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Why Is My Carburetor Popping?

by Chris Orr

The carburetor regulates the flow of fuel and air to an engine. Many modern vehicles have eliminated carburetors in favor of direct fuel injection controlled by a computer. Older vehicles with carburetors require maintenance and cleaning to keep fuel and air flowing correctly. Popping noises from a carburetor indicate a form of backfire.

Fuel To Air Mixture Is Too Lean

Too much air and not enough fuel causes backfires to occur in the intake manifold. The exploding mixture then vents through the carburetor. Improper carburetor adjustments or vacuum leaks can cause this condition.

Improper Ignition Timing

The ignition system controls the delivery of the spark from the electrical system to the spark plugs. These sparks must be sent at the correct time. If the timing is off the engine idles rough and backfires occur. Use a timing light to check the ignition timing according the the vehicle's specification. The distributor needs adjustment to correct the timing.

Fuel System Problems

A clogged fuel filter or faulty fuel pump can cause issues with fuel delivery. This results in a fuel mixture that is too lean for the engine and results in backfires through the carburetor.

About the Author

Chris Orr began his career in 1988 as a sports writer. His work has appeared in "USD Vista," "UNLV Rebel Yell" and the "East Honolulu Newspaper" among other publications. Orr has a Bachelor Arts from the University of San Diego and a Master of Arts from the University of Hawaii in political science. He has worked in information technology since 1995.

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