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Nite Restorations’ #ProjectRecycled And Howell EFI

gordie duster

Around the age of three years old, the impression of cool cars was emblazoned in the mind of Nite Restorations’ Gordie Rutkowski. When he saw, even at a young age, his first car, he was engrossed in that special attraction, whatever it may be, to which all of us auto enthusiasts are drawn. While even as a baby, the attraction was so great, that the three-year-old remembers, decades later, his parents first ‘63 SS, then ‘67 Chevy Impala 4-door (As does this author from his infancy, remembering his parents’ big white boat, convertible, ‘65 Impala). “For a 4-door, I always thought the car had such clean lines,” says Rutkowski. “And when all the windows were rolled down, it was like an open cockpit under that hard top.”

From there, Gordie was hooked! Even playing with toy cars, he was taking them apart and putting them back together. If he saw his dad wrenching on something, then he wanted to follow suit. “My mom came downstairs one day and found me with the dryer all torn apart,” he chuckles. “I wanted to know how the drum went round and around!”

His first auto project was his first car, as a hand-me-down from his sister around the age of 14 years old. Until he was old enough to drive it himself, his dad drove the car as his daily driver back and forth to work at GM. Gordie recalls from back then that the car needed a heater core, and his dad told him to pull a couple parts and panels to prepare for the replacement. Gordie says that by the time his father got to the car, he had already removed the fenders, hood, and pretty much everything around the heater core. “My dad saw it all and he just shook his head,” says Gordie. “I guess this is gonna be a bigger project after all, said his father.”

Gordie Rutkowski Talks About #ProjectRecycled & Howell EFI

To this day, the 1973 Plymouth Duster that Gordie and his dad worked on, is still Gordie’s prized possession, with a few more replacement projects having taken place along the way. Included in his many modifications have been changing out his chassis for a C6 corvette chassis, and trading the classic Mopar 440 for a modern LS2 engine with Howell EFI Harness and ECM.

After working on cars for most of the years of his life, Gordie converted from phone and cable installations as a trade, to mechanic and restoration work. He started in a shop working their needs, while working his own interests at home on his time off. In the early 2000’s Gordie launched Nite Restorations (Memphis, MI), eventually replacing the shop where he was working by day, and took over the customer base when the employer shop had closed.

“By using Howell EFI, I know it’s one less thing I have to worry about,”

Gordie Rutkowski of Nite Restorations

Nite Restorations operated as a one-man biz for many years, with Gordie building full restorations, custom fab work and modifications. Fast-forward and the Impala-inspired 3 yr. old has grown into his own thriving car business. Within his service offerings Gordie has always been a proponent of carburetor conversions to EFI. “I started using Howell stuff back in the 90’s” says Gordie. “I was doing a lot of Chevy TBI and Tuneports conversions for many years.”

Aggressive stance of a Duster Body on Gordie’s custom modified C6 Corvette Frame (photo by Ken Cox)

When the LS motor swaps began, Gordie’s use of Howell EFI conversions quickly grew to the point that Howell awarded him dealership status. “Almost anytime I’m working with a swap I just tell them at Howell what I want to do with the motor, and what I want to switch and change with the EFI harness. They take care of all the modifications, send to me, I plug in the ECM and it’s golden. There’s never any problems down the road. When I know my customer doesn’t want to mess with it, and just wants the reliability and the durability for their vehicle, I just call Howell for the kit, and I know I, nor my customer has to worry about anything. I don’t think any of my cars have come back for even a sensor replacement. As far as I know, they are all still out there running great.”

Heart of a Corvette

Gordie also takes advantage of Howell benefits knowing not only that Howell EFI kits deliver everything needed for the conversion in one fell swoop to run reliably thereafter, but in the business of custom restorations, many modification and custom designs are the key to success. Changing out motors from one vehicle into a vehicle laid out for a completely different design can often require some very creative redesigns. All of which, Nite Restorations has encountered for years.

“When I did my Duster for example,” begins Gordie, “and even a recent ‘69 Camaro project too, in converting to almost a race-car chassis underneath, everything was going to be close to the motor. The great thing about Howell is that I can work with them to discuss my plans and my design. I’m able to completely customize my design specific to the car, and design my own harness needed. I can explain what leads I need at what lengths, where the ECM will mount, relay locations, where I want my fuse box, etc. I can literally just send them the specs I have designed and laid out for my build. Then I have folks taking pics because even the EFI harness looks nice,” he chuckles. “I love that Howell will work with me on the harness and move things to where I need it to be. Dealing with other manufactures, they think that its one size fits all. And it’s just not that way. Each individual project is different, regardless of the package they try to persuade others to buy.”

  • #HY5D - LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/manual Transmission, Drive by Wire
    #HY5D – LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/manual Transmission, Drive by Wire
    $850.00$950.00
  • #HY5TD - LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E, Drive by Wire
    #HY5TD – LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E, Drive by Wire
    $900.00$1,000.00
  • #HY5 - LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/Manual Transmission, Mechanical Throttle Control
    #HY5 – LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/Manual Transmission, Mechanical Throttle Control
    $850.00$950.00
  • #HTB6 - LS2 Cable Operated Mechanical Throttle Body
    #HTB6 – LS2 Cable Operated Mechanical Throttle Body
    $300.00
  • #HY5DEC - LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/manual or non-electronic Transmission Drive by Wire (Customer Supplies Core)
    #HY5DEC – LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/manual or non-electronic Transmission Drive by Wire (Customer Supplies Core)
    $200.00
  • #HY5 EC - LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Mechanical Throttle Control
    #HY5 EC – LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Mechanical Throttle Control
    $200.00
  • #HY5DE - LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/manual Transmission, Drive by Wire
    #HY5DE – LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/manual Transmission, Drive by Wire
    $350.00
  • #HY5 E - LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Drive by Wire
    #HY5 E – LS2 ECM: 2005 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Drive by Wire
    $350.00
  • #HY5T - LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Mechanical Throttle Control
    #HY5T – LS2 HARNESS: 2005 GM 6.0L Corvette w/ Electronic Transmission 4L60E Mechanical Throttle Control
    $900.00$1,000.00

“By using Howell EFI, I know it’s one less thing I have to worry about,” states Gordie.

Even if Gordie is not doing the build himself he invites those wanting to do it themselves, to call him to place their order. “I can assist with the buying and purchasing they need for their build. If they may not know exactly what they need, I probably have a good idea what’s needed. As a dealer, I can sell them what works best for their project, because I have probably already been through the same issues prior.”

Today’s customer comes to Nite Restorations because they know the quality workmanship that they expect, will be delivered. They know that Gordie does not cut corners, and they know and trust the honesty that Gordie delivers. After his many successful years pursuing his automotive passions, Rutkowski still has his eyes on his next dream project. “I’ve completed the car I grew up with, my Duster, and I still have a ‘65 Dodge Coronet that my friend and I used to race on the streets,” says Gordie. “That’s sitting here and I’d really like to do a Corvette drivetrain/EFI conversion for this one too. It’s waiting in line with all of the other one’s. But I’ll always have my Duster. I look forward to the next decade of this and then shuttin’ it down, kicking back and enjoying all of my cars I’ve accumulated!”

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Jeep EFI Upgrade Tips

#K247JPV8W401 - TBI Kit - Jeep Wagoneer 401

Howell EFI Conversion Kit Helps Kick The Carb!

No vehicle on the road  (or off road) benefits more from swapping from a classic carburetor to electronic fuel injection than a Jeep After all, eliminating those angle sensitive float bowls that can starve an engine for fuel and creating an engine system that can adjust to the altitude of the climb by richening and leaning out the fuel delivery is every Jeep lover’s dream.

Howell EFI offers eight different kits for most Jeeps built between 1982 and 1993 that originally came with carburetors. Best of all, for the street-driven Jeeps, the conversion kits include full emission compliance within strict Air Resources Board mandates. That means owners will never have a problem with the local regulators when checking emissions compliance.

“The Howell EFI conversion kit integrates the critical charcoal canister and the EGR systems and eliminates the need for the air pump and other engine cluttering components,” stated Troy Brown, Howell EFI Tech Director. “What we do recommend is that owners who install this kit go on our website and print out Air Resource Board Executive order D452 and keep this two-page document in their Jeep. This document shows that our system is emissions complaint and should handle any issues they encounter.”

Installation Tips

The Howell EFI conversion kit includes everything you need to install the kit including the GM Throttle Body, reprogramed computer, high flow electric fuel pump, fuel filter, MAP sensor, all hardware, clips, mounts and most importantly, the custom factory-look wiring harness that uses better-than-factory components and wiring. Howell estimates that most of their Jeep conversion kits will take between 8 and 10 hours to install depending on your level of skill and the condition of your Jeep.

Key points to the installation include modification of the fuel system. Fuel injection systems require both a fuel delivery line and a return line, both running the length of the vehicle from the fuel tank to the engine. The recommendation is that this line be 5/16-inch diameter line, either braided steel or hard line. Rubber fuel line or steel line, if so desired, should be used but when using steel line, small sections of rubber hose are allowable around the new fuel filter and fuel pump to make them easy to service when needed. Many owners choose to mount these parts inside the transmission protection pan to avoid the buzzing noise notoriously emitted by electric pumps. Mounting the pump with some kind of rubber foam spacer where it touches the pan will keep the noise to a minimum.

The MAP (Mass Air Pressure) sensor supplied with the kit is a key component to proper operation. Howell EFI offers two types; one that can be simply installed off the TBI unit with a stiff piece of rubber hose or a second type that must be mounted in a downward facing angle with vacuum pointing towards the ground and the sensor mounted above the TBI unit itself on a bracket or the firewall. When reviewing your instructions, the MAP mount for your component will be noted.

Your Jeep’s computer is located within the interior behind the glove box.  The dashboard on the passenger side must be loosened to allow for removal of the glove box. Once it is removed, the computer is easily located. Two nuts located on the engine side of the firewall must be removed to release the computer. Once it is free, gently remove the original equipment wiring harness junction from the computer.

The CTO (Coolant Temperature Override) switch is mounted on the engine block just below the intake manifold. It will be retained for any conversion and must be working properly. These switches are notorious for leakage, so if yours is showing its age it must be replaced. In addition, the original engine block mounted mechanical fuel pump will be removed and replaced by the block off plate supplied with the Howell EFI kit. The original pump rod stays in the block or the engine or oil pressure will not be correct. Make sure that the Howell plate is well sealed or oil leaks will occur.

For those looking for an overview of the system and owner experiences, YouTube-based instructional videos are readily available. “We have Jeep owners who go the full route and take out all of the original wiring loom and those that just tuck the unused original wiring away in the dashboard after heat shrinking the powered wires so they don’t ground out,” said Troy. “It is at the discretion of the builder as to how much or little they want to do – as with any vehicle modification. We honestly estimate the total install to not be longer than 10 hours from start to finish. The key is to study the schematic supplied with the kit and call our tech line if there are any questions.”

To learn more or to order contact Howell EFI at www.howellefi.com or call (810) 765-5100.

Carb to TBI conversion kits offered by Howell EFI:

 

 

  • #K247JPV8W360 - TBI Kit - Jeep Wagoneer 360 CARB E.O. #D-452-2
    #K247JPV8W360 – TBI Kit – Jeep Wagoneer 360 CARB E.O. #D-452-2
    $1,600.00
  • #K247JPV8W401 - TBI Kit - Jeep Wagoneer 401
    #K247JPV8W401 – TBI Kit – Jeep Wagoneer 401
    $1,600.00
  • #K247JW401 - TBI Kit - Jeep Wagoneer 401
    #K247JW401 – TBI Kit – Jeep Wagoneer 401
    $1,500.00
  • #HJ283 283 CID I6 Jeep TBI Conversion Kit
    #HJ283 283 CID I6 Jeep TBI Conversion Kit
    $1,600.00$1,660.00
  • #HJ232 232 CID I6 Jeep TBI Conversion Kit
    #HJ232 232 CID I6 Jeep TBI Conversion Kit
    $0.00
  • #CJ258 - TBI KIT: 1972-80 CJ 4.2L Offroad
    #CJ258 – TBI KIT: 1972-80 CJ 4.2L Offroad
    $1,395.00
  • #CA/YJ258 - TBI KIT: JP1 Emission Legal Version CARB EO #D452 1987-91 YJ Wrangler 4.2L Emissions Legal
    #CA/YJ258 – TBI KIT: JP1 Emission Legal Version CARB EO #D452 1987-91 YJ Wrangler 4.2L Emissions Legal
    $1,495.00
  • #CA/JP258 - TBI KIT: JP1 Emission Legal Version CARB EO #D452 1981-86 CJ 4.2L Emissions Legal
    #CA/JP258 – TBI KIT: JP1 Emission Legal Version CARB EO #D452 1981-86 CJ 4.2L Emissions Legal
    $1,495.00
  • #K247JPV8 - TBI KIT: 1972-93 304, 360, 401 V-8 Jeep/AMC - Emissions Legal
    #K247JPV8 – TBI KIT: 1972-93 304, 360, 401 V-8 Jeep/AMC – Emissions Legal
    $1,600.00
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Howell Makes Ordering an EFI System Simple and Easy

Howell EFI, well respected in the industry for their plug and play EFI systems has earned that reputation for a reason. Their customer support team knows every question to ask to make certain that what ships out from Howell covers every possible base for a complete and easy to install system.

Here is a sample of a typical order taking conversation:

  • Wiring Harness was needed for 1971 Pontiac Firebird

Vehicle:

  • Engine ?  GM Crate engine – LS3 with 525 horsepower
  • Transmission?  Rockland Standard Gear six speed
  • Manual or automatic? Centerforce twin disc hydraulic clutch
  • Any cam changes?

Key order taking questions:

  • Where does the battery mount – underhood or trunk?
  • What kind of cooling fan arrangement do you have – single or dual fans?
  • Any smog requirements?
  • Eliminate speed sensor?
  • Are we providing the computer?
  • Do you have a core on the computer?
  • Where do you want to mount the control module – under hood, in the interior?
  • With belt system does that put alternator on top or down low?
  • Does the alternator have a four or two pin connector?
  • What about mass air flow sensor? Are we supplying the front two oxygen sensors? Length of the harness from passenger harness to computer mounting point?
  • Fuel pump to mount in trunk – this is normal for fuel injection conversions
  • Gold or Silver Blade in the throttle Body – signifies engine type.

Notes:

These engines require the drive by wire pedal – mounted on the firewall. Howell offers reprogramming of the computer control module if needed. Can be determined after the engine is up and running.

Each harness is well marked with each wire or component tagged to denote where it fits. The fittings are made to connect to the factory fittings so this is simply plug and play. Look to Howell EFI to make your order taking and conversion happen with ease. Link to video here.