Selection and tuning of Weber DCOE carburettors
A very popular modification for kit car owners is the fitment of twin Weber DCOE or DCO/SP carburettors; these not only deliver the goods but also look very good. A good deal of mystique surrounds Webers, specifically Weber jetting and tuning. However Weber DCO series carbs are not as complicated as you might imagine, and whereas there is no substitute for a good rolling road session to tune them, there is much you can do to tune them yourself, by selecting the correct choke sizes and initial jet settings according to a fairly simple set of rules. This should get the engine running to a reasonable standard in preparation for the rolling road.
Arriving at the correct carb/venturi size
When selecting Webers, the most commonly asked question is "Should I have 40s or 45s" coupled with "Surely the 45s will give more power". This shows a basic misunderstanding of the construction and principles of operation of the DCO series. It is not the barrel size (40 or 45) which determines the airflow and therefore potential horsepower; it is the size of the main venturi or choke. Selection of the correct main venturi size is the first step in selecting the carburettor.
It is easy to make the assumption that biggest is best when selecting a main venturi size, but the purpose of the main venturi is to increase the vacuum acting on the main jet in order to draw in and effectively atomise the fuel mixture. The smaller the main venturi, the more effective this action is, but a smaller venturi will inhibit flow. A large venturi may give more power right at the top end of the power band, but will give this at the expense of lower RPM tractability. Only a circuit racer will benefit from this sort of compromise, on a road car, driveability is much more important. 95 percent of the time, a road engine is nowhere near its peak power, but is near its peak torque for 75 percent of the time. It is much more important therefore to select the main venturi for best driveability, once the venturi size has been selected, then the appropriate carburettor size can be arrived at.
Here is a small chart showing the available Main Venturi size for Common DCO series carbs
Size Available Venturi sizes
Below is a chart that will allow the correct selection of main venturi size for engines given the engines capacity and the RPM at which peak power is realistically expected to be achieved, for road engines peak power is usually between 5250 and 6500, depending on the cam selection. After the correct venturi size has been arrived at it is a simple matter to determine whether 40/45 or 48 DCOs are required, take the venturi size and multiply by 1.25, the result is then the ideal barrel size which will accommodate the venturi size selected.
Chart Showing Main Venturi Sizes for Various Engine sizes and RPM ranges
Carburettor Barrel size calculation
Venturi/choke size * 1.25
For example: a two litre engine giving its maximum power at 6000RPM will require a venturi size of 36mm, and therefore an ideal barrel size of 45mm (36 * 1.25). For this application 45 DCOE is the ideal solution, however a 40 DCOE will accommodate a 36mm choke, so if funds are limited and the engine is not going to be tuned further then 40 DCOEs will do the job.
If you have bought your Webers second-hand, it is important to understand that it is unlikely that they will be 'ready jetted'. However if you do not want the expense of changing the main venturis, you will still need to know their size, this is normally embossed on the venturi itself, so look carefully down through the main barrel of the carb from the air cleaner side.
Diagram of Main Jet assembly
Main Jet and Air Corrector Size Selection
A useful formula for the calculation of main jet size when the main venturi size is known is to multiply the main venturi size by 4. This will give a starting point for the main jet size which should be 'safe', again as a starting point the emulsion tubes can be selected from the table shown below, although for Pinto F9 or F16 will generally be OK. If your carbs are already equipped with these, then that will save you some money. Air corrector jet initial settings should be around 50 higher than the main jet.
Main jet size Venturi size * 4
Air corrector Main jet size + 50
Using these formulae, a venturi size of 36mm will require a main jet of 145 and an air corrector of around 190.
Emulsion tube Selection
Below is a table showing suggested emulsion tube type, for a given single cylinder capacity.
Cylinder capacity Suggested tube
350-475 F9, F16
Using the above formulae, the ideal settings for a 2000cc Pinto with power peaking at 6000RPM (290 degree cam or above) are as follows
F16 or F2 Emulsion tubes
145 Main jet
190 Air corrector
The 2000cc Pinto in just on the cusp of change for emulsion tube type between F16 and F2, if you already have F16 tubes, use them it is not worth the expense of change, they will just cause the main circuit to start marginally earlier. A 2.1 or 2.2 Pinto should however be using F2s although F16s will do the job acceptably well.
Diagram of Idle Jet Assembly
Idle Jet selection
Idle jets cause a lot of confusion; although their name suggests that they govern the idle mixture, this is incorrect. It is true that the fuel consumed at idle is drawn through the idle jet, but the idle mixture is metered not by these jets, but by the idle volume screws mounted on top of each barrel. The idle jets control the critical off-idle progression between closed throttle and the main jet circuit, it is this part throttle operation which is so important to smooth progression between closed throttle and acceleration and for part throttle driving. If this circuit is too weak then the engine will stutter or nosedive when opening the throttle, too rich and the engine will hunt and surge especially when hot. The technique for establishing the correct idle jet size is detailed later, but as a starting point 40/45f9 idle jets for a 1600 engine 45/50 f9 for an 1800 and 50/55f9 for a 2000 will get you out of jail free.
Below is a chart showing approximate idle jet sizes for given engine sizes, this assumes one carb barrel per inlet port E.G. two DCOEs.
Engine size Idle jet size
Establishing the correct idle jet for a given engine is not easy but usually an approximation will make the car acceptably driveable. If the progression is weak then the engine will nosedive when moving the accelerator from smaller to larger throttle openings. A certain amount of change (richer/weaker) to progression can be achieved by varying the air jet size on the idle jet; this alters the amount of air that is emulsified with the fuel drawn through the idle jet. If this does not richen the progression sufficiently then the next jet size up, with the same air bleed should be tried. Below is a small chart showing the most commonly used air size designations, running from weak to rich. Generally speaking start your selection with an F9 air bleed.
Weaker Normal Rich
F3 , F1 , F7 , F5 ,F2-F4 ,F13 ,F8-F11-F14,F9 , F12 , F6
The ones in normal use are F2,F8,F9 and F6.