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Thread: tbichips.com (Brian Harris). Useful or Not?

  1. #1
    Fuel Injected! DanofMostTrades's Avatar
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    tbichips.com (Brian Harris). Useful or Not?

    I was about to spend a lot of money based on his recommendations page, until I read some pretty negative posts about him. Who has experience with him and does his site have good info?
    Thanks in advance, any info would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator dave w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanofMostTrades View Post
    I was about to spend a lot of money based on his recommendations page, until I read some pretty negative posts about him. Who has experience with him and does his site have good info?
    Thanks in advance, any info would be appreciated.
    I recently visited the TBI Chips website, I noticed he does not list TunerPro RT for tuning software. Most of the members here use TunerPro RT to tune with. TBI Chips lists WinALDL, which some of the members here consider OBSOLETE, and DataMaster TTS which is good tuning software for most 93 ~ 95 TBI systems. TunerPro RT has evolved over the years and can be used with many different EFI systems, not just TBI systems. Some new members here with novice PC computer skills have been challenged getting TunerPro RT configured. Maybe WinALDL and DataMaster TTS are easier to configure for those who have novice PC computer skills? TunerPro RT can be used as freeware, but I recommend paying the suggested $39 donation.

    dave w

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    I think his site has some decent info. I can't say if it's all good or not. There have been lots of complaints about the tuning over the years. It's best to confirm between a few sources before committing to anything.

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    Fuel Injected! BLG355's Avatar
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    I have experience with him. I won't bash the guy even though I have every right to. My advice is go the other way, he will waste your money and time. Search for my name and you will see the experience I had with him all here in black and white.

    As far as the info on his sight, he totally contradicted his own web sites information while I was working with him. I actually built my truck based on the recommendations on his website, then he told me is was a bad build and that it can't be tuned. I have some logs posted that prove it's a solid build and my truck runs awesome now thanks to this place. I went through six of his chips and they all ran very poorly, and it really wasn't even drivable. The truck ran better with the stock chip. I paid someone here for a tune and their stater chip ran awesome, and I took over tuning it from there (with all the support of this site) and never looked back. I'm still working and tuning mine a little at a time. It's not my daily driver so I can play with the tune and try different things without having to worry about it.

    The nice thing about his site is there is dyno proof to back up the builds, you can base yours off that and see where you think it may fall and go from there. It also gives you some rough ideas, but there is nothing there that isn't here.

    BLG
    My Build: 95 K1500, 355ci w/ OEM roller setup - zero decked, Eagle steel crank, Scat bushed H-beam rods, Speed Pro 2V flat top pistons - Rotating assembly balanced. Dart 165cc Iron Eagle S/S heads - 72cc chambers - 1.94 / 1.50 valves. Isky roller cam - 204/209 dur @ .050 - .480/.496 lift with Comp Magnum 1.6 rockers, Edelbrock 3704 intake - Bored to 52mm - 454 throttle body, Delco EP381 fuel pump @ 18 psi running through 80# 454 injectors. Hedman Headers into 3" Dynomax exhaust.

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    Fuel Injected! steveo's Avatar
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    speed density tuning is a long process and shouldn't be trivialized, and anyone that says they can nail it on the first try is probably full of it.

    i've seen tbichips tunes with minimum and maximum blm really tight so the trims never wander too far from 128, just so his VE tables look like they're working. that's pretty shady indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveo View Post
    anyone that says they can nail it on the first try is probably full of it.
    or has a really fast and loose definition of good enough.
    1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS 3100 + 4T60E


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    Fuel Injected! DanofMostTrades's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your input. Dave, I have downloaded TunerproRT and when I get a motor setup I will definitely use it. After reading what you all have said and doing lots of research I know I will definitely not buy a chip from tbichips.com.
    My concern right now is building or buying a motor that is suitable for TBI and maybe a carb if I give up on TBI. I want a sturdy reliable motor with good torque and decent HP. It will be going in an 87 Chevy 4x4* that's lifted with 35's. Here is a list of what I am considering, I believe this motor produces around 260HP:

    Chevrolet Performance#809-12530283 L31 HD Vortec motor for 96-2000 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks.

    Specifications:*1986-2000 style block, 4 bolt mains1pc rear seal nodular iron crankshaft
    Powdered metal connecting rods
    Hypereutectic pistons
    9.4:1 compression Ratio.
    Hydraulic roller camshaft: Int Lift .414", Exh Lift .428", Int Duration @.050" 191, Exh Duration @ .050" 196, Lobe Centerline-111
    Vortec cylinder heads - 64cc, 1.94'' intake valve, 1.50'' exhaust valve
    Also includes: Oil pan, timing cover, valve covers, harmonic balancer
    $2029.00

    Edelbrock#350-2116* Performer Vortec intake and a tbi adapter plate (I'll make the plate myself).
    $193.

    Summit headers SUM-G9006-9
    1.5" primaries 3" collector.
    $230

    Let me know what you guys think about this so far. I appreciate any input.

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    Super Moderator dave w's Avatar
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    I've tuned similar engines like the one posted above. I would recommend a 670 CFM Throttle Body with injectors able to flow up to 80 lbs with an adjustable pressure regulator. I would also recommend upgrading to the 16197427 94 ~ 95 TBI computer.

    dave w

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    I second Dave's recommendation on the throttle body and ECM. I just swapped over to the larger throttle body on a similar engine and it was a big help. I tuned it first with the 7747 but am about to swap over to the 7427 whenever I have time to start tuning again.
    1973 K-5 Blazer, TBI 350, TH400, 1 ton axles & 38" SSRs'
    1975 280Z, TBI 350, 700R4
    1953 M-38A1, TBI Buick 231
    1951 Ford Panel, 5.3 with 4L80E

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    I like the engine but personally I'd put a little more cam in it.

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    That engine is a stock Vortec 350 with 4 bolt mains. Its rated at 255 sae net hp @ 4600rpm/330 sae lb/ft torque@2800rpm.

    Put it on an engine dyno and you will see about 310-320hp. The stock Vortec 350 engine is the Chev Performance 350HO/330hp crate engine with a slightly milder roller cam. TCHev Performance Parts charges you almost $1000 more for the same engine that has its 191º/196º roller cam and roller cam equipement swapped out for a flat tappet cam and its flat tappet equipement. Marketing hype, buyer beware.
    The 350HO runs that flat tappet 212º/222º cam 0.435/0.460" lift (based on the 65-67 327 IIRC) it has a slightly choppy idle, while the 282(2bolt) and 283(4 bolt) Vortec 350's run the 191º/196º 0.412"/0.428" 111ºLSA roller cam that was used in the 94-96 iron headed Caprice LT1(Impala SS) sedans and wagons and Cadillac 350's, as well as the 94-94 4.3 V8(yes VEE 8) L99 engine (200hp/240 lb/ft torque), this cam was also used in every 230hp@4600rpm/285lb/ft torque@2800rpm Vortec 305(rpo L30) AND 255hp/330lb/ft Vortec 350 (rpo L31) from 1996-2003.
    Lets just say its a very popular roller cam for OEM GM applications requiring solid low rpm torque.

    The 350 hp Ramjet 350 that everyone gets horny about is merely the engine you are looking at, with 3 basic differences
    1) the Ramjet 350/HT383/GM Marine 196º206º 0.431"/0.451? 109ºLSA roller cam,(worth about 10hp)
    2)1.6:1 full roller rockers(worth about 10hp)
    3)of course the Ramjet intake manifold (LT1 intake for Vortec heads)(maybe 10hp with its short runners vs. the runner design of a dual plane carb intake)
    So all tolled, the Ramjet 350 and its 350 hp rating is the Vortec 350 (p/n 283) engine with about 30 hp or 6% more power. The big claim to fame of the Ramjet crate IMO, is that its a self contained injected engine where you add fuel, electricity and whammo you have an EFI engine. But even these engines require recalibration as they are horribly rich at WOT, but I understand what GM is doing. Rich is safe and will help when marginal fuel systems are used.

    I personally would use a 1 5/8" primary header. (but your 1 1/2" primaries will work great for off idle torque.
    I would also use the Edelbrock Performer RPM Vortec intake as it helps with power while not loosing torque whatsoever off idle.
    For warranty reasons the cam would stay. I shift that cam at about 5500rpm for best et. due to the huge rpm drop of the wide ratio 700r4/4l60e trans, even though the stock 4.3 Vortec V6 DCLF TC I use helps a lot with that.

    You've got a solid foundation there, I often recommend that 12530283 engine to anyone who is considering rebuilding, freshening or otherwise paying a machine shop to do a stock rebuild on a TBI 350 or Vortec 350. For $2000 you get yourself a roller cam equipped 300+hp 350, with forged PM rods, a strong nodular iron crank and hypereutectic pistons.

    Shop around I sometimes see that engine for $1800, Jegs, Summit, Crate Engine Depot, SDPC all have varying prices on the same 4 bolt 12530283 4 bolt Vortec 350 engine. I have beat the snot out of my 2 bolt version, with hundreds of 1/4 mile passes, thousands of street 0 to whatever WOT passes, 0ver 300,000 miles of daily driving/winter/summer miles and the only time I had to pull a valve cover was to swap out some intake gaskets. (I suggest the FelPro problem solver and yes they are ridiculously expensive, but will pay for themselves in the long run. Esp since you are planning to run an aluminum intake on your iron heads. These GEN 1E Vortecs have the 8 intake bolt in a vertical fashion, and clamp down on the gaskets at an angle which cause the gasket to roll under intake torque and induces a shear stress as the gasket rolls as the aluminum and cast iron expand and contract at DIS-similar rates. The stock Vortec 305/350 encapsulated silicone intake gaskets back in 1996 when the Vortec 305/350 came out were branded as re-useable. This proved hugely false, and GM went through a couple versions, but Felpro came up with a steel structure/rubber coated version which stand up much better than the plastic OEM GM versions.

    Since I went with these gaskets, as well as with the marine intake manifold(which features a cast iron lower manifold and aluminum upper plenum(while the stock Vortec 305/350 96-03 truck manifold had an aluminum lower and plastic upper) I have had zero gasket issues. The OEM GM 11 lb/ft intake bolt torque final spec is a little low, I tend to exceed that by a few lb/ft.

    In the Centralport Sequential Fuel Injection (CSFI) 96+ applications, the poppet injectors flow 23.4 lb/hr@ 63 psi of fuel pressure. The marine intake I am running uses a 25 lb/hr EV6/Multec 2 injector to fuel the marine 350/377/383 marine engines with ratings from 260-340hp. I had the stock marine injectors flow tested and they were all pretty close to 25 lb/hr at 43.5psi or 3BAR of rail pressure, the marine fuel pressure regulator operates at 58psi or 4BAR of fuel rail pressure which brings these injectors up to approx. 28.9 lb/hr.
    The OEM Vortec 350 FPR operates at 63 psi which has the poppets flowing at 23.4 lb/hr.

    Your setup with this Vortec 350 longblock with headers and intake will easily be outpowering the 230hp/385 lb/ft 1990 454SS engine, and the uprated 405lb/ft 1991-1993 454SS TBI truck engines. And will do so with the lighter smallblock design, lighter transmission, and do so besting the 454 TBI's 9/10 mpg 1990 230hp 454 engine/3l80(thm-400) 3.73 gearing combo and the 10mpg/11mpg highway 1991-93 255hp/4l80e 4.10 gear combo.

    My buddies hated my 1997 Vortec 350, 3.08 gear, 4l60e truck when racing their 454SS trucks. I would run right beside their 1990 SS chipped/exhaust trucks when I was stock, running the 1/4 ,mile beside them using only 1st and 2nd gear(trapping at 5500rpm in 2nd). When I went to a 4.10 gear, PCM tuned combo, I was embarrassing them and they didn't want to play, esp. the one guy that had the uprated 1991 version.

    There was a 1996 1 ton van application which used a Vortec 350 with a TBI intake designed for the Vortec heads. IIRC This combo was rated at 235hp and 340 lb/ft torque. This the intake that Chev Performance Parts(was GM Performance PArts) sells for aftermarket TBI usage on Vortec/Fastburn/Bowtie Vortec heads.
    This TBI/Vortec combo was also used on some export trucks as well. This OEM Vortec combo used the BBC 2" throttle bores, and specific injectors that were not the BBC injectors, nor the "Cop Car" injectors. It even had its own BroadCast Code of BRDW which is for the export Vortec engine/TBI engine.

    1project2many supplied the calibration in post 19 of this thread.
    http://www.gearhead-efi.com/Fuel-Inj...tec-shortblock

    One of the best things you can do for your squarebody TBI truck on 35's, is to ensure that you are geared correctly. I daily drove with 4.10's on 27" tires, so you should be on at least the same or lower gearing such as a 4.56, esp. if running an OD trans.

    Good luck man, the ECM tuning will make or break you combo. Mr Harris is a nice guy and means well, and has some excellent combos. But the guys here seem to uncover many issues with his chips.

    Sorry for the novel, but having done lots of Vortec 350 work, I get excited about these good old GEN -1E engines. No matter what is said, the newer engines do not match these off idle torque.

    Keep us filled in on your project.

    peace
    Hog

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    Fuel Injected! DanofMostTrades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave w View Post
    I've tuned similar engines like the one posted above. I would recommend a 670 CFM Throttle Body with injectors able to flow up to 80 lbs with an adjustable pressure regulator. I would also recommend upgrading to the 16197427 94 ~ 95 TBI computer.

    dave w
    As far as the throttle body, are you talking about the Holly 670 cfm or are you talking about a bored out stock unit? What is involved and what are the advantages to upgrading the computer?

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    Fuel Injected! DanofMostTrades's Avatar
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    Wow Hog, thanks for all the info, it's exactly what I was wanting to hear. I've done a lot of research and read a lot of posts about that motor and felt pretty confident about it, but now I'm ready to order it. I do plan on putting at least 4.88's if not 5.13's under it. Will I have any issues with my stock 700r4 and this motor? Thanks again. I attached a pic of my truck. I'm really excited to get it running again.

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    Fuel Injected! Engine07's Avatar
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    One thing I always recommend on gearing as I do quite a bit of transmission work is to take what size gears the calculator averages as stock performance equivalent and go up one size from there on mud tires if that's what your 35's are. Example is most calculators show 4.56 being ideal for 35's but they do not take thing into account things such as the extra weight associated with the larger tire as extra rotating mass is the reason I usually recommend 4.88 minimum if you will be doing a lot of highway driving or 5.13 if you will be play toy mostly offroad and mileage isn't an issue. The gearing is going to play a major part in the transmission life as well as if it is mostly just highway driven vs hard offroad use. If the transmission is mostly easy street driven it can hold up a long time with proper gearing. If it is beat on hard offroad the gears will help it last longer but it's days will be numbered. 4x4's main failures in 700r or 4l60e is in the sunshell and the input shaft to drum from shock loads. It can be built to handle it but in its stock form it is a light duty transmission being used in a heavy duty form being offroad. Just remember to be easy on it and it will be much happier.

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    It's the original 87 700R4? It could become an issue, especially since it has wear and tear on it.

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