Which correct carburetor is, better/more reliable, for a 1914 Model T motor? A HOLLEY MODEL G or a KINGSTON 4 BALL
Early in my Model T life I used a Kingston. Since about 1970 I have used a Holley and I don't plan on going back. My vote is for the Holley
I have a Kingston L2 and a Holly G.
Both rebuilt. The Holly starts and runs the best.
Holly G. Adjusted right, there's nothing like it. Got one on my14.
Bench testing has proven the Holley G to be a close second to the much sought after "straight through" NH. I run a brass Holley G on my 16' and it has done many thousands of miles without touching it.
Sounds like I'd better get busy on one of my G bodies and start using it.
As far as I am concerned, the Holley G was the best of all the early T carbs. They had figured out that a carb needed an idle circuit and developed a successful one. The earlier carbs did not have a discreet idle circuit.
My guess would be the the demise of the G was due to two things. First is the large size. It took a lot of brass to pour that casting. Not much of a concern if you are pouring half a dozen a day, if you are pouring 500 a day it would make quite a difference. Second is the amount of machine work. There are a lot of machined surfaces in a G. It took good tools and a reasonably skilled machinist to produce them consistently within specs. It also took some time and a certain amount of skill to assemble them as there are a lot of parts in a G compared to any other carb including the Kingstons which had a cast in venturi instead of a replaceable one, a drilled idle passage instead of a little tube, a fitting, a cap, etc.
If you look at the brass G, most of them have marks on the flange showing who assembled it. They had to be done right or they wouldn't run right.
The Kingston L2 and other later carbs including the Holleys were much smaller, much simpler, used less brass to cast them, smaller bowls, fewer parts and could be assembled by a monkey with one bad eye.
Henry didn't want to pay for anything he didn't have to and Holley not only wanted but needed that contract from Ford to survive. They were no fools. Kingston was a huge company with massive factories that built carburetors in dozens of sizes and designs. They figured out how to build cheap carbs and sold them to Henry. Holley had to come up with what evolved into the NH to survive.
The G may indeed be better, but all I've ever used on my '14 is the 4 ball that came on it. Starts on the mag, runs like a champ. Good pulling on hills, will run 45 sustained mph on the four lane when I absolutely have to. Has run the car up to 55 mph (yes, it was stupid, but I wanted to see if it would do it). 20+ mpg. I'm happy with it and see no reason to change, but I am planning on putting a G on my '20 non electric touring.
I abandoned my NH carburetors for the Holley G. Nothing pulls the mountains here in West Virginia like a well tuned brass G.
The iron "G" may be correct for RV's '20? But does it run any better or worse than the brass "G"?
I've going to agree with RV...I have a 4-ball rebuilt by Russ Potter and it runs great. I had a Model G on my 1915 runabout and while it started and idled great, the power was not too good. I'll just run the 4-ball and enjoy the power!!!
I hope this helps,
Bear in mind that the fuel today is much different than the fuel in the early days. Today's fuel is very dry and clean. In those days fuel was shipped and stored in barrels, it was a lot heavier due to the amount of kerosene and similar contents that were much "oilier." Any air valve type carburetor worked well when new but one good dose of oily fuel would gum up the balls, valves, etc and make them either stick open or closed or erratic in their operation. Today's fuel is much more like alcohol than kerosene.
The Kingston 4 ball is a good carb as long as it is clean. The problem with them, as has been said before, is that the dirt and grit tends to wear the seats and the balls to where they do not seal.
ALL carburetion is a compromise. Starting VS running, Economy VS power, low speed VS high speed, etc., etc.
The big change that was made to carbs in the early and mid teens was the addition of a discreet idle circuit. To get them to work, most resorted to some type of air valve to force them to draw through the idle circuit at low speeds and allow more air flow at higher speeds. Think: Kingston L2 and L4.
I have a Holley G that Stan rebuilt on my '14 and it turned a poor running car with no power into a great performing car. It replaced a Kingston that started well but had no power.
Thanks Val, That was a nice G.
One thing that may or may not have affected some G's is that a LOT of the replacement venturis seem to be poor dimensionally. I've seen a couple that were 3/16's too long which would definitely cut down the air flow.