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Before fuel injection systems became mainstream, the air/fuel mixture was controlled by a carburetor. The carburetor is mounted on the top of the intake manifold, and has both air and fuel inlets. The air inlet is sometimes a duct attached to the carburetor or can be just an air filter housing mounted directly on top of the carburetor. The fuel is supplied by a fuel line coming from the fuel tank. The carburetor is responsible for atomizing fuel and spraying it into the air that enters the intake manifold. There are two adjustment screws on a carburetor that control the idle speed and the fuel mixture when running. When the carburetor can no longer be adjusted to make the engine run smoothly, it may be time to replace the carburetor.
Have the carburetor adjusted at every maintenance interval. If the carburetor will not adjust properly, replace it with a high quality part. The labor cost to rebuild a carburetor is prohibitive and often is more expensive than installing a replacement.
Without a properly operating carburetor, it can be extremely difficult to keep the engine running reliably. This can lead to dangerous situations when driving or costly tows if the engine stalls.