The Little Parts That Couldn’t

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When is the last time you’ve pulled apart a carburetor? If you haven’t done it before, it can be intimidating. All those tiny pieces. Just look at the individual parts that make up two Porsche 911 Zenith carbs below. I’ve pulled apart and rebuilt dozens of carbs and actually quite like it. Big boy LEGO. But over the years, I’ve come to understand the good, the bad and the ugly of all those little parts.

When you rebuild a carburetor, it’s key to clean all the passageways, needles and replace all gaskets. Soaking everything in parts cleaner is a good start. But you gotta soak the sh-t outta of it Marc. Marc’s dad in high school told him to soak a tree we were planting. We were very clear on the directions that day. Consequently, I can’t soak anything without soaking “the sh-t outta it Marc.” Additionally, watch out for worn shafts and butterfly grooves that may create air leaks that cause high idle. If you reach that point, you’ll need to go to an expert for a retooling.

Beyond all the parts, other things that can spoil your tuning party. Jetting for today’s fuel or different altitudes. Adjusting valves, setting timing, checking compression. Since this isn’t a lesson in how to tune your carbs, Pelican Parts has a good overview I refer to here, I’ll circle back to my point. Oh, you had a point?! I was beginning to wonder. My point is, fuel injection is wonderful. All these circumstances and little parts can’t match the performance and adaptability of fuel injection. But there will never be a sound so sweet as air and fuel getting sucked into a set of finely tuned carbs. So take that EFI.

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