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Thread: 2 barrel vs. 4 barrel carburetor

  1. #1
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    2 barrel vs. 4 barrel carburetor

    I've seen several times where people have asked about the benifits, if any, of a 4 barrel carburetor over a 2 barrel.
    My recient story.

    One of the things I needed to do to prepare for getting my new(ish) Conestoga ready for daily driving duties, is to put a 4 barrel carbutetor on the 259 out of my ol 60 Lark. My current 59Lark wagon will have to forgive its Offenhauser manifold and Edelbrock carb. up for the original 2 barrel and manifold that were on it when I bought it. Yes, I still have it from almost 12 years ago..!
    The carb. is a 500cfm, "well..." used (up) version of the Edelbrock carb. Its seen many many miles on two different cars. The throttle shaft/base holes are shot. You have to tap the throttle to get the butterflyes to fully close for a proper idle..! I did buy a fresh one for after all the little problems that may crop up during the initial assembly into the Conestoga, (had a flat head 6), I know this one works well, fuel metering wise.

    Anyway, I rebuilt the original carburetor, cleaned the spiders out of the original manifold, even did a little (porting) radiusing of the hard corners from the throttle bore holes that lead into the runners..and made the swap about three weeks ago. So despite doing this backward from most of you, all details still directly apply.

    Now what many/some want to know -
    I'm not going to quote MPG here, just basic differences. Just note, that I took the time to make the Edelbrock carb. and engine happy together. I didn't just bolt it on and go. The the needles/metering rods are different, the springs that help control the rods are different thAn what comes in the stock carb.
    To start with, yes, "overall", the 500cfm AFB style carburetor has better driveability and gas milage in all circumstances thAn did the OEM 2 barrel (while on my 259, automatic trans., 59 Lark 2dr. wagon). Your results may vary.

    - The 4 barrel, good things -

    1. Part throttle sensetivity is much better thAn the 2 barrel.
    2. The around town drivability (see #1) is much nicer. Less throttle is used with the 4 barrel thAn the 2 barrel.
    3. Around town milage is better by a little over (1-1/2) mpg.
    4. The power is somewhat obviously better for getting on the freeways with all four barrels being allowed to open. The initial throttle response is better, just like it is for city driving, but when the secondaries start to open, you feel it.
    5. While not a long trip, I went to the Chino Air show yesterday (05.04.13), about a 45 mile one way drive the way I had to go, with about 80% of it freeway, and or faster two lane highway. The "passing" power it had....is now gone, even accelerating to change lanes...is gone. Sure, the engine/car will still accelerate, just not nearly as quickly. The smaller, primary throttle bores in the 4 barrel, again respond better to throttle pressure changes.
    6. Freeway milage is also better with the 4 barrel by a notable amount.

    - The 4 barrel bad things -

    1. Needing to "buy" the manifold, the carb., and an air cleaner.
    2. Need to adjust the throttle linkage, and if you have an automatic trans., you NEED to make sure the throttle pressure is correct, or very close. Shift points, etc.
    3. Had to make a new fuel line section from the fuel pump to the carb.

    --------------------------------------------

    - The 2 barrel good things -

    1. No money is required to install it....! (sorry).
    2. It keeps the engine looking stock.

    - The 2 barrel bad things -

    1. See 1 thru 6 above.

    This has been my experience over the last few weeks. As noted, MANY things can affect this swap, the state of tune of the engine, the transmission, the way the carb. and trans. throttle linkage is adjusted, etc., etc., even the way you drive. There may have been a coupla things I forgot here, but I can assure you, they were positive on the side of the 4 barrel carburetor.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 05-05-2013 at 11:41 AM.

  2. #2
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Number 5. above is confusing. Are you saying, with the 4B, it has lost the passing power & road speed acceleration it had with the 2B? In other words, the power at those times is less with the 4B? If so, I would submit trying larger jets in the secondaries. I know yours is an Edlebrock, but some Holleys suffered from this malady straight from the factory, and larger secondary jets were the fix. My experience with AFB and their clones (Edlebrock) has been that the acceleration is much better than the 2B, under the conditions you cite above.
    Then too, if yours has worn primary shaft bores, it has a higher A/F ratio, which would lead to lean running under some conditions. A band-aid fix, would, again, be bigger secondary jets.
    Just saying.
    Last edited by JoeHall; 05-05-2013 at 11:55 AM.

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    I'm a 4-bbl fan all the way. Like MVV, I've seen nothing but good things from a properly sized and tuned install.

    Mike's #5 is confusing to me also, but then a vacuum secondary carburetor always has noticeable lag time between when the pedal hits the metal and the secondaries are actually with the program. Conversely, the 2-bbl has less WOT airflow, but it's all there all the time. Maybe it's the instant response he's referencing.

    I've mentioned it before, but I won't even try to tune a carb any more without a wideband 02 sensor and a direct digital readout. It's just magic; no guessing at plug readings, just read what's happening and change as indicated.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  4. #4
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    Not sure about 5. either. Any chance it's an automatic failing to hit passing gear?

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    ***While not a long trip, I went to the Chino Air show yesterday (05.04.13), about a 45 mile one way drive the way I had to go, with about 80% of it freeway, and or faster two lane highway. The "passing" power it had....is now gone, even accelerating to change lanes...is gone. Sure, the engine/car will still accelerate, just not nearly as quickly. The smaller, primary throttle bores in the 4 barrel, again respond better to throttle pressure changes.***

    What's confusing ?
    The 4 barrel accelerates MUCH better thAn the 2 barrel at freeway speeds....in as simple a terms as I can think of. The longish #5 just included an explanation mixed in with the outcome.
    And...yes...the kickdown works properly. As one might guess from my explanation of the linkage...as noted in the #2 in the "bad" section, four barrel column, "adjust the linkage prpperly..!"

    And yes..."even" as worn as the my 4 barrel is...it "still" beats out the 2 barrel...hands down, in EVERY case...but returning to idle...!
    And while not mentioned earlier, I lightened the counter weights to fit the first engine the carb. was on. This lets the upper secondary butterflys open too soon on this engine, but with a combination of rpm, engine load, car speed and passing gear, during the right circumstances, everything works VERY well.
    I bought the newer adjustable "Thunder" version of this carburetor this time. This way...it's just a screw driver that's required to make the adjustment...not a drill motor..!

    Hope that helps some.

    Mike

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    I think the confusing part was "the passing power it had...is now gone, even accelerating to change lanes...is gone." To me I thought that meant that you had that power with the 2 bbl but not with the 4bbl.

    Much clearer now, thanks! Also good to hear a positive review of the Thunder version. I had been wondering about those.
    Dave Nevin
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    1953 Champion Deluxe Coupe
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  7. #7
    Silver Hawk Member StudeDave57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Van Veghten View Post
    While not a long trip, I went to the Chino Air show yesterday

    As much as I am happy for your report, I can't help thinking about where I can find your pictures from the air show. You took some, right?
    Hopefully you caught those SIX P-38s inflight...





    StudeDave '57

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    So Mike what exactly is it that is so much more adjustable on the Edelbrock 500 cfm Thunder Series AVS? 4 Brl. that is different from the very common older version "The Performer Series" 500?

    I just bought a new Thunder Series 500 from AutoZone their #1801 and it looks very much the same, have not tried it yet.
    StudeRich
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  9. #9
    President Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    AVS stands for Air Valve Secondaries or Adjustable Valve Secondaries, depending on the source. The valve for the secondaries is screwdriver adjustable where on the standard Performer carburetor they are not.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

  10. #10
    President Member bezhawk's Avatar
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    The AVS has an adjustable spring loaded valve ABOVE the secondary venturis, where as the regular AFB and clones have the weighted flapper valve BELOW the venturies. If originality isn't a concern, they are a better choice . All other parts interchange (jets metering rods etc)
    Bez Auto Alchemy
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  11. #11
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Very helpful and informative. Just picked up my 4 bbl manifold at South Bend and I have a remanufactured 55-58 Carter AFB to install on my 259 Commander. Any bad things to know about a Carter AFB?
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    Quote Originally Posted by warrlaw1 View Post
    Very helpful and informative. Just picked up my 4 bbl manifold at South Bend and I have a remanufactured 55-58 Carter AFB to install on my 259 Commander. Any bad things to know about a Carter AFB?
    Not many problems that I know of if the CFM's are small enough for a 259/289. the throttle linkage fits and the fuel line is in the right place.
    Because this would not be a Studebaker AFB if it is a '58.

    One of the main differences the Edelbrocks have is the middle Gasket has been eliminated by making those Two castings one piece to lessen leaks.
    StudeRich
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  13. #13
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    The AFB was not introduced until 1957
    I am sure you meant WCFB.
    Robert Kapteyn

  14. #14
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Just what I read on the eBay ad. It said 55-58 Studebaker Carter 4 bbl. Guess I better look for some numbers on it. Thanks for the info. I'll get back to you with #s.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

  15. #15
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Yes, Robert, Carter WCFB. This will hopefully go on the 55 4 bbl manifold from Bob Petersen. Phil Harris sold me some carb to manifold gaskets and suggested I use two of 'em. It's going on a 259, automatic and I have a new bell crank and throttle rod. Any downside to these carbs? I'm familiar with vapour lock. Carter WCFB 001.jpgCarter WCFB 002.jpgCarter WCFB 003.jpgCarter WCFB 004.jpgCarter WCFB 005.jpg
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

  16. #16
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    Carter WCFB. . Any downside to these carbs?
    It was the first and maybe the best 4-bbl carb ever built for smaller V8s.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  17. #17
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    I have never had vapor lock issues with a Carter WCFB in 70 and 80 degree Southern Calif. Weather.

    The early pre 1962 WCFB's did have a hard Right turn flooding minor issue, before they installed the Brass Float baffle between the Needle and Seat and the float.

    Maybe 90 to 105 degrees would require a better radiator, Fan Shroud, high output Fan, cool fuel return line, Carb. spacer etc.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 05-06-2013 at 08:04 PM.
    StudeRich
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  18. #18
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jack, Rich and Mike. I feel better about going ahead with the swap. Car sounds nice with the dual exhaust. Should be a little quicker with the 4bbl. Better upgrade the brakes at the same time
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    After the dual exhausts and 4-bbl carburetor, while changing manifolds, consider blocking off the exhaust heat riser passage with a stainless shim between the head and intake. If you only drive your Stude in mild weather, it will be an improvement.

    The next item of business is a complete ignition system upgrade. If you've already done this, please excuse.

    1. Have the distributor rebuilt and the vacuum and centrifugal advance curves verified on a machine.
    2. New points, condensor, rotor, cap, wires and plugs.
    3. Strongly advise a Pertronix conversion. I ran points for fifty years, but with the Stude V8 distributors living in the back of that long, dark tunnel, today, it's electronic.

    After the ignition is new, a valve adjust and you're ready for the PSMCDR.

    jack vines
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  20. #20
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jack. As far as the heat riser, the PSMCDR rules state "the choke assembly must be in place and functional". Would blocking off the heat riser affect the choke operation? I'll have the distributor checked out when I install the Pertronix. I have the unit and coil still in the box. I had the garage next door try to install a 6V Pertronix a couple of years ago and they said they couldn't get a signal from the Pertronix sensor. This time I'll have a couple of phone numbers for them to call if that situation pops up again. Cap, wires and plugs, for sure.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    The automatic choke won't work properly if you block off the heat riser passage. It relies on heat from a tube dipping into this passage to warm up the bimetal spring inside the choke to release it. If you block the heat riser, use an electric choke off a current-model AFB. (if that is within rules for the race venue).
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  22. #22
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Even an electric choke will not work properly if you close off the heat riser. The choke will open before the carb is warmed up, and the engine will sputter and stumble, as if the regular choke was not working. Only way around the problem is a manual choke. Plus, once the engine is good and warm, 20 miles or so down the road, the manifold will still get hot enough to cause the carb bowl to percolate itself dry, just as if the heat riser was still functional. That was my experience with the 56J before. At least it was easy to shut off, then open back up; a 1.5" freeze plug taps nice and snugly into the exhaust crossover holes in the intake manifold.

  23. #23
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Therein lies the rub. No manual chokes allowed, either. An electric choke would have to operate on 6V to be true to a stock 55. The best that I can do is make it perform like the best it could have been in 55. I won't be competing to be the fastest car there, but to find out how fast a stock 55 Studebaker could run - in its day. The only advantages I might have are weight, design, and options available in 55. The Commander has no power options, no leather interior, very little insulation and soundproofing, all new motor mounts, springs, universal joints, well built motor and rebuilt DG200 with first gear start. It seems like a pretty quick little combo. Disadvantages: pilot has no experience
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    FWIW this is what Chevy said adding a 4 bbl carb and dual exhaust did to the full throttle performance of the 1955 "New Chevrolet V8."

    From the SAE paper in 1955 transactions.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    IIRC, the R-series intake manifold gaskets have the heat crossover partially blocked off. That still allows the choke to function.

    jack vines.
    PackardV8

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    Key word there is "partially". Eventually, I suppose, even with a fully blocked-off heat riser, the manifold would get hot enough for the automatic choke to open, but how much raw gas are you going to let wash down the cylinder walls until that happens?

    I'd be inclined to use the R-series restrictor gasket, and then set the choke as loose as possible, while still having some function. Sure, the car would be hard to start cold, but would run fine, once warmed up.

    Second-guessing the rules a bit, but I wonder if the "functional choke" rule isn't mostly about ensuring that no competitor remove the choke butterfly altogether, for a few CFM more airflow, or blocks the heat riser ports to the heads and circulates ice-water through the crossover passage?
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Dan, those HP ratings are surprisingly similar to what was published for the Stude 259. "Bearcat" 2 bbl was rated at 162.5 HP and "Passmaster" 4 bbl was rated at 185 HP. The Chevy 260-283 is a small block and the Stude 259 is a wedge. Would love to watch the two run and see if the low sleek C/K had any advantage over a boxy 55 Chev.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    A single HP number ( HP at the brochure ) has long been a popular talking point, as is torque more recently.

    I think throttle response and breadth of powerband is not well characterized or portrayed by those numbers, and they are what I feel when driving around. A responsive frisky engine makes a frisky feeling car.

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    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Jack, now that R series gasket has possibilities ))) and I think Gord is right about sandbaggers who might try to bend some more rules, too. I'm trying to do it the honest way. Don't wanna beat the next guy in line, but I really want to see what the hottest stock Stude in '55 would do. I'll leave the 331 non TT set up as I don't think I'll be doing a burnout. I've come close to reading 100 MPH on the 4 lane without shaking her apart....and I have to drive it there, 400 miles. Getting back may be a problem (lol).
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
    FWIW this is what Chevy said adding a 4 bbl carb and dual exhaust did to the full throttle performance of the 1955 "New Chevrolet V8."

    From the SAE paper in 1955 transactions.
    There is an interesting loss of Torque between 1600 and 2600 RPM. Everything else looks a bit better on the little 265 with Power Pack vs. 2 Barrel.

    Looks like it needed a better curve in the Distributor advance.
    StudeRich
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  31. #31
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    The Chevy 260-283 is a small block and the Stude 259 is a wedge.
    ??????? Don't have a referent for this differentiation.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    [QUOTE=gordr;

    Second-guessing the rules a bit, but I wonder if the "functional choke" rule isn't mostly about ensuring that no competitor remove the choke butterfly altogether, for a few CFM more airflow, or blocks the heat riser ports to the heads and circulates ice-water through the crossover passage?[/QUOTE]

    gordr: Interesting side point on the choke butterfly. On the '51 one time I decided to remove the butterfly figuring it couldn't hurt and might help the elapsed time and speed some. It actually slowed the car down. I thought something else had to be wrong but after trying to find a problem with no luck I put the butterfly back in and it came right back to its normal et and speed.

    I thought maybe it had leaned it out so I put it back in and richened the carb but same results. Only thing I could figure was the butterfly helped direct the boost into the carb.

    Ted

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    Quote Originally Posted by warrlaw1 View Post
    Jack, now that R series gasket has possibilities ))) and I think Gord is right about sandbaggers who might try to bend some more rules, too. I'm trying to do it the honest way. Don't wanna beat the next guy in line, but I really want to see what the hottest stock Stude in '55 would do. I'll leave the 331 non TT set up as I don't think I'll be doing a burnout. I've come close to reading 100 MPH on the 4 lane without shaking her apart....and I have to drive it there, 400 miles. Getting back may be a problem (lol).
    Dave, I think you are making a big mistake about no TT and the 3.31 gears. The track is normally SLICK especially for street tires. I'm thinking your right rear tire is going to be spinning all the way through low and this is an ET killer. You will probably have to come off the line real easy and gradually get on it. Look us up if you need anything or help with anything. But don't worry about it if the car doesn't perform up to your hopes and expectations. First time there may be a lot of little problems pop up. Main thing is to enjoy all the neat cars and new friends you meet whether the car flys or is a brick.

    Ted

    Ted

  34. #34
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    I'm thinking your right rear tire is going to be spinning all the way through low and this is an ET killer.

    IIRC, this is an automatic 259" and that helps cushion the torque versus dropping the clutch, so you may be OK.

    The downside to trying to race with a clutch peg-leg is wheel hop. Stiffer shocks will help control it, but when the clutch is dropped, the spring wraps up, loses traction, unwraps, causing the right rear wheel to literally hop off the pavement and can break a tapered axle.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    IIRC, this is an automatic 259" and that helps cushion the torque versus dropping the clutch, so you may be OK.

    The downside to trying to race with a clutch peg-leg is wheel hop. Stiffer shocks will help control it, but when the clutch is dropped, the spring wraps up, loses traction, unwraps, causing the right rear wheel to literally hop off the pavement and can break a tapered axle.

    jack vines
    I have not read all the posts on this so didn't know it was an automatic. That will help a bunch on wheel hop and will not start the tire spinning as much as a stick would. If hop is a problem the rules do allow the springs to have clamps on them that will help some also.

    Ted

  36. #36
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Thank you, both. Spring clamps are in the plan. I enjoyed watching Ted and everybody going down the track, and watching every car, although the Studes are special. No disappointments and I am driving it there. I have some fat Cokers on there and they don't seem to break loose too easily, but if I get some more power to the wheels, that might happen. I have a few months to experiment. No "legal" tracks within 150 miles of me, but I've helped alot of policemen over the years and they seem to cut me some slack (lol). I appreciate all the advice and would certainly welcome assistance in September (airplane fuel?).
    Last edited by warrlaw1; 05-09-2013 at 10:21 AM.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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    I think you will find that on that hot, gummy rubber coated Track, you will have no trouble breaking them loose or at least chirping them in Low gear on the DG trans.

    The biggest gain can be gotten from Race Gas or Aviation Fuel when you have some Compression to need it, like 10.25 to 1 vs your 7.5-8.5 to one stock compression. I think Premium is the most you should need, but it won't hurt to try.
    StudeRich
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  38. #38
    President Member warrlaw1's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rich. Just talked to Phil Harris about the R series intake manifold gaskets. He has a set and they partially block the crossover on one side but leave the hole for the heat riser tube to the carb so the choke will function. Sounds legal to me. Lots of testing to do once 4 bbl installed and I'll try to post pictures along the way. Don't want to hijack Mike's thread for this, but it sure was nice to see the benefits of 4 bbl kinstall before I get into it. In Canada I use Shell premium, exclusively. They advertise it as 0% ethanol. Car ran good on premium I bought in the U.S. on the way to South Bend and back. Once the 4 bbl is in, I'll put on Turner disc brakes on the front before I start goofing around with hole shots. Rules say "no custom paint jobs or lettering allowed", so I have to take off my little advertising decal or cover it with black electrical tape before tech. Thinking I better bring along a "chase car" and buddy driver in case I need I ride back home Cheers.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

  39. #39
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Several vendors at SB had the R series intake gaskets, in two different materials: stainless steel, and fiber coated steel mesh. Looking at each pair, the gasket for one side looked identical to regular OEM; the other side had the rectangular, exhaust crossover closed off, except for a hole about the size of a dime in the center. I could not see where this would do anything except slow warm up by a a couple of minutes. If both sides were closed off, except for a dime sized hole in each, that would slow warm up down maybe a few more minutes. Even with both sides closed off completely, as I had tried, it still eventually warms up, but takes 15-20 minutes.

    Bottom line, unless you are only concerned with 1/4 mile at a time, I see very little benefit from the R series gaskets in a driven Stude.

  40. #40
    President Member
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    Mar 2008
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    In earlier times AirLift decals appeared on many drag cars. I think AirLifts were actually even installed sometimes,for their ability to preload the right rear wheel that otherwise "gets light" when a non IRS car accelerates.
    Figure 5 here -
    http://www.web-cars.com/corvette/196...per.php?page=4

    Even today they offer a product that is marketed to serve that specific purpose.
    http://www.jegs.com/p/Air-Lift/Air-L...43887/10002/-1

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