Carburetor CFM Calculator – Find What Is Recommended Carburetor Size

Rakesh Nama
Carburetor CFM Calculator
Enter the Engine Displacement ( Engine Size ), Max RPM, and Volumetric Efficiency to calculate the recommended carburetor CFM.

How to Calculate the Carburetor Size for an Engine


Carburetor CFM Calculator

When it comes to optimizing engine performance, calculating the carburetor size plays a crucial role. The carburetor is responsible for blending air and fuel in the right proportions, ensuring efficient combustion and power output. Finding the correct carburetor size for an engine is essential for achieving optimal performance and fuel efficiency. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of calculating the carburetor size for an engine, along with useful tips and insights from industry experts.

Understanding Carburetor Size

Before diving into the calculation process, it's important to understand what carburetor size represents. Carburetor size refers to the diameter of the carburetor's throttle bore, which directly impacts the amount of air and fuel mixture flowing into the engine. A carburetor with a larger bore diameter allows more air and fuel into the engine, potentially increasing power output. On the other hand, a smaller bore diameter restricts the airflow, resulting in reduced power but potentially better fuel economy. Carburetors are categorized based on their capacity to handle airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Which Factors Affecting Carburetor Size Calculation

Calculating the carburetor size for an engine involves considering several factors that affect the overall performance. These factors include:

1. Engine Displacement: The size of the engine, measured in cubic inches or liters, plays a significant role in determining the ideal carburetor size. Larger engines generally require larger carburetors to provide sufficient air and fuel mixture.

2. Intended Use: The purpose for which the engine will be used also influences the carburetor size. Different applications, such as street driving, racing, or off-roading, have specific requirements. Racing engines, for example, may require larger carburetors to accommodate the higher airflow demands.

3. Engine Aspiration: The type of aspiration, whether naturally aspirated or forced induction, affects the carburetor size calculation. Forced induction engines, such as turbocharged or supercharged engines, require larger carburetors to handle the increased airflow.

4. Maximum RPM: The engine's maximum RPM (revolutions per minute) is another crucial factor. Higher RPM engines generally require larger carburetors to supply the necessary air and fuel at higher speeds.

5. Camshaft Profile: The camshaft's design and profile influence the engine's airflow requirements. Aggressive camshafts with longer durations and higher lift may necessitate larger carburetors to optimize performance.

Therefore, to determine the appropriate carburetor size for your engine, you can use a straightforward formula:

Carburetor size = Engine size × Maximum RPM × Efficiency ÷ 3456.

The engine size refers to the displacement measured in cubic inches. If you have the displacement in liters, you can use our liters to cubic inches calculator for conversion. Feel free to utilize our engine displacement calculator to determine the size of your engine.

The maximum RPM represents the engine's top speed measured in revolutions per minute.

The efficiency refers to the volumetric efficiency of the motor. Typically, most engines have a volumetric efficiency of around 85%, or 0.85. It is common to observe efficiency values ranging from 70% to 80% for regular engines, while race engines may have efficiency values between 95% and 110%.

Step-by-Step Process to Calculate Carburetor Size

Now that we understand the key factors, let's explore the step-by-step process to calculate the carburetor size for an engine:

Step 1: Determine Engine Displacement

Start by determining the engine's displacement, which is typically provided by the manufacturer. Engine displacement is a measure of the total volume swept by all the pistons within the cylinders during one complete revolution. It is usually expressed in cubic inches (CID) or liters (L).

Step 2: Calculate Ideal Airflow

To calculate the ideal airflow, multiply the engine's displacement by the maximum volumetric efficiency. Volumetric efficiency represents the engine's ability to ingest air and fuel compared to its theoretical maximum. The average volumetric efficiency for a naturally aspirated engine is around 80-85%.

Step 3: Adjust for Engine Aspiration

If the engine is naturally aspirated, no adjustment is needed at this stage. However, if the engine is forced induction, multiply the ideal airflow by a factor of 1.5 to compensate for the increased demand for air and fuel.

Step 4: Account for Maximum RPM

To ensure the carburetor can supply enough air and fuel at maximum RPM, adjust the calculated airflow by multiplying it with a factor based on the engine's maximum RPM. This factor varies depending on the engine's characteristics and can range from 0.8 to 1.2.

Step 5: Determine the Carburetor Size

To find the appropriate carburetor size, divide the adjusted airflow by the maximum airflow rating of a single carburetor barrel. This rating can typically be found in the carburetor manufacturer's specifications.

To illustrate, let's calculate the ideal carburetor size for an engine with a displacement of 350 cubic inches, a maximum speed of 6,000 RPM, and a volumetric efficiency of 75%.

Carburetor size = 350 × 6,000 × 0.75 ÷ 3456
Carburetor size = 437.50 CFM

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I measure engine displacement?

To measure engine displacement, you can refer to the vehicle's owner's manual or the engine's specifications provided by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can calculate it by multiplying the cylinder bore area by the stroke length and the number of cylinders.

 Can I use a carburetor with a larger size than recommended?

While it may be tempting to install a larger carburetor for increased performance, it's essential to consider the engine's requirements and limitations. Using an excessively large carburetor can lead to poor throttle response, decreased fuel efficiency, and potential engine damage.

Are there any online calculators available for carburetor size calculation?

Yes, several online calculators are available to help determine the carburetor size based on various engine parameters. However, it's important to cross-reference the results with expert opinions and manufacturer recommendations for accuracy.

Can I use fuel injection instead of a carburetor?

Yes, fuel injection systems offer precise control over the air-fuel mixture and can provide better performance and fuel efficiency compared to carburetors. However, they are generally more complex and require additional components and tuning.

What are the signs of an incorrectly sized carburetor?

Using an incorrectly sized carburetor can result in various issues, including poor idling, sluggish acceleration, excessive fuel consumption, black smoke from the exhaust, and overall reduced engine performance.

Should I consult a professional for carburetor sizing?

If you're unsure about the carburetor sizing process or want to ensure optimal performance, it's recommended to consult an experienced professional or a knowledgeable engine tuner. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific engine and requirements.


Calculating the carburetor size for an engine is a crucial step in optimizing its performance. By considering factors such as engine displacement, intended use, engine aspiration, maximum RPM, and camshaft profile, you can determine the ideal carburetor size. Remember to consult reliable sources, manufacturer recommendations, and seek expert advice to ensure accurate calculations and achieve the desired performance for your engine.

You may also find our compression ratio and engine horsepower calculators to be useful tools.

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