According to You: The most loved/hated carburetor induction system?

Southwest Performance parts

We asked about induction systems of the carbureted variety, and you gave us the systems that bring home the bacon. Or not, as some of them were the opposite of smashing success. But that’s the joy in Hagerty’s According to You, as we wanted your unvarnished feedback on carburetor induction systems, be it good or bad.

So let’s see what the Hagerty Community came up with, for better (like a Holley) or worse (like a Chrysler Lean Burn)!

Weber Love

Brandan Gillogly

@Ryan: A roommate in the ’80s had a Sunbeam Tiger with a built 302 and 4x downdraft 2v Webers on a Cobra manifold. Stacks and screens, no filters. The intake noise raised hair on one’s neck.

@Jonathan: My favorite setup is the dual Weber 48 IDA’s on a VW Beetle engine.

@David:  How about replacing my “Most Hated” fuel system with what quickly became my “Most Loved” fuel system?

I bought a Platinum Metallic 1980 VW Scirocco in 1981. Dude had put 50K miles on it in that one year by doing a long interstate commute in it every day. If not, I would have never been able to afford it. Shortly after buying the car, I followed two friends to an SCCA autocross event about 50 miles away. One friend drove his 911 SC and the other his 914-6. It was all I could do to keep them in sight. Luckily, they were kind and I managed to stay within sight. So I got there, registered, and did a couple runs. There was another Scirocco there. It was outwardly identical except red, and he was besting my times by a significant margin. Now, I’m not saying I was some kind of driver hero, but this was not my first autocross (just my first one in this car). So I introduced myself and asked how he was so much faster around the cones than I was. He popped the hood and pointed to a pair of Weber side drafts. He said, “Throw everything K-Jetronic into the garbage and get you a pair of these.”

I found a used pair and did just that within the month. BOOM. I was amazed at the transformation the car went through with that one upgrade. Of course, that was just the start. Over the next couple years there was a decent cam, a header, upgraded suspension, rally lighting, stereo, window tint, etc. Loved that car.

@Tim: I’m pretty sure this won’t count, but I had a ’69 Opel GT purchased from a friend. It had been upgraded from the factory carb to a pair of Weber 45DCOE side draft carbs. Really gave that car a boost in power. The car had a lot of body mods as well—targa roof, extended rear end, wide body fender flares integrated, etc. My only regret is that I was older and had more funds to sort it all out. The interior needed an overhaul and it needed some other work as well. I had a dream of making it look like a Dino.

No love lost for this Weber


@Alex: The worst ever is easy: Maserati Biturbo and its Weber carburetor. A fuel system shouldn’t start engine fires so frequently, and putting it under a flammable hood blanket was just an added bonus.

Love the Carter AFB/Edelbrock


@mrhemi: There’s nothing like the dual Carter AFBs on a 426 Hemi properly tuned. Even the FSM tuning and synchronization procedure is a pleasure to perform.

@Donny: I like the Edelbrock we put on my family’s ’67 Firebird. I haven’t had to touch the thing in years. It has never been hard to start. Never has idling issues. Automatic choke works in the cold. No vapor lock when it’s hot and sitting at a light. I installed the thing eight years ago, and it’s just been stone-dead reliable. I checked the plugs a few months ago and they were all clean.

Hate the E4M Quadrajet

eBay | erst_4760

@Oversquare+Bore: I grew up in the late ’70s/early ’80s and saw firsthand the pathetic output of Detroit V-8s (from all the manufacturers). When I was 16, I got a used 1981 Camaro. Then 1981 happened to be the worst of the terrible years for GM products. It was the first year of the computer-controlled carburetor, and 1981 was also in the displacement downsizing era—my 3600-pound Camaro had the 267 -cubic-inch small-block V-8.

Long live the Cross Ram


@Lash: No love for the old Mopar Cross Ram? Just the mention of Lean Burn gave me a headache.

@Uncle Buck: For sheer WOW factor, I don’t think anything touches the 413 long tube cross ram set up.

Hate the Quadrajet?

Southwest Performance parts

@Mike: Try though one might, the Quadra-Bog remains indefensible.

@TG: I’m sure the Quadrajet will come up in this discussion as the worst, junkiest carburetor out there. However, it has been my general experience that 99.2 percent of the people who make that statement have no idea how to work on a carburetor, took one off of a junkyard motor, slapped it on theirs … and expected it to just work!

@Marc: The problem with the Quadrajunk was the metering rods. If a heavy-handed (person) didn’t carefully assemble the carb, the metering rods would get bent. I learned that the hard way.

@DUB6: We had one that was both most loved and most hated at the same time. Back in the mid-’60s, when a couple of friends and I were pretty seriously getting into stoplight drag racing, my buddy got hold of a ’55 Nomad that purportedly had a “built 265” (whatever that meant—we were way too young and none too smart) with a cross-ram and two Rochester Quadra-Jets. Looking back, it was a totally weird combination, but at the time, it was just impressive when we opened the hood. We weren’t able to identify whether it was a 265 or a 283 (online numbers researching was years away, and honestly, who cared; telling someone whose doors we’d just blown off it was “just a 265” was priceless), but that SBC had some sort of hurky cam, and for the most part, all that carburation wasn’t too much for it.

But it was heck to both tune and keep that way. We’d get it to go great guns at WOT, but it wouldn’t idle. Then we’d get it to idle, and it’d stumble about halfway through the powerband. But when it all clicked, it was really a terror for a heavy car with not much engine—just one of those freakishly quick cars that sometimes happened.

Love the Quadrajet?

Southwest Performance parts

@Tinkerah: A clean, leak free Q-Jet is as cheap, well performing, and reliable as you can get.

@Bob: Q-Jets were a great street strip carb. Plenty of tuning parts: Jets, metering rods, springs, secondary rod hangers, idle emulsification tubes, well seals, etc.—you name it. The days of carbs may be over but not forgotten. I still have four or five on the shelf.

@Peter: Loved the Q-Jets! I tricked-out many carbs in SoCal in the mid-’60s and early ’70s for friends, relatives and myself. My favorite to trick-out and the most to respond were the GM Quadra-Jets. Decent fuel economy on the small primaries, but open up the throttle and when the giant secondaries open the car will launch! Had a ’67 HO GTO and ’70 Ram Air IV GTO and experimented with different carb systems, including a 1966 GTO Tri-Power set up, a 1000 cfm ThermoQuad, two Carter AVS’s (dual quad), Holly 850 Double Pumper, etc., etc., but I went back to the Q-Jets for best overall performance.

I liked the Pontiac over the Chevy Q-Jets for one reason: Pontiac carb fittings had longer threads; also the inlet was in-line as the Chevy’s were off at 90 degrees. Also Chevy carbs had lesser quality as the castings crumbled easier, bottom fuel bowl plugs leaked, etc.

@Jim: I’m an Olds man, so Q-Jets are a way of life, and my favorite. Invariably, when I had a bad running Q-Jet, it was either an original in need of a rebuild or most likely had already been rebuilt by someone who should have their screwdriver operators license revoked.

Q’s have some well known issues, such as leaking fuel bowl welch plugs, worn throttle shafts, bad choke pull-offs, etc. Most home re-builders do not fix any of the known issues (or even know of them), but the owners will say, “I rebuilt it and its still junk.” They then go out and buy a new anything and say how much better it is then a Q!

@Ryan: Q-Jet is a wonderful carb when matched with the motor/trans/hearing and tuned properly. And with the air cleaner lid flipped, makes the most awesome intake “AH-OOOOO” noise. My high school ’67 Impala SS 396/350 had a Quadrabog. But it didn’t, because my uncle knew carbs: no bog, just ah-ooo!

@Daniel: I have two Pontiacs with original equipment Q-jets. The ’69 GTO Ram Air III carb has not been off the motor since I bought the car in 1996! The ’68 Firebird 350 HO carb has not been off the motor since at least 2002 when my brother bought it from the original owner; I have owned it for five years. I also ran Q-jets on my 455 Olds-powered jet boats for many years.

Correct calibration is challenging if adapting a non-original carb. Now the malaise era: I bought a ’75 Camaro LT in 1980, and I could not get the jets and rods to calibrate in the Q-jet, so I mounted an 1850 Holley, recurved the HEI ignition, and it ran great with improved gas milage as well.

All Hail Holley

Holley 3916 Carb Choke closed
Brandan Gillogly

@Oscar: Have always had good luck with Holley carbs. I am running a modified 390 on a blown Chevy 3.2L, 60-degree V-6 in a 1800# hot rod right now and it runs great!

@Dean: I am partial to the Holley Double Pumper, mainly because I had two old Novas with this carb and have learned how to tune them. Our current ’63 Nova SS has a 350, solid flat tappet cam, Holley cylinder heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and M20 Muncie four-speed and 750 double pumper. Runs like a champ, makes good power, and gets reasonable fuel economy. I know darn well though that swapping the intake and carb to a Quadrajet would net me better fuel economy and likely better throttle response. As others have said, the Quadrajet is a great carb if tuned properly.

@Gerald: Yep, Quadrajets were terrible, but Holley came up with an easy fix called a “Spread-Bore” that bolted directly onto the GM manifold. My ’68 Corvette 327/350 ran beautifully after the switch. Amazing how time turns junk into gold. Many years later, someone paid $50 for the old Quadrajet at a garage sale.

Support Skinners Union!

@Stuart: Why no mention of true, variable venturi, constant-vacuum carburetors? In particular, SU: This is a brilliant design of true engineering elegance. With its continuously-variable fuel metering matched to venturi opening, it is the transition design between carburetors (or carburettors) and throttle-body fuel injection.

In the hands of a moderately-experienced person, they are dead-easy to tune. And, they stay that way for a long time. Unfortunately, all too often, some ignorant clod got his mitts on them and then they usually didn’t perform well. That’s how they got a bad rep in the U.S.

@Isaiah: I have SU carbs on an MGA and think they’re simple and easy … but man, you should hear the weird comments I get. People seem to hate them. I had the Weber downdraft replacement on a MGB, and you couldn’t dial out the dead spot before the secondaries: if you check the MGB forums you’ll see it’s a known and accepted feature, so I never understood why Webers were better than SUs.

 Malaise for good reason?

eBay | restoredtoo

@David: My least favorite? Any of that malaise-era equipment. Lean-burn? Shudder.

All were necessary steps to get us to the modern era, but if you have to make make that stuff work to register your car (say, in California) it’s a real hassle.

Rochester Tri-Power

eBay | Realrodder

@Calvin: My favorite is the ’66 Pontiac GTO with the three Rochester two-barrel carbs. This tri-power setup is super cool and makes as much power as a big Holley carb but runs as a two-barrel until you need more juice.

@JeffS: The ’65 and ’66 versions used a mechanical linkage for carbs 1 & 3 (with the center being the primary), and worked well. The ’64 version used a vacuum system for the secondary carbs, which was a terror. An induced (think turbo lag) pause between hitting the gas and making power, and the scary part, letting off the gas with limited vacuum (wide open throttles) created a longer delay in slowing down the motor.

Annoying at the “go” part, terrifying at the “whoa” command, especially with those four-wheel drum brakes. Most ’64 setups I’ve seen were upgraded to mechanical linkage, at least the ones that survived. Lots of underhood roar with air flowing through those three tiny air cleaners (with shiny chrome covers).

@Tinkerah: I love the Tri-Power on my T-Bucket. Exposed engine maximizes the visual impact. Halfway into the pedal, you’re suddenly pushing against three times as many return springs and the power REALLY starts coming on. Contrary to all the rumors you hear about how difficult they are to set up from blowhards with no experience, they are the easiest in all of mine.

Anything side draft

Brandan Gillogly

@David: My favorite form of induction is multiple side draft carburetors (or ITBs, in my case) with no air box and exposed velocity stacks. Weber, Dell’Orto, Solex, Mikuni—whatever is used, they look amazing and sound even better.

So, how did the Hagerty Community do? What carbs did we get right, and which ones did we miss?



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    Loved Tinkerah’s video. Smoke ’em out of the driveway! The old push-start! Good stuff. Is that your band playing?

    Thanks DUB6! Me on guitar in what was Mrs. Tinkerah’s band. Sine you noticed: I’ve think I’ve got the only 4-Speed T-Bucket anywhere. I’ve never seen another one and I always check.

    Kudos on the video, love to see real people with real cars that get used. Cars are to be driven, not museumed (if that wasn’t a word, now it is, thank me later!). Good choice of the double hump, 2.02″ intake heads, best classic SBC head for all displacements but the odd 400. Never thought about it, but Tinkerah you might be right- I’ve never seen a stick T bucket, only (mostly) TH350 & 400 autos, and I’ve been a fatally infected car nut- GTOs mainly-since the early ’60s (thanks Dad, Uncle Bruce, and Uncle Rick!) in preschool. Anyway, great vid & hot rod love from Fargo, Tink’s!

    Long live the Quadrajet! They are good carbs and easy to work on once you understand them…buy a good tuning book and read it!

    Early 70’s I worked for an Oldsmobile dealership. The farmers would come in complaining about no power and poor MPG, about 1 hr. of tuning and carb. adjusting they were screaming and extra 5 MPG. Quads. can be fixed!

    Once gutted out and set the tension on vac secondaries they are the best street and strip carb. All I ever ran!

    Carbs are a black art that only a few master some and very few master all.

    I deal with all these carbs and I have seen many a customer that can built a 2000 HP engine but can not tune a carb or I see where they can do a Holley but not an Edelbrock. If they are racing and know what they are doing I give them Holley.

    On the other hand I see guys that can build a Quadra Jet that will push a 1000 HP engine with no problem but these guys can adjust a rocker arm.

    Carburetors are a special skill and only some people get it. Most average wrenches will adjust the idle and fuel mixture and think the carb is right, Most carbs are set to be in a general area to get the car started and to take a read on if it is too rich or lean.

    You need to reject and adjust the float on about any carb out there. No it does not void the warranty as it is a needed part of the process.

    I see cars all the time running rich. Most had a really bad carb but the one they put on is better and they think it is right but it still could run better.

    Ignorance of carbs is very common and should not be a mark of shame it is just something people need to learn or ask for help with.

    Many just buy too much carb to start with, Many think they need a 750 Double Pumper but it is often too much as that 500 HP they think they have is 375 HP in reality.

    There are some carbs of no hope. Most Variable Venturi carbs of the early 80’s, The Thermoquad and most computer versions of the Quadrajet and others were problems due to the lack of adjustability. None of them ever were right.

    I normally direct people with few carb skills and street cars to the Eldebrock.

    But today most are going Fuel Injection with low price systems like FI Tech that are easy to tune.

    Knowledge or the lack of it has always been the issue on carbs. People just never take the time to learn them.

    I have found that square bores are a lot more tolerant to being out of tune than spread bores – which I suspect is part of the basis for hating on the Qjet. While the mixture may be off and you get all of the generally long-term problems with that, they are less prone to bog if out of tune

    My one buddy went with FI for a project around the same time I was fitting the engine in my Impala with a Qjet. He spent 4 figures and I believe to this day is dealing with a lean mixture issue. I spent about 50 bucks for a swap meet carb and overhaul kit and about a weekend dialing it in. I point that out on a regular basis

    There are some guys that know the Q Jet well and have used them to good effect.

    As for FI I sell ton of them and most work right out of the box with a little adjusting with your phone.

    When it comes to fuel systems they are a part of the engine but totally separate systems.

    Knowledge is the key to getting any of them right. Some guys get them and some don’t.

    If I had a dollar for every call I covered over the years on that I got a defective carb. When you ask what adjustments they made you get Well I turned the fuel mixture screw. Then when asked did you adjust the floats and read the plugs to see if you are too rich and need to rejet the response is I should not have to do this.

    Carbs are like off the rack suits and they need adjusted to fit. When building a engine everyone of them are a bit different and have different fuel needs. You must adjust to them.

    I always said Holley should have installed re usable gaskets as the ones from the factory tear when you remove the float bowls.

    The Edelbrock holds an advantage as you can make the adjustments easier but you just can’t build them for race like a Holley.

    As FI. We just had a friend put his first on his street rod. He is an old timer carb guy but after his set up he said I get it now why people are using these. It took a number of years to get the FI kits right as the electronic always failed in the past. Today they are very good and affordable and so easy to adjust.

    Agree 100%, HV6. My highschool ’67 Impala SS 396/350 auto came from a lady who’s father “tuned it up and rebuilt the carb” (’70s code for put in improperly gapped plugs, a cheap points/cap/wire set, and bent the metering rods). I replaced the entire ignition set with Accel, including a gigantic SuperCoil, made certain the gaps were correct and indexed the plugs, replaced all the vacuum lines, car still stumbly and wouldn’t run @ WOT. At idle, turning on the AC often killed the engine. Uncle GTO racer kept car over a weekend. Replaced damaged parts, rebuilt QJet, car ran as intended and more. I used Hedman headers with a 3″ collector to muff, big Sears Muzzlers for the 500ci Caddy Eldorado, and 2.5″ over axle and dump behind the rear tires pipes. Air cleaner lid flipped. For a barge with a 3.08 posi, it ran really well, and I never had to touch the QJet again. Kickdown and off the line always sounded as if the hood would be sucked down, but idle & part throttle smooth, quiet, mellow. Took the carb smarts for that, 100%.

    Just like the Q-Jet, the T-Quad probably gets more hate than it deserves. It tookme a while in my younger days to figure them out, but now Id say its probably my favorite. Once you get that air door set right, theyre just amazing, and very versatile. You can get decent mileage, yet when you romp it- the pull and the roar absolutely forces you to smile. Plus, its always awesome when the haters find out you just beat them with one!!!

    I came on here to extol the virtues of the Thermoquad. It’s like a Q-Jet but more so. Both carbs are brilliant IF setup right. The Thermoquad even more so.

    Autolite 4100 was among the best 4bbl when it came out. Still have the original that came on my classic Mustang.

    The 4100 was exceptional. Very easy to tune and responsive. I’m also a very big fan of the 2100. Super simple, great mileage, runs forever with very little adjustment, and will dang near rival FI offroad with a few simple mods. My favorite of all time.

    Replaced a Holley with a Rochester Quadrajet on a built 350 in a 62 Chevy pickup. The performance difference was like night and day!!

    Ahhhh the GM quaradjet the Rodney Dangerfield of the carburetor word . All mine work perfect .

    The lean-burn system on my 1982 Dodge W150 slant six was Satan’s own spawn. I filled a milk crate with wires, relays, vacuum hoses, carburetor, the lot, and binned it. Found an Offenhauser intake manifold and a Holley 4bbl that worked a treat.

    Quadrajets get little love from those who don’t understand them. The perfect combination of performance and economy when properly tuned. And, that sound when those big secondaries kick in seamlessly! Because it has been tuned correctly….

    Half the bad reputation of the series 1 E-type was due to the intake charge draining back into the carb every time you shut the engine off. Yearly rebuilds were typical, with nothing really wrong other than the draft direction. Semi-updraft on flathead Fords caused a lot of vapor lock, amusing on an open-hood roadster but no fun in a loaded dump truck (yes, you could carry 8 or 10 tons of stone at 50-some MPH with an engine rated at 85 HP).

    Had a 64 vette 327/365 with a holley with vac secondaries, what a piece of junk. Replaced it with a 650 dual feed double pumper with mechanical secondaries and what a difference, it really woke that engine up!

    Well, I have two of them on a ’71 T-120 and a ponytail halfway down my back. I guess they got something right eventually.

    Concentric, or monobloc? The ‘usual problem’ was that the pot-metal round body would score and let rather a lot of air past the slide, negating whatever thought one put into the settings. Like a lot of Lucas switchgear, out of the box or on the bench they performed brilliantly.

    One thing we noticed back in our racing days was that the Amals seemed to last longer and perform better on the 2-stroke engines. This was due, of course, to oil in the gas lubing the carburetor bore and slowing wear. I still mess with classic Brit bikes and make it standard practice to add about an ounce of synthetic 2-stroke oil to a gallon of gas in my 4-strokes. Burns clean enough and wear is minimized in a carb of questionable design quality….. monobloc wasn’t too bad, concentric not so good.

    At one time I installed a twin Amal setup on a 948cc Morris 1000. Easy to adjust and balance. Car ran quite well and was a challenger for Mini Coopers. . . remember those?

    For the Ford Guys out there, could there be anything more cool than a Cross Boss with a pair of 875 Autolite Inline carbs or a single 1400 ?
    Used by Trans-Am teams under Ford sponsorship to win the championship in 1970…

    Lean Burn was awful as was most of the carbs on Mopars into the 80’s . We used to “cheat” just to make them run after being worn a slight bit . The 5th Av and Horizon got FI just before they were axed. The sorry assemblage on the later 80’s Imperial sent many remaining machines to the back field to rot . Solex carbs get a lot of hate as do SU’s and similar Strombergs. They just require a different procedure than American units and wont work with worn throttle shafts which are common. I can tune my sons MB with dual Solexes but I have been doing it 45 years. Have you ever seen a working SPICA injection on a Alfa? Lucas who made crap electrical made decent mechanical injection fitted to many Maseratis etc. Diesel is a different ballgame

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