Carburetors - I think I've learned to like them

Messages
3,897
Location
Canada
Originally Posted by clinebarger
I drove carbureted rides for years, Don't miss it one bit!
+1 OP needs to spend more time with automotive carbs to FULLY realize how.....amazing? they were.
 
Messages
4,162
Location
Texas
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?
I know almost nothing about motorcycles . But for " normal cars " ( not hot rods ) electronic ignition and fuel injection have been 2 of the best improvements to modern cars / engines . Getting rid of automatic chokes ( or choke in general ) has been a blessing ! :-)
 
Messages
13,298
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I drove carb'd vehicles forever! If I ever did have engine issues, it was usually carb issues. The Firebird in my signature has a Rochester Quad(made right here in my hometown). It's a good one and has never needed anything other than a tiny bit of tweaking over the 40 years that I've owned her, since new. I can't really say that I like/love carbs but, I do have respect them.
 
Messages
35,696
Location
NY
Carbs were a hoot at times, especially toward the end of their life cycle when the EPA started screwing around with them. Putting caps on adjustment screws, or making adjusting them nearly impossible for the average Joe. There were some decent carbs, but boy did the EPA screw things up.
 
Messages
635
Location
Kevil,Ky
I have 2 carbed cars. A 1965 VW Beetle and a 1975 VW Westfalia 2L. both carbs work great and are easy to repair. Neither is a daily driver but could be. The automatic chokes and the points ignition work very reliably on both. The 75 Westy came with fuel injection and the previous owner took it off and put a Weber on it. Mileage on the bug is always 30+ and the 75 Brick gets 18 to 20 depending on hills and wind. I had one of those 80's Fords with VVT carbs with a 302. Unbelievable mileage for a Ford Crown Victoria 8 passenger wagon to Florida and back was over 30MPG.
 
Messages
1,775
Location
Kingston
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?
I still daily drive 2 carbureted vehicles. I keep the choke adjusted reasonably well and it's not a problem at all. They are both 1980s GM's with a Rochester quadrajet. They have been very reliable considering they're over 36 years old. No electric fuel pump to fail, no ECM, etc. Occasionally the idle jets get dirty and need blown out with air (every few years). Extreme cold starts are never a problem. Only annoyance I've had is when the choke is adjusted perfectly for 90% of the years temperatures when it goes up to 90+ degrees, the choke loses its tension and needs tightened for proper cold starts without having to pump the gas extra times.
 
Messages
6,615
Location
New England
In the 1980's I used think cars did not run properly when cold and took a lot of tinkering. Then I purchased a modern iteration(early 2000) of fuel injection and never encountered a single fuel system engine and they ran into the 200k+ range having way more power for same size or smaller engine and way better fuel economy.
 
Messages
37
Location
Shelton, CT
Originally Posted by Kurtatron
I actually find cleaning these old carbs a relaxing activity.
I guess you'll need to get an old CBX for the full experience! My 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 is carbureted and they were until the last one was made in 2018. The Keihin CVK40 (also used on many old H-D bikes) will work forever as long as you keep fresh fuel in it. Long after the magic smoke has left the last functioning fuel injection computer the CVK will live on. Until you need a slide diaphragm, and then you're kinda screwed.
 
Messages
425
Location
Daytona Beach
Quote
Who here actually likes carburetors and has a carbureted vehicle?
Yep, try 4 in a row. and for some real fun, try to balance them so every cylinder gets the same mixture! This one does cheat a little though, it has electronic ignition. [Linked Image]
 

NDL

Messages
185
Location
Carolina Foothills
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?
I'll tell you what: I owned a 1982 Chevrolet Malibu with the 229 CID V6; her carburetor had a broken air horn, which forced me to run the carburetor without a choke plate. Even so, when starting in the spring, summer, and fall, just a tap of the key was needed; the engine would consistently start up with next to no cranking. I have yet to find a fuel injected vehicle which started as quickly as my Malibu....I am not saying that such a vehicle doesn't exist, but I haven't come across any. The idle on the Malibu was extremely smooth too. Carbureted engines are a pain to start and warm up in cold weather, but that's my ONLY complaint. Another nice feature of carbureted engines: fuel filters are a snap for DIY'ers; cheap, quick, and easily accessible.
 

JTK

Messages
13,449
Location
Buffalo, NY
I'm at the younger side at 49, but carbs on run of the mill cars I don't miss one bit. Something performance based and dialed in right? Sure. Like clinebarger mentioned above, I fiddle with enough outdoor power equipment, where the absolute #1 issue with them is carb problems. It's love/hate. Simple, inexpensive, but not necessarily reliable.
 

Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
Messages
13,311
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I maintain my aunt's 70 Beetle to an extent, I'm actually the only one who drives it. It sat for most of a year last year and couldn't pass emissions, had to have the carb rebuilt and all sorts of stuff to get it to pass. Meh, don't wanna deal with that stuff.
 
Messages
1,775
Location
Kingston
Originally Posted by supton
Might be fun to mess with but not on a regular basis.
After 37 years and 240k miles my winter beater has a lot of issues, but starting with the carburetor is not one of them. I think most people on here that talk about how bad they were were young and driving clapped out vehicles that didn't run right and act like that's the way all carbs were. I've been driving carbureted vehicles since was 16 (so 20 years now), when you drive them every day permanently, you don't want to drive one that isn't tuned right. I actually recorded 2 weeks of cold starts in my cutlass to crop together with some editing software, to show how well it starts. My fuel injected 4.8 Silverado never starts as fast. Only my winter beater has a hitch, so we had to suffer without AC this weekend if we wanted to bring the kayaks, canoe etc to the cottage an hour and a half away. Screamed the gutless 305 a bit on some of the steeper hills to accelerate, but the carburetor didn't experience any heat soak after arrival. It's a quadrajet from 85 that has been cleaned out but never rebuilt yet.

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Messages
17,981
Location
NH
I can accept that, but still, there doesn't seem to be a large number of other owners that can claim that kind of lifespan. Daily driving I'm sure does help.
 
Messages
4,186
Location
Cali
Originally Posted by supton
I can accept that, but still, there doesn't seem to be a large number of other owners that can claim that kind of lifespan. Daily driving I'm sure does help.
My 83 Silverado with the 305 and Qjet is still my daily driver, bought the truck new, the carb has been rebuilt, the carb outlasted the engine due to leaky valve guide seal and piston rings, don't concern myself with gas mileage or HP ratings, she's been my daily driver for the last 35+ yrs and the Q jet just keeps chugging along. thumbsup

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Messages
11,665
Location
Illinois
Perhaps a bit of both for me. My 1966 Nova was clapped out in the 1980s and I learned the joy of rebuilding the 1bbl carb after removing it from the car in a shopping mall parking lot, getting a ride home, rebuilding it, and getting a ride back to reinstall it and drive it home. But then there was my mom's 1978 Mercury Zephyr with the 3.3L engine and the picky carb that couldn't cold start without a 27 step procedure that was put on a sticker on the sun visor. We owned that car from new. Of course mom never followed the procedure and the car would stall 4-6 times in the half block from our house to the first stop sign. But I never had that problem with my Nova. No, if someone survived malaise era cars and the poorly implemented carbs, chokes and pollution controls of the mid 70s - mid 80s on NEW cars of the time, they have some righteous angst regarding carburetors.
Originally Posted by caprice_2nv
I think most people on here that talk about how bad they were were young and driving clapped out vehicles that didn't run right and act like that's the way all carbs were. I've been driving carbureted vehicles since was 16 (so 20 years now), when you drive them every day permanently, you don't want to drive one that isn't tuned right.
 
Messages
6,336
Location
KY
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. 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'?
I agree; I ran a Quadrajet on my SBC back in the ‘70s during my misspent street racing youth. They are almost infinitely adjustable. The people who disparage Quadrajets usually lack the time, patience, or aptitude to understand how and why it is designed the way it is. I still get called on to rebuild a Q-Jet every so often. Some older European BMW M30 motors were fitted with a four barrel Solex carburetor; when I had my 1973 Bavaria I was tempted to get a Euro manifold and see if I could adapt a Q-Jet to fit.
 
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