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1931 Cadillac Johnson Carb


Restorer32
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I guess that answers that. Thanks! We apparently are missing part of the float hinge assembly. Likely we could fabricate it if we knew what it looked like. Guess I will have to beg another customer of ours to allow us to take apart the carb on an all original '31 he has.

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They were broken when new. I have driven thousands of miles on one with the S-W vacuum tank. I ran a brass float and a Gross Jet and had much better results than most other people running the factory cork and hinge with the old style needle/seat. Block off the cross tube heaters in the intake manifold. Keep it set on the rich side or you WILL burn valves. Good luck, Ed

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They were broken when new. I have driven thousands of miles on one with the S-W vacuum tank. I ran a brass float and a Gross Jet and had much better results than most other people running the factory cork and hinge with the old style needle/seat. Block off the cross tube heaters in the intake manifold. Keep it set on the rich side or you WILL burn valves. Good luck, Ed

After finding all the parts and assembling same with new floats and needle/seats we discovered that the linkage still wouldn't move. Finally we discovered that a previous "restorer" in an attempt to get the non original floats they had fitted to exert more pressure on the needles had stacked 5 or 6 gaskets under each seat.. Once we realized the problem and removed the extra gaskets all is well and they operate as specified. Now all we have to do is tell the customer we have 4+ hours in getting his carbs to function as original, meaning not very well.

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The red fiber gaskets under the seat were to shim for correct float level. With a sticking float, and modern gas with a lower density and thus lower pressure on the seat, they must have over compensated. When properly set up the idle will hunt up and down as the S-W tanks draw fuel. If there is no change in engine speed when they draw your idling too fast or running too rich. It's best to close the tanks off and run the carbs dry when the car is parked for more than a few days. Also, the seats for the needle will come loose if not tightened enough on rough roads..... a lesson learned the hard way.

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I never had a problem with mine on the 1927 car I had. I was lucky to find a man who had been the Cadillac agent in Melbourne in the 1920s and 30s. When I spoke to him on the telephone, he asked me to hold the line, and returned ten or fifteen minutes later. He then explained that he had that day put all the remaining unused new parts out for the council "hard rubbish" collection. He brought it all back inside. There was all manner of nice and useful stuff. A new headlight went straight onto Henry Formby's 1923 V63, for instance. He told me that one original owner of a 1926 sedan kept complete and comprehensive records. The car averaged 16 miles per gallon over 66,000 miles. The soft leather seat for the air valve was a bother tome, because I never had the equipment or materials to make a new one as I reckon it should have been. One day, the car bolted on me in traffic on the highway, as if the throttle had jammed wide open, which it had not. I was only a couple of miles from home, and I made it without running into the back of anyone, or stalling, by turning the ignition switch off and on. I found that my piece of soft leather "string", that was the air valve seat, had half detached itself from the brass retaining ring , and was struggling to reach the throttle butterfly.

The former dealer warned me to never think of making a brass replacement for the cork float. He said that was never satisfactory; and his reasoning, which I could never convince myself was totally valid, was that there were three bi-metallic compensation elements in the automatic controls, which dealt with temperature variations. He said a brass float would cause variations with temperature changes. I knew the Melbourne dealer in Cork was within easy walking distance, so I made a float out of new cork. The only coating available then to stop the cork drowning in its petrol was shellac, and I was never really convinced wby that.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

I have a 1931 370A. I had a problem with the carbs leaking down when it sat for a week and had the carbs rebuilt. Now I have problems with flooding. Both carbs have been rebuilt with new kits from classic and exotic. I put the old needle and seats back in along with the old floats and helped but once and a while it will flood. Any ideas 

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I have JUST heard on pretty good authority, that Classic and Exotic Services may be on the verge of closing or reorganizing in some way. Can anyone second source, or dispute this info ? Hard to imagine such a fine company with the distinguished high-end customers they have ceasing operation.   -   Carl 

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We had the same problem with a new float, valve and seat from Classic and Exotic on the 22 Cad where it doesn’t hold pressure and the whole thing floods in fuel. Went back to the original seat and needle but new float. Now it holds pressure from the hand pump on priming and when running but the moment you stop it floods again until you remove the gas cap from the tank and let the pressure go. I thought it was perhaps a design issue with Johnson updraft on the Cad but perhaps not. Any suggestions?

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On 9/24/2019 at 2:21 AM, C Carl said:

I have JUST heard on pretty good authority, that Classic and Exotic Services may be on the verge of closing or reorganizing in some way. Can anyone second source, or dispute this info ? Hard to imagine such a fine company with the distinguished high-end customers they have ceasing operation.   -   Carl 

 

 

Hello, Brian announced his retirement over one year ago. No new news there. The new owners will be in the same location, same people, same service and parts, just on a somewhat smaller scale. The new name is ........... Straight Eight. Don't know if the phone numbers are going to be the same, but the email address will change. Disclosure.....I am friends with both the "past" owner and the "new" owner, and have had and am having service done there currently, and I expect to continue to do business with them. Great bunch of people. Ed

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On 9/24/2019 at 5:33 AM, 26-25Buick said:

We had the same problem with a new float, valve and seat from Classic and Exotic on the 22 Cad where it doesn’t hold pressure and the whole thing floods in fuel. Went back to the original seat and needle but new float. Now it holds pressure from the hand pump on priming and when running but the moment you stop it floods again until you remove the gas cap from the tank and let the pressure go. I thought it was perhaps a design issue with Johnson updraft on the Cad but perhaps not. Any suggestions?

 

 

The issue is not just one thing........usually it's a few small things adding up to a larger problem. I could go on for hours............the best thing to do is put a bleed off valve at about 1.25 psi on the fuel tank pressure so you don't over pressurize it. That will help with a bunch of issues. I would also install a "quick" shut off in line to the carb that uses an electrically operated valve that only opens when running. Fire issues on ALL CADILLACS from 1907 to 1931 are a fact of life. The earlier the car, the more likely it is to burn......and I mean BURN to a scrap heap. Carry SEVERAL fire extinguishers, I have two small HALON units under the dash, and one or two larger units in the trunk or back seat. I know of several collectors who not only lost the car, but the garage, and one even the house to early Cadillac fires. Respect them, set them up safely, and follow good fuel management rules and all will be well........don't respect it and things go bad fast. 

 

PS - A pressuized gas take is approaching an IED..............having owned a dozen early Cadillacs, I can tell you to expect to smell fuel most of the time......if you need detailed help, PM me with you number. Ed

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On 9/24/2019 at 2:21 AM, C Carl said:

I have JUST heard on pretty good authority, that Classic and Exotic Services may be on the verge of closing or reorganizing in some way. Can anyone second source, or dispute this info ? Hard to imagine such a fine company with the distinguished high-end customers they have ceasing operation.   -   Carl 

To second Ed,  they are doing just fine and a pleasure as always to do business with.  Brian Joseph retired this year all be it is still involved with the high quality parts business - a lot of people speculated that was the end, but they have been making plans for this for quite a few years now. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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On 9/25/2019 at 9:25 AM, edinmass said:

 

 

The issue is not just one thing........usually it's a few small things adding up to a larger problem. I could go on for hours............the best thing to do is put a bleed off valve at about 1.25 psi on the fuel tank pressure so you don't over pressurize it. That will help with a bunch of issues. I would also install a "quick" shut off in line to the carb that uses an electrically operated valve that only opens when running. Fire issues on ALL CADILLACS from 1907 to 1931 are a fact of life. The earlier the car, the more likely it is to burn......and I mean BURN to a scrap heap. Carry SEVERAL fire extinguishers, I have two small HALON units under the dash, and one or two larger units in the trunk or back seat. I know of several collectors who not only lost the car, but the garage, and one even the house to early Cadillac fires. Respect them, set them up safely, and follow good fuel management rules and all will be well........don't respect it and things go bad fast. 

 

PS - A pressuized gas take is approaching an IED..............having owned a dozen early Cadillacs, I can tell you to expect to smell fuel most of the time......if you need detailed help, PM me with you number. Ed

We left the 31 unattended in the driveway one morning and I bet not for 3 minutes.  When we came out of the house fire was shooting out of the hood vents and the car was purring right along.

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4 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

We left the 31 unattended in the driveway one morning and I bet not for 3 minutes.  When we came out of the house fire was shooting out of the hood vents and the car was purring right along.

 

 

Reminds me of the good old days at Hershey in the green field......the big sandwich vendor up by Hershey Park Drive......they sold the recycled road kill sandwich called “The Big Smokey”..........smelled fantastic cooking, but went down like a ton of lead. It was mostly gristle and fat with other odds and ends ground into it. Today, when we have a car catch fire.......yes, it happens often when you work on lots of cars...........after the fire is out the shouts of “Big Smokey” are herd through the shop........usually the smell is no where near as appealing.

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  • 1 year later...

Dear All, 

 

I am the Great Grandson of Chester Johnson who started the Johnson Carburetor Company.  I have extra Carbs as well as some parts, any recommendations if there is a place that would have an interest in buying some of it?

 

They are in old tool trunks.  Not a bunch, but some is left.  

 

Peter 

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