Carburetor CFM Calculator

Created by Avram Aruh
Reviewed by Hanna Pamuła, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Feb 02, 2023

With our carburetor cfm calculator, we will prevent you from ruining your engine. Carburetors (also known as "carburettor" in some countries, or simply "carb") are a smart device that create the correct mix of air-fuel in your engine. The question is, do we know the required cfm for our carburetor, and, if not, how to calculate the cfm of your engine? This engine cfm calculator gives you an idea of the carburetor size you need for your engine!

How does a carburetor work?

Isn’t it incredible that birds and planes can even fly? That's all down to the Bernoulli equation, which is the same principle that carburetors work on. Carburetors can be thought of as a pipe that pumps more air into the engine as you push on the accelerator. This pipe passes through a venturi, which is connected to the fuel intake.

A venturi is a slightly narrower area of pipe which causes air to speed up when passing through it. To conserve mechanical energy, an increase in the air's speed must be met with a decrease in pressure, and this decrease in pressure is enough to draw fuel from the fuel intake into the airflow. The quicker the air's initial movement, the more it's speed increases by, which causes a lower pressure, drawing more fuel into the airflow and engine.

When the fuel gets sucked into the engine, we've achieved what we wanted, but how the air-fuel mixture can be adjusted? There are two valves above and below the venturi. The valve at the top is called the choke
and regulates how much air can flow in. If the choke is closed, less air flows in which reduces combustion in the engine due to lack of oxygen.

On the other hand, the valve at the bottom is called the throttle. When the throttle valve is open, the air inside the carburetor increases, increasing both the air and fuel amount in the engine. As there is now sufficient oxygen for all that fuel, its combustion releases more energy to drive the engine, which accelerates the vehicle. The throttle is what the gas peddle controls.

How does the carburetor CFM calculator work?

You can see the formula below that we use in our engine cfm calculator:

sizecarburetor=sizeengine×MaxRPM×E3456\scriptsize \mathrm{size_{carburetor}} = \frac{\mathrm{size_{engine}}\times\mathrm{Max_{RPM}}\times E}{3456}

where:

  • sizeengine\mathrm{size_{engine}} (CID) - the size of your engine in inches. Engine size is also commonly given in liters or cc\mathrm{cc} (mL\mathrm{mL}) (e.g. 1.2 L1.2\ \mathrm{L}, 1400 cc1400\ \mathrm{cc});
  • MaxRPM\mathrm{Max_{RPM}} - stands for maximum revolutions per minute. You can easily gather this information from the tachometer screen - it is the maximum value that you see, or find it with our RPM calculator; and
  • EE - the engine efficiency: we can say that any standard stock engine will have about 8080\\% efficiency. Generally, race engines can range from 9595\\% up to 110110\\%, and most rebuilt street engines have a volumetric efficiency of about 8585\\%.

The constant 34563456 converts from inches to feet since 1 ft1\ \mathrm{ft} is 12 in12\ \mathrm{in}. We can remember this conversion constant by remembering that a cubic engine is 12 in312\ \mathrm{in^3} and has two identical compartments. So, if we want to convert from inches to feet, we have to do the calculation shown below, or use our feet and inches calculator!

V [in3]=12 in×12 in×12 in×2 compartments=3456 in3\begin{split} V\ [\mathrm{in^3}] &= 12\ \mathrm{in} \times 12\ \mathrm{in} \times 12\ \mathrm{in} \\ &\times 2\ \mathrm{compartments}\\ &=3456\ \mathrm{in^3} \end{split}

Our Bernoulli equation calculator gives you all the tool you need to get the complete picture of the formulas in this section!

How to use the carburetor calculator

Let's say we have a 340 in3340\ \mathrm{in^3} engine with a 5,6005,600 max rpm, working at 8080\\% efficiency. With our engine cfm calculator:

V[in3]=CID engine×MaxRPM=340×5, ⁣600=1, ⁣952, ⁣500 in3\begin{split} V [\mathrm{in^3}] &= \mathrm{CID\ engine }\times \mathrm{Max_{RPM}}\\ &=340\times5,\!600\\ &=1,\!952,\!500\ \mathrm{in^3} \end{split}

This is an engine with 8080\\% efficiency, so we have to multiply our result by 0.800.80;

1, ⁣904, ⁣000×0.80=1, ⁣523, ⁣200 in31,\!904,\!000 \times 0.80 = 1,\!523,\!200\ \mathrm{in^3}

Now we convert the units from cubic inches (CID) to cubic feet per minute (cfm) using the following division:

1, ⁣523, ⁣2003456=440.74 CFM\frac{1,\!523,\!200}{3456} = 440.74\ \mathrm{CFM}

That's how our carb cfm calculator works!

If you're interested in car and automotive industry, you may also fine our winch size calculator useful.

Avram Aruh
Engine size
cu in
Max rpm
rpm
Efficiency
%
Carburetor size
CFM
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