from all-out balls-to-the-wall, tire-smokin', lane-driftin' fun. The last production vehicle rolled off the assembly line with a carburetor in 1986, and we have now become accustomed to turning the key and the engine firing right up while forgoing the usual pumping of the accelerator, pulling the choke knob, or praying the engine will stay running long enough to not stall at the first stop sign.
About five years ago, Ken Brown built his '51 F-1 with a carbureted 302 Ford motor. Now, Ken is an A/C and heating contractor in the heart of Texas, which means he is hardly ever home due to the demands of the area's severe climate. Working seven days a week left him with little time to drive his truck, and when he did the carburetor was always causing problems and taking the fun out of the whole experience.
He thought his solution was to install a '95 Mustang 5.0 EFI motor. Fuel injection solves numerous problems-no sticking floats, no pumping the gas and setting the choke, no hesitation during acceleration, and far better fuel economy. But what most fear is trying to figure out how to make the engine run with all the wiring needed.
Luckily for all of us out there scratching our heads, Painless Performance was more than a few steps ahead and has now introduced its new Perfect System that makes EFI wiring a simple task. The kit comes with a preprogrammed computer for your specific engine, as well as a plug-in harness with all-new connectors that makes the installation easy. A few simple tools and a weekend are all that's needed to make everything jive.
Since Ken was working non-stop, he contacted some of the techs at Painless about his situation, and they decided to get out and prove their Perfect System in the real world at Ken's place. Between the three guys, it took about four hours to complete the job. Making things easier was the fact the F-1's fenders and hood had not been reinstalled, allowing easy access to make the new return fuel line as well as modify the existing line. Once the new wiring and plumbing were wrapped up, the front sheetmetal was reinstalled, and the engine came to life like it should. Since the Perfect System computer has built-in diagnostics, a laptop can be hooked up to check all the settings. With a few minor adjustments Ken was on the road to enjoying his truck the way it ought to be, cruising!
Get ahold of Painless for info on a kit for your specific needs, and follow along as we help put the EFI wiring woes to rest.
A close-up of the donor engine...
A close-up of the donor engine shows the previous owner kept it clean. The front factory accessory bracket will be replaced with a Painless kit.
After stripping off all the...
After stripping off all the accessories, the upper plenum was removed and taped up to prevent trash from getting in the intake. With a fresh coat of paint the injected 302 was ready to be dropped into its new home. With the engine installed, Ken reinstalls the exhaust and other accessories.
Lance Packard (left), Joe...
Lance Packard (left), Joe Armstrong (center), and Sergio Rodriguez (right), all Painless techs, forgo tossing the instructions and actually review them and formulate a plan to install the Perfect System's wiring and computer.