Classic cars have many components which are less frequently seen in newer vehicles, and one of these components is the carburetor. If you're new to having a classic car and haven't had the deal with an automotive carburetor, then you should know that they seem to have their own personality and quirks. If you're in the process of restoring or purchasing a classic car, either as a stock vehicle or a hot rod, then there are some things to know so you and your carburetor can get along.
What does a carburetor do?
A carburetor is a component which controls the air-fuel mixture and delivers it to the engine. It uses a float bowl, choke and vacuum to both control and draw in the air-fuel mixture into the engine in an amount which is easily combustible. The amount of air and fuel can be adjusted by turning various screws to make it run leaner or richer. When the engine is cool, a choke closes over the carburetor so that less air flows through so that the mixture is richer to help keep a cold engine running and help it warm up faster. A throttle valve controls when and how long gas flows into the engine.
What are some common problems with carburetors?
Anyone who has a car with a carburetor will tell you how they are constantly fiddling with it in order to keep the car running smooth without using too much gas. Most carburetors need regular tuning and adjusting. Any type of vacuum leak, such as bad o-rings and seals, will cause your car to run rough and possibly stall. There are also small parts inside the carburetor which can break or bend, making it hard for your car to start or idle. If you don't keep it clean, a choke can get stuck and cause the engine to run too fast, waste a lot of fuel, or cause your car to produce black smoke.
What types of carburetors are there and why are they different?
Carburetors are classified by the number of barrels they have, and they can have anywhere from one barrel to four barrels. The more barrels the carburetor has, the more potential power it can produce, and large carburetors were usually placed on large engines. However, before you think you can get the biggest carburetor around and put it on your engine for more power, realize that there is a balance involved. If the carburetor is too large, the engine could run too rich, idle slow and reduce your engines performance. The same with small carburetors causing your engine to run too lean and be under-powered. So it's important to do your research before replacing your car's stock carburetor with something different. Talk to a parts seller, such as one who sells used auto parts in Louisville, KY, to help you figure out what type of carburetor you need.