How To Clean A Motorcycle Carburetor?

Motorcycle Carburetor

It’s crucial to maintain a clean motorcycle carburetor to avoid a variety of issues with your bike. By doing this, you can keep corrosion at bay, maintain the functionality of your engine, and avoid having to replace it entirely. Additionally, it will keep the engine and gas mileage of your motorcycle intact.

It can be laborious to remove and disassemble the carburetor on your motorcycle. Shortcuts like taking out the bowls at the bottom of the carburetor, spraying cleaner inside, and then replacing them are not advised. A proper cleaning job cannot be expedited in any way.

How Often Do You Need To Clean The Carbs?

People frequently misunderstand the type of maintenance you need to perform on your carburetor, despite the fact that you’ll frequently hear about the routine maintenance you need to perform on your motorcycle with the different components.

There isn’t much routine maintenance you’ll need to do on your carburetor other than getting it tuned about every two years, which is a good rule of thumb. Carburetor disassembly is difficult, so you should only clean it when you think it needs it. For some, this might occur every few months, while for others it might occur every few years.

Those who ride their motorcycles frequently will need fewer carb cleaning sessions than those who don’t ride them as frequently. Nearly considered its own cleaning mechanism, frequent or regular rides.

Less frequent riders will discover that they need to clean their carburetors more frequently because idle motorcycles have a tendency to accumulate grime and dirt inside the carburetor much more quickly. For more information on what transpires when a motorcycle sits for an extended period of time, see my article here.

How Can I Clean A Carburetor Without Removing It?

It makes sense why people are looking into non-removal methods for cleaning the carbs on their motorcycles. Carburetor problems and dirty interiors are typically to blame for many of the running-related problems with motorcycles. If you have to remove it each time, problems like this that occur frequently can make cleaning a difficult task.

The majority of motorcycle carburetors are located behind the engine, toward the middle of the vehicle. Many people would rather avoid dealing with the intake boots or removing the throttle cable. You’ll need to remove the air box or pod filters first so that you can clean it without completely disassembling the bike. They can be easily reinstalled after you’re done with this, and it’s simple to do.

You should be able to see the butterfly valves opening and closing as you turn the throttle after removing the air intake filters, which will also expose the back of the carburetor. You can get closer to the carburetor by removing these. The bowl at the bottom of the carburetor must now be removed.

In order for the bowl to come apart, you will typically need to remove a center bolt or a few screws that are located around the bowl’s edge. It should only take a few minutes to take these off because they are so simple. Make sure your petcock is turned to the off position as well to prevent gas from leaking. Once you remove the bottom bowls, you might experience a small gas leak, so keep some paper towels nearby.

You can try to spray some carb cleaner up inside the bowl when it is off. Every few minutes, give the area a few sprays to help any dirt and grime loosen. Check to see if the motorcycle runs any better after you reattach the bowl and start it up. If that didn’t do much to help, you’ll need to take the bowls out once more and continue as instructed.

You’ll notice some floats rising inside the carburetor once the bowl is turned off once more (they look like the floats in a toilet tank). These floats rise as the gas fills the bowl and signal the carburetor to close the fuel valve to stop it from overflowing.

To access the area hidden behind the float, you’ll also need to remove it. These are connected by a tiny wrist pin, which you should have no trouble pushing through to separate the float. There will be a rocket ship-shaped piece attached to the float by a rubber tip when you remove the float. To stop the line from overflowing, that tip plugs it up. This rocket-shaped component and the float will separate at the same time.

I usually like to check to see if the floats are still functional while they are out. To test whether they truly float, get a bowl of water and place them inside. You’ll need to buy new ones if they don’t float because this could lead to later mechanical problems with your motorcycle.

You’ll need to look up inside the carburetor and unscrew the jets now that the float is off. There are typically two in there, one of which is a primary jet and the other a secondary jet. Make sure you can see through the jets after they are deployed by checking them out.

These are prone to clogging, especially when using ethanol gas. The most common cause of a carburetor not functioning properly is clogged jets. See my article for more information on the proper gas to use with your motorcycle.

No matter if you can see through the jets, clean them out. By doing this, you can be sure that any debris that may be accumulating inside but that you can’t see is being expelled. To make sure you get everything out, run carb cleaner a few times at intervals of several minutes.

Spray carb cleaner all over the carburetor at this point. Once more, spray the interior and even the exterior. Allow the cleaner time to clean and remove all the dirt before reinstalling all the parts. Reinstall the float, followed by the jets, and then put the bottom bowl in place.

Now that your motorcycle has been thoroughly cleaned, you can try starting it and see how it performs to confirm that this was the case. You can leave the air intake filters off at this point in case you need to access the carburetor once more. Install the intake filters after you’ve determined that the carburetor is clean.

Motorcycle Carburetor

How To Remove The A Carburetor For Cleaning?

It’s time for phase two if a quick and dirty clean didn’t work.

  1. Purchase a carb service kit. However, if you’re going to go through the trouble of removing the carbs, you might as well replace all the jets, gaskets, seals, etc. while you’re having it apart. We’ll talk about cleaning below. You won’t have to waste time trying to clean the jets and they’re not too expensive.
  2. In order to remove the carb, you typically need to take out the throttle cable, airbox (or filter), and any other objects that are either in the way or holding the carb in place.
  3. Place the carb, which is now removed, on a clean bench; you’ll be removing all the small parts, so you don’t want them to fall into a pile of wood shavings.
  4. To prevent any dirt from getting into the important parts as you work, give the entire carb a thorough cleaning.
  5. Take out the float bowl, then float as before.
  6. Hold the two bolts with holes in the middle—the jets—up to the light after removing them. If they are completely blocked, you should be able to see them, though there may be some dirt inside that you can’t see.
  7. Regardless, spray carb cleaner all the way through. The bristle of a wire brush can be removed and poked through the obstruction if that doesn’t remove it. However, exercise caution because the brass jets are prone to scratching. If that doesn’t work, soak the jets in carb cleaner and repeat the process until it does.
  8. Investing in an ultrasonic cleaner might be worthwhile if you have a few older bikes. This will cost you anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds, depending on the size of the carbs. But they really do a great job. 
  9. reinstall the bike, test, and reassemble the carbs. Hopefully, you’re good to go. If not, the spluttering issues are probably down to something else – duff sparkplugs, ignition coils, ignition timing…

Signs That Your Carburetor Needs To Be Cleaned

Carburetors do a pretty good job of telling us riders when they need a thorough cleaning. There are a few plainly visible indicators that show a clean is required.

The jets, which are essential to the functioning of the carburetor as I had previously mentioned, are frequently clogged and will result in some mechanical problems for your motorcycle.

Common indications of a dirty carburetor include backfiring, sputtering, a poor idle, and generally running poorly. Since the carburetor is usually the problem whenever I have any of these problems, I always clean it first.

Check out my article here for more information on why a motorcycle may sputter if you have cleaned the carburetor but the problem persists.

Can I Clean A Carburetor On My Own?

An acquaintance and customer who needed to get his bike ready for the season but was short on loot gave me the idea for this article. Here’s a shop mechanic’s insider tip: You will be paying for a complete overhaul if a mechanic charges you for a few hours of labor to remove and clean your carburetors. He doesn’t want to do the job twice, which is why. You won’t want to pay for his labor twice, so he’s going to make sure to clean everything in there the first time.

A more in-depth article or a trip to the mechanic mentioned above are both appropriate topics for a complete carburetor rebuild. On the other hand, if some old gas clogging the system is the only thing stopping you from hitting the road on the first warm day of spring, a light-duty cleanout very well may be all you need to get moving. Like all free advice, this is only worth what you pay for it, but it might be enough to get you moving with just an afternoon’s worth of work and minimal expense.

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