A Breath of Fresh Air
By Ryan Ballou
I would have to say that one of the most frequent complaints I hear from people running dual carbs is that of clogged jets. The causes are fuel contamination and/or dirt getting past your air cleaners. Dirty fuel is easy to deal with, run a fuel filter, check and service it regularly. Cheap stamped steel air cleaner assemblies however can be a little trickier to deal with. Lucky for us dual carb enthusiasts Mid America Motorworks has a solution, billet aluminum air cleaner assemblies.
Now as any of you know, most of the dual carburetor kits currently available come with a stamped steel air cleaner housing. I've lost count of how many of these I've either broken or warped over the years. The result is a loose, poorly fitting air cleaner base that does nothing to seal the assembly to the carburetor. When you take into consideration that the idle air bushes are open on the top of the carb you can see how any debris getting past the air cleaners can easily find it's way into your idle jets. The problems only get worse when the spot-welds on the tabs that hold the securing studs in place break preventing you from securing the air cleaner tops.
The solution is found in the rigid design of the billet assemblies made by EMPI and marketed by Mid America Motorworks. Now I have to come right out and say this, don't let the name EMPI deter you. These are quality pieces of work. When I removed these from the packing material they were shipped in, the first words out of my mouth were "WOW, these things are heavy". Heavy isn't always a good thing in the world of performance, but in this case I'd prefer heavy over cheap.
First the terminology; the word billet as it applies to metals means a solid bar metal that was either rolled or forged from an ingot. It is then from this 'chunk' of metal that a part is machined. This process yields a very strong part with a fit and finish limited only by the quality of the machining process. In this case we get a pair of air cleaner bases and tops that fit and work exactly as they should.
The bases are machined perfectly flat for a solid seal against the tops of the carburetors more than can be said for the flimsy steel of the originals. The inside of both the top and base have channels machined into them to secure the air cleaner elements in place. The bases are countersunk on the bottom to allow bolts to pass through to risers that in turn are studded for nyloc nuts that secure the top halves. Finally, all the visible surfaces are polished giving a very clean look.
of these is very straightforward. The only tips I can offer to smooth
the process are these. Make sure the bolts and studs are secure in
the risers. If not then you should disassemble and clean them then
reinstall with some thread-retaining compound. Make sure to mind the
height of the top studs so that they all protrude equally through
the air cleaner tops and enough threads are exposed to fully engage