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What's the best way to clean & rebuild a carb?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kustomkarma, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Kustomkarma
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 898


    I'm getting ready to rebuild a Holley 1904 glass bowl 1bbl to stick on my Ford 200, but was wondering what's the best way to clean all the crud off and out of it? I have used the gallon sized carb cleaner with the basket, spray can carb cleaner, kerosine, etc. in the past but was wondering if anyone knows of a better way to do it. Also, where's a good place to get a QUALITY carb rebuild kit that will withstand modern fuels. I've used the typical parts store stuff, but am wondering if there's something better out there. :confused:
  2. Kustomkarma
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 898


    BTT. I know someone on this board must have rebuilt a carb at some point. :rolleyes:
  3. I don't know about "best", but I've always done the dip, rinsed with warm water, and blown it out with the air gun. double check the passages where possible with CAREFULLY with oxy acetylene torch tip cleaners. I've used old toothbrushes and those crappy little cleaning brush kits from H.F. For the white chalky stuff, a little Lime-Away.
  4. Bill Van Dyke
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 810

    Bill Van Dyke

    Caustic soda works well.
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  5. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,178

    Bruce Lancaster

    If carb is really cruddy, I start with a soak in cheap paint thinner to save the expensive goo. I frequently follow this with hot water and detergent, which easily removes much of the actual dirt left behind by the peteoleum based crud. Then the carb cleaner with basket...not nearly as powerful as in the old days. Again, lots of soap and hot water flush away stuff that is non-soluble but now fairly loose. Vinegar soak (short and supervised!) helps with white crud from water in carb, use toilet cleaner with HCL if the stuff is heavy. With this stuff, soak for a minute, blast heavily with hot water, repeat til not leave a carb in this killer acid!!
    Once I feel that everything is clean, I scrub with a toothbrush and vinegar for a nice surface.
  6. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,719

    from Texas

    I soaked my last set in acetone for 3 days then took a tooth brush an knocked all the crud out that worked well for me.
  7. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 516

    Rocket Scientist Chris

    I've had wonderful results with my industrial ultrasonic cleaner. It was a bit expensive at $300, but I've used it quite a bit so I think I'm getting my money's worth. One of the huge pluses to the ultrasonic cleaner is there are no toxic waste disposal issues. I just use hot water and dishwasher detergent (Cascade Complete works nicely! :))

    Here is an "after" pic of my Holley teapots:

  8. billbrown
    Joined: Dec 24, 2007
    Posts: 595


    buy the gallon of car cleaner at Napa. It has a basket and everything already in it. take it apart qand soak for a night.
  9. llonning
    Joined: Nov 17, 2007
    Posts: 675


    I second the ultrasonic!!! You won't believe the crap that comes out of a carb.
  10. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,178

    Bruce Lancaster

    Lack of ultrasonic is why I use soap between solvents...even the most vicious solvents meant to attack basically petro based crud often leave behind simple, non soluble dirt, much of it in places you can't see. Detergent gets this stuff moving. The third arm of cleaning is acid...lime from water, zinc oxides and stuff like that. If you can see the white stuff in the bowl, worry about the passages down below!
    Joined: Nov 10, 2007
    Posts: 865

    from SoCal...

    what would be the best way to clean old chrome carbs without damaging the chrome?
  12. Kustomkarma
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 898


    Cool, now we're getting somewhere! Thanks for the replies.
  13. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,178

    Bruce Lancaster

  14. punkabilly1306
    Joined: Aug 22, 2005
    Posts: 2,553

    from ohio

    if you "dip" the carb wont that ruin the gaskets, or is replacing gaskets without mentioning type of a thing?
  15. BangerMatt
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 465


    When you rebuild the carb you should be replacing all the gaskets anyway, why do all that work and cheap out on a couple gaskets?
  16. I used to strip my carbs down and take them either to a local auto parts store (a REAL parts store if you can find one) or a speed shop and have them hot tank it. The parts always came out very clean and it was cheap enough. For a kit, any good rebuild kits from Borg Warner, Carter should be fine. Avoid no-name kits like the plague.


  17. 10bucks
    Joined: Dec 9, 2009
    Posts: 121


    The "Berrymans" dip cleaner ( 1 gal and 5 gal) is straight from the "good ol days". At least last I checked. Up here I get it from O'Riellys. The good cleaner will have a layer of water floating on top of it to keep it from evaporating, and if you dump it from one container to another don't even think about breathing the vapor. The "coffee & creamer" colored crap from Napa is all but worthless. Up till the late 80's Gumout was king of the carb cleaners but it's changed to a worthless variety as well. The red & black spray can from Carquest is a pretty useful chemical (kills spiders too) it will probably be banned next.

    Use only top notch screwdrivers. I prefer the Snap-on ones, but a good bit driver with hollow ground bits will do. Poor or worn out drivers is why most of those older carbs look the way they do.

    Discard all of the old gaskets but only after your carb is back on & running.

    If it's got a composite float weigh it. If you don't have a float scale change it they're not that expensive.

    If you like the carb kit you bought, then after your done go back and get another one and put it in the bottom drawer. It's not lack of parts that will be the death of these cars but lack of quality parts. Borg Warner was making a good one.

    Don't expect alot of help from the technical trades on this. A good many recent tech grads have never seen one except maybe an Edelbrock or a Demon. Industry all but gave up carbs 25 years ago.

    Keep in mind a carburetor is really just a controlled leak.

  18. 46achers
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 65


    I work part time for a tractor repair shop. On our old carburetors we take them apart and "bake" them in an old toaster oven for a couple of hours.

    Do not put the Brass floats in as they are soldered and will disolve it!.

    Remove the "baked" parts, blow them out and clean with carb cleaner.
  19. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,500


    What do the good shops with hot tanks use nowadays? In the early '70s, we had a hot tank where I worked. Mostly it was for cleaning aluminum parts and molds. On the night shift, guys would bring in carbs and leave them in the steam for all night. Came really clean. We used Chlorothene VG back then. Maybe that's out & there's something better now?
  20. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 596

    Barrelnose pickup

    I use a large stainless bowl with acrylic thinners in it which is the same as the carb cleaner you get in cans but alot cheaper and disolves all the fuel laquer and shit.Good screw drivers and tools as previously mentioned to strip the carb,tooth brushes don't last to long but they easily hang in for a clean.Air dry all parts and place on a clean white rag before assy so they can't roll away and you can account for all.Thats my low buck,out in the shed job,always worked for me.

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