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Choke Heater Pipe & Gas Tank: How to Clean or Replace?


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Abstract: my '63 AFB carb's automatic choke heater pipe is clogged. Gas tank has interior rust. Best path to clean/replace?

My '63's R-1 engine had recently been having a dickens of a time lighting up and staying lit. The vacuum seemed ok, so I took the car to a carb shop that advertises in the local SDC chapter's newsletter. They noticed a couple of things: 1) rust coming in through the fuel system, and 2) the heater tube for the automatic choke was blocked. The choke thermostatic spring was apparently incorrect, and replaced.

Issue #1 rust in fuel: I'm going to address it with a replacement tank, and a new fuel sender while I'm at it, the gas gauge never having read more than half full on my watch. I'll test the gauge too. Studebaker Intl's replacement tank is apparently aluminum, which even if not coated inside I'm thinking will do better with current fuel than steel. Based on my experience cleaning rust from surfaces I have full access to, I don't see any value in attempting to clean and re-seal the current steel tank.

Issue #2 clogged choke heater: The '63 parts catalog (page 29) shows p/n 1557420  Pipe, Automatic choke heater. As you'll likely know, the bugger is a metal loop plugged into the intake manifold. The part isn't in stock with either Studebaker International or Stephen Allen's (mystudebaker dot com). Unless I can run a pipe cleaning brush through both the rubbish in the pipe and the sharp bend in the loop (not likely), I'm going to have to remove the manifold and tap the thing out from behind to remove and deal with. I pray the crap in the pipe isn't due to a hole. 


  • How have you cleaned or obtained a replacement choke heater pipe? Or, do most people ditch the original automatic choke for an electric?
  • Should I bother sealing the aluminum gas tank? I was considering Caswell's gas tank sealer.
Edited by cmholm
Describe why I'm removing the choke heater.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't know about the choke. My '69 has no shoke at all. Should be there but a few parts are missing. Fortunately, I don't drive in winter ...

Sealing an aluminum tank seems silly to me. Don't bother, it won't rust. If you would stay with the current tank: A good fuel filter can prevent the rust from entering the carburetor. I cleaned my tank last winter and it is still running fine.

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While you are finding/fixing the "magic loop" in the intake manifold, you can rig up a heat source for your choke by running a pipe down to the passenger side exhaust manifold, and  use a piece of aluminum to shroud the manifold  so it collects some heat. bend the pipe back up and use rubber hose at some point to go back to the air cleaner or carb nipple, and you will have a heat source for the choke just like 60's era Fords (!). Should get that choke to open up for now.....

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  • 2 months later...

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