Your vehicle’s carburetor is where the fuel and air mix together as part of the combustion process. Many mechanics will tell you this device is one of the most problematic parts of the engine. You might be able to eliminate some of these issues by learning how to clean a carburetor properly.
Carburetors may come in different forms depending on the vehicle you are cleaning. However, they all function in almost exactly the same ways, so you can use these cleaning tips on any carburetor you want to maintain.
Things You’ll Need
Having the proper tools and supplies on hand is always the first step in learning how to clean a carburetor. Note that you may be replacing some small parts in addition to cleaning the apparatus. We will list both the tools we recommend for this job and any additional supplies you might need. While some of these items might be optional, it’s best to have everything you need on hand to do the job properly the first time.
- A screwdriver with multiple heads.
- A wire brush.
- A socket set.
- Needle nose pliers.
- Carburetor and choke cleaner.
- A gasket set.
Note that you may need to adjust the gasket specifications to fit the make and model of your vehicle.
Step 1: Remove Your Carburetor
Before you can learn how to clean a carburetor, you need to detach it from your vehicle. You should locate the fuel valve on your tank and make sure it is off before you begin. Remove the hose and check it for any cracks that might cause leaks. If you find any fractures, you may wish to replace the hose while you are cleaning the unit.
The carburetor should have clamps on its front and back that you must remove. Twist the cap on top of the throttle cable to take it off as well. You’re now ready to remove the whole apparatus, but you need to take the slide off the throttle cable to complete the process.
Step 2: Remove the Float
The float should be at the bottom of the unit. It is the first part you remove when learning how to clean a carburetor. There should be four screws at the very bottom that secure the float’s bowl. Use patience when removing these screws in case they strip. You can take the bowl and the gasket out of the carburetor now. There are still a few more things to remove, so you shouldn’t start the cleaning process yet. Use your pliers to take the pin out of the float mechanism. Note that while you can start cleaning the carburetor right away, you might have better results if you disassemble everything first.
Step 3: Remove Any Outer Parts
This step may be an important one in learning how to clean a carburetor depending on the model you own. Some carburetors may not have the same outer parts. In other cases, you might not need to remove those parts before you start cleaning everything. If your carburetor has small items like screws for idle adjustment or air that are removable, consider taking them off prior to cleaning.
Step 4: Clean the Edges
You should start by cleaning the outer edges of the parts to remove excess dirt or debris. Use your wire brush to tackle any particularly troublesome spots. You may need to use vigorous strokes to remove dirt that has dried on the surface of the carburetor. We will use some solvents next, but if the parts still have any rings or gaskets attached to them, you’ll need to remove them first.
Step 5: Spray the Parts
Now it’s time to use the special carburetor and choke spray to clean the parts. All the parts you removed from the main unit left gaps or holes in their wake. You should spray the cleaner both in and around these holes. Because the parts they contain usually cover these holes, it’s easy for debris to accumulate inside of them. After you have sprayed inside the holes, do a visual check to see if they are clean. If you can see light shining through the holes, they are clean enough for now.
Note that instead of spraying the parts, you could soak them in a solution of carburetor cleaner. While this is one way to learn how to clean a carburetor on most vehicles, it can be an expensive method.
Step 6: Dry Your Carburetor
After cleaning everything out using the special solution, drying everything thoroughly is an important part of finishing the process. The carburetor needs to be free of chemical solutions and other things that might cause any unwanted moisture to build up in the system.
Dry the carburetor as much as you can with thick, clean rags. After you wipe everything down, turn the parts over in your hands and shake them a bit to remove excess cleaning fluids. Although it is not necessary, we recommend that you let all the parts of the carburetor sit for some time. This will help you make sure everything is completely dry and ready for reassembly.
Step 7: Reassemble the Unit
You can work backwards to put the parts of the carburetor back together again. However, you’re not ready to reattach it to your vehicle yet.
Step 8: Run Clean Fuel
If your vehicle has been sitting idly for some time, it’s a good idea to run a little fresh fuel through its fuel line and tank. After that, you can mount the carburetor and attach any hoses.
Learning how to clean a carburetor properly may seem daunting to you at first. However, you can do it in a few simple steps. Everything should go smoothly as long as you clean and dry everything thoroughly prior to reassembly. Please let us know how these steps worked for you in the section below.