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My Rusty Hell or: How I decided to restore an old, rusty, semi-obscure vehicle with no experience and even less money (Part 5)

It just occurred to me that in this narrative, much like in real life I was in such a hurry to get to the part where I get to cruise around town with the top off, I skipped right over the whole carburetor saga. So, I will backtrack and go over how that magical bit of machinery tried my patience, and how I ultimately prevailed, with the help of the wonderful series of tubes we call the interwebs.

After I had gotten the fuel delivery and timing issues all sorted out, it was time to turn my attention to the carb. Throttle response was poor, and the Scout was running very rich. I knew it was nasty and gummed up, and in need of a rebuild. Being my first experience with a carb, I was definitely more than a little intimidated. I had heard that the care and feeding of a carburetor was something of a lost art, since they haven't been in regular use on production vehicles since the mid 80s (and even those were computer controlled franken-carbs). Thankfully, my trust little Scout came equipped with a single barrel Holley carb, model 1920. After some online research, I was relieved to find that getting this particular carb rebuilt and working required only the sacrifice of small mammals, or perhaps a chicken instead of the multiple virgins that must be cast into a volcano before working on something like a QuadraJet or a Weber side draft.


Not surprisingly, none of the local parts houses had a rebuild kit for a 45 year old carb in stock, but thanks to the magic of UPS, I had a rebuild kit in hand in a few days time and thanks to numerous exploded views, maintenance guides and YouTube videos, disassembly and cleaning went pretty smoothly. While I was pulling everything apart, I did note, as suspected, a ruptured accelerator pump diaphragm. This could have been due to age, or the 15% ethanol now in all of our gas (ethanol is really hard on some rubber parts), but was probably the result of all the backfiring through the carb while I was trying to get the engine running harmoniously. This definitely explained the poor throttle response. Thankfully, a new accelerator pump is included in the rebuild kit.

When everything was clean, various small critters had been offered to the carburetor gods, and it was time to put everything back together, I noticed a serious problem. This particular carb is equipped with something called an 'Economiser'. This is simply a plunger and spring, that are held up by the vacuum of the engine. When the vacuum is high, like at idle, the plunger is in the up position, which leans out the mixture. As the revs rise and vacuum falls, the plunger moved down, actuating a lever that allows more gas through the metering block of the carb. An early attempt to improve fuel economy. The problem was, the lever that is supposed to be actuated by the plunger, was broken. That would be this stupid little piece of plastic:

Illustration for article titled My Rusty Hell or: How I decided to restore an old, rusty, semi-obscure vehicle with no experience and even less money (Part 5)

No big deal, I thought. It's a Holley carb, they used this model on about a zillion different engines for dozens of years. It should be no problem to get another little lever somewhere. Yeah, right... I checked with local and online parts places. No luck. I checked with specialty carb rebuilders. No dice. I checked with Holley. No joy was to be had. Well then, I thought, if I can't get the lever, perhaps I can just get a whole new metering block. I checked with the parts places, the specialty carb people, Holley, even specialty Scout sites and companies, and literally NO ONE had a spare metering block. Of course, I could have popped on over to AutoZone and had them order a whole replacement carb, to the tune of about $350. Have I mentioned that I'm poor and trying to do all of this on a budget? My wife gets upset when i put gas in it, a new carb certainly wasn't in the cards at this point. So, what's a guy to do at this point? I could sacrifice a goat, put it all back together and hope it works, but lacking a goat made this not a viable option. I once again turned to my internet friends at one of the International Harvester forums with a plea for help. Within the space of a few hours, I had amazingly located someone with the particular bit of unobtanium I needed, and even more unbelievably, he agreed to send it to me for the cost of the USPS flat rate box it was to be shipped in. Clearly, this angel had been sent by the Scout Gods to my aid. With a complete metering block in hand, the carb was reassembled.

All that was left to do was set the level of the float in the carb, mount it back up and enjoy my topless, warm weather motoring. The carb kit even comes with a little L shaped piece of paper for measuring and adjusting the float. I had an assembled carb and the measuring device, all I needed was the specs to set the float, which one would assume, would be in the instructions included with the rebuild kit. Naturally, this was not the case. Evidently, my kit was assembled right after a 3 beer lunch by some half-wit who had helpfully included the float specs for a carb used on a mid 70's Honda. Thankfully, my trusty Scout Service Manual had measurements for the depth of gas in the bowl when it's full, so after some trial and error, the carb was dialed in close enough for government work, and it was off to the races! Well, it was for a few days at least, until someone helpfully pointed out that I appeared to be cruising around on only 3 cylinders...

Next time, on "My Rusty Hell", it will be time to put the engine under the knife in order to make all four cylinders suck, squish, bang and blow as God intended.

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