Replacing the Fuel Line on your Model T Ford

A shiny new 1920 Model T Ford Center Door comes home for the first time.

The other day I went out to the garage with plans to go for a drive in one of the Model T’s. I was immediately confronted by a heavy gasoline smell. The first thought was to open the garage door to vent the vapors. Next I looked under the 1914 to see a drip pan under the car holding a considerable amount of fuel. Fortunately there was no fire! I had tried a newly rebuilt carburetor the day prior, and the fuel line evidently had cracked some time during or after my drive around the neighborhood testing the carburetor. The copper fuel line, of undetermined age, had failed as they always do. Time to make a new one from steel that won’t fail unexpectedly.

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Repairing a Kingston L4 Carburetor for your Model T Ford

A line of 1923 Center Door Sedans come from the upholstery area towards the final assembly line in the Highland Park Plant. Photograph dated April 2, 1923 property of the Henry Ford Museum collection. About half of these cars would be equipped with Kingston L4 carburetors when they left the plant.

Kingston introduced the final variant of it’s L series carburetor for the Model T Ford at the beginning of the 1922 model year. It was the iconic Kingston L4, used on millions of Model T’s and TT trucks from 1922 – 1927. A good performing carburetor, it provided years of trouble free motoring and simple design that could be repaired easily. Let’s take a look at how to restore one.

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Rebuilding the 1915 and 1916 Kingston Model L Carburetors

A Ford dealership displays the new 1915 Model T Couplet, Center Door Sedan, and Runabout in January 1915.

Ford was busy revamping the exterior “look” of the Model T Ford in 1915 model year. At the same time, subtle mechanical improvements were being implemented. The Kingston Model L carburetor was introduced about the same time as the new model and fiscal year. Because of its lower fuel inlet Ford engineers specified the Kingston L be used exclusively in the new Center Door Sedan, coupled with a longer intake pipe and heat tube which positioned the carburetor lower for better fuel flow.

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The Kingston Carburetor in the Model T Ford

A brand new two lever 1909 tourabout is missing the splash aprons for some reason. This car likely was delivered with a Kingston 5 ball carburetor.

A version of Kingston carburetor, made in Kokomo Indiana, was used on every year of Model T Ford. Like the Model T the Kingston carburetor evolved many times over the course of Ford production. Ford always had a secondary supplier for carburetors during every model year, as was customary. Kingston was sometimes the primary brand, other times it was the secondary brand in a given model year. The Kingston brand is the only carburetor manufacturer that was used during every model year of the Model T.

In this article we will examine the Kingston carburetors for the entire life of the Model T. This will provide an easy identification guide for the restorer or prospective purchaser of either a carburetor or a Model T. Having the correct carburetor for your car enhances the car’s interest to serious collectors. This of course makes the car more valuable.

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Rebuilding the Kingston L2 Carburetor

A nearly new 1917 center door stuck in the mud near Seattle, Washington. These cars were originally equipped with either the Kingston L2 or the Holley Model G carburetor.

Ford always had primary and secondary vendors for parts purchased from outside vendors for the Model T. Such was the case for carburetors. Some time in late 1916 model year a new, improved Kingston carburetor was fitted to about half of Model T production. The Model L2 used an improved float bowl design and the needle / seat arrangement was simpler to manufacture and more reliable than the type used in older Kingston carburetors. The L2 proved to be a good design, and was used on millions of Model T’s from late 1916 through mid 1922 model year, when it was replaced by an improved model Kingston.

  • Let’s see what it takes to fix a typical old Kingston L2 that has been sitting in the weather for decades.
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