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By Chirag Asaravala. Photos and all the hard stuff by Thomas Törnblom.

Background

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.

EFI
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.
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 auction.

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.


With his background in engineering and electronics, staying carbureted was not an option.
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.
 

In This Article:
We take a very detailed look at how one Pantera owner's innovative conversion of the 351C engine from carbureted to EFI.

   
 
While this image looks like a poster that might hang in a teenage boys bedroom, in fact this immaculate specimen is Thomas Törnblom's 1984 DeTomaso Pantera GT5. The backdrop is his home land of Sweden.
   
 
Many have considered the Pantera a perfect sports car; blending Italian beauty with brute American force.
   
 
The mid-engine placement of the 351C motors made these cars handle on par with the Ferraris and Lamborghinis they were sold against. Tornblom however converted the Cleveland motor to fuel injection - the subject of this article.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 






   

 

Intake Manifold Modification


The simplest intake manifold option for a fuel-injection conversion is a modified single-plane carbureted manifold. Shown is a 302 Victor Jr. modified for injectors by Mass Flo EFI. They can do this on a Cleveland manifold as well. We'll be using their system in our own EFI conversion project.
In an EFI system fuel is added directly to each cylinder via individual fuel injectors mounted in the end of each intake manifold runner. Because a fuel injected manifold does not have to provide the signal to the carburetor for proper air-fuel metering, fuel injected manifolds have different design objectives. However it turns out single plane carbureted manifolds and fuel injection manifolds are fairly similar in design; both use individual runners drawing off a common plenum. Thus many guys converting to fuel injection opt to simply modify their carbed single plane intake for injectors and then run a modified "four barrel" throttle body to fit the carburetor flange, or an elbow that allows the use of a late-model Mustang throttle body. The drawback however is the single plane has significantly shorter runner length, which will hurt bottom end torque. While not a concern in a high rpm application, it certainly could put a street car at a disadvantage.

It is for this reason that Tornblom just wanted a true long-runner EFI intake. Most of you are going to look at the route Thomas Tornblom convert his Cleveland to EFI and conclude that it is simply not worth the trouble. However we think it is interesting how Thomas did the legwork in adapting a 351W manifold to a Cleveland block


Shown is a 351C carbureted manifold (this happens to be a Holley Street Dominator.) Note, unlike on a Windsor block, the Cleveland manifold does not have a thermostat housing cast into the front of the intake. The manifold is also a bit narrower due to the Cleveland's shorter deck height.

Trick Flow 351W EFI (lower manifold shown). Note the horizontal manifold bolt holes and thermostat housing. Windsor engines route coolant through the front of the manifold (and rear on some). The manifold is also .300-inch wider than the Cleveland intake.

Adapting a Windsor manifold to a Cleveland block turns out to be less of a nightmare than it sounds like it should be. First is the issue of manifold width. The Cleveland deck height (crank centerline to top of deck) measures 9.206" compared to 9.503" for the 351W ('71-'95). The wider Windsor manifold needs to be flat-milled approximately .150-inch along the sides to fit between the Cleveland heads.


Placing the stock Cleveland intake valley pan on the Windsor manifold shows where the manifold needs to be modified.
On Windsor engines coolant flows through the front of the intake and cast-in thermostat housing. Cleveland manifolds do not have water flowing through the intake and the thermostat is mounted in the block. The Windsor manifold this needed to have the front thermostat housing chopped off and welded up.
Similarly, at the back of the Windsor manifold, the PCV location needs to be cut out to match the contour of the Cleveland's intake valley and also allow clearance for the Cleveland oil pressure sending unit.


The underside of a Cleveland intake manifold. Note the shapes of the end rails and lack of coolant ports at the ends of the intake.

The Windsor manifold will require hacking off the rear PCV and baffle along with the front thermostat housing. The end rails will be reformed.

The rear of the Windsor manifold has been cut and modified. Extra aluminum is TIG welded, shaped to match the Cleveland end rails.

The thermostat housing has been cut off the Trick Flow manifold and a new front rail shaped. The manifold is then milled to ensure a flat sealing surface.

The rear of the manifold now clears the oil pressure sending unit and seals properly to the Cleveland block. Also note the horizontal bolt bosses on the Windsor manifold have been ground down and drilled at the angles necessary to mount to the heads.

The front of the modified TFS 351 Windsor manifold now clears the Cleveland's existing thermostat housing location.


Thomas used the Cleveland's valley pan as a porting template for shaping the Windsor's rectangular ports into the oval shape of the Cleveland head.

The final steps of converting the TFS Windsor intake for use on a Cleveland are to address the ports and bolt holes. Both engines use twelve manifold to head mounting bolts, and the center four on both the Windsor and Cleveland manifold are horizontally oriented. However the remaining ten are angled, and the angle is not the same between the two engine types. Thomas solves this by grounding down the bolt hole casting bosses and then re-drilling (See image 9.)

The final step is to port match the Windor's rectangular ports to the oval ones on the Cleveland head. Thomas used the intake valley pan as a guide. The TFS 351W lower has plenty of material to enable the ports to be opened up to the larger Cleveland shape.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Getting Dizzy?


460 EFI distributor (left) and 5.0L distributor (right). Note the harness from the 460 distributor and lack of a TFI module - it would have been remotely mounted.
With the intake manifold completed the challenge of coming up with an EFI distributor for the 351C is comparatively easy. Because the Cleveland was only produced in the US from 1970 to 1974, pre Ford EFI days, there never was a drop-in EFI Cleveland distributor. However, Cleveland enthusiasts know that the 385-series motors (429 & 460 big blocks) use the exact same distributor as the 335-series engines. In fact, a 351W distributor can also be used so long as you swap over to a 351C gear. Since a large number of vehicles came equipped with EFI 460 engines, the TFI (Thick Film Ignition) distributor from these engines is well suited for a Cleveland EFI swap.

Tornblom ordered up a 460 EFI distributor from a USA based auto dismantler. However when he got it in his hands he realized it was not quite plug and play if you are using the Mustang's EFI harness. The TFI module on most 5.0L and 5.8L Mustang distributors is mounted right on the side of the distributor housing. However Ford had problems with the modules failing due to heat, and thus mounted the module remotely on some vehicles, particularly heavy-duty vehicles which are prone to getting hot -such as trucks with the 460 EFI engine. Since Thomas didn't want to fuss with sourcing or building a pigtail harness to connect from the 460 distributor to a remote mount TFI module, he simply modified the distributor to accept the Mustang style distributor mounted module.


The 460 EFI distributor (left) utilizes are remote mount TFI module, even though it has a TFI mounting pad cast in the housing, similar to the 5.0L distributor next to it. Even the screw holes are drilled but not tapped. Note however the lack of a cutout in the distributor base for the TFI pins to connect to the Hall sensor module.

Using a drill and file Thomas cut a window in the 460 housing. This will enable the TFI module to mount right on the distributor as in a Mustang application.

TFI module mounted to the modified 460 distributor. The internal Hall Effect sensor (arrow) is from the 5.0L distributor, it allows the TFI module to plug right in whereas the sensor from the 460 has wires for remote mounted TFI.
 


The Easy Stuff
The remainder of the EFI conversion consists of plumbing the high-pressure fuel system and installing all the EFI sensors. Finally the processor is mounted and harness connected. All of this is straight forward and without significant challange. Thomas tells us that the Pantera is running stronger then ever and he considers the EFI conversion a success. He has since spent considerable time tuning the EEC-IV, and in fact he developed his own EEC-IV programmer - would you expect anything less from Mr. Törnblom?


He's using a BBK 5.0L Cold Air Induction kit. A longer silicone duct is used to connect the throttle body to the BBK chrome tube.
 

The mass air meter and conical air filter reside in the rear wheel well area of the Pantera.

Thomas uses the Pantera's fuel drain as the supply for the Bosch 128-lph fuel pump. The original pickup line in the tank became the entry point for the return line.

Bungs were welded into the collectors of each header and O2 sensors installed.

The A9P processor and relays are mounted behind the passenger seat in the cockpit.

A view of the completed conversion could fool anyone into thinking the Pantera's came from the factory with a 351C EFI.

Conclusion
As you can see converting a 351C to EFI is achievable even with the constraints of living on a continent where facilitating such a swap is a bigger challenge than the swap itself. Sure there are easier ways to do it, but where would the challenge lie in that? Thomas Tornblom is an innovator in the true spirit of Ford Muscle. Perhaps Austrian economist and social philosopher Ludwig von Mises said it the best:

"What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones."





Thomas and his GT5 on a Pantera club rally in France. You can bet his is the only EEC-IV Cleveland in the bunch!
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