When it comes to carburetors, most of us feel that the less tweaking we have to do, the better – tuning carbs takes time, experience, and whole lot of patience. Edelbrock puts all three of these things into their carbs so that you don’t have to. Their line of carburetors offers fantastic out-of-the-box performance, giving as much of a plug and play experience with hooking up your new unit as possible.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all carburetor tune, so each Edelbrock carb will perform a little differently on every motor. Things ranging from your engine itself to climate and location can have an effect on how well your carb will perform for you, so a little adjustment might be necessary to get things 100-percent dialed in.
The above video comes from the experts at Jegs, and offers a comprehensive look at some of the first steps to ensuring your carb is performing at its absolute best. Obviously, it’s important to make sure that your engine is in good running condition, and timing and spark are functioning exactly as they should.
Once mounted to the engine, the fun can begin. Edelbrock provides a full, in-depth guide as to how to tune your carb for your specific application, and which components of the tuning kit to use. Yes, picking apart your carb and twisting the seemingly-dozens of screws every which way can be a daunting task, but following the guide will facilitate the ease and straightforwardness of the whole process.
To kick things off, you’ll want to be sure that you have all your vacuum lines – such as those for PCV, brake booster, and distributor – properly hooked up to your carb. Jegs’ video helps outline which ports to use for each; pay close attention to this, as having vacuum lines backwards will result in a very poorly-running engine, and potential damage.
Once setup is all squared away, the next step is to get idle right – both the idle speed and air-fuel ratio. To set the appropriate idle speed (which is typically stated in your machine’s manual), use both the idle speed screw located on the throttle body and the idle mixture screws. The goal is to find the lean best idle setting; both the video and the supplied tuning guide provide the strategy to finding this setting.
The next adjustment towards perfecting your carburetor is picking the right step-up spring. The step-up springs help buffer the transition from low-throttle cruising to increased power demands, and consequently play a huge role in the the driveability of your ride. Again, following along with the video and using your trusty vacuum gauge will help you find the proper spring rate for your particular application.
In a similar manner to exchanging these step-up springs, the metering rods can be swapped out as well. The metering rods are what control the flow of fuel through the jets, lowering and rising (thanks to the vacuum-actuated step-up spring assembly) depending on demand placed on the carb. Of course, finding the perfect combination of jets and metering rods requires a tremendous amount of trial-and-error, but the tuning guide you’re provided with helps illustrate some good combinations.
Unfortunately, tuning carburetors is becoming a lost art – the amount of gearheads willing to tune their carbs is not nearly as high as it should be. Tuning carbs yourself is one way to play a direct role in how well your car runs, and gives you the pride of ownership that comes with tuning it with your own two hands.
Edelbrock carbs are a step in the right direction to getting your machine running at its prime, and the Jegs YouTube channel is full of videos like the one above to help you tackle the tuning process. Be sure to check out the Jegs website to get your hands on an Edelbrock carburetor of your own.