The Best Carburetors for Stock VW Engines

by Dan Eash
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vw käfer aus schmiedeeisernen stäben image by Andreas Konrad from

From 1961 to 1974, Volkswagen used six different Solex carburetors. These center-mount, single-barreled carburetors were undersized compared to carbs from other automakers, so they restricted gas mileage and performance on VWs during those years. A carburetor regulates the fuel/air mixture in your engine, so it has everything to do with how well it runs. If your classic Volkswagen is underpowered and sluggish, a good replacement carburetor will give it a new lease on life.

Brosol H30/31

The Brosol H30/31 is a direct replacement for the 28PCI, 28PICT and 28PICT/1 OEM (original equipment manufacturer) carburetors that Volkswagon's 36- and 40-hp,1,200-cc (cubic centimeter) engines used from 1951 to 1965. Since the Brosol H30/31 is slightly larger than these carburetors, you'll also get a small increase in horsepower when you install it.

Brosol's H30/31 can also replace the 30PICT/1, 30PICT/2, 30PICT/3 and 31PICT/3 carburetors used in 1,300- to 1,600-cc engines, and Australian VW shops recommend it for all Volkswagen engines up to 1,600 cc. Since these engines have different airflow characteristics than the 1,200-cc motor, you'll need to re-jet the Brosol H30/31 to deliver the best fuel/air mixture for each one and you'll also need a 30/34 adapter to fit the H30/31 to a twin port engine.

Pierburg 34PICT/3

If you have a 1971 or newer dual port engine, the Pierburg 34PICT/3 is a good replacement carb. Made in Brazil, it has an accelerator pump linkage that rubs against the alternator, so you have to grind down the alternator casing to get this carb to fit. Pierburg's linkage easily clears your alternator and the carb has the right port for a vacuum advance distributor. The company has also earned a reputation for high-quality casting and machining.

As good as these carbs are, they don't have the best throttle shaft bushings. Pierburg bushings are made of soft aluminum, so they can wear out in fewer than three years. If you replace them with ones made out of brass you'll get a better service life.

Weber IDF

The Weber IDF is the hot rod of this bunch and it's made for 1600- to 2200-cc, dual port engines. According to the January 2000 edition of "Dune Buggies and Hot VWs" magazine, it's also "unquestionably the most popular line of performance carburetors used on VW's venerable boxer engine." These Italian-made carburetors are considered a work of art by many and they're offered in 40-, 44- and 48-mm (millimeter) bore sizes. Since the main, idle, air correction and accelerator pump jets are interchangeable, as are as the emulsion tubes and venturis, these carbs can be fine tuned to your engine.

The website is a fan of the Weber IDF since it has many advantages over other dual port replacement carburetors. A few of them are the IDF's compatibility with many engines, engine compartments and air filter assemblies, its nearly flood-proof float design, a vacuum advance port, four progression holes for smooth light-accelerator response and its excellent parts availability.

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