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Old 06-01-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
Houdini
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Default Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

I have a Zenith carb in my 31 Slant Windshield A.

It had been working fine. I opened up my sediment bowl to install a new gasket the other day. I have a shutoff just past my sediment bowl. After I got the bowl so it wouldn't leak after the new gasket (another story), I found when I turned on the fuel. I had a pretty bad leak at the carb.

It took a few minutes before I spotted fuel leaking under it. I turned off the shutoff and found the bolt that holds the body together on the carb, was not real tight and snugged it up. then turned the fuel back on.

it took a couple of minutes and then the leak started again. I decided that the fuel was not leaking from the bottom but running down the outside of the carb, to the bottom, perhaps out the intake area, not sure.

From what I know from the previous owner, the carb was a rebuilt one about 18 years ago and has been fine so far. I'm thinking that somehow after opening up the fuel line path by the sediment bowl, that maybe the needle valve under the float came down and is now not seating properly, including some wear.

My next step is to take the carb off and install a new needle value as well as look for anything else that is obvious (to my untrained eyes).

I see in Bratton's catalog for Zenith, they carry 3 different needle valve assemblies. One is said to be like the original, the second one is a fuel resistance rubber tip and the 3rd one is a steel ball against an O-ring.

Any suggestions on which needle value to get, and any other suggestions as to what might be causing the leak. Again it wasn't doing this before the sediment bowl work. It leaks enough to form a small puddle after a few minutes, so I don't want to start it with that much of a fuel leak.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:41 PM   #2
SteveB31
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

Clean it. A tiny piece of dirt will cause the float valve to leak. Get a can of carb cleaner and clean it before you buy another
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:55 PM   #3
jmeckel
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

Also clean out the filter screen in the carb, they can have a lot of crap stuck in them.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:30 AM   #4
Growley bear
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

The float valve with neoprene needle tip seems to be of high quality, at least the three I have repaired were.
High Quality?? to a point. The needle retainer looked like a plastic flat washer which snapped in under the needle. The threaded retainer was rolled over on the edge to hold everything in place. This plastic retainer wants to distort over time as it swells up with the alcohol in the fuel. When it swells it becomes slightly cone shaped and moves in the direction of the needle valve causing fuel starvation problems. I removed the plastic retainer and replaced with a section of a small coil spring as a lock ring and problem solved. No problems now starting the third year of the repair. Repaired three in this manner with great success. One being a new reproduction Zenith that was only about a year old.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:45 AM   #5
jhowes
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

I don't think that the question was answered. What are the pro's and con's of each of the three styles of float valves available? I find lapping in the original with tooth paste works fine but is frustrating and labor intensive. Jack
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:45 AM   #6
FRANK PKNY
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

Steve is spot on, you have dirt in the needle valve, or if replaced ball valve. Also while apart check the height of the float. I posted a video several days ago on the correct height. This is an easy fix. I always use modern insert filter in the glass bowl. that would eliminate any future problems. When working on fuel lines Et. cleanliness is priority #1. This is an easy fix. Frank PKNY Oh BTW I prefer the pall type check valve. JMHO
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:02 AM   #7
gweilbaker
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/carb-1.htm

Look for this too.

GW
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

The filter screen in the top of the carb is OFTEN overlooked!
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:12 AM   #9
Houdini
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

I do appreciate the wonderful experience and advice that you members of the Barn offer to us "newbies". I figure it's best to first seek your advice before blundering into something. Thanks for your help. Now I'll remove the carb and check it out.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:50 PM   #10
Rancho Deluxe
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

This may seem dumb, but my experience is that sometimes on reassembling a carb and starting the fuel flow, the float sticks down and open. Maybe it drags on the bowl side or something. If the carb leaks on startup like this, I rap the bowl sharply with the wooden handle of a screwdriver. Every time so far this frees the float and everything returns to "normal" as it was before disassembly. Good luck, Rancho
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:05 PM   #11
Benson
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

Leaking and dribbling on ground first time turning on fuel valve:

You can usually close the shut off, start engine and rev it a couple of times,

Then turn on gas... usually works after that ... unless "someone" ie me ... forgot to install the float or float valve.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:12 PM   #12
Houdini
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Default Re: Zenith Carb leaking, what type of needle value to get

Thanks for all your help. I was able to visit one of our club members who had an extra float valve and gaskets. I didn't see anything in the old float valve, but that was likely the problem, it wasn't closing off the fuel flow as it should. After I cleaned everything up and installed the new valve and gaskets and put it back on the car, it was leak free and the car ran fine again.
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