go to: Introduction

go to: The plan

go to: At first Glance

go to: Removal of parts from my car

go to: Dash removal

go to: starting to Transferring parts

go to: Gas tank and other parts

go to: Final notes with overview



Formula Date: 03-31-2001

Late 2000, in the fall, I purchased an 83 Camaro, it had been converted to Tuned Port by a previous owner. Fortunately the engine they used was from what I believe to have been an 87 Formula.  The conversion was pretty well done, whoever did the conversion took  everything including the Firebird Dash and installed it in the Camaro.  

The reason I believe it was a Formula is because there is no name printed on the dash pocket.  I think, all firebirds got the bird, T/A's got Trans Am, and the GTA, got a GTA on the pocket.  If you purchased the Deluxe interior, on the Formula there was no printing on the pocket.  It was at least a Firebird, because the air-box is located at the right front of the car, camaro's were straight off the front of the engine.

When I bought the car it had been in a light accident in the front, the people that installed the engine apparently did not spend the money to upgrade the brakes, and it looks like they ran into a telephone pole.  It pushed the radiator back  but it looks unharmed. 

After many months of looking at starting the conversion, I am now starting to do the conversion, these are my 4BBL to TPI swap journal entries:

The Plan


The Plan, I will first remove the old carbureted system from my car, I will take with it everything that connected to the wires and is not the same on the donor car. Remove those other things that are not the same or no longer used, IE: mechanical fuel pump,  Cruise Control vacuum actuator, emissions canisters, etc

After I finish the Engine compartment I will do under the dash wiring harness. and finally install the Fuel Pump, and Fuel lines and hook everything up.

At First Glance

As of today 3-31-01 it appears that I will need to change at least the following: 

-Engine Wiring harness, 


-Air box, 

-the battery needs to be relocated to Driver side

-Windshield washer container (With Cruise Control only)

-The Wiring harness for the accessories (A/C etc.) appears to need to be changed as well.

-The dash wiring harness.

-Fuel Pump need to be installed in fuel tank

-Fuel Lines as per TPI.

-Mechanical Fuel Pump needs to be removed.


When I started this venture, I THOUGHT I could plug into the existing dash wiring harness by the computer and run a few extra wires.  In short, I was wrong. Besides having extra wires for the Fuel Pump relay and fuses, the colors of the wire harness that goes under the dash are different.


Today I removed the computer, and pulled the wires through the fender, disconnected & removed the alternator and began to remove the harness from the engine compartment.


Taking it apart everything is not the scary part, putting it back together is.





Today I removed more of the wiring harness, drained the radiator, and removed most of the water hoses. Disconnected the AIR.




I only had a little time to actually do some work so I jacked up the car and removed the starter wires, the knock sensor, O2 sensor, Transmission plug, and the speedometer  connector. 

Put the car back down and removed more wires & sensors.  I ran into a problem before I stopped for the day.  There is 2 wires that are grounded to he back of the right engine head, next to the firewall.  There is no apparent easy way to remove the connector, it is the same bolt that holds the AIR and the Tube for the Transmission Dipstick Tube. 



had only a 1/2 hour  to do any work, more of the same, disconnected more wires & sensors, removed the Distributor. Disconnected the electric fan wires.



Worked for about 1 hour and 20 min.  

Removed the carburetor, I recommend stuffing rags into the holes even though you will be replacing the intake.  Just to keep nuts, bolts, sockets and other tools out of the intake.  In short it could save you some headaches.

Finished removing the Engine wiring harness from the computer controlled harness, removed the remainder of the accessories wiring harness up to the firewall.  There is another pesky ground wire that is attached to the rear of the right head, cut it, I still see no good way to remove the nut without half removing the engine, besides ground wires can be attached anywhere. Unplug the two connectors going to the Air-conditioning and blower fan.  You may need to unscrew the Oil pressure sensor on the back of the intake to get the wiring harness by.

Removed the Emissions canister and removed the tubes.  (Stuff a bolt into the line going back to the gas tank to keep fuel fumes from escaping).  You might have to remove the Air-conditioning brace to remove the emissions lines. 

The Power steering box has a wire going to it, there is a "flat" wire loom that needs to be opened up to remove the wires.  The loom snaps together toward the left side of the car, I started it with a screwdriver, once you get it started simply run your finger down its length.  remove  the wire (Do not snap it back together, you will have to run the new wire later)


NOTE: I noticed that on the plug going to the air conditioner on the firewall. The one off my existing harness uses all 5 wire connectors, whereas the TPI unit uses only 2 of the 5 connectors, the wires are the right color in the correct place, one is a bluish color the other is black.  I am not sure at this time if I will need to change these wires as well.


Removing the dash



What a day, I spent about 3 - 4 hours removing my donor car's dash.


First remove the dash pad, there is 4 screws in the front where the defroster is and several underneath holding it down.  Put it in a safe place, these things are expensive and if you can find a good one in a salvage yard it will cost around $50.00


Remove the Instrument cluster,  to do this you will need to remove the right panel, with the "Performance suspension" Emblem.  Remove the little panel under your headlight switch that holds the switch for running lights on Trans Am's, There are 2 Bolts underneath. Remove the rest of the cover for the Instruments.  There are more screws close to the ones you took off for the Dash Pad, the one to the right under the panel with the "Performance Suspension" decal, and 2 or 3 screws underneath the dash holding on the cover.  Unplug the Amplifier gain switch (if applicable) the Power hatch release switch and the Rear window defog switch.


Remove the black "hex" screws from the Instrument cluster, leave the gold "phillips" screws in place.  You might have to adjust your tilt steering to its lowest point and unscrew the Tilt adjuster from the column to remove the cluster.  If you have a speedometer cable  cable going to the back of your IP (instrument panel) #1 you don't have a Formula, #2 remove it. 


Remove the lower kick panels on both sides on the bottom of the Dash, (3) 7 mm screws each side.  Twist out the courtesy lights.  put in a safe place.


Remove the panel from the radio, and remove the 3 (7mm) screws from the heater controls and the 4 (7mm) screws from the radio.  Pull out the radio and disconnect the plugs and the antenna from the rear.  Remove the 2 (10mm) screws from the top of the radio/heater controls housing.  By twisting and maneuvering the heater controls you can remove the housing.


Remove the Center Console, remove the ashtray, and remove the one screw (7mm), remove the 2 (7mm) screws in the  of the plastic piece under the  arm rest/glove compartment cover.  GENTLY pull upward ,being careful not to break the black plastic piece, there are some clips that keep it from rattling.  Unplug the Cigarette lighter, (2 wires), unplug your power window switches, and unplug your Power mirrors (if applicable). Twist to remove the light for the shift Panel.


With  the panel off, remove the 2 (10mm) screws from the rear of the glove compartment and the one screw (10mm) going forward under where your window switches were.  You can now remove the center console.  You might have to pull up on your emergency brake lever to get the console out.


Unplug the connectors from the Emergency brake and the Shifter.


I recommend removing the drivers seat, this will make it a little more comfortable when working underneath the dash.


With the hood open, remove the 2 (10mm) bolts holding on the bracket with the Electronic spark control and the other engine controls, it is located on the firewall all the way on the left side of the car.


With that out of the way you will see the large plug going through the firewall.  With a1/4 inch driver remove the screw in the middle of the plug.  and with a 9mm driver remove both of the nuts on either side of the plug.


Remove the left kick panel under the dash.


Remove the cover underneath the steering column 


Now you are laying on your back, you need to disconnect just about everything.  Follow the wires coming in to the interior through the firewall and start to disconnect.  You will have to remove the vacuum hose from the Cruise control off switch controlled by the brake pedal. all the connectors around that area, including a few going to the left side of the car on a panel intended for plugging accessories in.  


You might have to drop the steering column to unplug the connectors on top the column.  


Follow all possible wires and make sure they are all unplugged, remove the 10 mm screws on the bottom of the dash,


Unplug the wires (2 or 3 plugs depending on car) on the right side of the dash where the computer plugs in.


Remove the 5 support screws on top of the Dash, leaving the center support  for last (it is the only one not made of plastic, it is the strongest)  With help, Gently remove the Dash,  Everything should come out, including the heater/air-conditioning ducts.


NOTE: You might have to untangle the wires around the heater controls.



Transferring parts

4-6-01 & 4-7-01


I started to transfer the parts from the Donor Car to my car today.  I started with the Cruise control bracket.   I had to drill 2 holes (slightly larger than 1/4 inch each) in my left inner fender to accommodate the bracket.  Luckily there were two indents where the bracket went.


When I removed the windshield water tank from the donor car I found that it ahd cracked in a lower seam.  Rather than trying to fix the seam with the potential of leakage, I replaced it for under $23.00 dollars (plus Tax).    Although I did not have to, I removed the Radiator Overflow tank, and cleaned it. 


To clean the tanks I have found that you can remove a lot of imbedded dirt in the plastic with (not coarse) steel wool and lots of water.  SOS pads work well.   It does not leave scratches in the surface like one would assume, because the bottles have a pattern or texture it does not seem to show.


I removed my radiator, electric fan and all the brackets.  Because the TPI uses 2 Fans and my 4bbl uses only 1 fan.  The TPI radiator also has an extra outlet below the filler cap than the 4bbl.  I THINK,  TBI cars use the same radiator.  But they may need to change the fans.


To remove the radiator & fans you will need a 10mm, & 13mm sockets, a 13mm open end wrench, a 5/16" & 1/4" nut drivers.  


NOTE:  I had a bad electric motor from the donor car, the motor from my 4bbl car was the same as the motors from the TPI car.  There is a 13mm Left hand nut you should remove from the center of the fan,  Slide the fan from the shaft, remove the 3 10mm nuts from holding the fan bracket.  Reassemble.


Remember to get the lower bracket, the upper panel and all the bolts.



A side note: I noticed today that you will have to replace the accelerator cable, the TPI has a slightly longer cable.


Fuel tank and other parts


A long time, no journal, sorry. 


I had to replace the lower Air conditioning tube on the right side of the car, the TPI unit has a sensor, and the LG4 did not.  


Running the fuel lines was a chore, I had to lower the transmission to get to a nut off.  There is a bracket at the top of the tunnel that you have to remove, remove the nut, and pull the bracket towards the rear of the car.


Been polishing the intake runners, and sandblasting other engine pieces before installing them on my car.



I dropped the fuel tank on my donor car, Yesterday I removed my fuel tank.  To do this you need to drop the axel and remove the pan-hard bar and the brace that is above the pan-hard bar.  Remove the 3 bolts on the left side and remove the bolts on the right side.  


Remove the muffler, Since I purchased the SLP exhaust I had to remove the muffler anyway.   Once you have the muffler off, use a 7mm socket to remove the heat shields.   


Disconnect the power wire going to the fuel tank.  There is a safety clip that you need to slide out before you can release the clip.


If you have fuel in your tank siphon it out, OR when you start to remove the fuel lines, you will discover that it will siphon itself almost empty.   If you take a metal or plastic tube and stuff it up into the draining tube you can drain the tank more.  The tank will only drain to the lowest point on the drain tube.


When removing the fuel lines, keep the hoses on the tank side, so you can plug them with bolts.  Once you have the fuel lines disconnected, remove the filler plastic piece with a 7mm nut-driver, and remove the filler cap.  This will give you some extra room when removing the fuel tank.


With a friend, helping, and the tank almost empty, unbolt the two straps and slide and twist the tank to get it free of the car.


to install just reverse the steps.





Again its been a long time since my last Journal.

To finish up where I left off.

Note: You will have to drop the pan hard bar and the connecting bar to get the fuel tank out.  


Some things that you will need from the donor car recap


The obvious:

Intake, Plenum, runners and all its pieces

The charcoal canister and hoses

Engine Wiring harness & relays, 

ECM (Computer)

Accessory wiring harness to A/C, windshields washer, etc.

(Should not need the harness to the headlights/parking lights)

The Air filter canister, and its mounting brackets

MAF sensor,



The less obvious

Fuel lines and canister line from Fuel tank to engine compartment.

Fuel pump (might need fuel tank too)

(buy a new fuel filter)

Dash wiring harness 

NOTE: If you have an 88 & up car or a V6 car with fuel injection you may or may NOT need the dash wiring harness.  Check the three connectors on the passenger side and see if the wires are the same color in the same plug in the same order, if they are, then you don't need to change the dash harness.  (I changed the dash rather than rewiring mine.)

The Cruise control bracket,

Windshield washer tank

The Radiator fans from the TPI car.

The TPI radiator (88 & up TBI cars may NOT need this)

Battery cables

NOTE the Trapezoidal battery hold down works on either side

The Oil Pressure switch/sensor and its holder on the back TOP of the block.  remove the intake to see it.

The Oil Pressure switch/sensor from right above the Oil Filter

The plug in the top of the water pump.



The LEAST Obvious:

Throttle cable

Cruise Control Cable

Transmission Downshift cable

Alternator brackets

The brackets that is on the back side of the A/C pump

    This includes the upside down U bracket and the bar that attaches to the exhaust.

There is an A/C tube that has a sensor in it on the right side of the car, get the tube.

The A/C pump has a different number for some unknown reason so I changed it too.







A wise man once said, All Journeys start with a first step, likewise, All Journeys must come to an end.


I I was having trouble keeping the car running while it was cold, After reading through the GM repair manual, I was at a loss.  Originally I was focusing on the MAF sensor, since I have heard that this was a common problem spot, AND I got a code 34 (which is a low pressure reading from the MAF sensor). At one point I bought a new MAF sensor plugged it in,  no change (return the sensor).   I checked all the vacuum hoses, The intake bolts were snugged a little tighter, with no change.


I was at my wits end until I got a code 14 (temperature sensor on the front of the intake).  I checked the sensor, and it was reading correctly with the engine off.   I was puzzled though because one of my cooling fans was running when my car was running.  I checked the service manual and it should come on only when the water temp is above 222F or 105C.

I spent the $12 and got a new temp sensor.  I let the car sit overnight to make sure it was completely cold.  I started the car after church today, it stalled on the first try.  I started it again and it stayed running.  


I can only pray that it is fixed.