Lotus Elan

Stromberg Needle Removal

PostPost by: Frank Howard » Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:38 pm

I have owned 11 Stromberg carburetors in my life. 7 in the past, and 4 currently. I never had a problem removing the needles from the earlier 7 carburetors as they were different from the ones fitted to the newer carburetors on my '71 and '74 Lotuses. I am stumped as to how to remove the needles from the 4 carburetors on the two Lotuses as they are spring loaded as opposed to solidly mounted. When I remove the set screw, the needle can be pulled down a short distance, but springs back up into the air valve once released.

As I am in the USA, both of these cars are Federal versions, equipped with emission controls required for the North American market. I believe the needles are non adjustable.

I am aware that there is a tool for adjustable needles (B 20379Z), but I think that mine are not adjustable. Is this tool also used to remove non adjustable needles?

Obviously I cannot even tell what needles are used, as I cannot remove them to see what their numbers are. Does anyone know what the trick is to removing the needles on these carburetors?

Thank you.
Frank Howard
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PostPost by: steveww » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:56 pm

On my nonfederal Strombergs, once the set screw has been removed the neddles just pull out. It could be that the needle holders on yours are stuck. Have you tried some carb cleaner?

I have some service manuals for the Strombergs, I will have a look in them to see what I can find for you. Watch this space :)
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PostPost by: daves56 » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:12 pm

The needles indeed get struck. Get a can of carb cleaner and a small pickle jar (minus the pickles). Put the piston assembly in the jar and fill the jar up slightly past the needles with the carb cleaner. Let it sit overnight......
The next morning it will easily slide out.
Dave S.
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PostPost by: dlbarnes1 » Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:27 pm

Your Strombergs probably have adjustable needles. If so, use a 1/8" allen (hex) wrench to engage the adjusting screw in the air valve guide rod. Turn the screw CCW to release the needle. Leave the set screw in place (not tight) to prevent the needle body from rotating while turning the adjusting screw. Once the needle is released, back the set screw out to allow the needle to be removed.
The needle adjusting tool facilitates adjustment in place (the air valve does not have to be removed).

Dave 72 Sprint DHC
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PostPost by: poiuyt » Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:22 pm

Frank,

Soak the needles & pistons in some good carb cleaner for a few days. You should then be able to get them out by pulling gently with a pair of pliers.

Make sure the set screws are removed first and get the cleaner in these holes as well.

This worked for me after I found out they were not adjustable needles.

Steve B
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Mon Nov 27, 2006 1:28 am

Let me start by thanking you all for your advice.

Steve WW., Dave S., and Steve Becker suggested that I soak them in carb cleaner or some sort of solvent that would free up the needles. Honestly, I could have soaked them for 100 years and the needles still would not have come out.

Dave Barns had a better idea, suggesting that I back out the adjustment screw all the way with an 1/8" Allen wrench, then soak and hope, but the needle holders were so tight that I could not turn the Allen screw at all.

Offline, Jay Farmer told me of the star washer that holds the adjustment screw in the air valve tube. He suggested that I hook it with a bent piece of wire and pull it out. While Jay was able to do this, I tried repeatedly and was unable to get it out.

Another shy lister contacted me offline. Ty Rodgers suggested that I push the needle valve assembly out the top using a nail as a drift, directing the blows straight down next to the needle while the air valve sat upside down on a partially opened vise.

Before I read Ty's e-mail, I brought the air valve assembly to a Saturday British car owner's breakfast and I showed it to Randy, a local British car mechanic. Randy suggested that I follow him to his shop and when we got there, he removed the needle assembly much the same way as Ty suggested, but instead of using a nail, he used a short piece of brake pipe placing it over the needle in order to get even pressure all the way around it. The needle assembly came right out the top and I was able to replace the "O" ring as well as inspect the needle.

Randy loaned me his long home made 1/8" allen wrench so that I could adjust the fuel mixture with it and upon returning the tool, his company sold me the special tool used to adjust the mixture requiring that only the dash pot pistons be removed. It wasn't the official Stromberg tool (B 20379Z) but it was a knock off made in Taiwan for only $10.

Again, thanks to those who took the time to offer sugestions. You were all very helpful and I hope this post proves helpful to others.
Frank Howard
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