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Old 07-22-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
Dave in Boise
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Post Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Hi All,

I just picked up a pretty little coupe (31) that had a Tillotson on it.. Unfortunately the float sunk.. Before I get a full rebuild kit for the tilly, I have a question.. Was there any advantage of a tilly over a zenith for touring/driving? I have others with zeniths on them and they all seem fine, but am curious if I should bolt on another zenith, or redo the tilly?
Thoughts, opinions?

- Dave in Boise
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:42 AM   #2
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

All I heard when I was young was that the 'Tillotson was for go and the Zenith was for show'.. I kinda think that was an old wives tale.. I'm happy with the way the Tillotson runs on mine, but, one of these days I'll get around to making a Zenith from the big box of parts..
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
steve s
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Unless you're into judging points and restoration details, it's just personal (for some, almost religious) preference. Both can work fine or have problems. The Tillotsons are prone to warping and it may be easier to get Zenith parts--good or otherwise. Haven't personally heard any credible performance claims one way or the other. However, many folks in our are club are very attached to the Marvel/Schebler/Sears type carb--we have a member who specializes in restoring them. They claim they have clearly superior performance, but my Zenith had no trouble keeping up with three "Marvel cars" on our Williamsburg trip, and I got astoundingly better mileage.

I spent a lot of time and money trying to restore old Zeniths and Tillotsons. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought a brand new, exact repro Zenith-1 and have been very happy with it. Personally, although no one would believe to look at my car, I default to using the original part if it's a toss up functionally.

Steve

Last edited by steve s; 07-22-2010 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:51 PM   #4
Paul from Maine
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

My Tilly seems to produce more power than my rebuilt Zenith. Both work well. The Tilly Model X sure is easier to work on though.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:46 PM   #5
Boston Bruce
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Just let me say first I like the Tillotson X or XF carbs and had one on my coupe for a couple of years. Just got back from a 2200 mile trip running my original Zenith and never adjusted it once. Got 19 mpg. YMMV
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

You can fix the sunk float easy and save yourself $25. Leave in a hot place until it isn't full of fuel and then dip in boiling water to ID to leaks, then solder. If it runs good why rebuild it? The full rebuild kit just replaces all the inside parts. Try my website for more information. The Tilly is a much simpler carburetor than the Zenith and has far fewer parts. Although the design is just as old, it is much closer to modern carbs in that it has a main nozzle.

http://members.fortunecity.com/pjsauber/TillyCarb.htm
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

I have a pickup with a Tilly X and a sedan with the Zenith so one vehicle is lighter than the other and tough to compare performance. I did have to solder up and redrill the jets on the Zenith before it could be leaned out at all and I think it still runs rich. The Tilly GAV can be turned down far enough to starve the engine and seems to need a little more choke than the Zenith when cold. I'd take another Tilly X for the sedan any day.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

The argument and discussion goes on. When I bought my car she wore a Tilly. In an effort for originality I traded in the Tilly for a Zenith that had been rebuilt and tested by what is purported to be one of the top Zenith rebuilders who has written a book on the subject. I never got the Sport Coupe to run right with the Zenith which is now hanging on the wall of my garage. I got another Tilly, put her on, and the car once again ran like a champ.

That Tilly on your recently purchased car was there for a reason. The previous owner must have liked the way it ran. Unless you're headed for Fine Point judging and if you want to have a car for touring, I wouldn't abandon the Tilly to quickly. It isn't a big deal to fix the float and then see if you like the cars performance with the Tilly. If not get yourself a Zenith.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
Dave in Boise
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Hi Guys!

Thanks for the feedback.. I put on a Zenith I had and drove her around a while to get a feel of hew she runs.. Motors along very nicely

I just pulled the Zenith and put the Tillotson X back on it.. All was in good shape with it inside, so no rebuild kit needed.. A friend of mine gave me a float to get me on the road.. I'll let you know how the 2 compare (In my opinion with my seat-of-the-pants-dyno

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Old 07-22-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Both will work well when properly rebuilt, neither will work well if not built correctly.
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:19 PM   #11
Dave in Boise
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Well, the tilly seemed to run as well as the zebnith, if not slightly more cold blooded.. I think I'll keep the tilly on the car and tuck the zenith in the toolbox just in case.. I can have the best of both worlds Thanks everyone for their thoughts on this!

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Old 07-15-2012, 08:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

bringing this back from the grave , i have a tilly on and its leaking and a fully rebuilt zenith - 2, should i get the tilly rebuilt and sell the zenith?
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostalgic1930 View Post
bringing this back from the grave , i have a tilly on and its leaking and a fully rebuilt zenith - 2, should i get the tilly rebuilt and sell the zenith?
You sure could do that. I think this thread shows some work some don't on both styles.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

The original zenith is superior due to the fact that it only has 1 bolt to disassemble and the iron rarely warps, and it's not sensitive to the condition of the gasket
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #15
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Default Re: Tillotson vs Zenith-2

I had one Zenith that ran really strong,sold the car. All the Tillys run strong.
I run both Zenith and Tillys...both start instantly and start to idle. You can drop the rpm down to a k-put k-put on both. On a Rebuild you just cant Slap one of these carbs together. I usely spend 4+ hours on a carb.
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