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Old 20-04-11, 08:44 PM
Claude Claude is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 153
Default Replacement carbs

Hi David,

I went through the carb replacement exercise for my 411, which has the big block V8. I logged the process on this web site. If you do a search on "Fuel Pump in earlier V8s" and "Bates Performance" you will find the threads. The Fuel Pump thread contains very useful information from various members, including Stefano Pasini reporting on buying a Carter 3131S that he was having shipped from the USA. You may want to ask his experience as well.

I was looking at the Edlebrock replacement for the Carter AFB. Chris Browne (411) who has been down the full path of after market fuel injection, Carter and Edlebrock advised me to look at the Holly 670 cfm Street Avenger, and the reviews seem to support this.

I ended up buying a custom tuned Holly 670 from Brandon Bates of Bates Performance in Waco Texas, who also agreed with Chris about it being the better carb (Brandon had both and was happy to sell me either). I found Bates on the internet, and what appealed was his bench testing included in the price. I provided engine specs and Bristol performance numbers that he used to custom bench tune the carb and makes sure it has the right stuff inside for the intended use. The Edelbrock price was $199 plus shipping, the Holly was $249. His communication was excellent, he says he ships worldwide, and the price seems fair, especially with the bench testing. As it happened, I was in the USA at the time, so I had him ship it to San Francisco ($25) and brought it home in my luggage. I was concerned about the wafting odour of petrol, but I wrapped it in many layers of kitchen food plastic wrap and then wrote an explanation on the wrapping paper saying it was new and the smell was from bench testing. If the airline inspectors opened it for inspection, it obviously passed.

Brandon recommended that I go to a car parts store in the US and buy the Holley fuel lines, which I did. When I installed the Holley, I had to fashion some parts he did not mention. The Holley requires a carb spacer to clear the intake manifold on a 383 (TRD-2084 $19.95) and a Lever Extension, a transmission shift adapter since the linkage is offset on the narrower Holley (HLY-20-7 $8.25).

When Bob Schmidt said he was flying down to New Zealand, he offered to bring anything that would fit into a suitcase, so he ordered those parts from Summit Racing and they came within a few days. We also bought a full set of MSD-5531 Street Fire spark plug wires for $36.95 and Autolite FRM-85 spark plugs for $1.50 each (at my local garage on the island, they wanted NZ$12 each for Champion plugs).

The result has been a real pleasure. It was a bolt-on solution taking less than an hour to complete. The electric choke is great and it starts immediately. For a few hundred dollars, the car runs as it never has during my tenure. I may have the wrong electric fuel pump on it, as on test runs it does seem to starve for fuel, but that is not related to the carb. So far I have not taken it to a tuner to check the numbers. The car is not legally on the road yet as the restoration is not complete, and it has not passed its new-to-NZ vehicle inspection which is a bit of a nightmare for old cars.

I would recommend you contact Brandon, provide the specifications for your small block engine and get his recommendations. He sounds like a good-old-boy car guy from Texas where the Chrysler V8 is a hot rod staple, not an exotic that commands Ferrari prices as it does down here and in the UK. He did what he said he would do, and the total cost was far less than if I had taken the original Carter AFB to a reconditioner here to be set up. It is a bolt-on solution that works.

To contact him, start with email at Note his office hours are Tuesday through Saturday.

It occurs to me as a community of enthusiasts that we should post our suitcase needs when other members are travelling to or from the US. With Summit and JEGs making it so easy, parts are delivered within a day or two, and can be brought back in suitcases as Bob did for me. It creates another excuse to look at someone else's Bristol and share a beer and Bristol stories.

We also should perhaps do a survey to find out how many need V8 engines and 727 transmissions, and all the related parts (like carbs and fuel pumps) to see if a container shipment might not be in order. The key is to get the parts sorted the way Bates does. The horror stories of carbs for example are in wrong settings, wrong jets and other details that are easily sorted in the USA but which become major expenses, experimentation and delay as the right parts are not readily available when in the UK or the colonies. It would make some sense to find the equivalent of Bates to set up the engines and transmissions, bolt on all the upgraded parts like the newer starter motor (which I have on the 411) and then ship out a container load from US to the UK, Australia or New Zealand. Even with shipping and customs, it will be cheaper, but most importantly, the knowledge will mean these are bolt-in solutions ready to go.

We have a few US based members of this forum that may be able to suggest how to set up a supply chain to assure there are no need for warranty returns. Any thoughts gentlemen?

Best of luck

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