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Carb for a Nailhead

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stutz, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Stutz
    Joined: Feb 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,770

    Stutz
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Wyoming H.A.M.B. Members

    I have a four barrel manifold for my 322 nailhead in my 54 Buick, and I need some advice on where to get a good reliable carb that will make that nailhead a notch or two tougher. Its got the original 2 barrel and that is going out. I have read all the threads about carbs on nailheads and they are all for bigger motors or dual set-ups. any body got any suggestions.

    Stutz
     
  2. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,006

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    What model is your Buick? If it's a Special, the engine is actually a 264, not a 322 (unless you already swapped the engine).
    Bad thing about the early Buicks is that the starter circuit runs through a switch on the base of the carb. That's why when you flip the ignition on and then mat the gas pedal, the engine fires up.
    You'll either have to completely rewire the ignition system, wire a push button starter into or ????, or find yourself a stock 4bbl carb from a '54-'56 Buick.
    There is a difference in those carbs, as well--the body on some of the years is taller than the '54 (don't remember the specifics). That will be an issue only if you plan on using the stock air cleaner assembly.

    I'm not saying this is your only option, but after looking at everything, it's the path I chose on my '54 Special.

    Also, find yourself a factory shop manual--it'll have wiring diagrams in it that are a huge help for things just like this.

    -Brad
     
  3. Stutz
    Joined: Feb 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,770

    Stutz
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Wyoming H.A.M.B. Members

    My Buick is a special, but its a freak in a way because the factory engine is a 322 with the manual tranny. I checked it 100 times because thats what people told me, but everytime the numbers said its 322. I already switched it over to push button start so I am good on that. The carb I got with the manifold was of a junkyard 56 wagon and it was froze up, so I was looking into getting one from kanter but that is seeming to fall through. Is there no edelbrock or holley or anything carbs that even get close to fitting that manifold?

    Thanks for the response though.

    Stutz
     
  4. LUCIFR
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 634

    LUCIFR
    Member
    from Seattle

    Talk to the guys at northwest speed they have a bunch of buick carb setups/parts for nailheads and very helpfull with tech too!!! I thinkThey might even be alliance vendors???
     
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  5. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,592

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    No, there is no modern carb on the market with the small bolt pattern to fit your intake. There are lots of small to large pattern carb adapters out there that would allow the use of a larger carb like an AFB (Edelbrock), but there's nothing wrong with running a WCFB like it came with, either, especially if the rest of the engine is remaining stock.
     
  6. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,006

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    Actually, that might make sense. I've found out that Specials from Canada had the 322 in them. Does your engine have a harmonic balancer? The casting numbers for the heads are the same on 264s and 322s...and I don't remember what the block castings are.
    If you decide to get rid of that trans down the road, let me know. The 322 transmissions are stronger than the 264s. Actually, that'd probably be the final decider: if the trans has a cover on top with 5 bolts, it's behind a 264. Six bolts is behind a 322.

    If you've got the push button starter, find a good vintage WCFB and slap it on.
    -Brad
     
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,465

    BJR
    Member

    Use the 56 carb. What freezes up is the accelarator pump. I swapped a 4 bbl on my 54 Special and the carb was froze also. Undo the linkage to the pump and take the top off. Fill the pump area with wd40 and after a day or two take it appart and clean the hell out of it. My carb was full of white chawky stuff, I scraped and wire brushed everything with carb cleaner. Carefully take out the lead plugs and blow out all the passages with carb cleaner and compressed air, then put the plugs back and lightly hammer them back in to seal, with a hammer and punch. I did mine and it worked perfect. I could not believe how much more power it had over the 2bbl. This was on a 264 nailhead. Brian
     
  8. leadsled01
    Joined: Nov 19, 2004
    Posts: 1,123

    leadsled01
    Member

    Marty from northwest speed shop was kicked off the board for making bad deals.
     
  9. Toystoretom
    Joined: Feb 25, 2006
    Posts: 112

    Toystoretom
    Member

    I have a 1955 Special with a 264. The original two barrel wasn't doing so well so I decided to upgrade a bit. I found a 322 4 barrel manifold and was able to come up with three of the old WCFB's... and built one from all the best parts and a rebuild kit. A waste of time... the WCFB's from 1955 don't really meter today's gasoline in the proper mixture the engine needs... that's because today's gas is a lot different than the stuff used in 1955. Also... the leather accelerator pump is made out of unobtainium... and you really need that to work. I could have played with it some more but it really was going nowhere fast. Plus...the WCFB is a very small carb... maybe 350CFM's??? It's tiny...

    Sooooo, I made an adaptor from a Edelbrock adaptor and put a brand spankin' new Edelbrock 500 CFM performer with an electric choke on it (I had to redo the starter switch as you have already done). What a huge improvement. No more black smoke. No more stumble off the line. Big increase in top end pull. Starts right up. Gets better gas mileage. I have since decided that I could have gone bigger with the carb... I really think a 750 CFM wouldn't be too big. I am beggining to believe that you can't over carburette a NailHead...

    I had a guy try to sell me two logs that would have set up 6 one barrels on that... That actually may be the way to go :D.....


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  10. dmarv
    Joined: Oct 10, 2005
    Posts: 968

    dmarv
    Alliance Vendor
    from Exeter, CA

    I stock the carburetor adapter that let you use a new carb on the small base manifolds. It is a new Offenhauser adapter. PM sent.

    Dan Marvin, Owner
    Exeter Auto Supply
     
  11. Chad s
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,718

    Chad s
    Member

    A waste of time... the WCFB's from 1955 don't really meter today's gasoline in the proper mixture the engine needs... that's because today's gas is a lot different than the stuff used in 1955. Also... the leather accelerator pump is made out of unobtainium... [/quote]
    I needed to replace the accellerator pump on my 55 as well. CARS in New Jersey has them fior a few dollars. www.oldbuickparts.com.

    Do you have the stromberg or carter carb?
     
  12. Toystoretom
    Joined: Feb 25, 2006
    Posts: 112

    Toystoretom
    Member

    WCFB's were Carters. In fact... you might be able to argue that the new Edlebrock's are decendants of those WCFB's. I just got tired of messing with it. You could rejet it and so on but I didn't have any kind of jet , needle and spring kit for an old WCFB and really... you would have to experiment some to get things right. You can buy a complete Jet, needle and spring kit for the new Edlebrocks for about $35 and experiment until you drop. I didn't have to change a thing on this install so I was happy. I gotta believe that the Edlebrock setup would just plain walk away from a WCFB car. If you are restoring it to stock specs (which I'm not) I guess you need to keep that old ashtray...

    My fuse can be short when it comes to these things... after I screw with it several times and it still doesn't work quite right I kinda go postal and go a different direction...:D

    Hey Dan Marvin.... PM me on that adaptor (or post it) also please... I made mine and it is basically an open plate now... I think it would be better if it were a 4 holer..
     
  13. jonspin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 33

    jonspin
    Member

    Good Info. I'm going to do this to my 322 Nailhead. All the problems you listed that this fixed are the same things I don't like with my stock 2 barrel carter carb. Do you have an new advice on this topic that would be useful? The link to the pictures doesn't work anymore. If you still have those pictures I'd like to see them. Thanks again for posting this.
     
  14. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,436

    carbking
    Member

    The 1954 Buick manifold would have had the old square (actually 3 3/4 x 3 7/8 inch) mounting pattern.

    Carburetors which will bolt DIRECTLY to the manifold (in alphabetic order):

    Carter WCFB (1952~1954 and some 1955 and 1956)
    Holley 2140 and 4000 (all)
    Rochester 4-GC (1952~1955)
    Stromberg 4A (1952~1954)

    Parts for ALL of the above are READILY AVAILABLE by mail order!

    As a general rule, to make an O.E. (original equipment) carb work on the ethanol-laced fuel, one should:

    (A) increase the idle jets by 0.002 inch
    (B) increase the main metering system fuel by approximately 8 percent (less on high performance engine)
    (C) use leather accelerator pumps which ARE AVAILABLE by mail order.

    If you want a shiny new carb, then go for it.

    If you want a carb that was engineered specifically for your engine by people that really knew what they were doing..........go original.

    As far as using a larger carburetor is concerned; those of you that follow NASCAR, think restrictor plate, and then look at the manifold.

    And of course, my opinion, others will differ.

    Jon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  15. jonspin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 33

    jonspin
    Member

    Thanks for the info carbKing. I appretiate any help I can get. I live at 6,500ft and have gone one size lean on the metering rods (which were really pricey) and that certainly helped with how rich the car was running and I rebuilt the carb with a kit that was designed for ethanol fuels from Cars Inc. The carb weeps a tiny bit of fuel. It looks like it is mainly coming from the accelerator pedal start feature on the side which I have bypassed since it went out on my and none of my attempts to fix it worked. There are also two small holes on the back of the carb near the bottom that face the firewall. I'm not sure if those are suppose to have lead plugs in them or not. My stock carb is a carter wcfb 2081s. I have had no luck finding anyone locally that can help with this carb beyond my basic knowledge so that was another reason I was thinking about going with a Edelbrock. And with how expensive the metering rods were I image if I can even find Carter parts for the idle jets they would be really pricey too. When you say increase the main metering system do you mean the metering rods?
     
  16. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,436

    carbking
    Member

    The 2081s is a GREAT carb, and should run well, even at 6500 feet.

    One size lean rods should be perfect if you are using ethanol based fuel. If you are using real gasoline, then one size lean rods will be too rich.

    At your altitude, no need to replace the idle tubes, the stock ones are fine.

    It is normal with the volatility of modern fuel to have a little weepage once the engine has been shut off, not while running.

    The two small holes are probably vents, and should be open. I would have to see exactly where to be sure. Closing them would make the engine run richer, if they are vents.

    Have you checked out your ignition system? A perfect carb will run rich with if the ignition system is putting out low voltage.

    If you wish, give me a call to discuss how to help your current carb. 573-392-7378 (9-4 Mon-Tues central time).

    Jon.
     
  17. hotstuff1
    Joined: Mar 7, 2012
    Posts: 26

    hotstuff1
    Member

    I got a carter 2197 WCFB think its for a 1955 Buick 322 , I'am willing to sell in good shape PM me if interested
     
  18. jonspin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 33

    jonspin
    Member

    Thanks for the advise. Sorry it took me a while to reply to this but I got some pictures of the vent holes I was talking about. I will check the voltage as you suggested. I did install a Pertronic inplace of the points but other than that everything under the hood is stock. You can see the vent holes in the 2nd picture and you can also see in some of the other pictures how the carb is weeping some fuel. I put in a couple other pictures in case you could see anything obvious on the outside of th carb that I should address. Thanks again.
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  19. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,436

    carbking
    Member

  20. jonspin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 33

    jonspin
    Member

    Thanks for that article. Good information in there. The reason I thought those two holes on the lower back side of the carb should maybe be pluged is because there are two simular holes on the opposite side of the carb just above the 2 idle mixture adj screws and they have a cooper colored plug in each one. Thanks again for the help.
     
  21. willie57
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 378

    willie57
    Member
    from wisconsin

    I've been reading this post and getting an education on old Buicks.
    Fill me in on this wiring that Buicks have. We have a 54 special and I installed a stock 4 barrel carb on a 264 but after reading this I'am not sure. I have a 700R4 for a transmission. I'am also looking for a carb I installed a adapter plate with a small holley on it. The car came with a stick tranny. Thanks for any help.
     

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