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by David Zatz; most photos courtesy of auto parts seller DJD16
Chrysler Corporation’s Carl Breer worked with the Ball family, father and son, to build better carburetors. When the Ball family sold their company to Carter Carburetor in the late 1940s, their products were dubbed the Carter BB series.
In the 1950s, two new carburetors were created based on that design. This was the basis for the Carter BBS and BBD series, essentially updated versions of the BB with single or dual barrels.
Hemi Andersen noted that the main departure from the BB to BBD is using dual barrels; it also used metering rods rather than a fixed fuel metering jet to deal with all engine loads and speeds, except idle. The BBS actually came later, as a single-barrel version of the revised BB carburetor. Both BBS and BBD carburetors were Chrysler standbys for many years, used on slant sixes (BBS) and small V8s (BBD).
Starting in 1977, the BBD was adapted to the little Slant Six in BBD-8087 form, mainly by cutting down its size. In the same year, the 318’s BBD gained a mixture adjustment for higher altitudes, which could be set from the top of the carburetor; this was only used on cars sold in high-altitude areas, and was replaced in 1982 by a separate mechanism.
In 1979, the BBD used on the slant six was made “tamper proof” by concealing the idle mixture screws, using a plug during the final factory adjustment. Dealers would have to remove the plugs, change the mixture, and, though many probably skipped this step, replace the plugs. This replaced the earlier idle mixture limiters.
The final Chrysler use of Carter BBD carburetors was in the 1984 cars. For 1985, Chrysler switched to Holley — but only because Carter had stopped making carburetors.
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