Techin’ In With Fletch - June 2014

Dan Fletcher May 2, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Wants More Truck Power

I bought my '97 C1500 Stepside Silverado new in the fall of 1996. It was just going to be the tow vehicle for my trailered '71 Camaro going to and from car shows. It has only 25,000 miles on it and mostly stays in my garage with a cover on it. I was thinking about upgrading the fuel injection from the original throttle body to something else. What would you recommend? I considered the Chevrolet Performance Ram Jet Vortec fuel injection, but I don't think I have clearance with the alternator and A/C compressor in the front where the Ram Jet air filter is located. This would give considerable horsepower gains, I am sure. What about a FAST EZ EFI system? Or should I be content with the original throttle body since the truck runs perfectly? I have made no changes to the stock truck, other than a K&N air filter.
Russell
Via email

First off, while you don't stipulate, I'm going to run with the assumption that your truck is equipped with a 350ci Vortec engine. Furthermore, as a '97 C1500, it is the central sequential fuel injection system (CSFI). There are several companies that make a direct replacement MPFI conversion kit, but if your OEM system is really still performing flawlessly, it's debatable whether you'll see any noticeable performance gain.

It sounds as though your truck is an immaculate, garage-kept, low-mileage gem that runs perfectly the way it is. If you simply desire a little more power, I'd recommend some reasonably inexpensive bolt-on-type upgrades. I'd strongly consider the MPFI upgrade to start, and then probably add an aftermarket throttle body with spacer such as this: summitracing.com/parts/bbk-1710/overview/ and summitracing.com/parts/aid-200-520/overview. I'd then pick a free-flowing after-cat system to complement things. You may want to consider headers—that's where the real horsepower will come from. But with the vibe I get from your letter, I'd be hard pressed to take off the exhaust manifolds. Give it some additional help with an aftermarket chip like this summitracing.com/parts/jet-20005s/overview/ and see how it pulls.

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