How to Identify a Carter Carburetor

by Dale Yalanovsky

Carter carburetors have been installed on automobiles and trucks since 1909. William Carter founded the company after tinkering with some of the primitive carburetors of his day, and realizing that he could make a better product. So popular and reliable did Carter carburetors become, that they became the carburetor of choice for the famous Jeep vehicles of World War II. Carter also produced the first American made 4-barrel carburetor for Buick in 1952, and the coming age of the American muscle car can be directly traced back to the 4-barrel Carter carburetor.

Open the hood of your vehicle and remove the air cleaner that sits atop the carburetor. Some air cleaners are held on by a hand-turned wing nut, while others are held on by a nut assembly that will need to be removed with an adjustable wrench.

Inspect the Carter carburetor for any numbers or tags--these will most likely be found on the side of the carburetor proper. Different years have different ways of identification, and they will either be tagged or will have identifying numbers stamped onto the side or the bottom of the component.

Look at the color of the carburetor: Brass carburetors are early models (from 1909 to 1922), while brass bowl carburetors will have been made from 1923 to 1932. Although there will be no identifying marks on the early brass carburetors, the brass bowled types will have a red tag that identifies them as a Carter.

Find a "W" stamp to identify carburetors from 1932 to 1965. These carburetors will also have either triangular brass tags or regular metal tags to show the Carter identification.

Identify Carter carburetors made from 1956 through 2001 by locating a metal tag on the carburetor body. Some of these models, but not all of them, will have a letter stamping on the flange, bowl or frontal airhorn seam.

Identify the BB series subtypes by locating either a rectangular brass tag or a letter/number combination stamped on the side of the frontal airhorn. These carburetor types were manufactured from 1932 until 1963. However, on some of these types, if the tag has been removed, identification will be nearly impossible.

Identify original equipment Carter carburetors by finding the letter "S" after the serial number of the carburetor. The serial numbers will be stamped onto the carburetor bowl.

Identify all other Carter carburetors not listed above by referring to the tag on the side of the carburetor. On those units that have no tags and no serial numbers, once again, it will be nearly impossible to identify them.

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About the Author

Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.

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