Carburetor Flooding on my 56 Willys

About 18 months ago I purchased a 1956 Willys Station Wagon with original 6 cylinder engine. After I got it home and made it road worthy, the car ran fine for being 50+ years. In the spring I decided to have the local mechanic check compression and change plugs, points, and condenser. Well this started my problems. He said the distributor shaft had a wobble and needed replaced. OK, but it worked fine when I brought it in. Pulled out of the driveway and complete shutdown. Yuck. After excuses and not trusting him to screw up anything else I decided to take it to a local restoration shop that has a good name in the area. Well after replacing the distributor, coil, more plugs, points, etc, etc etc they said the carb needs rebuilt. OK, lets try that. Nope, not that. How about replacing the fuel pump. OK, another $100. Well, finally got it running after too much time and money. Began to drive it locally and worked fine for a few trips and then the “rebuilt carb” began to flood and stall. Another yuck time. Found another “expert” and he said the float was sticking and he fixed it. Sound reasonable. Ran fine again for a few more local trips and same flooding problem. Now after the history of my problem, do I get another expert to rebuild the carb? Could the replacement fuel pump be pumping too much gas? Am I applying too much acceleration? One final point, the flooding is not every time I take it out, but occasionally. Not safe, need to get this resolved.

I wonder if there is sediment in the gas tank that is making it up to the carburetor. It might help to remove the tank and have it cleaned. Also, replace the fuel filter. It does have a fuel filter doesn’t it, or was it removed? The intermittent flooding sounds to me that something is holding the needle valve open.

@Triedag may have it. If dirt gets into the needle and seat it could easily cause the carb to keep flooding.

Yeah, I agree. If a float is sticking, then either sediment getting in (add another filter), worn needle and seat, worn pivot, etc. or the other thing is that you could have a leaky float. If the float has a leak in it, gas will get inside and weight it down. The composite plastic floats also would sometimes absorb the gas and do the same thing but dought it has one of those. I think I’d just get a book and have a look-see myself.

The float might not be adjusted correctly. I wonder how many of those experts know how to adjust the float.

The float should be a brass float, they rarely develop leaks, but it can happen. If not the adjustment, then it is most likely sediment getting into the needle and seat area so a generic inline fuel filter would be the simple answer for this. Get the largest size and put it in the most accessible section of the fuel line so it will be easy to replace as needed.

You may not find a generic inline fuel filter in a car parts store anymore so you may have to go to a tractor supply house or small engine shop.

You may not find a generic inline fuel filter in a car parts store anymore so you may have to go to a tractor supply house or small engine shop.

You can still buy them at Wallmart. Saw them just the other day.

This does seem to be a sticky float - and it doesn’t always stick which explains the intermittent symptoms. The root of the problem can be modern gas, especially the ethanol. Ethanol can cause the old rubber in the fuel lines to deteriorate and small bits of rubber in the float bowl will make the float stick. The ethanol can also pit and corrode the metal in the carb and that is more debris. Finally, this old truck could have a lot sediment and gunk sitting in the fuel tank.

Buy and use a marine ethanol gas treatment in this car from now on. Have the rubber fuel lines looked at, which means cutting a line looking at the inside. The outside can look OK but the flaking happens internally. Consider dropping the fuel tank for a cleaning and if it is rusty you can have the tank treated with a rust prevention coating. After all that, have the carb cleaned and the rebuilt and reset.

Are you SURE its a flooding issue…Is the choke set correctly , and releasing… Was the the old float changed out…I’ve seen floats that have absorded gas , thus becoming heavy… Carefully inspect the fuel line from the tank to carb.for signs of deterioted hoses
At best find a repair shop , and allow them to keep as long as needed to find the problem…A mechanic can find the source of the problem if he expriences whats going on

All good comments above. I can assure you that this problem can be fixed. Not saying how long it will take, or how much money. But with gasoline engines we’re talkin’ 19th century technology, fuel, air, spark, how complicated can it be?

The fuel pump can be tested independently of the carb. A fuel pressure and timed volume delivery test will tell you if it is working or not. Generally if you remove the pump output hose and it squirts a good squirt of gas during cranking, it is working good enough to start and idle the engine at least. And you could look at the gas that comes out, see if it is polluted with anything visible, like bits of rubber or other gunk. (Common sense safety should be observed anytime when working with gasoline of course. Fire extinguisher on hand, etc)

On the carb, checking the bowl fuel level is a good place to start. That is usually very easy. Rebuild kits usually come with a cardboard gauge to do it. Or you can make your own. If the fuel level is ok, the float is adjusted correctly. I have an early 70’s Ford and sometimes the carb’s fuel inlet valve starts sticking, not entirely sure why, but I have to remove it, then replace it, and it works ok after that. You might give that a go too.

It could be a needle and seat valve issue along with the float. After all your troubles, a needle and seat malfunction is happening, my guess, so either the float is malfunctioning or the needle and seat, the float rises and causes the needle and seat to stop sending gas, if the float rises but the needled and seat do not slow the flow if gas is an issue. Gawd I hate so much nobodyeven knows what a dwell meter is, I mean do we have to look at point gap and timing, there are so many options, but if you are within 100 miles of chicago I would be glad to come and do an on board diagnostic.

Thanks all for the comments. Good thought regarding the sediment, I have put a filter on just before it enters the carb, however, I doubt the tank has been removed and/or cleaned. It could very well be the problem. This is a project I planned on doing in the next few weeks. I’ll keep you informed. Thanks again.

Gawd I hate so much nobodyeven knows what a dwell meter is, I mean do we have to look at point gap and timing, there are so many options

I dismissed that since he said he had new points/condenser and plugs. I assumed that if he put in new points they would adjust the gap and dwell correctly. That could be the problem. But I always look for the most likely first.

If you have a filter on it, can you tell if the filter is becoming plugged? You should be able to blow through it easily. If it’s not plugging up, your tank is probably OK.
Are you seeing gas come out of the top of the carburetor, or what is it that makes you think it is “flooding”?