I went to the airport early this morning intending just to clean the windshield. I'd picked up more than enough bugs over Long Island yesterday morning. When I got to the airplane I saw an extensive blue stain on the top and sides of the nose gear fairing. That could only be the result of fuel dripping from the carburetor. This is clearly not a Good Thing. So I walked over to Three Wing's maintenance hangar and told Skip my tale. He said they'd have a look at it.
The carburetor in question looks just like this one:
Fortunately, it is looking like a complete overhaul will not be required. An e-mail from Skip states:
Frank, the metal float in your carburetor is worn and was chafing which we believe was the cause of the problem. The current float replacement kit [from the manufacturer] is $267.00 and takes about an hour to install. The labor to remove and install an overhauled carburetor would be the same to remove and install your original carburetor. We can have the float kit here tomorrow.
The float kit installation is straightforward in comparison with a full overhaul of the carb.It involves separating the bowl from the carburetor body and replacing the float, its shaft, and several minor parts and gaskets. The exploded view below (showing a similar carb) will give you an idea of which bits are involved.
The good news is that it looks like I'll have an operational airplane to take me home on Friday.