Harley Davidson Carburettor Buying Guide

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Harley Davidson Carburettor Buying Guide

The first Harley Davidson motorcycle rolled out in 1903 in a small shed in the Davidson family backyard. The brand has since grown to become a worldwide distributor of high-quality custom motorcycles that are considered collectors' items by many in the motorcycle community. Harley Davidson is steeped in history, and over the years, its motorcycle engines have undergone a variety of changes, especially the different carburettors used in the course of production. In today's market, a Harley Davidson collector looking for a replacement carburettor for a motorcycle has an assortment of options to choose from, depending on the year of the unit.

Versions of Harley Davidson Carburettors

Since the initial production of Harley Davidson motorcycles in 1903 up until 2006, all units featured carburettors produced by different manufacturers. In 2006, Harley Davidson shifted to fuel injection on all of the motorcycles produced, thus ending the need for carburettors. The company has used seven carburettor manufacturers over the years.

Tomato Can

The first Harley Davidson carburettors were called the Tomato Can, which ran from 1903 to 1908. There is no exact record of how the term originated, but many consider that Evinrude Outboards produced the first carburettors used by Harley Davidson.

Schebler Model H

The Schebler Model H, from 1908 to 1926, was one of the first automatic carburettors used on production Harley Davidson motorcycles, and it allowed a single cable to control fuel flow. It featured a brass body and developed finicky adjustment characteristics after the components wore down.


Linkert carburettors, dating between the 1920s and 1966, replaced the Shebler units. The Linkert featured a simple design that was not prone to the premature wear or unreliable adjustment characteristics of the Shebler units. Linkert carburettors were standard on all production Harleys until 1966, and many used versions that are still available.


Tillotson carburettors replaced Linkert versions in 1966, running until 1971. Tillotson produces quality modern carburettors as well as repair kits for the early-model Harley Davidson carburettors.


The Zenith/Bendix carburettors replaced the Tillotson units in the early 1970s until 1976. The Zenith carburettors were quality units, and repair kits are available in the aftermarket.

Keihin Butterfly

The Keihin Butterfly carburettor replaced the Zenith between 1976 and 1988, and it became a popular carburettor due to its ease of adjustment in contrast to previous models. Rebuild kits are available for the Keihin Butterfly in aftermarket and factory kits.

Keihin CV CVK 40

The Keihin CV CVK 40, dating between 1988 and 2006, was widely regarded at the time as the best carburettor ever installed on a production Harley Davidson. The carburettor features a solid design, easy adjustment, and a wide variety of replacement parts and kits. Harley Davidson changed over to fuel injection in 2006, which replaced the CV carburettor.

Repairing vs. Replacing a Harley Davidson Carburettor

One of the main considerations of people who own older Harley Davidson models is whether to replace an old and worn out carburettor or attempt to repair it in order to keep the motorcycle as original as possible. Collectors prefer to keep the original carburettor and rebuild it over installing an aftermarket version, while people who just enjoy riding might not be as concerned about authenticity and prefer functionality. The decision also depends on the model year of the Harley Davidson motorcycle and the availability of parts and rebuild kits. Finding a replacement Shebler carburettor is more difficult than rebuilding an original unit.

Used Carburettors

It is possible to find used Harley Davidson replacement carburettors, depending on the model and year of production of the motorcycle. There are shops that specialise in procuring and selling used carburettors salvaged from older-model Harley Davidsons. Used carburettors might still need rebuilding to a degree, depending on their condition. Other than the very early models, buyers can expect to find used carburettors with a little luck by searching various shops or specialty websites. It is generally less expensive to purchase a used carburettor but a warranty is rarely offered on a used carburettor

Carburettor Summary

It is important that consumers can make an informed choice when choosing between a used and new carburettor for their Harley Davidson. The chart below summaries the pros and cons of choosing between a new and used Harley Davidson carburettor.

Condition of Carburettor





Older models are easily available

No warranty

May not last for a long period of time

May still need rebuilding


Warranty often offered

Last for long period of time

More expensive to purchase

Older models ho find in new condition

By using the chart above it is possible for a consumer to choose between a new and used carburettor for their Harley Davidson.


Several companies offer high-quality aftermarket replacement carburettors for nearly any Harley Davidson model. While Harley Davidson purists and avid collectors seldom choose any type of aftermarket components for their motorcycles, if an original carburettor is beyond repair, it might be the only option a Harley owner has. Ultima, Mikuni, and S&S carburettors are a few aftermarket manufacturers that produce high-performance units for later-model Harley Davidson motorcycles. These units are a solid option for individuals who need a replacement carburettor but cannot find a used version.

Rebuild Kits

Carburettor rebuild kits are one of the more popular routes that a majority of older-model Harley Davidson owners choose to repair their motorcycles. There are rebuild kits available in both aftermarket versions as well as from the original equipment manufacturers, depending on the age of the carburettor. Rebuild kits have all of the gaskets, o-rings, needle valves, floats, and diaphragms needed to replace all the components that are prone to wear and deterioration in an older carburettor. Rebuild kits are an excellent way to repair an original carburettor without having to hunt down a suitable replacement component.

How to Buy a Harley Davidson Carburettor on eBay

When searching for repair or replacement options for their Harley Davidson carburettors, buyers should consider the wide assortment of products available by shopping on eBay. Shoppers can enter keywords, such as " Harley Davidson carburettor " from the search box on any eBay page, and they can view the list of available components a search returns. If the buyer wants to rebuild a carburettor, he can simply substitute this information along with the carburettor type and can then view all the available products from the various sellers. The powerful search tools available on eBay ensure that buyers can quickly find the components they are looking for and easily compare prices between sellers, all in one convenient location.

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