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Thread: useless carb balance tool

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    useless carb balance tool

    I bought a STE snail type SU carb balance tool and unless I am missing something it is useless on a big Healey as when the device is stuck in the carb throat, the scale is impossible to see being under the fender

    80.00 well wasted, or is there some extension solution using a moulded hose?

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Could you post a picture of the tool you purchased?

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    Jedi Trainee red57's Avatar
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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    I started with a unisyn and removed the small flow meter that came on it and added a hose and a much larger and remote flowmeter. The secret to these flow meters is keeping them vertical which is hard to do with the unisyn as produced but easy with a hose and a remote meter. I hang the meter from the bonnet and then I'm free to move the unisyn base back and forth from carb to carb as much as I need without disturbing the vertical orientation of the meter (I run triples)
    IMG_0457.jpg
    IMG_0458.jpg

    I don't know what a unisyn costs these days but a flow meter like the one shown is around $20-30.
    Dave

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Sorry about your $80 but you can feel good knowing that you've saved me and a few others $80.
    I use the "SU tuning tool", stuck in the damper tube for balancing my carbs, the carbs are after all flow measuring devices. I made the tools out of a couple of writing pen barrels with some bent wire glued in the ends. Seems to work well enough, costs nothing and saves me skinning my knuckles getting the air filter on the rear carb off.

    AJ

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Quote Originally Posted by mgtf328 View Post
    Sorry about your $80 but you can feel good knowing that you've saved me and a few others $80.
    I use the "SU tuning tool", stuck in the damper tube for balancing my carbs, the carbs are after all flow measuring devices. I made the tools out of a couple of writing pen barrels with some bent wire glued in the ends. Seems to work well enough, costs nothing and saves me skinning my knuckles getting the air filter on the rear carb off.
    AJ
    Yup

    My friend had a go setting mine up after my rebuild with a couple of pencils down the damper tubes and a some pencil marks - me - I use a piece of rubber tubing and my ear.



    Bob

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Yes, but you have to take the rear filter off to do that and getting it back on is a nightmare. If anyone knows an easy way to do it I'd be greatful!
    I could never tell the difference doing it by ear anyway just as I can't get the knack of using the lifting pin to check the mixture. I always end up raising it too high and almost stalling the thing.

    AJ

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Hoghead,

    The snail balancer is actually brilliant in my opinion and money well spent. In particular if you have not had years of experience balancing multiple SU carbs. I have a BJ7 and the tool is incredibly accurate albeit as you say, awkward to use unless.... I used a mirror on an expandable rod (most of us have one) for a while and was able to read the gauge. Then I went to an auto parts store and got a top radiator hose with a 90 degree elbow which fitted snug into the snail, with this I can easily read the gauge between the two SU's.

    I have been tuning my car for over 20 years and tools have ranged from a piece of garden hose and coat hanger wires in the dash pots tops, to a Gunston colour tune and a unisyn with the tube and orange bead. While my carbs are fairly well synchronised and tuned (I thought for fifteen years), a friend gave me a snail flowmeter when he sold his car and I gave it a try just for fun. Amazingly, I found the STE snail to be the best of all the tools and I would now give everything else up if I had to choose just one tool. If I tune with all the other gadgets and get them as best I can (including by ear), I then put the snail in the inlet and even the very minor gauge differences can be seen. I can tune to get the exact same readings easily and my carbs have never been happier. Even one eighth of a turn on the screw will change the reading by a very visible amount.

    The only tools I use now (for around 5 years) and I believe the most effective for me are the STE snail and the rod/wires which go in the dashpot (they come in the blue plastic sleeve tool kit).

    I'm sure many will not agree and at the end of the day it is all individual choice, I just wanted to give a plug for the poor old snail.

    Cheers
    Tony

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    I am assuming that the tool in question is similar to Moss 375-324 and here https://www.amazon.com/Carburetor-Sy.../dp/B00SLH03R4

    For the past 46 years, I have been using a very old Sun exhaust gas analyzer to set the mixture and a Unisyn gauge to set the balance. The tube pivots on the Unisyn tool to keep it vertical if one desires, so I don’t understand the need for the separate hose as red57 described. I don’t understand the need for the tube to be vertical either since all that is being measured is a relative vacuum.

    I am not sure how important the goal of perfectly balanced carburetors is on a big Healey since the 6-port intake manifold is not internally divided and the accuracy of the origin hose-in-your-ear method was adequate when the cars were manufactured.

    For that matter, how perfect do they need balanced on any British car running SUs?

    For the rear air cleaner, I have a 1/2" open end wrench which I have cut down to a length that assists in access to the bolts.

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    This is the tool I find impossible to use. I can see that it would be great, but on a big Healey, it is buried under the fender and impossible to read.
    Off to see if I can find a rad hose extension and/or mirror on a stick



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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    I use a Uni-Syn and tilt the vertical tube back a bit so it fits under the shroud. We're not measuring absolute flow, just getting both/3 carbs to flow the same at a given throttle setting, so whatever error there is will be the same on all carbs.

    Balancing at idle is not sufficient, either; you have to check them at some off-idle speed as well.

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Hoghead,

    The tool you provided in the picture is the one I use.

    I agree with Ron in that "perfect" tune and balance may not be necessary or have a huge effect, however it is nice to know it can be done, and I love the challenge.

    To get over the air filter removal issue, I use the rounded RAMFLO filters (not original I know but better than original in terms of functionality) which have a wire clip which is easy to remove the mesh and foam and leave the base plate/dish in place. Taking my air filters off to tune takes 30 seconds and is as quick to re-install.

    Cheers
    Tony

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    I agree with Tony, this is the best flowmeter I know of for balancing the carbs. I have HS6's on my BJ8, and don't have a problem....get creative with a mirror, or elbows...they sell them to work with this meter. It quantifies the flow too, which is handy for measuring flow through the radiator to compare fan performance.
    Jerry Rude
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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    i wonder if some shop-vac fittings would be the right size to make this work better. Lowes has a variety i think.

  14. #14

    Re: useless carb balance tool

    If you set the lift on the butterflies using a 1.5 thou feeler gauge and then make sure both throttles open together, you don't need a flowmeter. These cars set to the book fairley easily unless they've got hot cams when tickover will be uneven.

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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Set it by ear and it runs great.
    80.00 well wasted for me, although some have more patience and/or flexibility than I to make this tool work

  16. #16

    Re: useless carb balance tool

    I was unable to get the "snail" to work with my horizontal carbs & DMD manifold. After reading the Des Hammill book, I ordered the Gunson CarBalancer on eBay.
    It has a clip to hold the scale vertically; the stopper is adjustable for airflow:
    screenshot.994.jpg screenshot.996.jpg screenshot.995.jpg
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Jedi Trainee red57's Avatar
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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    You will love it - same result as my home made set up I referred to above which was also inspired by Des Hammill's book. Makes it so much easier to get them even - both idle and off idle

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    Yoda Randy Forbes's Avatar
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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Behold, the simple manometer!

    Invented__on purpose__by Otton von Guerick in the 17th Century to prove his experiments with vacuum.

    PROOF, that one needn't rush out to buy the latest 21st Century tools to work on an old Healey!

    With a some variation in where I pick up the vacuum pulse signals, it's the method I use to balance the Weber throttles too. It is also how I set up and calibrated countless numbers of gas-fired industrial burners and other types of pressure and flow instrumentation devices when I worked as a systems integration tech in Lafayette, Louisiana during the 80s-90s.





    Though these are weighted to represent Mercury (MMHg) they are in fact stainless steel rods; they can't spill OR get blown across the control room when hit with too much pressure__true story; beware of "stuck" pressure regulators...). Nor can liquid Mercury (or water) get sucked into a running engine!
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
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  19. #19

    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Randy - If one were interested in adapting SUs for manometer use, would the holes for the connection stubs be outboard of the butterfly, inboard or riding on top as the rear carb vacuum pickup is?

    Addendum: video below answers question - it has to be on the engine side of the butterfly.

    Some folks make manometers out of bottles:
    Last edited by steveg; 10-26-2017 at 07:38 PM.
    Steve Gerow
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    Re: useless carb balance tool

    Quote Originally Posted by steveg View Post
    Randy - If one were interested in adapting SUs for manometer use, would the holes for the connection stubs be outboard of the butterfly, inboard or riding on top as the rear carb vacuum pickup is?

    Addendum: video below answers question - it has to be on the engine side of the butterfly.

    Some folks make manometers out of bottles:
    https://youtu.be/7D_f05_a74Y
    +1
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
    57 Healey BN6L-942 Wine Red/Honey Tan
    99 BMW M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew Supercharger
    01 BMW M Rdstr Steel Gray Performance Center (factory) Delivery
    11 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue Metallic Wife's Turbo Hauler

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