2.3L ('83-'97) Carter YFA to Holley 5200 Swap


bilbo

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I figured I would start a new thread so it's easier to find if someone else ever tries to change from the Carter 1bbl to the Holley 5200 2bbl carburetor. My original YFA was shot and I was hoping to get a simpler carb on the truck without electronic feedback. I think my Ranger is one of the early ones and has the MCU system, but not the electronic distributor. I have the new carb on my engine and I'm still working out the kinks, but it runs and drives.

I used a carb from an early 70s Pinto in the hopes that jetting, etc would be good for my engine as they also used the 2.3.

To get the carb to fit on the stock manifold I used an adapter from Trans-Dapt meant for a Jeep. They used the Carter YFA as well. It's P/N 2125. For me, everything fit fine without any filing or grinding to clear butterflies or linkages. The throttle linkage is on the correct side of the carb to work with the existing cable and bracket, but I had to modify the bracket to bring the cable toward the driver side and down. I cut it and welded in a piece of angle iron.

IMG_2575.jpg

Here's the modified bracket.

IMG_2576.jpg

Here's the carb installed. I used an air cleaner assembly I found on eBay that's for Weber 32/36 carbs. Eventually, I'd like to adapt the original intake system to this carburetor so I can use the air heater. It gets cold in the winter and I think that system helped out. I'm going to switch over to an electric choke eventually, but plumbed the water choke for now. It's a bunch of bathroom fittings and heater hose I had laying around and it works, but it was a PITA to get the hoses fit up with how the in/out is oriented on the choke housing.

The truck started and ran fine, after fiddling with the idle mixture. Once warmed up the idle was worlds better than with the worn out Carter. It also revs a lot faster. I took the truck for a test drive and it would take off great but fall flat on its face. I advanced the timing from the normal 6 degrees up to 8, then 10. It definitely helped perk it up and I haven't seen any pinging. However, it falls flat once the secondary starts to open. I still have to look into this; from what I've read it could be a power valve that opens up to activate another fuel circuit under low vacuum, and they are often failed. When I dig in there, I will also be able to note jet sizes. I'm hoping it's just the power valve. Also, the accelerator pump is pretty aggressive. If I rev it a few times it loads up quickly and will stall. There's a pin that can be changed to back that off a bit.

I also read that these carbs have a special method for setting up the idle mixture. It's at this link. Redline is the US importer of Weber products and this Holley is based on a Weber carb. I haven't done that yet, but will hopefully this weekend. Another thing I read is they are picky about fuel pressure. They like between 1.5-3.5 psi. I'm going to check what my fuel pressure runs at. It might be a bit higher than that which could cause it to run rich. It could also be part of the accelerator pump issue.
 


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19Walt93

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Ditch the water choke, that didn't work well in the 70's and hasn't improved-you'll spend the winter with the choke partway on. Reinstalling the heated air intake will help,too. An air cleaner off a Pinto or Mustang II would let you do that. I get some Mustang II parts from Gary Baum at Second Generation Mustang in Pa., I'll bet he's got one and a timing cover that isn't bent. If a mouse or squirrel gets in there the timing belt will likely pop off. Make sure you've got the vacuum advance hose on the spark port- no vacuum at idle and more as you accelerate. It seemed to me that the Rangers and Mustangs with the YFA's had better low end throttle response than earlier cars with the 5200.The YFA's are also simpler carbs, their worst problem was the base plate screws loosening up. I used to put a drop of blue lock tite on the threads and shake proof washers to prevent them from loosening with good results.
 

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Yep the water choke will go when I get an electric one. The timing cover broke a while back and I have it riveted together. In the photo it was still flopped down but it's not any more.

Dug into the carb and found the pump jet wasn't tightened all the way so it would spew fuel all over instead of a stream down the primary side. We will see if that helps.

I've only put 50 miles on but noticed plug 1 is extremely clean still. Like brand new never used clean looking. The others at least have some discoloration. I will have to keep a close eye on that one.

Edit to add, here are the jets that are in it now:

Primary main 132
Secondary main 140
Primary air corrector 170
Secondary air corrector 185
Primary idle jet 70
Secondary idle jet 50
 
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bilbo

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Fiddled with this more last night for an hour or so, and tried the 'lean best idle' procedure. That didn't go so well; it says the engine should run very slow initially, but mine took off and was idling above where it's supposed to. Choke was off, engine warmed up, high idle off, etc. I think I have a vacuum leak; went to check with the can of carb cleaner but no straw. Found a straw, and then the can was empty, so I'll check that out when I can. I did notice the center plugs are sooty, the two outside look clean, with #1 being the cleanest. It actually looks unused. Two steps forward, three steps back.
 

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Maybe made some progress. I’m pretty sure I was off a tooth on the camshaft with the timing belt. I checked the spark right after I had reassembled everything and that was fine, and if it were going to jump a tooth anywhere it would be at the crank throwing both cam and spark off. Set timing back to the 6 degrees btdc that it’s supposed to be and power seems closer to normal. Still less than I had before. I can’t break my tires loose on gravel and didn’t have a problem before.

I think there’s a leak where the intake manifold meets the head. Idle slowed a bit when I sprayed there but ran out of time so I have to check that again.

The dead spot when the secondary opens is still there.
 

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A thought I had this morning, I wonder if the PCV system is causing a "vacuum leak"? I know it's supposed to flow some air from the oil cap on the valve cover, through to the crankcase, then back up to just below the carb. Right now I just have the PCV hooked directly to the fitting on the adapter under the carb. I don't remember if there was more to it when the Carter was on there. Should there be? I noticed at idle the PCV valve clicks/rattles.
 

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A thought I had this morning, I wonder if the PCV system is causing a "vacuum leak"? I know it's supposed to flow some air from the oil cap on the valve cover, through to the crankcase, then back up to just below the carb. Right now I just have the PCV hooked directly to the fitting on the adapter under the carb. I don't remember if there was more to it when the Carter was on there. Should there be? I noticed at idle the PCV valve clicks/rattles.
This is possible. PCV if working properly will affect AFR at any given throttle position. Try capping off the PCV and see what happens.

Also, as for #1 having a lean condition, since you have a progressive routed through a 1bbl adapter you should be getting even flow to all 4. Note some manifolds had vac bungs on cylinders 1 and 4. Does yours have anything anywhere on the #1 runner that is hooked up or capped? You could have a big leak nearby. Or a cracked manifold. Carbs may be notorious for fuel delivery issues but the Ranger manifolds are pretty good at preventing this.
 

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There’s no change with the pcv on or off. After correcting the valve timing, all the plugs look similar now. Not sure why the centers would get sooty but not the ends. It has the brake booster where the intake splits between 3 and 4. The air heater thing was on the split between 1 and 2 but it’s not hooked up now.

Carb cleaner showed a small leak around cylinder 2 where the manifold meets the head. Retorqued everything and that seems to have taken care of it. There is also one between the carb adapter and the intake manifold. Torqued the nuts down more but it’s still not gone. I have to mess with that some more.
 

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Carb cleaner showed a small leak around cylinder 2 where the manifold meets the head. Retorqued everything and that seems to have taken care of it. There is also one between the carb adapter and the intake manifold. Torqued the nuts down more but it’s still not gone. I have to mess with that some more.
Be careful with the torque! These old cast aluminum manifolds will crack very easily. I split my stock oval port manifold with a 4" wrench tightening my carb bolts. Did you replace the gasket or reuse the old one?

If re-using the old one, huck it, get a felpro or use RTV. Go light on the RTV though, I see guys put so much on that it squeezes into the intakes where it slows things down & pools gas.
 

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Nope just retorqued using book spec of 21 lb*ft when everything was warm. It’s a new fel pro gasket.

I’ve been digging around the web for weber/5200 tuning info and gathering bits and pieces. One thing I found was most had a smaller secondary air corrector. Mines bigger, so I switched them which should richen the mixture when the secondary main circuit is active, and lean down the primary side.

I noticed the 1/2-full throttle performance improved a bit. However, there was a bit of a stumble when up shifting. I’m going to switch them back and open up the secondary main jet a bit and see what I get.
 

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A bit of theory: A fixed-size venturi with a fixed-size fuel jet (as opposed to a CV or needle-type) gives a fuel volume that is roughly equal to the square of the air velocity. Of course this would never work as the mixture would get massively richer as air velocity increased, and this is where the air corrector jets come in. Instead of the venturi just pulling on a fuel jet, it pulls on both a fuel and air bleed connected by an "emulsion tube".

Air is much thinner than gasoline, so once you have it set up at a particular mixture, if you increase the air velocity it will pull more of the thinner air than it does fuel. If you get the ratio of the air bleed and the fuel jet right the air jet will just counter act the squared function of the fuel draw, and the mixture will stay constant regardless of air velocity.
 

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I got a wideband afr instrument and messed with it a bit today. I have 12.5-13 at idle and if I adjust it leaner idle gets rough. Cruise is at 15-16 and the engine seems to be stable and happy there. If I get on the accelerator, I'd say 1/3 to full throttle it's 12-12.5. Very light cruise is very lean and unstable, getting up to 17-18 at times. So something is awry with the only happy when rich idle and lean spot just off throttle opening. I'm going to make sure all the passages are clean but not sure where to go from there.
 

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A quick update on this project. I have been fiddling with this a lot and tried a few things to solve the lean spot. No matter what I did, I couldn't get rid of it, then on another forum I saw a thread about throttle plate position and the transition holes, and another about vacuum advance. I noticed my truck would idle fine with the throttle plates resting completely closed. First I thought they were maybe misaligned and allowing too much air around them. I adjusted that, and it wasn't the problem. Then I started over with the initial mixture and idle screw settings, but used the ported vacuum connection. That definitely made some progress. I can get the idle speed down and completely control it with the speed screw, but the manifold vacuum is lower (16"). After doing this, the lean spot is way less noticeable.

I can't figure out if the truck originally used ported or manifold vacuum for advance. I remember reading somewhere that it used manifold at startup and when the coolant warmed up it switched to ported, but I don't see how that would work on the vacuum diagram under the hood. At any rate, if the distributor is designed to be used with ported vacuum, there may be too much advance at idle when connected to manifold vacuum. My theory is this would need to be counteracted by closing the throttle plate further. Then, when you crack the throttle, it allows more air in but hasn't reached the transition holes yet so it leans out bad, still delivering fuel only through the idle circuit controlled by the mixture screw. I took a few trips with it and it seems to run happy with the ported vacuum advance. I'm seeing highway cruise at 15-15.8 and 12.5 at WOT. I do think I'll try a larger primary idle jet, as that should allow the transition circuit more fuel while still being able to control idle with the mixture screw. Also, I'm going to experiment with the next two sizes up for the mains.
 


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