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Raybestos Partners With Schwartz Performance To Restore Classic '69 Mustang Fastback

Raybestos has joined forces once again with Schwartz Performance to restore an American icon muscle car: a 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback. “Raybestos and Mustang are the perfect match of history, leadership and innovation. Working with the first-class...

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Top 10 Brake Job Mistakes For Pads, Rotors And Calipers

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Snap-on Brightens Up Your Workspace With New Rechargeable Shop Light

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Customer Loyalty to Vehicle Brands Spells Ongoing Maintenance Opportunities

Vehicle owners’ allegiance to brands should give us all something to cheer about. This is especially true for those of you who service import vehicles. Nine import nameplates — Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru...

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The Element of Trust And Its Impact on a Repair Scenario

Trust: It’s an important word, and it’s one I hear a lot behind the counter at the shop. “I know you’ll treat me right because I trust what you do,” is the general sentiment. But I’ve always wondered how deep that level of comfort goes...

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Servicing Mercedes-Benz AIRMATIC Suspensions

The Mercedes-Benz AIRMATIC suspension system was introduced in 1999 on the S-Class and has subsequently been used on the E-Class and most of the automaker’s SUVs. The system employs electronically controlled air springs that provide an ideal balance...

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Regulators Launch Investigation Into Jeep Grand Cherokee Brake Defect

Federal regulators are investigating whether the automatic braking systems in some 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees may be defective after receiving a number of complaints from motorists about a potentially dangerous glitch that caused their vehicles to come...

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Electronic Proportioning Valve: Doing More With Less Hardware

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and the HCU are replacing proportioning, combination and other valves to change the braking forces in the front and rear. This is called Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and it can dynamically change the proportioning...

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NHTSA’s GM Brake Line Corrosion Investigation: Reading Between the Brake Lines

There will be no recalls on some GM vehicles for brake line corrosion. Instead, we received an advisory from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about brake line inspection and car washes. What was not discussed was the corrosion...

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Ingersoll Rand's 'Real Work Real Play' Sweepstakes With Gas Monkey Garage And NASCAR Rewards A Tool User With The Ultimate Fan Weekend

Ingersoll Rand, the Official Power Tools of NASCAR and a preferred tool provider for Gas Monkey Garage, has announced the “Real Work Real Play” sweepstakes to reward automotive fans who “get it done” with a weekend of fun. Ingersoll Rand is working...

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Bosch Relaunches Boschdiagnostics.com With Mobile-Responsive Design, New Layout For North America

Bosch has announced the re-launch of boschdiagnostics.com in North America, continuing to update all of its sites to a mobile-responsive, intuitive design. The URL contains three separate sites, featuring DIY diagnostic tools (DIY), professional diagnostic...

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New Bartec Tech400Pro TPMS Tool To Be Demonstrated At NACE | CARS

Bartec USA, a North American leader in TPMS Diagnostic tools, will hold live demonstrations of its newly released Tech400Pro TPMS Scan Tool at this year’s NACE | CARS show in Detroit. Michael Rose, Bartec product manager, will conduct these demonstrations...

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Home Engine Diagnostic Dilemmas: Servicing Quadrajet Carburetors

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photo 4: float level can easily be measured on the quadrajet.

Introduced at the dawn of the emissions control era of the early 1960s, the “spread-bore” Rochester Quadrajet carburetor was considered leading-edge fuel delivery technology for the time. The “spread-bore” configuration consists of two small-diameter primary venturis designed to maintain high primary air velocities during normal driving for maximum fuel economy and low exhaust emissions. The two large secondary venturis are designed to produce maximum intake airflow and fuel delivery for maximum horsepower output.

Shortly after its introduction, mechanics unfamiliar with the principles underlying the design pronounced the Quadrajet a “junk” carburetor. Fortunately, drag racers competing in the National Hot Rod stock engine classes soon found that the carburetor responded well to various “tweaks” and the carburetor soon proved its worth in the performance market. Currently, the Edelbrock Corporation manufactures several different versions of the Quadrajet for performance applications. A number of aftermarket racing carburetor specialists also rebuild and customize Quadrajet carburetors to fit various restoration and performance applications.

Design Features
Unlike any other carburetor on the market at the time, the Quadrajet nestled its float bowl between its two primary venturis so that intake air would cool the float bowl assembly. The float bowl’s fuel volume is also kept to a minimum to maximize fuel circulation through the float bowl. Both features drastically reduce fuel percolation in the float bowl when underhood temperatures reach a high extreme.

The primary venturis feature dual-venturi fuel delivery nozzles designed to achieve maximum air velocity for accurate fuel metering and optimum fuel vaporization. A pair of metering rods is located in the primary float bowl meter fuel to the primary venturis. Idle mixture is adjusted by turning two idle mixture adjustment screws located in a separate throttle plate assembly. Some later models contain an adjustable metering rod stop that allows the rod height to be adjusted for a smooth transition from off idle to main metering. The adjustment is located under a plug located between the idle mixture adjustment screws.

The Quadrajet’s large secondary venturis are controlled by a lower set of throttle plates that are opened by a progressive linkage connected to the primary throttle shaft. The spring-loaded air valves located at the top of the secondary venturis are designed to maintain a constant depression or vacuum at the secondary fuel delivery nozzles as the secondary throttle plates open. This air valve assembly also contains a cam that coordinates the opening of the secondary fuel metering rods with the opening of the air valve assembly.

Although the Quadrajet was primarily designed for General Motors’s engines, the Quadrajet was also used on many Ford and Chrysler engines. Many Quadrajets were application-specific and were manufactured with exhaust-heated and electric chokes, right-hand and center fuel feeds, and a wide number of choke pull-off configurations. In short, few models of Quadrajets are identical because they were produced in an era of increasing exhaust emissions standards.

When restoring a collector vehicle, it’s important to make sure that the carburetor model number corresponds to the application. The fact that the carburetor resembles original configuration does not ensure that the carburetor will perform correctly. In most cases, the metering rods, metering rod spring, main jets and air valve adjustments are designed to correspond to specific applications. Because the secondary throttle is a constant-depression design, airflow specifications aren’t as critical on Quadrajets as on conventional carburetors.

In addition, some late-model Quadrajets were configured to only partially open the air valves or secondary throttle plates on small-displacement engines such as the Chevrolet 305 cubic-inch V8 engine. Such a carburetor will not perform correctly on a larger displacement engine.

Last, some Quadrajets were built with an altitude compensation aneroid capsule located opposite the accelerator pump assembly. These aneroids should not be adjusted or tampered with. A computer-controlled, feedback version of the Quadrajet was also produced during the 1980s. Because only a few of these carburetors are on the road today, suffice it to say that a few special tools available from aftermarket tool suppliers are required to adjust the primary metering rod height and travel during a rebuild. A common ignition point dwell meter set on the six-cylinder scale and attached to the green connector at the  carburetor wiring harness can be used to adjust the idle fuel mixture. A scan tool may also be used to indicate metering rod solenoid dwell. Idle dwell times generally run best at 30°. Most of the basic electronic inputs are familiar to modern driveability technicians, so we’ll leave feedback carburetor technology at that.

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Gary Goms

Gary Goms is a former educator and shop owner who remains active in the aftermarket service industry. Gary is an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician (CMAT) and has earned the L1 advanced engine performance certification. He also belongs to the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
  • Rick C

    I have a Q jet on my 1985 Bayliner. It’s a 5 liter omc power train.The idle is not consistent. With the idle screw backed all the way off,not touching throttle arm.the idle is about 550 rpm.After hitting the throttle a couple times, it will only idle down to 1000-1100 rpm’s. with the adj.screw still backed off. Any idea what the problem may be?

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