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Series Land Rover Zenith Carburettor Problems

Problems experienced which can be attributed to a carburettor fault include excessive fuel consumption, difficult starting when hot, lack of power, black exhaust smoke, uneven idling speed and engine stalling. With the exception of the black exhaust smoke, these problems could also be caused by incorrect ignition timing or distributor faults, so check the ignition system before assuming the fault lies with the carburettor.

Some later model Zeniths are fitted with tamperproof idle adjustment screws (recognisable by a plastic cylindrical shield surrounding the screw and the screw itself having a lock ring). These carburettors are intended for places where exhaust emission control laws are in operation. So you cannot legally adjust these without using the correct exhaust emission monitoring equipment.

One problem the Zenith can suffer from is transfer of fuel from the float chamber into the top section via a damaged O-ring. This results in an over-rich mixture, especially noticeable at idling speed and not recoverable by adjusting the idling screw. The cure is a replacement O-ring from a Zenith servicing kit.

If the Zenith has been opened and the float setting is to be checked(photos) measure the distance from the top of the cover gasket to the top of the float. This distance should be 33mm and accuracy is important else the carburettor will either become flooded (smell fuel) or starved of fuel (acceleration becomes poor). To adjust the float height bend the float tongue carefully.


As with most carburettors, the accelerator spindle can cause wear in its mounting bush - fuel can be seen leaking from where the spindle enters the carburettor. There is no easy DIY cure for this, so to extend the life of the bushing, make sure there is no sideways stress on the spindle due to mis-aligned accelerator linkage on the carburettor.

The correct procedure for adjusting the fuel mixture is to turn the mixture control screw fully in but without overtightening. Then turn it out one and a half turns. Now turn the idling speed screw until it just touches the carburettor body then turn it in one more turn. Next, start the engine and get it to normal working temperature then turn the mixture control screw in whatever direction is necessary to increase the engine speed and keep it running smoothly. Now adjust the idling screw again to get the slowest even running engine speed possible. The carburettor has now been set for its full range of operation.





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