Cleaning a Motorcycle Carburetor

A dirty motorcycle carburetor can cause all sorts of problems with your bike, and repairs done by a professional can really rack up the costs. The carburetor regulates the amount of air and fuel going into the cylinders, so keeping it in ship shape is crucial to good performance. While cleaning a carburetor yourself can be a tricky process, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Step 1 – Drain and Remove

Drain all gas that may be inside the carburetor into the oil catch pan. Discard it safely. When you are sure it is all out, check your manual to determine the best way to remove your carburetor. Because it is made of aluminum, it will scratch and dent easily so be very careful when removing. Keep track of all wires you disconnect and where they fit into the carburetor, so that re-installing it will be easier. You may even consider marking each part with tape if you are a novice at motorcycles repair.

Step 2 – Remove and Clean the Float Bowl

Set your carburetor, gently, on a clean towel or rag on your workspace and use a screwdriver to remove the float bowl. If it is stuck, give it a gentle tap to loosen it up, until it drops. Once it is off, clean the bowl with carb cleaner and a rag, remove the bowl drain, and assess the cleaning needs of the rest of carburetor.

Step 3 – All the Little Pieces

Check for damaged and corroded parts that may need to be replaced, and note any areas that have excessive build up. Using a toothbrush, scrub off the gunk in any tight places, and then spay with carb cleaner and wipe down. Be very careful of any areas where there may still be some gasoline pooled.

Be sure to check the float, float valve and seat, the pilot jet, air screws, jet holder, and throttle slide. Use the compressed air to force build up out of any holes and tubes. You can also use a toothpick to force dirt out.

Remove any pieces with excessive build up and soak in carb cleaner. When the gunk is loosen up, wipe it off and replace the piece.

Step 4 – Cleaned Carburetor

Spray everything down with carb cleaner again and shine it off with a clean rag. Replace any parts you have removed and make sure everything is assembled correctly. Re-attach the carburetor to the wires you removed it from, and set it carefully back into place.

In an older bike, this may do the trick to get it running again, and in a newer bike, this is sure to prevent problems in the future. Either way, you should be in for a much smoother ride.

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