Updated: Dec 27, 2019
CSI Work on the Edelbrock Carburetor and Ignition
Ignition or Fuel? Whenever an engine is not running right, missing, having trouble with idle, etc, head-scratching shade-tree mechanics such as myself will begin looking for an answer. Recently, the 55 Ford Fairlane had taken a turn for the worse with its idle quality. At cruise, wide open throttle, or even off-idle, things were fine; plenty of power, no hiccups, and all seemed to be well. This week when I could not get the idle set screw to decrease the rpm I knew there was a problem. I hooked up a vacuum gauge - 19-20 was the reading and the needle vibrated violently between the two measures. I hooked a vacuum gauge to the timed advance port on the carburetor - it read "0". I pulled a spark plug:
It was as fuel-fouled as it could be, and you can see that deposits had "welded" the electrode and tip together. So, it was time to pull the carburetor and see what the trouble was - especially since the idle set screw NOR the idle mixture screws were responding to adjustments.
Considering the carburetor as I removed the linkage and lines, I thought back to when I installed this Edelbrock 1404 unit (manual choke, 500 cfm) - it had been almost 10 years ago! Back then I remember reading the plugs after two weeks or so. Each spark plug was a light burnt orange and looking good. Then I thought to myself about the times the car just sat - sometimes months at a time without being turned over or started. Not a good history. And with modern fuel mixtures there is plenty of "junk" that can turn up in carburetor technology. Now mind you when I prepped this engine for the re-install 5 years ago (FIVE years ago!), I ran this same carburetor on the engine run stand with no problems.
All that had changed.
Right away I noticed a lot of extra fuel sitting around - even the base gasket was wet. The cavity where the secondary butterflies are located - there were pockets of raw gasoline!
So extensive were the problems with this carburetor, I decided to make a video to explain what I had found. At one point I dug out a magnifying glass to go "Crime Scene Investigation" on this thing!
Suffice to say, there was a serious build up of deposits almost anywhere you looked. The fuel bowl, the secondaries, the primaries, the exterior of the body, just all of it looked pretty bad. I even found a piece of FUEL FILTER ELEMENT on one of the screens of the needle seats!
You can see by the photos above that I tore into the inline fuel filter. This was one I had purchased for several dollars at a local auto parts store, but the paper element had given way. When I opened it up, the paper just fell off in my hand. I guess the ethanol had finally worked its "magic" with this thing. Thankfully, both the fuel and the filter in the fuel pump canister were in excellent shape - very clean and healthy.
I am not going to prepare a video or a write up on rebuilding an Edelbrock carburetor - there are hundreds of those all over the internet. However, I will say that an ultrasonic cleaner came in very handy.
Awesome cleaner from the dollar store, a little bit of vinegar, and water, were all that were used in this heated unit. The parts came out fantastic. I did purchase a kit online that has the blue gaskets. These non-stick gaskets are supposed to make carburetor adjustments much easier as you remove the top cover plate, replace jets, work on the fuel bowl floats, and fiddle with the assembly. The gaskets are reusable as well.
The crud, build-up, and break down of the fuel filter all point to one glaring problem - modern fuel. Ethanol is notorious for its corrosive properties. Only recently did I ever decide to address the ethanol problem by using an additive each time I fill up the tank. Time and neglect had done their worst on this carb, but I would think that after this extensive rebuild and attention to the spark plugs we should be back on our way soon.
What a lesson seen in something so small and unnoticeable! I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to remind all of our subscribers that this weekend is Easter. All across the world many people will celebrate, but millions have no idea of the significance. People will take vacation, gather for Easter egg hunts, give baskets, and take in a ham dinner, but do we really know what this holiday is all about? Mankind enters this world with something that seems so small and unnoticeable but its there, and if left unchecked it will ruin lives. Sin. Wrongdoing. Iniquity. Lawlessness. Call it what you will, all of us began life with this problem. While your level may be better, or worse, than others the Bible declares it so. Romans 3:23 declares, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of the God."
I am a gospel preacher. I have devoted my life to declaring the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to any and all that will lend an ear. I celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from the grave after three days and nights, proving His power over life and death, proving that His life, blood, and body, were the one-time sacrifice for sin. The good news is that, like this carburetor, your life can be cleaned up - it can be absolved from sin. John the Baptist said in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." I invite you to learn more of Christ. You can start by visiting this part of my website:
the Hot Rod Reverend