Piston Slap: A DeSoto’s drippy Will Carter?

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David writes: 

I just rebuilt the Carter WCFB four-barrel on my ’56 Desoto Fireflite 330 Hemi. Prior to the rebuild it started very easily, now it won’t start without a shot of starting fluid.  The spark plugs appear wet. After I get it running (with starting fluid) it runs great, stronger than before the rebuild. Plugs are a bit dark but not overly sooty. Any suggestions would be helpful, thank you!

Sajeev answers: 

Before we try to answer this question, did everyone know that the WCFB in Carter’s four-bore carburetor stands for Will Carter Four Barrel? I certainly didn’t know that until researching these carburetors, so I thank you for this fantastic question.

It’s likely something in the carburetor needs a little recalibration. Perhaps the choke isn’t closing far enough for successful cold starts. But the wet spark plugs suggest that the carburetor is flooding. There’s a good WCFB repair manual from Mike’s Carburetor Parts with adjustment procedures in detail (Pages 55–57), and I suspect either the primary or secondary floats are incorrectly calibrated.

This video, also from the esteemed Mister Mike, does a great job showing what’s involved here. Or perhaps the needle(s) has juuuust a spec of dirt on it, which keeps it from sealing correctly?

Between the needles and the floats, I reckon we have the problem in our hands. What say you, Hagerty Community?

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