By Chirag Asaravala. Photos and all
the hard stuff by Thomas
In his book The Republic, ancient Greek philosopher
Plato writes, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
While clearly Plato was not pondering the plight of man and
automobile, he unknowingly shed tremendous foresight into
the today's Ford muscle enthusiast. Let's face it, in this
hobby getting what you want out of your project often times
requires invention and innovation. Perhaps there is no better
example of this than Thomas Tornblom's desire for a fuel-injected
351 Cleveland. Okay, you're saying an EFI conversion on a
Cleveland, while not commonplace, certainly doesn't warrant
any special accolades. Well hold on.
Throw in that Thomas' Cleveland is in 1985 DeTomaso Pantera,
and that he lives in Sweden. Now all of a sudden we
begin to see where he may have to think "out of the box."
In fact, if the box is the hobby as we know it in these 50
states, then Thomas has never had the luxury of being in the
box. He cant just throttle down to the local wrecking yard
to pick and pull a EEC-IV harness and computer. There aren't
local automotive classifieds in his country advertising stock
5.0L mass air meters and computers. Nope, as you'll see Thomas'
innovation encompasses not only how to affordably put EFI
to an originally carbureted 335-series motor, but also on
how to obtain the parts in a country that never had them originally.
Forget Local, buy Global
FordMuscle readers span the globe, we know it by the addresses
that come in on the subscriptions, as well as the much appreciated
emails we get in languages we aren't remotely fluent in (thanks
for online translators.) We can only suspect however that
being a Ford enthusiast in any place outside the US, and perhaps
Australia, has got to be tough. You may have imported a T-Bird
to Finland, but where the heck are you going to find so much
as a bolt for it? We're so spoiled here knowing that even
for the rarest of production vehicles we can eventually source
the part we need. It's not even a point worth discussing for
mass production vehicles such as Mustangs, where wrecking
yards, specialty dismantles, and reproducers are abound with
plenty of stock on hand.
Fortunately though the Internet, ala eBay, has globalized
the trade in automotive parts. Since these trades are done
consumer to consumer, enthusiast to enthusiast, the guy in
Norway only pays the going rate in America for the part he
seeks. This is a vast change from the old-world economy where
something like a stock 5.0 HO EFI intake manifold, next to
worthless in the US due to abundant supply, could cost a weeks
pay in another nation to lack of supply and higher demand.
However it is not all without downsides. The overseas shipping
costs are so exorbitant that they far exceed the cost, and
value, of the goods being purchased. And of course the risk
of eBay frauds and scammers when you are an overseas buyer
is all too prevalent.
Thomas utilized eBay to procure the majority of the EEC-IV parts
needed for this conversion. He also had no shortcomings in the
pitfalls we all face with virtual sales, where the buyer and
seller never meet to physically inspect the products before
committing to the transaction. Thomas' winning bid on a "complete
takeoff Mustang EFI system" quickly turned sour as he discovered
the harness sent by the seller was in fact from a Speed Density
vehicle. Fortunately just as quickly as eBay spoils it saves,
and he picked up a SD to MAF conversion harness through another
eBay pitfalls: Auctioned
as a take-off mass-air EFI assembly, Thomas Tornblom discovered
it contained a speed density engine harness. Later, 30lb
injectors he bid and won arrived as stock 19lb versions.
Making it Work
In order to appreciate what Thomas Tornblom did to adapt an
EFI system designed for a Windsor motor onto a Cleveland, you
have to understand why he did it. The Cleveland motor in the
Pantera was originally carbureted. Not a fan of carburetors
amidst today's more advanced fuel metering technology, his mindset
was only solidified by the fussy 650 double pumper the previous
owner had installed. The chokeless Holley did not make for good
starting in Sweden's cold weather. Besides, with his
background in engineering and electronics, Tornblom wasn't about
to settle for anything less than electronically controlled fuel
injection in the car he planned to drive as far south as Italy.
When it comes to EFI, he could have gone any number of routes,
including the more readily available (at least in Europe) Bosch
EFI systems found on Porsches. Rather, he studied, and concluded,
the Ford EEC-IV system would be the best suited. Afterall, he
rationalized that "Ford had spend millions developing this
system to be adaptive in everyday driving conditions."
If it was good enough for millions of cars and all levels or
driving and performance, it was good enough for him. Furthermore
Thomas felt the adaptability of the EEC-IV was a major draw.
With his background in engineering
and electronics, staying carbureted was not an option.