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BangShift Driveway Tech: Upgrading A Cadillac 500 Powered 1986 C10 With An Aeromotive Phantom In-Tank Pump


BangShift Driveway Tech: Upgrading A Cadillac 500 Powered 1986 C10 With An Aeromotive Phantom In-Tank Pump

(Words and photos by Mike Brooks) – For those of us who live in the snowbelt and also have a hot rod or project vehicle, old man winter is a blessing and a curse. Having to put your ride into hibernation and the end of fall is always a huge bummer, but it also creates an opportunity to take advantage of the downtime to make some upgrades. This winter I was able to cross a couple of big ones off my list.

For those who don’t know, this is my project truck. In 2007 a buddy of mine brought up a rust free ’86 C10 pickup from South Carolina. The truck had it’s original 4.3 V6/ TH400 combo and featured the “10 footer” paint job that it still wears today. After a year of saving up the scratch, it was finally mine. The next seven years were spent getting the little squarebody to closely resemble the hot rod pickup I always wanted. The truck was disassembled and the chassis was cleaned up and repainted. The V6 was tossed in lieu of a Cadillac 500 engine I had laying around ready to be rebuilt. The truck was put back together, lowered with spindles and springs, plumbed, wired, and finally put on the road in 2015. Upgrades in 2016 included a new bench seat, stereo, 20″ aluminum rally wheels and Mickey Thompson tires. This year, it’s time to modernize the fuel system make the leap to EFI. With so many options on the market today it’s easier than ever to find the one that suits you, and install it yourself.
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This article will focus on the fuel delivery system. After some careful research I decided to purchase the Aeromotive Phantom 340 Stealth system (SKU 18688). I wanted a system with a great reputation for reliabilty and performance. Using a “spend the money once” approach, the fuel system can easily support my engines needs as well as having plenty of room to handle potential upgrades down the road. It can handle over twice the power that I probably make now. The best part is, it’s a modular system designed to retrofit into the stock fuel tank. To compliment the system I also picked up the optional premium wiring harness (SKU 16307) , 10 micron filter (SKU 12374) and filter bracket (SKU 12701).
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To simplify and make the install safer, I started with a new stock replacement tank. The last thing I wanted was to be throwing sparks with fuel vapors present. Once I found a suitable location, I drilled a 3 1/4″ hole in the top of the tank. Next, I used the provided installation ring as a guide to drill the mounting holes. After the holes were drilled and the shavings were cleaned out of the tank, the foam baffle assembly was trimmed to fit and stuffed inside the tank using the assembly ring to guide the foam in without being damaged by the sharp edges of the tank.
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 Next install the studded retainer ring. The “C” shape of the ring allows it to easily fit inside the hole and line up the mounting studs. The thick foam gasket is designed to seal the unit even if it’s installed on a corrugated gas tank.
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Once the hanger assembly is measured and cut to match the depth of the tank, the prefilter and pump are mounted to the hanger. The whole assembly simply drops in the tank and bolted down with the supplied hardware and just like that, the tank is ready to install. Easy peasy, bacon greasy! This setup looks so good, it’s almost shameful to hide it under the truck!
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 Next up, it’s time to get the truck ready for the new fuel system. I removed the old lines and mechanical pump. I found a blockoff plate on ebay (luckily the Cadillac engine shares it’s pump design with Olds big blocks, so one was easy to find).
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 For the plumbing, I picked up some 3/8″ EFI Vapor Guard hose, as well as the -6 Vapor Guard fittings and clamps from Earl’s. The hose (Item 752066ERL) is multi-layered to handle all modern fuels and features a protective barrier to prevent vapors from seeping out of the hose. All while being capable of handling the pressure required for use with an EFI system. The hose is super easy to work with and installing the ends is a snap. The lines were installed to the proper inlets/outlets of the pump assembly and secured along the framerail up to the throttlebody. The stock sending unit was retained to get the signal to the gauge. The old inlet/outlet were capped off as they are no longer used.

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 The optional wiring harness is well worth picking up. It features a 30a circuit breaker and relay, plenty of 10ga power and ground wire, 16ga trigger wire, along with an assortment of connectors, terminals, and cable ties. The whole package comes wrapped in an attractive nylon sheathing to keep it nice and neat. The proper wires were connected the top of the unit, then to the battery terminals, the trigger wire was hooked to a keyed 12v source, and the whole system is ready to go!  I’m really impressed with the design and ease of the install. With the in tank design, the pump is super quiet and will remain cooler than a frame mounted pump. Other than a 3 1/4″ hole saw, I didn’t have to buy any special tools and the whole setup can be installed within a days time, I highly recommend this unit if you’re looking to upgrade your fuel delivery system!
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For more info on all the parts used:

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8 thoughts on “BangShift Driveway Tech: Upgrading A Cadillac 500 Powered 1986 C10 With An Aeromotive Phantom In-Tank Pump

      1. Mike Brooks

        Thanks Lenny! It’s pretty much my summer toy. I drive it regularly and hit up some cruise nights and other car events. It ain’t perfect, but it’s good enough for me and tons of fun!

        Reply
  1. Kent Reed

    I am glad to see you used the Caddy power. Those are a very good unused engine. Now you can find all sorts of power adder parts for the Caddy.Good looking truck.Very glad it did not have an SBC in it. Face it ,even the wild twin turbo SBC’s get the ” oh its a small block chevy ” from people at shows.Yep you can make big power with one . But no matter what you do to one its same old same old. Love the 500 incher,cool truck . Very cool

    Reply
    1. Mike Brooks

      Thanks Kent! It’s all about using what you have. I used to have a couple of ’75 Coupe Deville’s and always liked the 500. I kept one of the engines after I sold the cars for this exact reason. SBC and LS engines are cool and powerful, I just wanted to be a little different.

      Reply
  2. DanStokes

    Ratpatrol – BUY IT!!!!

    Mike – Love the Caddy power, too. I did an ’80 with 455 BBB power and a TH400 – it was a great truck, too. I actually built it to pull a horse trailer which it did nicely. My Ex got it in the divorce and promptly sold it – still a mystery as the horse was hers!

    Go Figure……

    Dan

    Reply

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