Anyone tried Chevy tuned port injection?

I apologize if this is in the wrong spot, it didn’t seem to fit well anywhere else. In my recent failed searches for a decent AND affordable Dakota, I’ve gotten very curious about how a tpi s-10 would fare as a woodgasser. It meets the motor requirements pretty darn well…pushrod, mpfi, decent power, minimal computery parts, lots of aftermarket parts if tuning is an issue, and the 90-92 models had map sensing instead of mass air. I’m assuming it hasn’t been done yet as you would be combining an s-10 v8 swap with a gasifier build which is a ton of work and extra investment compared to a build-ready Dakota, but I think it might be a killer performer. Maybe after I get a build under my belt I’ll have to try it. Anyone got any input on those motors as to why it’s not as ideal as I’m thinking it is?

PS: on the Dakota front, I believe a lot of formidable vehicles from the Houston area have made their way down to Mexico. Old reliable small trucks are a tighter market than you’d think down here, if you’ve ever seen a caravan of folks flat towing 2 more cars behind them heading south, you’d know what I mean. S-10’s can be found already v8 swapped for what some pretty ragged Dakotas go for. The 92-95 just doesn’t come up very often on CL, let alone in a condition to be the foundation of a build.

Thanks for reading, and any input on TPI, S-10’s, or even finding a decent Dakota would be greatly appreciated.


Morning JoshW
A fellow has to do what a fellow has to do to get the cubes and starting power to weight ratio in available chassis’s.
Ranger 5.0L V-8 pictures. Fellow made this up from out of an older Mustang. Power Yes. Complains about the 13 mpg on gasoline. I asked him why he didn’t just bone out a V-8 Explorer for the EFI engine and system. He’s now looking for a donor vehicle to change over.
I have an old film stills picture of a SBC stuffed up in an early Ford Ranger. TOO wide; had to engine side offset and then gave driveline problems.

Mike LaRosa the one here who has woodgassed his “V” in a Chevy/GM pickup. EFI
And 2.2 L woodgasses his S-10/15. EFI
Lookup his posts for his experiences and pictures.

Steve Unruh

According to the experts, seems to be a fairly straightforward conversion, although a Mercury Mountaineer V8 might be an easier find - I think they came with V8 standard - the vast majority of Explorers had V6s.

Find a Ranger with bad or no engine, then find a Mountaineer that’s been t-boned, rolled or rear-ended, and you’re mostly there.

Yes - I have seen such caravans - I live in Waco on the “NAFTA highway” and often pass chains of two and three rusted out trucks with Michigan and Wisconsin plates headed South . . . I hear they sell there for twice what you get for them here.

Well my dad has a 1990 4x4 4.0 V6 ranger I could talk him out of (we’re keeping it in my driveway right now), but I wouldn’t swap that truck because it’s not really what I have in mind even with a 302. I’ve had plenty of fun with vintage Ford fuel injection to know I hate that junky idle air control and throttle position sensor. Right now I have an 02 4X4 V6 4 door Tacoma which is reliable but it’s heavy, gutless, and a bit of a gas hog so it’s not what I have in mind either. In the meantime, I drive a lot of miles and get bad mileage. I kept in my mind that I could just keep poking around in the taco until I find a Dakota, but my brain got to thinkin a 4 cylinder S-10 would save me a lot on fuel and as a long term play I could eventually work out my plan discussed above. I don’t really have a shop or storage right now, just a residential garage with a 110v mig welder. I think I just set my timeframe on starting up a woodgasser way behind unless the right Dakota shows up unexpectedly.

I guess I should give an intro just so you guys see where I’m coming from. I’m 26 and last year started with Schindler elevators. Prior to that I was a pipe fitter/shop welder for about 6 years out of high school and worked as a welder in a sheet metal shop for about a year. Well working on elevators means you’re driving to the tall buildings and Houston is a sprawling place if you’ve never been. I initially got curious about wood gas from Mr teslonian months ago (I know, I know, but at least I found the real deal). Didn’t think too seriously on it until I started driving 30k miles a year. I guess I’m at a point where I’d like to set myself up for a lifestyle that is conducive to being a woodgasser, but I don’t guess I’m really ready right now the more I think about it being habitually broke with nowhere to tinker

Sorry for the novel, just thought I’d let you fellas know where I’m coming from so I don’t look like such a dreamer. Lol.

Peter Coronis nearly finished a killer S-10 V8 combo, intended for supercharging. It’s a tight fit but can be done. Thread here:

Hey JoshW it’s all good man.
Good GM possibles topic you’ve brought up.
A true GM Tuned Port Fuel Injection swap- in would be much easier than the Ford, I and Alex pointed out anyhow.
Was loaded up and was reading a neat 1998 HotRod GM TPI swap-in article on this until I system overloaded and crashed.
The THING about Chevy/GM s-10/15’s and Ford Ranger Is these were/are compact pickup with compact engine compartments.
The Dakota was/is a mid-sized with more engine compartment sizing until the newer streamlined body styling.

Ah . . . 30K a year in fast Urban driving as you’ve come to realize probably not the best for ANY woodgassed vehicle. Older sister just back up from relatives visiting with stories.

Even with a 20 mpg USG gasoline vehicle with an equivalent of average of 20 pounds of wood to the US gallon that would be 30,000 pounds of wood pallets to source, cut-up with nails sections losses to become a wood-slave to. A wood pellet fueled system would pencil out as better just swapping into a propane vehicle.
Ever think this way?
Dodge minivans and GM pickups were the Municipals vehicles of choice for propane rigs. ~1990 to ??
Then make the woodgassed rig a weekend hobby “welding project” vehicle instead.

Steve Unruh

I’m hoping that was a bad year, 40 miles each way 5 days a week plus all personal driving and apprentice school once a week. I’m in construction now so there’s more work within 20 miles and we do 4 10’s so way less driving the past couple weeks. Woodgas is just something that piqued my interest so much I will have to do it eventually. I’ve just shifted the reality from DD to a hobby/hotrod/cruiser mentality. I think a gas saver would be cheaper than gearing up for a build the point I’m at in life right now, so I’m trying to gather ideas for the future. I have a bad way of diving into projects without a definite goal and losing motivation, which is why I like Wayne’s build, all the planning is done.

Chris, I never read that thread all the way through until yet…wow. I’m totally confident in my carbon steel welding and that makes me feel like a freshman on the first day in shop class. That’s a whole other dimension from anything I had in mind. Just trying to find a twist on what Wayne has perfected, not reinvent the wheel.

PS Steve, I believe I read that same article before I posted this. Very informative and got my gears turning faster. Article was about putting a TPI in a classic Chevy I think? And on lpg or cng, I think I’d be better off just getting a gas saver for the sake of easily finding fuel. I’ll have to look into it just for kicks though. Just doesn’t have the tinker factor like woodgas.

Best bang for your econobox buck will be a 3 cyl 5 speed Geo Metro. 50 mpg easily. Cheap to repair.

If it needs to be a truck, look for an old VW rabbit pickup. Those get 40-45 mpg.

40 mpg cars yes. Let me ramble a bit with this.
One of my sisters at one time went with a Geo Metro and it would ideed get 40+ mpg even with her foot stuffed into it mostly.
And that leads to young people who burn bright with possibilities and decades yet ahead to try them out.
At yours, IanM’s and Chris’s ages JoshW I went though a 1098 cc MG 1100, a Volvo PV444 1400 cc, a 1st gen VW Rabbit at ~1500 -> 2000 cc, a Ford 1st gen Fiesta 1600 cc, and a Saab V-4 1700 cc.
One could get 40+ mpg. These others all in the high 30’s capable with mechanical “smartened” carburetors.
Ha! I was always borrowing someone’s pickup truck with these.
Switched off and on to station wagons (I’m old - they were cheap, cheap) with inline 6 cylinders and 4 cylinders as a compromise. Worked alright but these the ones that always got wrecked. These one’s were not my fault. Just a 30K driver, and out there driving hazards exposed, and a station wagon you could not rabbit out of danger but just brake lock slam/bang take it.
Later had pickups from a 1300 cc Datsun to 240, 292 cid’s. So . . . 30 mpg; to at best 16-18 mpg. Nice to be up and able to see and anticipate. T-boned and rear ended then was a bent-it-out, drive-away.
Ha! Ha! The problem with curious, young tinkers is leaving things well enough alone! Why the Rabbit grew! Easy stock 35 mpg + to a then fast, fast street “beep-beep” blue smurf sleeper car 20 mpg.

Actually the best compromise balanced vehicle for my urgings was a 1st gen 1984 Ford Ranger 2wd 2300 4 speed.

In a 21st century world with your age, urgings and needs JoshW I think you’d do fine with an earlier 2000’s Chevy/GMC S-10/Sonoma compact pickup 4 cylinder.
Insisit on a 2wd, manual transmission. Standard cab. Long bed if you can get it. Has better swerving stability, better ride. More room for woodgasing.
Let the electronics FI package on this teach you sequential electronic fuel injection and OBD II needs and capabilities well. YOU become the GM compact pickup expert.
Later then if you really do want to woodgas it you can wring out dual fueling possibilities on the 4 cylinder with always the good EFI to fall back on. Woodgas as you can scrounge the shipping pallets and constructions woods.
Later yet if you really still want, and are in the $ position to do it you could SBC TPI convert it. This wanting to earlier engine system go-back may just be the driving factor then to make you relocate to where you can by-pass inspections and get the rural wood fuel. This IS an earlier electronic FI system. Piece of cake then to understand.
I expect by then you’d more likely be GM LS Gen III V-8 converting it however.

Us old farts have the short time luxury for way-back, impractical to daily drive, lumpy idle, old iron memory machines.

The future of woodgas is in the 21st century EFI by younger people. You will have no other options. Make-do; or, Do Without. Every generation has had it’s challenges with this real world creed. This is yours.

Steve Unruh

I owned a VW rabbit truck for about 15 years . On longer trips and driving about 50 mph it would get 50 mpg !!

I sold it last year because it was just setting here in the yard while I was DOW and SWEM.

The wood trucks are much bigger, comfortable and can do work but as far as getting my body from point A to point B and in no hurry the 50 mpg VW was hard to beat .

Kinda like Herb’s analogy. LOL

2.2L S-10 Engine R&R with a pictured internals rebuild.
With the right attitude; and in the right chassis; I’ve had twice as much fun for less than half the cost as I ever had with a V-8.
New memories and new fun to be had everyday if a fellow just looks around and sees that the glasses are always half full.
Look at the intake on this and you will see IT IS A TUNED length Fuel Injected with a knock sensor timing optimizing systems.
Just took GM a decade or so to expand this stuff out to thier pickups from the cars.

JoshW pass on the Canyons and the DOHC Ecotec engines for woodgasing. Let someone else guinea pig these out.

Did a little more research and it turns out not only were 92 and 93 LT1’s speed density, but that the later mass air models seem to run pretty well without the mass air even hooked up and with a tuner, you can make a mass air computer run in full blown speed density mode. Starting to think that might be the way to go with how difficult it is to find TPI cars anymore, especially 90-92. Ls series engines cost too much still and I have doubts about plastic intakes.

As for me, still grinding away trying to put enough money away to get a new used set of wheels. The ol Toyota keeps getting noisier and my o2 sensor took a dump last night so there goes a wad of cash for high dollar denso parts. Getting a room mate next month to help on living costs and hopefully I’ll be able to get some double time at work in the near future. Tight deadline on this project and tons of work left to be done.

In light of my new thinking about LT1’s, I’ve added roadmasters caprices and even f-bodies to my search list. If I can find one with highway gears, I’d still see improved gas mileage compared to my bloated little Toyota. What better way to learn the ins and outs of a fuel injection system than trying to keep a 20+ year old junker running? Haha. I’m having second thoughts about an S-10 as a gas saver, turns out most folks real world mileage shows the 4 cylinders to be a little south of what I expected. Rabbits may have suffered the same “south of the border” fate as the other small trucks around here, there’s only one on CL and it’s not running. As much as I’d like 50 mpg, I just couldn’t drive a 3 cylinder, so a metro is out. I tend to get into situations in traffic that have to be resolved by the loud pedal from time to time. I’d be thrilled with 30 mpg from something that can get out of its own way, I’m only getting 16-18 lately. Maybe the new o2 sensors will help.