Carburetor Refinishing

Carburetor Refinishing

Rebuilding a carb is only half the job

You may have been rebuilding your own carburetors for years, and while they may function perfectly, they just don't have the look of a new or professionally refinished carb. Now, thanks to some innovative restoration products, getting that factory-new appearance is as easy as spray painting any other component.

Getting Started

To recolor your carburetor correctly it must be completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. On a Holley carb, for example, some parts, such as the carb body and fuel bowls, are coated with a zinc dichromate finish. Other parts, such as the base plate, retain a natural aluminum color. Separate out the pieces to be re-colored and give them a good soaking in clean carburetor dip cleaner. Rinse off with water and blow-dry (especially all internal passages) with a high-pressure air hose.

If the carb parts are smooth and look ready to be coated, they need to be cleaned with a solvent to remove any residue left from the carb cleaner. The particular Holley carb we used for this story had some mild corrosion on the outside surface that the carb cleaner didn't remove. We removed it by giving it a light polish with a wire wheel on a bench grinder. Buff just enough to remove the corrosion and leave a smooth, polished appearance behind. If your carb needs this step, go lightly because the carb castings are fairly soft.

Factory Look

What we had left were fuel bowls that were bright and shiny in some spots and dark and dull in others. Like all painting processes, what's underneath tends to show through the topcoat. For that reason, we spotted the polished spots in with several light coats of a carburetor renewal paint before coating the entire surface. One of the nice features is that you can get the desired color you want by how much paint you apply. (Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area.) Most zinc dichromate factory finishes are very uneven, which is what you are trying to duplicate.

Like any painting operation, the quality of the end result is controlled by the amount of pre-paint preparation. Check out the accompanying step-by-step photos and see how easy it is to bring your old carburetor back to life.

Carburetor Refinishing
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