Carburetors - I think I've learned to like them

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302
Location
Detroit
Thread starter
I'm a younger guy, born in the late 80s, so I never got a chance to experience a carbureted car. I never thought I would ever handle or attempt to repair a carburetor. Recently I have been trying to restore a 2001 Yamaha Motorcycle, and it has a carburetor. I have made numerous attempts to get the carburetor working, and have failed to clean things properly. But in trying to fix the thing properly, I have studied their operation, and the really neat thing about carburetors is their simplicity. Once I understood the physical principle of their operation, I was excited by the DIY potential of carburetors. Of course they are not as reliable, or clean as fuel injection, but when fuel injection does go bad, you're kind of screwed. If the computer goes bad, or if you want to tune fuel injection, it seems like a total headache. I see fuel injection as great for DD beaters, but carburetors are so fitting for a recreational vehicle. I think a carbureted vehicle will be in my future, maybe a big SUV/Truck for camping duty. I actually find cleaning these old carbs a relaxing activity. I should have been born a few decades earlier LOL Who here actually likes carburetors and has a carbureted vehicle?
 
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Messages
1,227
Location
Columbus Nebraska
I actually have 2. my 65 mustang with a 1 bbl, my 64 Falcon Ranchero with a 4 bbl carb. I grew up with carbs, and really don't know much about fuel injection. But carbs I understand. As a matter of fact I for several years had my own auto shop, and I was known as the place to work on carbs. Fixed carbs, that the dealers couldn't make work right. BUT, I have since forgotten the large part of it.
 
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21,094
Location
Apple Valley, California
Us older guys have the opposite problem. We can fix a carb in minutes. We learned how to tap a float bowel with a heavy screwdriver to unstick the float. We had a terrible time learning how to fix F.I. In the early days we took the F.I. off our early Corvettes and later our 80's Cadillac's because we could not make them work. Next week ignition points and 3 on the tree learning!
 

4WD

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13,188
Location
Texas
Oh, but the finesse of starting engines … 🧐 Thrill of knowing just how much (or little) to pump the gas pedal on that Carter AFB … Not !
 
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4,148
Location
Los Gatos, CA
There are fewer and fewer people who know how to rebuild a Quadra Jet which is the best street carb ever made. And next to zero quality carbs left to rebuild. I have 3: the one on my Vette, the one on my 4-4-2 and a spare. And Lars Grumsrud is a friend. How's that for name droppin'?
 
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2,099
Location
Ottumwa, Iowa
Originally Posted by Chris142
Us older guys have the opposite problem. We can fix a carb in minutes. We learned how to tap a float bowel with a heavy screwdriver to unstick the float. We had a terrible time learning how to fix F.I. In the early days we took the F.I. off our early Corvettes and later our 80's Cadillac's because we could not make them work. Next week ignition points and 3 on the tree learning!
All you had to do was change it to whack the gas tank with a blunt object to make the fuel pump go again. I like having fuel injected vehicles but never have issues with gas so never had many carb problems except mechanical and vacuum issues. Automotive carbs are to complicated. Tractor, ope and power sports carbs are easy to work on. Points are pointless now. I would love a 3speed manual though.
 
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2,133
Location
CA
Well if you like the theory of a regular carb you should check out a CV carb. Talk about correct design from the beginning, rather than add-on circuits to correct poor design.
 
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4,148
Location
Los Gatos, CA
Originally Posted by Chris142
Next week ignition points and 3 on the tree learning!
I ripped all the MSD crap outta my Vette and put back the points... Love my points!
 
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8,731
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
There are fewer and fewer people who know how to rebuild a Quadra Jet which is the best street carb ever made.
I have had plenty of GM's with Quadrajunk carbs on them and the first thing to do was install a Holley or a Carter AFB. I do not share your sentiment towards them.
 
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1,906
Location
WY
Carburetors belong in the dustbin of history. F.I. and closed loop control systems are the only way to fly. You see 300-400 horsepower engines getting upwards of 30mpg on the highway nowadays. Granted the transmission's and other hi-tech developments help to achieve those mpg's. Back in the day with a 4 BBL carb and 300-400 HP netted 4-10 mpg and killed mosquito's and the atmosphere everywhere they ran.
 

4WD

Messages
13,188
Location
Texas
We used to flip the air filter lid on pop's 454 with a big QJ … sounded like an LM2500 … forgot to flip it back on Saturday night and it was not a pleasant ride to church on Sunday 🤓
 
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Messages
1,906
Location
Seattle-ish, WA
I have to say, I don't miss carbs at all now that FI is so reliable - in the early days, (early 80s),not so much. Tip for carb'd bikes if you are new to them: Since you are in MI and likely laying up in the winter, drain the gas from the tank and each bowl. Over the winter lighter distillates will varnish the jets. Now if you forget, it's not a crisis. Drop some B12 or Seafoam in the tank and it will clean it up very quickly. You will know you have a problem as starting can be a little harder and usually mid-range acceleration is terrible (transition from one jet to another). In 2001, a group of us took 4k mile trip from Gig Harbor WA to Sturgis and back, ambling around on back roads. I was the only one on an FI bike, a 2001 Softail heritage (rented from Tacoma Dealer; I flew out from the east coast so had no bike locally). I got 30% or even better mileage than lighter bikes, and the bike even in stock trim out-ran the stage II and better tuned Dynas once we got to any altitude (as high as 10,000' in the Beartooths). Fuel injection for the win, baby.
 

Ws6

Messages
2,909
Location
South Central US
Originally Posted by Kurtatron
I'm a younger guy, born in the late 80s, so I never got a chance to experience a carbureted car. I never thought I would ever handle or attempt to repair a carburetor. Recently I have been trying to restore a 2001 Yamaha Motorcycle, and it has a carburetor. I have made numerous attempts to get the carburetor working, and have failed to clean things properly. But in trying to fix the thing properly, I have studied their operation, and the really neat thing about carburetors is their simplicity. Once I understood the physical principle of their operation, I was excited by the DIY potential of carburetors. Of course they are not as reliable, or clean as fuel injection, but when fuel injection does go bad, you're kind of screwed. If the computer goes bad, or if you want to tune fuel injection, it seems like a total headache. I see fuel injection as great for DD beaters, but carburetors are so fitting for a recreational vehicle. I think a carbureted vehicle will be in my future, maybe a big SUV/Truck for camping duty. I actually find cleaning these old carbs a relaxing activity. I should have been born a few decades earlier LOL Who here actually likes carburetors and has a carbureted vehicle?
Nope. I had a mustang 5.0 that was EFI, that I had converted to carbureted. It was slower and less area under the curve with carbureted. I've literally owned the same vehicle with EFI, and properly tuned carb, and can say hands down that it's not for me.
 
Messages
2,681
Location
Chicagoland
I vividly remember having to go start my parents Cutlass Cierra 88 in the winter when I was in elementary school. That put me off of them for life. Shouldn't need a toothbrush to start a car!
 
Messages
401
Location
Winnipeg
Originally Posted by Kurtatron
. . . But in trying to fix the thing properly, I have studied their operation, and the really neat thing about carburetors is their simplicity. Once I understood the physical principle of their operation, I was excited by the DIY potential of carburetors. . . . . . . I actually find cleaning these old carbs a relaxing activity
You might get a kick out of this guy philosophizing about carbs and other old tech as he drives his '38 Plymouth around his town. It's the most recent video of a series he made when restoring it. In a couple or three of his older videos he waxes on about what he's learned. https://youtu.be/2au_0uMpbyw I think the squeak at 2:22 is the crank opening the cowl vent.
 
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