Carburetor tools

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mikenixon
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Carburetor tools

#1

Post by mikenixon »

I once had a student who declared to the whole class that the Snap-On and Mac catalogs contained all a mechanic should ever need. He disdainfully mocked the notion that anyone should ever need to repurpose, invent or modify a tool. McGyver doesn't belong in the shop, he said. I remember being astonished at this, because by that time I had already made a living as a mechanic for a long time and had found innumerable and significant instances where improvised and special tools made the difference.

For seeming eons career Honda powersports techs have known that the world's best spark plug sockets are made from those that come in Honda's cheesy on-bike tool kits. Things such as cut down Allen keys and reshaped wrenches and specially reground screwdrivers are equally legendary in their usefulness. And items borrowed from the scientific and medical professions such as squeeze bulbs, syringes, burettes, manometers, hemostats and dental picks have long been accepted as common in powersports. Household items too. My wife guards her cling wrap, baking soda, ammonia, petroleum jelly, turkey baster, paper clips, tree wire, hair dryer, clothes pins, spray adhesive, beeswax, clothes hangers, dish soap, and even her pot scrubbers! And every mechanic has at some time borrowed his significant other's oven and freezer.

And the factories have thought the same way. Harley-Davidson, in a service bulletin on the Twin Cam, employs an ordinary office binder clip as a special tool. Honda in connection with the early Shadow enlists the lowly thumb tack. Every manufacturer offers factory-designed special tools that make tasks more professional; they can even affect the vehicle's warranty. Improvisation is not bad practice but good practice, when thoughtfully carried out. It may be "a poor workman who blames his tools", but at the same time there is no substitute for the correct tool.

Here then is a celebration of some of the special tools used in the rebuilding of carburetors.

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1- These are custom made 90 degree gear head pilot screw tools, including one with the D shape required for the GL1500. Modified from long discontinued Cal Van products.
2- This is factory Honda CBX1000 8mm sync tool, modified.
3-A drill bit for removing inline four Suzuki pilot covers on the bike (handy, but not used in decades as it's a bit crude).
4-A special slide hammer for removing Honda V4 pilot screw covers.
5-The factory Honda float level gauge. There is no substitute for this.
6-Here are four more sync tools, including one for the CX500.
7-The special Snap-On pilot screw screwdriver with four sided square handle for counting in quarter turns.
8-The factory Honda pilot screw adjuster. Haven't used this one in many years because this cable-driven tool is not as precise as the gear head versions.

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1-Torx screwdriver for Mikuni RS (racing) carbs.
2-A collection of taps, some with very special threads such as for GL1100 6x0.5 pilot screw cavity.
3-A mini torch. Seldom used.
4-The Keihin FCR slide needle adjust Allen screwdriver that comes with every set of Keihin race carbs.
5-A group of tools: air blower for jets, pilot screw o-ring grabber, drill bit for special cases.
6-A GL1200 enrichener thread repair tool, homemade.
7-A GL1000 pilot screw thread tap, a different thread than the similar GL1100 tool.
8-These are two tools used to extract broken pilot screws.
9-The factory Honda jet measuring wire set, imitated today but not excelled.
10-A set of jet drills used for measuring jets, not for modifying them.
11-A Mityvac for testing vacuum petcock diaphragms and float valves.

Image

This is just a tiny part of the tools I use, and would you believe these pix were taken over twenty years ago? This last is a bit more recent and is a specially designed and manufactured tool to do a very unique carburetor rebuilding task, remove the air cut valve assembly on the CBX1000 carburetor.
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Re: Carburetor tools

#2

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I'm not surprised that you have that many non-stock tools or that you have used basically the same ones for decades (if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?)

I don't work on as many carbs as you or as varied but I do have a few special improvised tools, the most significant being the one for balancing the carbs on GL500/650 & CX650 models (specifically my CX650E that is gradually turning into a GL500).
Unlike the GL1000/1100 where it is easy to get an ordinary wrench on the nut, you have to reach inside the frame to get the wrench on the CX carbs and it is pretty tricky getting a wrench on the nut. You can buy suitable tools from a number of sources but I don't do it often enough to be worth investing in the tool so I suffered with a regular wrench for years before I decided I could make my own at very little cost. I found a piece of steel tubing of suitable length, an old 1/4" drive 5/16" socket, a suitable screwdriver I didn't use much and a 1/4" nut and made this:
CARB BALANCING TOOL.JPG
I have a few other improvised/modified tools in the shop but this is the only carb related one I can think of off hand. Most are things like the correct size of bolt for pulling something (VW Beetle wheel bolt for CX/GL500 fan, Subaru oil drain screw for all CX models flywheels) or specially ground drifts/chisels/punches for specific jobs. You may find this one for adjusting the valve clearances on my GL500 engine interesting though, if only for its simplicity
CX+GL500 Valve adj tool 1.jpg
The bracket was something left over from converting some halogen work lights to LED and the bolt is an ordinary Robertson (square drive) one that can be found in just about any workshop in Canada, that happens to be a perfect fit on the adjusters in CX/GL500 engines.
CX+GL500 Valve adj tool 2.jpg
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Re: Carburetor tools

#3

Post by mikenixon »

Sidecar Bob wrote:I'm not surprised that you have that many non-stock tools or that you have used basically the same ones for decades (if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?)

I don't work on as many carbs as you or as varied but I do have a few special improvised tools, the most significant being the one for balancing the carbs on GL500/650 & CX650 models (specifically my CX650E that is gradually turning into a GL500).
Unlike the GL1000/1100 where it is easy to get an ordinary wrench on the nut, you have to reach inside the frame to get the wrench on the CX carbs and it is pretty tricky getting a wrench on the nut. You can buy suitable tools from a number of sources but I don't do it often enough to be worth investing in the tool so I suffered with a regular wrench for years before I decided I could make my own at very little cost. I found a piece of steel tubing of suitable length, an old 1/4" drive 5/16" socket, a suitable screwdriver I didn't use much and a 1/4" nut and made this:
CARB BALANCING TOOL.JPG

I have a few other improvised/modified tools in the shop but this is the only carb related one I can think of off hand. Most are things like the correct size of bolt for pulling something (VW Beetle wheel bolt for CX/GL500 fan, Subaru oil drain screw for all CX models flywheels) or specially ground drifts/chisels/punches for specific jobs. You may find this one for adjusting the valve clearances on my GL500 engine interesting though, if only for its simplicity
CX+GL500 Valve adj tool 1.jpg
The bracket was something left over from converting some halogen work lights to LED and the bolt is an ordinary Robertson (square drive) one that can be found in just about any workshop in Canada, that happens to be a perfect fit on the adjusters in CX/GL500 engines.
CX+GL500 Valve adj tool 2.jpg
Awesome! Very creative. I made my own CX sync tool also, just a Snap-On wrench bent to 90 degrees, hmm, probably in 1978. Probably not as efficient as yours, nor as innovative. But I was pleased to find two years later that it is not far in design from the tool Honda offered.

Image

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Re: Carburetor tools

#4

Post by mikenixon »

Very creative on the valve adjust tool also! But you cheated Honda out of a sale! LOL!
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Re: Carburetor tools

#5

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I have a few modified wrenches too (isn't that what cheap wrench sets are for?), including one that I cut shorter to use on a nut necessary for detaching the sidecar that is too close to the floor to allow much swing with a normal one...
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Re: Carburetor tools

#6

Post by pidjones »

My favorite is the brass drift that I made to remove the primary emulsion tube on GL1000 carbs. Spun it out on tbe lathe to fit the taper with a reverse cone. I have a drift that fits the needle jet perfectly, also. And a small screwdriver with its wings ground off to fit the .035 pilot fuel jet. These all live in two plastic boxes with jets, o-rings, springs, clips, cotter pins, etc. for the carbs.
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Re: Carburetor tools

#7

Post by mikenixon »

pidjones wrote:My favorite is the brass drift that I made to remove the primary emulsion tube on GL1000 carbs. Spun it out on tbe lathe to fit the taper with a reverse cone. I have a drift that fits the needle jet perfectly, also. And a small screwdriver with its wings ground off to fit the .035 pilot fuel jet. These all live in two plastic boxes with jets, o-rings, springs, clips, cotter pins, etc. for the carbs.
:)
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Re: Carburetor tools

#8

Post by mikenixon »

Sidecar Bob wrote:isn't that what cheap wrench sets are for?
Indeed!
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Re: Carburetor tools

#9

Post by rcmatt007 »

I have repurposed tubing from a nebulizer attached to a 10 cc syringe.... great for bleeding brakes
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Re: Carburetor tools

#10

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I wouldn't think 10cc would be big enough. I'd want at least 100cc....
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Re: Carburetor tools

#11

Post by rcmatt007 »

I was using what is common in the office.... I usually never injected 100cc....
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Re: Carburetor tools

#12

Post by mikenixon »

There is something of a history of repurposing syringes. I have used them to tune early Honda Pro-Link shocks, and suspension tuning may be where they are best represented in powersports. One suspension company even made (and sold) a syringe into a low-volume air pump for 1980s air-assisted forks.
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Re: Carburetor tools

#13

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I believe 100cc syringes are usually feeding syringes, not for injecting (I find them useful for pre-filling float bowls).
My wife does my monthly B12 injections at home (easier than making an appointment at the medical centre) and she prefers to use 10cc syringes for the 1cc injection.
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Re: Carburetor tools

#14

Post by 77Gowing »

necessity is the mother...

Once when I was "Po", was stuck in the rain with an overheated jalopy that had leaking pin holes in the rad fins. I did not have a cent on me, no tools, but had a couple gallons of water in the rusted out trunk. While I was looking down dejectedly thinking ,"now what are you going to do?". I noticed all the seams in the freshly cut concrete had new rubber like tar squished out of the seams. At this, i realized I could use the cold tar to temporarily patch the pin holes. Then , "how do you heat the tar to make it soft again dummy?" Then it hit me...the hot intake manifold on the slanthead 6. So, while in a suit I pealed as much tar up as I needed then laid it on the manifold to soften. While softening I carefully took a rag and removed the cap. I think I found a stick and used it to stuff as much soft tar into & on the pin holes. With pin holes plugged i slowly topped off the rad with some of my water. Then carefully drove home the 20- 25 miles with the heater on full blast to keep rad temps down. Made it all the way no hickups.

Your student would be agast at what I used and how I went about making "repairs" of all the rusty junk Ive owned.
Soundz like he was better suited to be a bean counter. Lol

On my T-23 gas/electric drive tank from the forties, I had to use neetsfoot oil to soften the accelerator pumps leather seals to get the carbs functional. Often we needed to find wackey alternatives when replacements were no to be had.

I love the creativity that must be employed in such circumstances. First comes frustration at being blocked...then comes elation at having outsmarted O'le Murphey yet again.
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Re: Carburetor tools

#15

Post by mikenixon »

Great ingenuity! :)
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