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Automatic choke on 1951 Commander

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  • Engine: Automatic choke on 1951 Commander

    Working on a early 1951 Commander that came partly disassembled and a few missing parts.
    The automatic choke had no heat tube connected to it. Then I noticed that the intake manifold had no hole for the heat pipe to connect to. After doing some research I found that the exhaust manifold had a “heat box” where the pipe should attach. Looking in the parts book it seems like it was at least 3 configurations for 1951. Heat pipe from exhaust manifold. Simple heat pipe from intake manifold and finally a field installed with a T connection going to the carb intake. My guess is that was improvements during the year.
    Question 1. What is the reason for the connection to the air cleaner/carb input?
    Question 2. Should I make it as the original with pipe from exhaust manifold or should I ether find a different intake manifold or just drill a hole in my existing one? Looking at another manifold it looks like the pipe extends quite a ways into the intake manifold exhaust passage. And is closed in the end
    Question 3: How important is the connection to the air cleaner.

    The engine number is V14781. On another engine I have (going to another 51 the engine number is V87449, still below the 95954 listed in the parts book. But that has the tube coming from the intake manifold but still has the heat “stove” mounted on the exhaust manifold. It also has the T connection, but that could have been modified later.

  • #2
    As I understand it the early cars came without the connection to the air cleaner which allowed the tube to draw unfiltered air in and in some environments, such as on a dusty back roads this cause dust and sand to gum up the works.

    Is it now necessary to draw filtered air depends on where you plan on driving it. If mostly on paved roads most likely it isn't needed.
    Dan Peterson
    Montpelier, VT
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)

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    • #3
      You are very correct about all the versions of Choke Heaters used on '51's being very confusing.

      I have a couple of early '51 Complete Engines laying around for whatever reason I do not know, but they have weird Carbs. with Left Side chokes, Right side Throttle levers and Intake Manifolds with Left Side Choke Heaters, not like later '52? Commanders.
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        My '51 Commander had a long tube to the exhaust manifold box, my '52 had the later version connected to the intake manifold. I have seen the "T" set up also, so yeah they kept working on the cold start situation for quite a while! (BTW both versions seemed to work fine).

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        • #5
          Good to hear that both systems worked good.
          As far as I understand the system now, it is really not much air flow, but as the air gets heated it has to expand. On the exhaust manifold system, the heater box is vented outside at the bottom, which will take care of the air expansion. Then they started with using the intake manifold with a closed off tube in the exhaust crossover. The only way the air could escape when heated and return when cooling off would be through the choke spring housing. Maybe that was why they added a T to the carb intake to ensured that only filtered air would be taken in when it cooled off.
          But that is only my guess.

          And Rich, according to the parts manual, the '52 Commander also used the downdraft carb with linkage and choke on opposite sides of the ''53 and up.

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