The Zenith Stromberg to Weber DGV Conversion

1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500

Weber 32/36 DGV Carburetor mounted on a Cannon manifold.


Well, I had finally had it. After rebuilding a few different ZS carburetors I just gave in. It took a MG Midget to convince me.

I converted!

My local volunteer fire department had a motorcycle poker run as a fundraiser one Saturday afternoon in October, 2002 and by chance a gentleman curious about all of the beautiful bikes in the parking lot pulled in with his 1977 MG Midget. Being car people we moved the conversation from bikes to the obvious...ZS Carbs! Well, I asked this guy about his engine and he proudly popped the hood and behold there was a very smooth running 1500cc with a Weber DGV carburetor. We chatted and his inspiring words like, "it always starts especially on cold days"and, "it always runs great", started to convince me. My next question was..."but will it pass Connecticut emissions?" He proudly produced the State emissions test sheet which had numbers so low that I was truly impressed. After a summer of disappointment there was hope for me and my 1979 Spitfire! (Well, the Spitfire, anyway!) This was Saturday. The next day I searched around the Internet and found what I felt was a reasonable price. On Monday, I ordered the Weber!!! The Redline kit was not cheap but what the hell. It's for the "Spitfire". I documented the installation so I could share my experiences with all of you who have had the same frustrating times I've had with my Zenith Stromberg 150CD4 carburetor.

Here is the stock set-up that caused me so much heartache, frustration and missed fun this past summer.

The new Weber 32/36 DGV Carburetor with a manual choke mounted on a Cannon manifold.

Some people who wrote about the installation process said they had to make some minor modifications so both the stock exhaust manifold and the new intake manifold would properly fit together. The Cannon manifold fit like a charm!

The kit came with different linkage components for various configurations, along with carburetor manifold gaskets and choke and accelerator cable brackets. Vague instructions were included but specific ones were found on various websites on the Internet. Mounting the carburetor was a snap and making the final connections a breeze. A little experience and some yankee ingenuity sure did help. If you've ever adjusted a typical downdraft carburetor, the instructions for the Weber were ever so simple. It was nice to have a carburetor with an accelerator pump and real choke instead of a "starting circuit".

Well, starting the car was simple and adjusting the carburetor brought back memories of the '65 Chevy I once owned. The best part, it ran REALLY WELL. :-)

The choke needed some minor adjustments, but the real test would come on the next cold morning. Well, the next cold morning came quickly and out to the Spitfire I went, cautiously optimistic about the starting process. After having cars with fuel injection and even a car with the ZS carburetor, a "regular carburetor" was a bit of a novelity. I remember having to prime the carburetor of my 1976 Spitfire (the Pimento one) every cold morning in the winter so she would start without killing the battery. Well, the time came to give it a shot. Key in, set the choke, pump the pedal, and.................. bingo, she fired right up! She ran a bit rich until I finally adjusted the mixture, fast idle speed and choke setting, but it ran without a fight. After a summer of frustration it just seemed too simple, but it worked. I really wanted to keep my Spitfire stock but you know what? I wanted a car I could drive and enjoy, and now I plan to play again in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

Now I can't wait for Winter to end and the snow to go away.

UPDATE as of April 15, 2004

The one item I did modify was the return spring or actually I added this as there was not a provision made for this feature. The spring that is part of the carburetor assembly was not strong enough for my liking to return the throttle plates to their idle positions. I fabricated a bracket to extend the throttle cable bracket and used the return spring and shaft from a ZS carburetor.

I now have a much more solid feel to the gas pedal and I am not depending on the pedal return spring and carburetor shaft spring for positive closure action of the throttle plates.


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