How To Increase Horsepower On A Carbureted Engine?

A lot of performance gaining options have emerged have since the advent of the internal combustion engine, which was more than a century ago. There are a lot of ways to squeeze all that power including using synthetic lubricants, power additives, racing carburetors, and a host of other miracle paths to power. An engine is mostly about math, physics, and the process of turning fuel into mechanical motion

Learn how to increase horsepower on a carbureted engine through this article, with an easy-to-understand guide, along with some basic preparation and precautions. 

Preparations Before Increasing Power

Before you try to increase the horsepower out of the carburetted engine, here are few points to look at before you can give a green single to the performance mods. These are important and should not be overlooked by you. 

1. Upgrade The Cooling System

The main job of the cooling system in your car is to keep the heat build-up in check, so as to prevent an engine meltdown. The temperature of the burning fuel in the engine cylinder can reach up to 1500 C. This is way above the melting point of the material of the cylinder body and head of the engine.

With performance mods, the film of the lubricating oil will get oxidized, thus producing carbon deposits on the surface. This will result in a piston seizure. So before you go ahead,  upgrade your cooling system with high flowing water pump, a bigger fan, and high capacity radiator.

2. Upgrade To A High Flow Fuel Pump

The normal mechanical pump of your carburated car won’t cut. You have to have a high-flow electric fuel pump. A larger fuel pump will also need upgraded wiring to supply them with enough power. You will need one that is capable of flowing enough fuel to meet your needs. And for that, you have to calculate the flow requirements.

You will also need a fuel pressure regulator to control the excess fuel from the new pump. On boosted engines, the regulator will be vacuum referenced and self-adjust as the boost goes up and down.

How To Increase Horsepower On A Carbureted Engine?

Here are the most common 5 ways to increase the horsepower in a carburated engine. Follow the instructions with care so as to prevent any damage to the engine-

1. Fiddling With The Timing Of The Car

With a proper timing adjustment, you can have good gains of power. If you have an older engine with a distributor-type ignition, then your job will become easier. You can simply advance the base ignition using a timing light. Add timing a little, say by 5 degrees in a steeped manner to gauge the gains, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in power. Do not go too crazy with the timing as you can damage the engine beyond repairs.

2. Use Larger Flow Jets

The carburetor on the top of your engine has jets inside which basically meters fule according to the airflow in the venturi. By using different sizes and combinations of jets, you can achieve gains in the power. But you cannot keep on increasing the jet size as eventually, it’ll start to make the mixture ultra-rich. On the contrary, it’ll then decrease the power.

3. Cold Air Intake Setup

Plenty of cold air intake for the engine will increase the potential to deliver more power. The reason why a cold air intake is popular for increasing horsepower is that the cold air intakes generally cost just a few hundred dollars and can have healthy gains. Cold air can carry more oxygen and that extra oxygen makes bigger combustion from the same amount of fuel.

4. Better Flow Exhaust

Free flow exhaust systems are designed for increased efficiency and power in your vehicles. A free flow system will allow the spent gas in the chamber to exit the engine more efficiently. Because of this, you will notice an improvement in the overall performance and the way your vehicle runs. Also, you can delete the catalytic converter to increase the flow rate, but it can be illegal in many states. 

5. Forced Induction

Forced induction can be an easy answer to how to increase horsepower on a carbureted engine. By using a turbo or a supercharger, you will increase combustion efficiency. The air of the supercharger blowing through the carburetor will amplify the vaporization process, along with extra oxygen, giving that better bag inside the engine.

The result of superior vaporization and a denser air charge under pressure will add to the power. You can also add an intercooler to aid more efficiency. Be very careful with that boost, as the overboost can easily kill your old engine. 

General Precautions While Increasing Horsepower

Before going about how to increase horsepower on a carbureted engine, there are some things that you should keep in your mind before going ahead with these mods. First of all, you should gauge the overall health of your car by going in for a compression test. If the engine is weak, then forget about it. If you are looking for some wild gains in the power, then You can look towards forged internals too.

Be careful about timing advance and forced induction. Have basic calculations made by a competent person. Failing to follow these sets can blow your engine apart. Also keep in mind that if you are filing with the emission system, then you could be potentially breaking some laws and it can get you in big trouble.

How Much Will These Power Mods Cost?

If you are looking for some simple jobs such as timing advance or replacing carburetter jets, then you can have that job done in less than 50$ very easily. Bigger mods such as forced induction and forged internals can burn a hole in your pocket and will set you back for around 1000$ for a good quality job. Other upgrades such as a cooling system can be in the range of 500$.


While considering how to increase horsepower on a carbureted engine, you should follow basic precautions in order to not blow your engine apart. Modifying a carbureted engine is very simple and easy on your pocket. Since these engines are old, do not go crazy with power goals. If you still have any doubts, then comment down below. 

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