The dreaded carberator cackle.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

My grandfather drives a 1982 Ford LTD which has about 24,000 miles on it. For the past few months, the carburetor has been acting up. The mechanic says that it should be replaced, at a cost of 950-2,000 dollars (depending on whether a re-manufactured or new part is used). He explained that this is a special type of carburetor which is next to impossible to rebuild, and then he sort of cackled. Who ever heard of a carburetor that has to be thrown away instead of repaired?? Especially on a mid-priced car!

RAY: Well, Julie, we have bad news for you. This car was built at a time when Ford was trying to make a fuel injected engine, but didn't quite know how. What they ended up with was hybrid; a cross between fuel injection and carburetion called the Variable Venturi Carburetor.

TOM: These things had so many adjustments that there were only three guys in the whole country who knew how to rebuild them. Two of them are now living in rooms with padded walls, and the third made so much money that he retired to Hawaii at the age of 28.

RAY: So the first thing you should do is get a second opinion. If the carburetor really is failing, you'll have to replace it. A new one, including labor (from a mechanic who doesn't have a boat payment due) should cost you about $1,400. And since the car has only 24,000 miles on it, our advice would be to bite the bullet and fix it.

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