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Detroit Lubricator Carburetors


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I posted this on the AACA Technical forum and wanted to hear from the CCCA experts as well. As mentioned in past posts I have been chasing fuel system problems on my 32 Cadillac V-12 in order to get it running dependably. The fuel pump has been rebuilt and I have run it both with and without the electric fuel pump. It runs better with the electric pump but still not smoothly and continues to backfire when coasting. This weekend I removed the fuel pump to check the actuator pushrod which had been suggested as the problem by a number of people. There appears to be no problem there as the rod is the correct length and does not show excessive wear at either end. So, I am left with the dual Detroit Lubricator model 51 updraft carburetors, which I also removed. These carbs were rebuilt by the previous owner and both look excellent on the outside but I have no idea what was done to them inside. The previous owner said he just cleaned them out as they had sat unused for a long time when he bought the car, but he did not check or change any adjustments such as float height, etc. My problem is I know very little about these carbs and do not want to touch them without some education. Does anyone have any literature, repair instructions, exploded views, etc. that they could copy and send? Has anyone personally rebuilt these carbs and could give me some insight on how to proceed? At minimum I need to know how to check and set the float height and how to baseline set the mixture needles so both carbs are synchronized, plus whatever other adjustments might be needed to get these running right. Any help will be greatly appreciated.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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  • 9 months later...
Guest BobRobb

Don--I know nothing about Detroit Lubricator Carbs but I did have my "modern" (56 Packard Caribbean) Rochester carbs rebuilt by Daytona in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. They did an excellent job. My restorer just installed them on the car, attached the linkage and the car started without a single adjustment. You might contact them with your questions and maybe they can even rebuild them with the same quality as they did my Rochesters. However, they are not inexpensive as you would expect from first class workmanship.

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  • 4 months later...


classic carbs of phoenix az. is the foremost expert on detroit lubricator carbs.

the carb can only be built by someone like them or at least a master machinist.

that carb design is like no other in the fact that it's performance is dictated by how well all the parts fit.

if the parts have worn and become loose the carb will idle inconsistantly and cough,backfire, etc.

classic carbs

3116 east shea blvd.

phoenix,az 85028


p.s. they also reproduce the parts for these carbs.

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Call Jeff Dreibus, The Old Carb Doctor, Nebo, NC (near Asheville). Jeff routinely rebuilds carburetors from the brass era through the computerized carbs of the '80s. Customers include White Post Restorations. He did a thorough rebuild of my Packard's carb.

Jeff goes the extra mile, is a stickler for authenticity, precision. 1 (828) 659-1428

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  • 2 months later...

Jeff Dreibus rebuilt the Detroit Lubricator 51 I bought in pieces off of Ebay - he did a beautiful and careful job.

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Thanks for your recent answers to this old thread, I have since replaced my Detroit carbs with later model cast iron Zeniths and the car now runs great. See the thread and photos of the changeover in the "Restorations and Our Cars" forum.

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