Solex Replacement Carburetor

See also Solex Troubleshooting for tips on adjustment.

A post on the old CJ-3B Bulletin Board asked about the replacement carburetor offered by J.C. Whitney for the F-head or L-head Willys engines: "I'm wondering about its performance. Does it actually add a little pep to the underpowered motor? How about mounting -- does it align easily to all of the stock linkage without modification? Does it hook up properly to the air filter intake?"

Eric Lawson responded: "It is a Solex carb. I have put the Solex on a CJ-3A (4L-134) and a CJ-5 (4F-134). The Solex did not increase the power produced by either engine. In both cases, the fuel line inlet is in a slightly different position. You will have to bend the tubing around to hook up the fuel line. If you don't want to bend the tubing, short flexible fuel lines with the correct fittings are available."

Solex carb
The Solex carburetor (with flexible fuel line).
YF carb
The original YF carburetor (air filter removed).


"On the 4L-134 engine the linkages connected perfectly. On the 4F-134 engine in the CJ-5, the choke cable needed to be bent too tightly for easy operation of the cable and the hand throttle cable connection required some thought to get working. The "gas pedal" linkage fit without any problems." (See a photo from the left side, 25K JPEG.)

Curtis Weddle was interested in suggestions on how to make the linkage work: "I purchased a Solex carb for use in my 1954 CJ-3B restoration, and have found that the throttle linkage rod which passes over the rocker arm cover interferes with the spark plug wires when they are in stock configuration. Apparently, this is due to the greater height of the throttle plate shaft in the Solex, and also to the greater height of the linkage arm connected to this shaft. Though I do not specifically recall that this was the case, it seems that the linkage rod over the rocker arm cover is intended to pass between the cover and the plug wires. I would be interested in hearing of ways in which 3B owners electing to convert to the Solex have dealt with this problem."

Brian Greif: "I drilled a new hole in the linkage arm on the carb to relocate where the throttle linkage rod connected. By relocating this every thing cleared."

Michael Perry sent these photos: "Here are some photos of my installation in a '59 CJ-5. I assume that these photos would apply to a CJ-3B as well. I received two throttle linkages with the carb. Neither worked as received, so I combined the best of both to make things work. I also had to reroute where the choke cable exited the firewall to avoid sharp bends in the cable."

Left view
Top view

Click the photos to see larger copies. See also a photo from the bottom right side view (60K JPEG).

Frank Gough added: I put a Solex on a '46 CJ2A and it worked fine. Everything but the fuel line lined up and worked well. The stock carb to manifold gasket is about four times as thick as the one that comes with the Solex, and is preferable. I also had to play with fuel/air mixture to get good throttle response, but after that, no problems. You can get these from Surplus City instead of JCW, about $130 or so if I remember right. I got mine from Evergreen parts out of India for $75, but shipping was $28 and import duty was $19, and I had to wait 11 weeks to get it.

Adam Sparks writes: "I have limited experience with the Solex but I did install one on Jay Caniglia's CJ-3B. I must say, after putting new plugs/wires/coil/points and condenser on, it started and ran better with the Carter. Then we put the Solex carb on, and it started much faster and ran much more smoothly. Not much more power but noticeably better running. I plan the same for my '62 CJ-5, hopefully this spring!"

Reed Cary commented: "I bought one from JCW, thinking what the hell. I've thrown kits into two Carter 636SA's, which never seemed to make much difference in my 3A. (It had a a cracked intake manifold and I didn't know it til it was rebuilt, but even after that problem was fixed I couldn't get a smooth idle.) My feeling is that most rebuilt carbs suck. They really need to be re-bushed, but usually aren't. So that Indian Solex ain't pretty in my restoration, but I now have a smooth idle and better gas mileage (circa 18 mpg on the pavement)."

Thanks to all the contributors. -- Derek Redmond

See Solex Troubleshooting for tips on adjustment.

See also Tech Tips on the original YF Carburetor, and a Weber carb installation in an F-head Performance Enhancement.

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Last updated 26 December 2004 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond