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What Carburetor to Buy?

Hello everyone, I want to change the carburetor for my 1986 Ford E250-XL. It has a 5.8L engine (H-engine code), automatic transmission, 4BBL. I went shopping at Pep Boys, Advance Autoparts, etc. So many choices that I am not sure what it is that I need. Any suggestions will be helpful. Thanks.

Unless there’s performance upgrades to the engine there’s no reason to to purchase an upgraded carb.

Buy one that most fits the stock application.


The Edelbrock 600 is a good, simple carburetor and is plenty enough carb for a 5.8.

Is your old carburetor worn out or in need of a rebuild? If not, then changing to an aftermarket carburetor will make little if any difference in performance.

If I remember correctly your engine has a square-bore Holley 4 barrel carb, right? I’d replace it with another Holley. I’d look online or go to a local parts store that has someone that still knows something about carburetors. You should be able to get a replacement that bolts right on without too much trouble.

The parts store should be able to find a stock Carb for this, they were built by Holley just for Motorcraft but Auto zone offers stock ones. Others should too. From what I can find these were around 600cfm stock.

It’s been 20+ years I even worked on a carb.

But Eldebrock makes a good replacement carb. I replaced a carb using the Eldebrock (I forget what number)…on a 77 Dodge. It was a direct replacement. The only thing I had to modify was the gas line. It needed to be about 2" longer (if I remember correctly). Ran GREAT too.

Holly use to make a modern direct replacement carb for many of their older stock carbs. Not sure if that’s the case anymore since carbs haven’t been used in cars for decades - so the market is drying up.

You can never go wrong with a Holley. There are other good carburetors out there but Holley is the best in my opinion.

I’ll agree with the “buy Holley” posters here to a point. Holley’s always had a problem with part throttle fuel mixing. Nobody could beat them at wide open but Carters and Quadrajets metered fuel better at part throttle. That said, the aftermarket has a buch of choices in Holley replica carbs that have better part throttle metering circuits.

Demon is one. They make a range of carbs from street to chokeless race models. Buy a vacuum secondary 600 cfm model and your fuel economy and driveability will improve a bit and the price is comparable to Holley.

I’d get a rebuilt one from Rockauto, it’s $450 including core charge. Or I’d get a high-quality stock rebuilt from a local shop. I’d rather not try to figure out how to make a non-stock carb work, given all the emissions controls that might be affected, all the vacuum hookups that might not match up, etc.

Am I the only one who thinks texases works for RockAuto? ;-]

Thanks everyone. Your responses were very helpful. I went to take a look at the carb, and its a Holley. I could not find a model number, it just says “made for Motorcraft by Holley”. It does have the numbers 10236A printed on it, but when I searched online, those numbers did not match anything, but I will keep looking. The reason that I am looking for a carburetor is that my van (actually an old Falcon Motorhome on an E250XL chassis) sometimes refuses to turn on when the engine is hot. my mechanic said that the carburetor will need to be replaced. He also said that it was not sending fuel properly to the cylinders (too much fuel) on the right side of engine (looking from the cab). He is a good mechanic and has worked on my vehicles before, so I trust his opinion. However, I have this nagging feeling that it could be something choke related or vacuum related.

@insightful, a lot of folks here will agree that RockAuto is one of the most comprehensive online auto parts suppliers.
It’s the go to place for information as well.

@insightful I suggest Rock Auto from time to time myself, It’s a good place to check prices and their catalog is about as easy to use as any other chains. Autozone and the other chain parts places are great and you can order parts from them online.

I probably seem like an employee of Rockauto, Crutchfield, and Tirerack, sometimes Discount Tire…happy customer, happy advertiser, I guess…

I agree with @texases on rockauto . The only ones I would add are and

If the choke were sticking “ON” when it should be “OFF”, that could indeed cause the engine to be hard to start when warm. But an experienced mechanic could readily discern that happening. Since you have had a good experience with your mechanic, I’d discount that idea. You probably just need a new carb, like your mechanic says. You could phone up MotoCraft or Holley and see if they know what the number means. The worst they could say is “heck if I know”, in which case no harm done.

I had to replace the carb in my Ford truck one time. I just got the same one as it had, a MotoCraft 2150 I think. Worked perfectly for a good while. The next time I had a carb problem I ordered a rebuild kit and just fixed the existing one by rebuilding it. It’s easier than it sounds. That worked fine too. Best of luck.

Since this problem occurs when it’s hot maybe what you’re dealing with is a vapor lock issue. That wouldn’t be unheard of at all; especially if the line to the carburetor is steel and there is no insulator block between the carburetor and intake manifold.

OK, I have an '87 E-150 with a 5.8L and a Holley 4 barrel.

It uses a heated choke. and the adjustment on that choke is tricky. Get it wrong and the thing will be either hard to keep running when its cold, or hard to start when it is hot. Because I have a van, I could take off the engine cover and sit in the driver’s seat while holding the choke open while I cranked it. Once started I just buttoned everything back up.

So see if holding the choke open works. If so, you just need to make an adjustment to the choke. May take a few tries to get it right, but there is no need to buy a carb. They are just as likely to be maladjusted.

@Mustangman …I am not very familiar with the term “part throttle.” We only have (2) carburetor positions in drag racing…idle and pedal to the metal.

+1 @ok4450 - I forget about vapor lock, now that 99% of cars on the road are fuel injected. It could be made worse by a weak fuel pump, might be worth checking the fuel pressure.