CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1970 Ford ZX2 - Carbs

I have a T-bucket with a newly-rebuilt Ford flathead. I have had many problems with the Stromberg 97 carburetors in getting gas flow to the engine. They are also set on a Thigpen high-rise manifold bu I believe the issue with the carbs is that they were chromed during the engine rebuild and are now just clogged somewhere. Many multiple attempts to get this corrected (rebuilding the carbs, new seals, etc.) has led me to the thought of a fuel-injected system instead. However, since I don’t want to change the “look” or set-up and still want to keep the four carbs and high-rise manifold (two carbs are dummies), I can’t seem to find what is needed to make this change. What do you think/know/believe and is this a valid possibility? Thank you very much for your thoughts, however valid. (I am serious, though-this has been an issue for almost 3 years.) Also, the model and year in your drop-down menu are obviously not accurate but I had to put in something to send this inquiry.

I think there is a vendor that makes fuel injection throttle bodies that look like Stromberg 97’s or 93’s. Borla, maybe…

At the very least, you could have fuel injection bosses welded on the Thigpen so they are not so noticeable and use your carbs as the throttle plate for air only. There are a number of fuel injection computers with universal wiring harnesses to help all this work. You will need to add a number of sensors, O2 sensors and cam triggers to identify #1 top dead center. A flattie won’t have any natural places for those sensors so you’ll have to get creative.

Or you could go back to natural finish carbs.

I am rooting for fuel injection! Good Luck!

If you get it setup please post pictures. If I could ever build a T-Bucket or a 32 Highboy, I would definitely go with a Flathead.

The Holley 2CG looks somewhat like a 97, if you view it from 50 feet away.

There is a lot of nostalgia surrounding the Ford flathead. I thought they were a lousy engine, even back in the day. They overheated, broke valve springs and needed rebuilding after 40,000 miles.

1 Like

I did see a video of a Flathead rebuilder, when they worked on the block got out about 1/2 pint of residual casting sand.
But building a T-Bucket or other early style ‘hot-rod’, IMHO, the Flathead provides the classic look. Your car, build it your way.
Seems like 90% or more people choose a SBC, not me!

I’ve seen flatheads with three Strombergs and six Strombergs, but not four. Anyway, you could drill out all the passages if you remove all the aluminum plugs and replace them afterwards, or just drill through the plugs and tig them afterwards.

Something else that looks good would be 4 Weber carbs, but you will need a new manifold for that.

If I was going to build a hot rod I would like something different.
Like a 34 Plymouth with a 251 Windsor six and 3 carbs. I have seen 2 and 3 carb manifolds for those engines, or a 33 Chevy with a 270 Jimmy with a Wayne - Horning head. Those heads are pretty rare so barring that I would put the 270 hp inline 6 from the trailblazer.

Back in the 70s some friends of mine got into customizing old Harleys. They would chrome everything on the bike including the carbs. The carb chroming was always a mistake and caused a lot of grief.

I can’t help you on the parts situation. However, you could possibly try Obsolete and Classic Auto Parts in south OK City. They may have what you need or may be able to provide more info than I can. They have all kinds of old Ford parts including the rare stuff. Hope that helps.

How many miles do you put on each year?
There is something to be said for a simple running stock setup. Vs a poor running cool looking setup.

I’d go back to unchromed carbs.

Didn’t everything need rebuilding after 40k to 50k miles in those days?
As late as the late '50s, I can recall all of my neighbors–with cars of every make imaginable–having to rebuild their engines by somewhere around the 50k mark.
:thinking:

I don’t know, my Grandmothers 41 Studebaker Commander went 160,000 miles before it was rebuilt. She kept it 15 years and I can remember on road trips Her frequently holding it on 90 mph whenever traffic permitted. She did change the oil every 1200 miles and put a can of top oil every second tank. Oil changes were much more frequent then, I remember Kendall Oil’s advertising slogan “The 2000 mile motor oil”

Great car, not sure but I think the Commanders had a 245 Flathead six, overdrive provided tall gearing for those 90 MPH runs. Of course back then oil was non-detergent, required more frequent oil changes.

I replaced iron intake/2bbl with alum/4 barrel and stored car in unheated garage. Next yr it ran awful. Seems all intake bolts were loose. Yes, alum/iron setup is not exotic but it turned out to be something simple

A good running Ford or Mercury flathead 8 with glass pack mufflers has always been music to me. They have a unique sound. The common fault I am familiar with is “sticky” valves.

3 Likes

Also dodge & plymouth with a 318 or bigger V8’s.

Just curious about what you were referring to about the 318 Mopars . I owned several 318s, both the 57 to about 64 or 65 Polyhead solid lifter or 65 or later AMC style engines and neyer had any problems with them. I preferred the Poly Head engines that were derived from the Dodge Hemi and Poly head engines.
None of the 318s had anything in common with the 359-440 big blocks.

As sgtrock said I like the sound with the twin pipe’s & glass pack’s agree with you about the 318’s I have had quite few + a 2 340 & 382 440 I think the 318 was the best all around engine chrysler ever built with the 225 slant 6 coming in 2nd. About 15 year’s ago a friend & I even put a 318 in my 81 ford pick up just because every one else swapping engine;s from one make to another was mostly using chevy engine’s & we wanted to be different & it worked out good.

1 Like