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1938 gas consumption


1938McLaughlin
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If you are experiencing less than expected mileage on a 1938, make absolutely sure the automatic choke is opening completely. Stromberg tried in both 1937 and 1938 to get Buick to use the conventional choke, but since Delco was a division of GM, Buick used the Delco choke. They finally gave up on the Delco choke in 1939.

Jon.

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Since I have been getting only 10 mpg on my 37 Special this topic has caught my attention. I have a NOS carb that I thought may be uasble on my engine but it is from a newer Buick and has what appears to be an electrial switch for the starter rather than a vacume and does not have the automatic choke arrangement. I believe it is an AAV 167. Does anyone know the application for this carb and if I could use it on my engine?

Rollie

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This has been posted before, but will do so again:

Both the 1937 and 1938 Buicks used more-or-less "experimental" carburetors. Today, these would be called a "beta-test". Two different vendors were used: Marvel and Stromberg. Buick had used Marvel for many years, primary because of the geographic advantage (Marvel was also located in Flint); but had been using some Stromberg units beginning in 1934 on the 40 series.

While the earlier Marvels were not up to the standard of other contemporary makes, the 1937 and 1938 Marvels were just plain horrible. The 1937 Stromberg was fair, the 1938 Stromberg somewhat better, and by 1939 the Stromberg was an excellent carburetor. The 1937 and 1938 Strombergs suffered from the use of the Delco automatic choke which; based on literature of the day, and my own experience NEVER functioned properly.

In 1939 Buick finally gave up on the geographic advantage of Marvel, and discontinued the use of Marvel carburetors completely. Carter was chosen as a second vendor to complement Stromberg.

In 1939 Buick was getting many complaints from dissatisfied 1937 and 1938 owners about the carburetors, so both Carter and Stromberg were asked to do replacements. Both Carter and Stromberg offered replacement PACKAGES in 1939 which were sold through Buick dealers (as well as aftermarket). MANY 1937 and 1938 carburetors were tossed in the trash in 1939, and the cars refitted with these packages.

The packages consisted of a MODIFIED (more on this later) 1939 carburetor, a heat stove, and an adapter to plug the exhaust heat in the intake manifold.

The 1939 carburetor calibrations were fine; but remember I stated the 1937 and 1938 carburetors were more or less experimental. To prevent their use on other engines, the throttles were designed to work in the opposite direction from a convention carburetor. Thus if one were to place an unmodified 1939 carburetor on a 1937 or 1938 Buick; the engine, when started would immediately race to wide-open throttle, and when the driver pressed the footfeed to the floor, the engine would come back to an idle. Relearning to drive in this manner might cause some difficulty. The modification is simple: consider a child's see-saw or teeter-totter. When one child goes up, the other child goes down. Apply this principle to the carburetor. Think of the throttle shaft as the fulcrum of the see-saw, and the throttle arm as the board and dual seat of the see-saw. Fitting a bracket to the original throttle arm such that the throttle linkage connects to the arm on the opposite side of the throttle shaft will then reverse the operation, and the carburetor will function in a normal manner.

The plug for the manifold was necessary because the heat source for the Delco choke came through the intake manifold.

The heat stove is necessary to provide heat to the hot air choke of the 1939 carburetors, and is easily fabricated. Visualize a flat piece of metal 6 inches by 4 inches. Using tinsnips, remove a 1/2 inch square from each corner. Bend the sides each 90 degrees forming a rectangular "pan" which is 5 x 3 x 1/2 inch. Drill a hole in the center of the "pan" and attach a brass fitting. Using muffler clamps (or be creative) attach the "pan" to the exhaust manifold or exhaust pipe with the open end of the "pan" toward the manifold. Now attach one end of a steel line from the fitting in the center of the pan, and the other end on the choke unit on the 1939 carburetor. You now have provided heat to operate the automatic choke.

I have used the 1939 year throughout this post. In fact, any carburetor FOR THE SAME ENGINE SIZE 248 OR 320 up through the 1952 model year may be used.

I will leave the question of the starter switch to those whose specialty is electrics.

Jon.

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