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Carb Tuning

What do Chevrolet's dual-quad 409 and Chrysler's 426 Street Hemi have in common?

Photography by Matthew King

They were both factory-equipped with Carter AFB carburetors, which debuted back in 1957 and were also used on Avantis and many small-block Chevys prior to the introduction of the Rochester Quadrajet in the mid-'60s. When car crafters envision a performance carburetor, Holley's 4150 and 4160 series double-pumper and vacuum-secondary carbs often come immediately to mind. But long before Holleys dominated the street and strip, Carter's Aluminum Four-Barrel (AFB) carb was there, and it's never gone away. The AFB design still enjoys a loyal following, and for good reason. It's a simple carb to tune and rebuild, and it makes great power. Today, the basic design of the AFB has been adopted by Edelbrock as the basis of its Performer series of carburetors.

Performers, like all AFBs, use metering rods attached to spring-loaded step-up pistons to provide fuel enrichment as the engine transitions from light-load, low-fuel-demand situations like cruising and light acceleration to high-load, high-fuel-demand situations like wide-open throttle acceleration. Metering rods can be swapped in minutes without disassembling the carb and allow you to richen or lean the mixture by up to about 8 percent in either direction without changing jets.

Edelbrock's out-of-the-box calibrations will generally put you in the ballpark if you choose the right part number for your engine, but you still may wish to dial the carb in on your own combination to achieve its maximum potential. Follow along as we show you the basics of the Performer's operation and calibration.

SOURCES
Edelbrock Corp.
2700 California St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-781-2222
www.edelbrock.com
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