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1953 Studebaker Champion 4 Door Sedan

Carburetor - In Situ Project

The huge success of the fuel system restoration step of the process caused an interesting side effect in the car. As it turns out, the old Carter WE carburetor just couldn't deal with the volume of fuel that was now being delivered to it. On her maiden voyage (to and from the gas station) after the fuel system was done the carburtor got totally flooded under normal acceleration and stalled. When I looked at it, you could see the gasoline seeping everywhere! So before doing anything I went ahead and ordered the correct rebuild kit from

Here you can see everything as it sat within the car before the rebuild process. You'll note the discoloration on the carburetor and exhaust/intake manifold. This was from the severe gasoline seepage out of the flooded carburetor.

First step is to remove the oil bath air cleaner. There's a tensioning bolt on the end that attaches to the carburetor and a single square nut underneath the main oil bath that needs to be removed to lift the unit off. The unit is a two piece assembly.

To remove the carburetor disconnect the fuel line, the vacuum line from the distributor and the line connecting from the exhaust/intake manifold. Unclip the throttle arm from the base of the caburetor. Finally, thr should be two nuts holding the carburetor to the exhaust/intake manifold. Now this should have been the first point at which I would have worried. My carburetor was held to the manifold with a pair of bolts. Upon lifting the carburetor from the manifold I noted that the engine side flange on the manifold was broken. So, it looks like it's time to find a new manifold. So, here's sidetrack #1 of this effort: finding a new exhaust/intake manifold.

Remove the six nuts and four spacers that hold the manifold to the block. Remove the nuts and washers that connect the manifold to the exhaust. Lift the unit out and remove the two gaskets (one on the block, one on the exhaust).

Here you can see the engine bay minus the carburetor, intake/exhaust manifold and oil bath air filter.

Now we have the carburetor up on the bench for rebuilding. Whn it comes to carburetors I really prefer to have two of them. I keep one as a visual reference and parts source while the primary one stays on the car in regular use. As mentioned previously I bought a rebuild kit from Now, I'm really anal retentive about thorougly cleaning items like carburetors. If you're interested in seeing a blow-by-blow photogallery of the carburetor tear down and rebuild click here. The instruction sheet that comes with the carburetor kit is a bit old, but is accurate and very easy to follow. The rebuild stage takes a fair amount of time with a lot of carburetor cleaner to get it all really clean.

While I was fiddling about with the carburetor I needed to find a "new" exhaust/intake manifold. My buddy Hugh came to the rescue. He's got the two door version of my car with the flat head six. We're both parts packrats, but he happened to have a serviceable manifold in his garage. Thanks Hugh!

First thing to do with the manifold is to remove and evaluate the heat riser. Now, ths didn't ever necessarily work brilliantly, but it was an effort to recirculate heat during the warm up period of the engine. You can shear these two bolts very easily, so use copious amounts of penetrating oil and go slowly when removing them. If you bust this bolt, you're going to be spending a long time trying to get the remains out of the manifold.

Onc you've got it all apart it was time for a trip through the sandblaster. Now, you want to be careful about this and thoroughly blow out the interior of the manifold to get any blast media out of it. Having a bunch of blast media pumped in to the piston chamber is a very bad thing. Additionally, I've sprayed the exhaust manifold with multiple coats of high temperature black barbeque paint. On a perfomance engine I'd get it coated, but this just needs to look prettier and be protected from rust.

Rinse, lather and repeat the previous step for the heat riser as well.

Here you can see the rebuilt and restored carburetor ready for installation.

Here's the intake/xhaust with the heat riser reinstalled. Make sure to use a new gasket and set it so that the spring has the correct tension.

After cleaning and sandblasting the oil bath air filter assembly I noted that the bath had a few pinhole sizd holes in it. These all occurred where the oil sits, and is probably fairly common on these as water and condensation would gather in the bowl over time, especially if it wasn't properly maintained. Since there's no pressure in the unit I opted to seal the pin holes with some JB Weld. The dark spots in the picture above is where the JB Weld was applied.

In preparation for reassembly clean the mating surfaces on the block and exhaust to ensure that the replaced gaskets will seal correctly.

Here you see the top portion of the oil bath air filter after a few coats of gloss black engine paint.

Here you see the bottom portion of the oil bath air filter after a few coats of gloss black engine paint.

Set the manifold to block gasket in place over the studs and then slide the intake/exhaust manifold into place. Reattach the spacers and nuts and tighten to the correct torque. Then set the exhaust pipe gasket in place and bolt the manifold to the exhaust pipe. Now, here's where I discovered Sidetrack #2. I was having trouble fitting the manifold to the exhaust. For somereason I just couldn't get the nuts onto the studs from the manifold. A bunch of head scratching, sailor cursing and investigation I detremined the reason for this. Someone had bodged on an exhaust that was the wrong size/diameter! I finally figured it out by going back to the original (broken) manifold and determining that the two studs had been bent outwards at an angle! So, now I'm off trying to locate a new exhaust pipe (which I'd planned on replacing eventually). As of writing this, I've not found a suitabl replacement yet.

To put the carburetor back in place set the carburetor to manifold gasket, set the carburetor onto the manifold and tighten down the two nuts. From there, reconnect the fuel line, vacuum line from the distributor and line from the manifold.

The final step is reattaching the oil bath air filter assembly and doing the final on car tuning of the carb!

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

All references to They Might Be Giants are fan references only. John & John I hope you don't mind! And if you're ever in Phoenix stop by for a visit!

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