What is the best carb for a Model T in terms of reliability and power? I know most have NH, but are there better ones out there?
"Best" is probably subjective.
"Better" is more definitive.
I was urged by many to acquire a Stromberg OF for my land speed record TT.
A good carb for my T is the one that's on it that's working. It might be better if I went through it. Best is what costs least in my case.
I am a sucker for any kind of Model T carburetor. The stock NH is hard to beat for reliability. The straight thru version gives a slight increase in power.
Many aftermarket carbs give good performance, the Stromberg OF is one such carb among dozens of good brands. D&B Harrington, Marvel, and Rayfield are some of the more common and well designed aftermarket carbs that bolt up to a stock T intake.
Aftermarket carbs that give the best performance are those that have better intake manifolds too. Winfield is great but expensive, Miller Master is also good but frightfully expensive.
U+J carbs / intakes are pretty common and not too expensive. All of the above are reliable if rebuilt properly.
I think the Cordes boys TT holds the speed record I think it will do better than 60 mph.
It depends partly on what you want to do with the manifold and if you want to stay with a Model T accessory carb or if you want to go to something that was not originally designed for the T but can be adapted.
These are all T accessory carbs that are fairly available:
Best all around T Carb: Stromberg OF
Most performance: U & J with its original manifold
On the short list for best all around: Zenith SB4F with the correct manifold.
Best side draft that is easily adapted to a T Manifold: 1st: Stromberg MB-1 2nd: Stromberg OS-1 3rd: Zenith HP4A or for speedsters HP5A (but it is a little big and may not idle as well as the 4 does)
Lots to look at for accessory carbs here: http://www.strombergof.com/Other_Carburetors.php
That is just part of my collection. I've never had time to set the rest of them up and take pictures.
here is an earlier discussion; same question.
Function, availability of parts and the prices of said parts. I guess the standard NH and the straight thru are right up there.
I guess if you are happy with the way an NH runs then you are happy. But they are most certainly not the best in terms of performance. Speed and power cost money. How fast you wanna go?? How much power are you trying to get out of that T engine? Zoom Zoom!!
Stromberg sold close to a MILLION OF's from 1922 to 1926 when it was replaced by the RF. Must have been a reason. U & J built a whole business empire based on the success of that carb. Must have been worth it then. An OF cost $15.75 in 1925. A U & J cost $20.
I shot my mouth off here on the forum some 15 years ago stating how much I liked the Stromberg OF And since then can't find any on eBay for $25.
Hey Michael, I still want that cutaway OF you have!! Yup, the $25 OF is long gone unless you get lucky. You are what put me in the business pretty much. We agreed they all leaked gas so I figured out how to fix that and away we went. Made a whole new market for OF's.
I've rebuilt hundreds of them, have the steel parts laser cut, make throttle shafts by the handful and still can't get caught up on them.
Check this past thread out -
Accessory Carburetors Stan Howe; Robb Wolff & ?? Collections Friday, October 24, 2008.....It's A great past thread!!!!
Here's the link:
The best one is the one which does not flood, nor run lean. It doesn't leak when the car is parked and it runs smoothly at all speeds.
Having said the above, any kind which meets those qualifications will be a good one. And likewise any one which does not, is a bad one.
The most popular ones are Holly NH and Kingston L4 Those are easy to clean, adjust and get parts for.
I working on one right now that is interesting. It is a Solex -- made in Germany -- for the T Ford. Probably the nicest machine work I've ever seen in a T carb.
It is probably wishful thinking to actually say I'm working on it. I'm doing bookwork for an hour before I do record my February radio shows. Trying to get my feet warm at the same time.
I here of lots of carbs run great but I have zero problems with NH carbs. After years of drag racing I would as soon have my simple NH. HP is not in this equation for these cars to me.. Jmho. Tim
The Solex looks very interesting
A fantastic thread. Thanks to all. The 2008 thread that Jay provided the link to is one of the most informative I have read. Great pictures Stan and others.