Small block Ford 3×2. 5.0 HO. Three 97s.

It started with a worrying email, and ended with a very happy customer, AND a lesson we can all learn about using teflon tape on fuel fittings. Gary Cone from Las Vegas, NV, owns a cool red 1940 Ford with a small block Ford 5.0 motor and three new 97s on an Edelbrock intake manifold. Here’s a couple of pics – one of the first small block Ford 3×2 new 97 set-ups we have seen. It’s a very tidy installation. Anyway, Gary’s email went:  “DROVE MY CAR TO THE LOCAL CAR MEET THIS MORNING, STARTED THE CAR TO RETURN HOME WHEN THE CARBS CAUGHT ON FIRE FROM GAS RUNNING OUT FROM THE PUMP ROD HOLE. MY FUEL PRESSURE IS AT  2 1/2 POUNDS. I ALMOST LOST MY CAR TODAY. WHAT NOW?”

Gulp. Well, that got our attention! Any 97 inlet valve – old needle and seat or our twin-ball S-jet will only stick open in the event of a float failure (and we’ve never had one ever with our brass floats) or a piece of debris from the tank, for example, lodging in the inlet. And that’s almost impossible too, with an S-jet because the balls spin and eject the dirt. So we emailed straight back and asked Gary to send us his carbs. Our top man Max checked the carbs out with his usual thoroughness and reported on the damage:

“After checking the floats for leaks and then having a good look with the trusty otoscope and magnifying glass, I found a miniscule strand of teflon tape, about an inch long, had migrated from somewhere downstream and wound its way around the big ball in one of the S-jets, causing the valve to be stuck full open. He’s using Superseat hose barbs, so I’m thinking the teflon must’ve swum upstream from a fuel line fitting.”

Anyway, as we state in our 97 Installation Manual, we strongly warn against the use of teflon tape anywhere in a fuel system, and this is exactly why. We have seen pieces inches long work their way into a carburetor like a damn tape-worm. That’s why we designed our Superseat hose ends with the correct seat so they do not need teflon tape. Neither should NPT fittings.

And the happy customer bit? Despite our stated warranty terms (and without prejudice, or admission of fault, as our lawyers like to add), we fixed those toasted carbs like new so he could get his hot rod back on the road. Gary was full of thanks, of course.