Matt's Old

Fiddling with Rambler's since 1995

Rambler American Restoration

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Carburetor Rebuild Notes

Shortly after I bought my American, the float bowl on the carburetor started leaking. With the exhaust manifold directly under the intake manifold, this would have started a fire if I let it go. The car ran well enough (except for that pesky oil pressure problem) and I hate tearing into the carburetor on a good running car but, I decided the proper way to fix this was to tear things down, clean it up (since the car was sitting about 3 years) and install new seals.

So, I got the model number off the carburetor (a Holley 1920) and went to the part store to get the kit. The kit is easy enough to get (and cheap at about $10) because everyone but GM (they used a Rochester) was using 1920's in the late 60's and early 70's. I also checked into getting a new float -- just in case. Again, the float was readily available. If the car you are working on has this carburetor, it's super simple to rebuild (about 50 parts including screws) and with the instructions included in the kit, very easy to rebuild. The added bonus was I owned a `68 Plymouth that used the same model carburetor so I was in familiar territory.

What I didn't know was that there was running change made to this carburetor that was used only until late `68 on some cars. The big change was made to the accelerator pump lever. They went from a cam design (just like a lifter on the cars camshaft) to a lever that hooked over an arm in the linkage. The problem is that the cam type pump is not included in the kit. If the carburetor you are rebuilding has a 4414-1 (this also crosses over to a Carter BBS so make sure you get the right kit) stamped on the housing near the bowl vent valve, you have one of these. I figured (incorrectly) that since everything else was easy to get, this would be also. Man, was I ever wrong. I literally called every parts placed in town. The closest I came locally was a pump from a model 1933. Close, but no cigar (in case you're wondering, the metering block is different and some of the holes in the pump are in the wrong place).

I ended up calling Holley and struck pay dirt. The guy I talked to was very helpful and eventually (not to make it sound like a long time, I was on the phone less than 5 minutes) found the part number. The magic pump is Holley #8-221. They are the only place I found that has them still. You should be able to order them from any place that carries Holley parts. One word of warning, I was told that these are not being make anymore so they will not be around forever. This part lists for about $15 ($5 more than the whole rebuild kit!).

To put an end to this tale (and to help live up to the page title), here are a few things you need to watch out for:

  • Make a note of the choke setting. The tune-up setting is 1 notch rich but the setting you have now may be a better place to start.
  • There are 3 holes that you can put the accelerator pump link into. These change how fast the pump works. Make a note of which hole the link is in. If you forget where it was at, use the center hole. You can change this later on the car if you need to.
  • There are two base gaskets in the kits. Make sure you pick the correct one.
  • Besides the above mentioned pump difference, there are many other minor differences with these carburetors. Make sure to match your old gaskets and seals with the new ones.
  • Make sure you get all of the castings 100% clean. You don't want a small speck plugging up your fresh rebuild.
  • Take your time. If you get frustrated, take a break. Working when your upset only breaks things.

And, most importantly..

  • NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE GASOLINE AS A CLEANER! If you do, you will get sick. Gasoline can be absorbed by the skin and poison you. Besides, carburetor cleaner works much faster. Make sure you wear safety glasses and chemical resistant gloves while cleaning. Make sure that you work in a well ventilated area. The parts cleaner buzz may be fun while your working, but you'll get a monster headache later.

Last Updated 01/05/04 09:40:40 PM