Fancy tools

Without using meter tools, is there a way to set a carburator’s fuel/air mixture and idle speed close enough to the specs?

Ford what? Year?

Yep, need lots more info about the specific engine/carb/model/year you’re talking about.

Get the engine up to operating temperature and set the idle speed to specs using the idle speed screw. Shut the engine off. Turn the mixture screws all the way in until they bottom out. Turn the mixture screws out 2 1/2-3 turns. Start the engine. Turn one mixture screw in until the engine begins to stumble or runs rough. Turn the screw back out until the engine smooths out. Repeat on the second mixture screw.


1964 ford galaxie. edelbrock carb. don’t know what carb model.

otherwise known as “by ear”

Only thing I might do differently is once it’s warmed up, set the idle to as low as it’ll smoothly run, then adjust mixtures as Tester says, then set idle to spec. Yes, ‘by ear’, that’s how it was done at the time, works great.

The method cited will give "best idle’ but not “best idle with lowest idle speed emissions”. At times setting the CO very rich will make best idle but it is polluting. At other times setting rich can compensate for hard to fix vacuum leaks (like at the carb throttle shaft). If emissions don’t matter (and for a 64 they should not) work with the mixture screws and the idle speed (and you can throw in base ignition timing also) for best idle. All these adjustments were taken away from us because some felt that they were being abused.

I’ve been told to run “rich” during the winter season. How does running rich in the winter help? I would think all it’s doing is polluting and breaking the wallet!

You don’t want to run rich at anytime. Especially in the winter. The carburator has a crude choke system when starting the engine cold. And if the carburator is set on the rich side the engine can easily flood during a cold start.

The adjustments I provided have been used on carburated engines since they’ve been made. And I use to own a 65 Ford Galaxie 500 while living in Duluth Minnesota.


You can be sure, no matter WHAT you do, you will be driving one of the highest polluting cars on the road…

First, set the points. Then set the timing. Next set the idle speed. Then adjust the two idle mixture screws by turning them in slowly, one at a time, until the engine slows a LITTLE…Repeat for the second screw…Do it again, getting them balanced, then open them both 1/4 turn. Make final idle speed adjustment. (You really need a dwell-tach, this is NOT a “fancy” tool)…

When you are done the car should idle smoothly, not “creep” much when in gear, not stall when coming to a quick stop, accelerate smoothly with no bog or hesitation when pulling away from a light, start with a turn of the key, foot off the throttle…

Dannyway, you’ll get more useful advice if you tell us more about the problems you’re having with the car.

Yes, anyone wanting to keep a 1964 anything running needs a basic set of tools, dwell/tach, timing light, needed wrenches, etc.

I’m also curious about what, if any, symptoms are present that may possibly be leading to any carb adjustment problems.

You should not listen to the people who tell you to run rich during the winter. Properly set up, you should not need to even touch the carburetor for any adjustments unless there was a serious altitude change. (as in driving up into the mountains, etc.)

Caddyman’s technique is the closests to the method I used to adjust the carbs on my 69 and 71 Buicks. Backing off the 1/4 turn is important to keep the mixture from being too lean.

A Tach/Dwell meter and a Timing light are not “fancy tools”, but a necessity for an older vehicle. The Dwell (point’s gap) should be set first, followed by the timing. Once the fuel mixture is set and the car is running smoothly, leave the carb settings alone.

You can also go to the source.

There are links on the page for FAQs and the Carburetor Owners Manual.

Ed B.