Car floods intermittently

My 39 floods intermittently. I had it out once and it quit it seem like it was starving itself for fuel I thought maybe vapor lock or bad fuel pump but the car does seem to flood every so often . Did fuel pump test have 2 2 2 and 1/2 PSI gauge manual says should be around 4. Is it possible that the diaphragm in a fuel pump is bad and is causing erratic fuel flow? Any help greatly appreciated


  • Val, How long has it been since the fuel pump was rebuilt? 
  • You have one of two things happening if it is flooding  the needle valve/ float is stuck open or the fuel pump is over pressurizing the system.  I doubt it is the fuel pump from what you say.  Sounds like a stuck float. Remember you don't need a whole lot of pressure going to the carb, you need flow.


  • Lance not sure how long as I didn't do anything to it since it was working b good. Jay thanks for the tip. 
  • edited February 19
    So, the problem is intermittent, you say?  One day it will run fine, the next it won't?

    Will it be running fine, then suddenly die, and flood when you attempt to start it? (In other words, an overabundance of fuel is what causes the car to stall.)

    Or does the flooding only occur at a cold start?  (If so, I wonder if the problem is somewhere else in the system, and your constant attempts to start it (pumping the accelerator, for example)  are causing the flooding.  And leading you to think that the flooding is causing your problem, whereas the problem is originating somewhere else entirely)

    One other question: does your car have a manual, or automatic choke?
  • Jon B it's an automatic choke and it floods on cold start and or warm start the time that it died on me I had it out and it felt as though it was starving itself from fuel as it was kind of choking itself out maybe but I pour fuel in the carburetor and she fired up and stayed running. Anyway I'll talk with Doug wildrick and he wants me to pull the carburetor off and send it to him cuz he feels maybe the float in the carburetor is bad.
  • That's a good idea.  By the way, do you have an in-line fuel filter and have you checked it for "crud"?  Or, I wonder if there is an air leak somewhere in the line to the tank?  

    If Doug doesn't find a problem with your carb or its float, you might want to bypass your tank and run a hose from the carb to a gasoline can, and see if you still have the problem.  But that test takes a bit of time, so sit back and see if someone else jumps in here with another suggestion first!
  • Another thing you can do once you pulled the carb is run a line to a fuel can and crank the engine.  The pump should work and this will give you an idea if it is pumping with enough flow.  Could be the line is cruding up and if it is sucking air you will see bubbles.  Fairly easy to do.  Oh be sure you disconnect the coil so you have no spark.  Just in case.  I use clear tubing so I can see the fuel flow.  You should also get an idea if you need a filter or not if you see dirt or rust particles.  


  • When you have the carb apart remove the float hold it up to your ear and shake it. if you hear "sloshing" you have a leak in the float. Setting the float with the bowl dry won't be correct due to the excess weight and will have a tendency to flood..
  • Thank you all for your advice. Much appreciated. 
  • I have overhauled my Carter once. Didn't know beans about a carb, but I sure learned fast.  I think your main problem is with the carb. Your getting too much gas. As mentioned, I would lean towards the float.  As Jay G says, your needle valves have springs. If they are not in the right tension, you have a problem. Usually the float is the culprit.  As Super Dave says make sure the float has no fluid in it.  If that float is off as to the manual at least 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, you will have starting problems.  That happened to me. It has to be on the money, and it's hard to get it right as you have to measure when it's upside down. I don't remember now but if there are any little rubber gaskets attached to the needle valves, if deteriorated they will effect seating.  I know there is one on the fuel line entrance to the carb.  When I overhauled mine, and put it on the car it had starting problems. Ran once It started, but I knew when I installed it I wasn't sure about the float measurement.  So I took the carb back off, sure enough I was off, reset it carefully, put back on the car, and on the first pump off we went. Happy Hudsoning
  • Thanks Hudson GrandPa  the good Doctor Doug Wildrick has my carb and is checking it for defects. 
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