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Carburetor issues - repair or replace?

1980s Chrysler L-Body
Holley 5220 2barrel, 4cyl engine 2.2L

My stock Holley 5220 has a warped Bowl Cover Assembly - This is the top plate of the carb which includes choke plate, barrels, linkage, and is the part of the carb that connects to the air cleaner. It is warped in a concave fashion along the front of the carburetor, which means it doesn’t seal properly, and I have been having high idle kick-down problems. After replacing the gasket, it is noticeably quieter and smoother, and doesn’t diesel as much. However, since it is warped and the choke plate gets stuck in the barrel - actually digging into or gouging the barrel - I want to fix it.

I have to manually pop the choke lever with a screwdriver when the car is warm. It is an electronically heated spring that opens the choke - after a few minutes of warming the car it should pop open as soon as you touch the gas pedal. It does not. There is resistance to this lever when you push on it, the same amount of resistance felt when the carb is opened up and you manually open and close the choke plate.

My question is this: I have a Holley model 6520 carburetor that I pulled from the scrap yard. Is this a 1:1 drop in replacement? It was pulled from the same model car, though mine is a 5220. Both non-A/C.

If not, and I buy a replacement 5220, how much is it likely to cost to replace it? Doesn’t look like more than 2-3 hours for a skilled mechanic. Heck, I removed the carb in 10 minutes and kept it all intact.


Try this:

  1. Remove the warped bowl cover from the carb
  2. Remove every item from the bowl cover, so that it can now lay flat on a flat surface.
  3. Get a very flat surface (like a large piece of heavy glass).
  4. Get some large sheets (9"x11" or larger) of fine grit sandpaper. Lay it on the glass.
  5. Place the warped bowl cover on the sandpaper. Press evenly while swirling in a circular motion.
  6. Inspect periodically till you see the warp-age disappear.

I repaired hundreds of carburetors in a Chry-Ply dealership during those years. Warp-age of the top cover was common on certain carbs with the 318 engine. (I realize you’re talking about a different engine). The above steps was Chrysler’s recommended procedure for us to correct it.

I m sorry, willie.

I am still ticked off about the '79 series.

maybe kent tekulve can help you with your carb… :slight_smile:

anyway , I don t know anything about carbs except that anything before the 90 s doesn t like ethanol. even the old rubber fuel lines get eaten up by it. they just dissolve eventually.

if you pull an old one, it should be re built, IMHO

Replace the carb if it’s the original one.

Aside from the mechanical problems with the carb, the rubber components inside the carb aren’t compatible with ethanol gas.

Order a new carb from,[ID]=0&ck[idlist]=0&ck[viewcurrency]=USD&ck[PHP_SESSION_ID]=87e5gp98k61jcauod08ln6k995

Not Cheap!

But fixed!


If you have the money…replace it. If you don’t then repair it. I have never had to replace a carb because it was worn out and couldn’t be repaired.

The filing option suggested by Joe Mario is a workable one. Back in the 80s Subaru was having Holy Hxxx with warped throttle bodies and warped float chambers on their Hitachi carburetors. This led to air leaks or gasoline leaking internally into the throttle bore.

I discovered this by accident and filing carburetors became a routine procedure. Some of them were horribly distorted by as much as .020 to .025 of an inch. The float chambers were more prone to warpage as the throttle bodies were iron.

A few Subarus used Carter-Weber EEC carburetors and those did not warp.

I have never had to replace a carb because it was worn out and couldn’t be repaired.

I remember vividly my first carb with a worn throttle shaft. Everyone told me to toss it. I found a guy that would bore it out and install bushings but he wanted a bit too much for my blood. This was back in the early 80’s IIRC and I had recently discovered JB weld. Withstands gas and heat eh? Machinable you say? :smiley: So I disassembled the carb, filled the oblong bores with JB weld and let it cure. Smoothed it out and drilled new holes for the shaft. Viola! That carb ran like that until I sold the car many years later…what’s your definition of “can’t be repaired?” :wink:

My son had a 1988 Nova Toyolet. With high miles, every 15 months, the carburetor would fail. He begged carb shops to rebuild it. They told him, no, buy a rebuilt one. “It’s as good as new but cheaper.” Nobody stocked new ones for it at that time. Fifteen months later it would also fail. Three hundred dollars every time.

He got books and tried to rebuild it himself, but could never get the car to start again.

At 200K miles, he had the motor rebuilt. The rebuilder put in a rebuilt water pump, and at 248,000 miles it came apart and started banging. (I don’t know why; we are told rebuilt parts are just as good as new, but cheaper. Sarcasm off.) He finally sold the car to a transmission shop and bought a 2002 Protege from Hertz outlet in Chicago. He is still driving it, working towards 300,000 miles.

In 78 my brother bought a Dodge Aspen…Needed the carb rebuilt. I checked for a kit…and was able to buy a rebuilt carb for the same price as the kit. Dodge was having a lot of problems with the carbs in that vehicle.