What's a good fluid to prime a dry carburetor other than gasoline?

I go months between starts. I like to prime the carburetor after long intervals. I’ve used carburetor cleaner, the spray kind, but the last few cans I’ve used up the propellant long before the fluid. I punch a hole in the top, pour it out into a jar, but I’d rather a non-propelled alternative. It’s never cold here, so I don’t need ether. I don’t want to keep a jar of gasoline in the cab.

Everclear. Good for you too.

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They’ve been makin’ the stuff forever.



I never tried this…

Refill flat AEROSOL Spray Cans like the WD-40 and others - YouTube

Of all the carburetors I have rebuilt never primed one, so in my experience nothing. Just trying to save a few extra cranks?

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Would OP spray that Jump-start stuff into the top of the carb (by removing the air cleaner), or into the air intake before the air filter? If the air cleaner could stay in place, the aerosol method looks pretty good.

I sometimes go a week without driving my own truck and when I wait that long it takes 2 or 3 crank attempts before it pops and fires.

It’s heptane & ether - and a spray can. I knew only 1 meaning for ‘lubricity’, was surprised to see it here, but mine is the third.

It’s elegant to start right up. I keep the battery disconnected and a part out so I have to lift the hood anyway.

It can. I downloaded CRC’s spec sheet.

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How are you priming it? For many years prior to the death of carburetors there were no vents that you could fill the bowl through.

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Unless it is a gravity driven fuel system like my Triumph, lawnmowers and snowblowers in which case they would fill the bowl by themselves. Sounds like op thinks starting fluid primes a carburetor, failure to communicate I think!

Given that you could disconnect the gas line from the other end and elevate it, then pour gas into the line till the float valve (needle and seat} says ok enough gas in the carb :grinning: :smiley: :smile: Why bother?

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But there’s a vent in the carburetor that can allow gas to evaporate from the float bowl as the vehicle sits if it malfunctions.

So you have to keep the engine running long enough so the mechanical fuel pump can refill the float bowl so the engine will run.


I would look at wiring an electric low pressure fuel pump into the system. One place to put it is in the fuel line near the tank so it pumps gas up to the mechanical fuel pump.

Part of your problem isn’t just the carburetor but the fuel pump also goes dry, and the fuel lines. Pumping the fuel up to the fuel pump before starting will shorten the time to start.

Edit: most modern fuel pumps are high pressure. You need to find an old style that only puts out between 3-7 psi.

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I think the OP wants the car to start quickly so he is not just cranking the engine over until the fuel pump refills the carburetor bowl.

And if this is true, I think that’s a mistake. Starting the engine after it has sat for several months, after all the oil has settled, with no oil pressure and little oil left on any of the moving surfaces is just asking for the engine to scar those bearing surfaces and wear out prematurely,

Cranking the engine over while the fuel pump draws gas from the tank to replenish the carburetor gives the engine to build up a bit of oil pressure to at least wet the bearing surfaces.


I’m with @LoudThunder on this one,

I think @RandomTroll wants his car to start up right away to save his starter and battery.

He’s not worried about the oil not being circulated, he wants it start with dry bearings.

Is carb leaking ?

I take off the nut that holds the top of the air cleaner off, spray stuff through the hole. It seems to help.

What does CRC Jump Start prime?

You would. That’s more than I want to do.

I can solve some problems even if I don’t solve all of them.

Don’t the pistons move the same whether the starter is moving them or the engine?

Yes. Don’t you?

I considered a pre-luber years ago, decided it was too much work. I should take off the plugs, pour some oil in? I start with dry bearings whether it takes 5 seconds or a minute to start.

I look for this. It was a few years ago. I rebuilt the carburetor to deal with it. I see no sign of leaking now.

I do not believe the carb is leaking; the gas is evaporating while the car sits for months between starts. The OP just does not like cranking the engine over, and over, and over, until it starts… First off, we do not know if the engine is in good condition, well maintained, or even if it really needs a tune-up. Perhaps it’s hard to start even if the OP tried to start the car every day…

And not to put too fine a point on it, cranking an engine over with “dry bearings,” using just the starter motor is a whole lot less stressful than having the dry main bearing slammed into the crank with the explosive force of ignition, and I’ll bet when the OP finally starts that engine running, he floors it and pumps the gas petal numerous times to keep that engine running…

I suggest the OP pump the gas two times, crank the engine over a few times, stop, pump the gas two more times, crank the engine over a few time again, and so forth… Cranking an old starter over and over, continuously is a sure way to kill it, it will overheat quickly.

Neither do I - I answered @Cavell’s question.

Yes. I think everyone knew that.

I don’t. Do you? Does anyone?

I do. It is.

It started up immediately yesterday.

It is?

You lost that bet.

Why I want it to start sooner.

My 1979 truck with 20R engine and a carb needed a prime after sitting sometimes. I carried a few ounces of gasoline in a 1 qt. metal can with a screw top - probably a Marvel Mystery Oil can. The small amount of gas was all I ever needed, and the volume of the can and its secure cap made it plenty safe, in my opinion. I tucked it upright somewhere in the capacious underhood region.

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I’ve primed my 70’s Ford truck’s carb a couple of ways over the years

  • pour a little gasoline down the venturi (the air path)
  • pop the top off the carb and pour gasoline into the fuel bowl, then reattach the top

Both those require removing the air cleaner. I think I’ll try the aerosol method next time, spraying into the air cleaner intake.

In any event, for me priming of that sort is only needed for rare occasions. My usual priming method when the fuel bowl has partially evaporated (b/c of infrequent use) is to just crank the engine for 10 second bursts, usually a few times of this are needed, waiting 15-30 seconds between bursts. I hold to the same theory as L_Thunder above, the starter motor is more gentle on the engine’s semi-dry bearings & piston rings. Have no idea if it’s actually better in a practical way though. My only evidence: 50 year old truck, original engine.

Sometimes when the fuel bowl has completely evaporated the valve that allows fuel into the carb gets stuck closed. That’s an example when I have to pop the top off the carb. I jiggle the valve free, then fill the fuel bowl since the top is off anyway.

OK, You win, I give up, I don’t have any “dogs” in this fight. You know best, I do not know why you even bothered to ask any questions of the folks on this web site… You shot down all my best efforts to help you.


So I concede to your superior “nolledge”, Youse mus be en Audomodive Injineer, who doez knot kneed our hilp… I canz see youse now, gas in 'n opin 'ol oil can, pouring rew gas into the open carb, while a bud is cranking the injine over, This way, if the car do’t backfire and set the can of gas on fire, it’ll start quicker…

Then again, you could just start the engine more often…

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