How to Clean a Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor has several functions

1) it combines gasoline and air creating a highly combustible mixture

2) it regulates the ratio of air and fuel

3) it controls the engine's speed

Cleaning a carburetor is a relatively easy task that people can do with a few basic tools.

Tools and Supplies

The right tools and supplies ensure that the process goes quickly and smoothly. Many people already have most of the necessary tools, but gather everything in advance so it is ready to go. The size of each tool will depend on the specific carburetor.

• Screwdrivers [Several sizes, flat & phillips]
• Needle-nose Pliers
• Socket Wrench [Several sizes, SAE or Metric]
• Carb Cleaner
• Shop Towels
• Safety Goggles
• Gloves
• Wire Brush

Those who are unsure of the exact tool sizes they need should grab a few of each tool so that the right size is handy. Just take a quick look at the engine and carburetor to get an idea of the sizes necessary.

Remove the Carburetor from the Engine

Begin by turning off the fuel valve and remove the hoses that connect to the carburetor. Loosen the clamps and screws that keep the carb in place and then carefully wiggle it to get it out. Next, remove the throttle slide, the float, and the float pin in this order. For all parts, except the float pin, screwdrivers and wrenches are necessary; but for the float pin, the needle nose pliers work best. Lastly, remove the plates and the jets below them. This step usually requires a flathead screwdriver.

Disassemble the Parts for Easy Cleaning

To easily clean a carburetor, it is important to disassemble the parts so they are easy to work with. A flathead screwdriver works to remove the idle screw and the air screw on the sides of the carb. The air screw is the smaller of the two and it is usually best to remove it after removing the idle screw. Not all carburetors have a removable choke, but if it does, remove it with a wrench. Before cleaning anything, it is critical to remove the O-rings and gaskets.

Clean the Carburetor Components

Start the cleaning process by thoroughly soaking the carburetor and all associated parts in a cleaner specially designed for carburetors. For most carburetors, a gallon of cleaner in a plastic container is adequate for this process. Soaking it for a few hours is usually enough to loosen the dirt and grime so it is easier to get off.

Ensure a Safe Cleaning Process

Before going into the detailing part of the cleaning process, it is important to ensure the person doing the cleaning is safe. Some of the chemicals are quite harsh, so protecting the skin and eyes is very important. Wear safety goggles just in case any of the cleaners splash up during the process. Wear a pair of chemical-resistant gloves to protect the hands and arms.

Cleaning the Individual Pieces

Remove the carburetor from the cleaner and use a wire brush to scrub the individual components. If any dirt and grime is stuck on, use a choke cleaner to loosen it. After everything is completely clean, make sure that all debris is gone and then fully dry each of the parts. Put on new gaskets and O-rings, reassemble the carburetor, and put it back on the engine.

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