Engine computer

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    Bill Stuck


    I bought the kit with a rolling chassis and the mechanicals essencially completed.  The PO seamed to have done a fine job.  Now reading through the book and comparing the car — the book does not mention the engine computer and my car has one.

    My question is where should it be located?  The PO placed it just below the battery compartment on the right hand engine side of the fire wall.  It seams to me that it will get a great deal of heat there.

    For those of you that have an engine computer — where did you locate it and why? 

    Will Burge


    The chevette donor I stripped to build my kit had the computer under the dash against the inside of the firewall. I have not installed mine yet but that is where I would put it.


    Paul Mossberg


    Inside the passenger compartment sure sounds better than in the engine compartment and “under the battery”.

    I know today’s batteries are sealed. But even they have small vents. Why run the risk of battery acid corrosion on your expensive computer modules?

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    John McDermon


    My CMC MGTD has an ’87 Chevette engine.  The computer was never installed after the engine transplant.   In fact, as the car was partially assembled when I bought it in 2008 I never even saw a computer. 

    I also eliminated the emission air pump that feeds air into the exhaust manifold.  And I got rid of numerous unnecessary plumbing pieces on and around the manifold.  I also replaced the carburetor (mine was from a car with A/C) with a simpler version from a non-A/C car to eliminate some additional plumbing related to the A/C.  These things simplied a lot for me and my little MG runs like a smooth sewing machine.

    FWIW my car was titled (in NC) as a 2009 “Custom” upon completion and several long discussions with the NC DOT.  That designation exempts the vehicle from having to meet EPA emissions standards.  So while that isn’t as cute as the “MG TD Replica” title designation I had originally asked for – it has worked out well in the end.  And the engine compartment is a lot less cluttered than it would be otherwise.

    Check your state DOT regulations before eliminating the computer.  It may be that the way your car is titled may make a difference.  

    I can attest that the engine computer is NOT necessary to run this engine pretty darn well in these little cars.

    Good luck.



    Larry Murphy


     I can back up Hawk521’s advice on not using a computer. My Chevette based BCW has all the computer/smog stuff eliminated and does just fine without it. Also it would be wise to follow his advice and check your states requirements first. We found out that the requirements not only vary from state to state but from inspector to inspector as well. Good luck !!!

    Bill Stuck



    I like the idea of simplifying the engine and compartment — but did your PO just unplug the computer or did he set some “Nuetral” settings or something for the computer controlled feads?    I

    I’m not an engine or computer expert — but I would think the computer did something. 

    I am on the road and will not be able to try anything until I get home in early August.  

    I would like any input anyone has while I am on the road — so I can jump into it when I get back.

    Thanks, Bill


    John McDermon


    I’ve never even seen the computer for my car.  The wiring harness has a connector that I presume is meant for the computer, but the connector is simply tied up (unused) under the dash.  The computer on these cars was not an integral part of the engine’s operating needs.  I think it basically took the O2 sensor (also not installed on my car) and used that to calculate the added air to be injected into the exhaust manifold.  If you get rid of all that stuff the engine is as happy as any pre-computer engines were.  

    Call Rick Drake in Everette, Washington.  800 247-2954.   He is the worlds foremost authority on Chevettes.  If you Google “Rick Drake” and CHevette you will undoubtedly get a lot of hits.  He’s helped a LOT of kit car builders including yours truly.  Rick is an easy going guy and he helped me more than I can convey.  The wiring harness in my car came from Rick – as did my steering column.  My carburetor, shift knob, and a few other pieces also.  I followed several of his suggestions – including replacing the front brake calipers with later year model to get more gripping power.  My engine is from an 87 CHevette but my front suspension was from an 81.  Rick helped figure that stuff out.

    GOod luck with yours.  Shoot me an email john (at) mcdermon (dot) com and I’ll be happy to help with anything I can.



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