Does it sound impossible? Maybe, but it’s not. You can clean that pesky carburetor on your motorcycle without having to disassemble the entire works!
Anytime you remove a motorcycle carburetor it’s a bother, especially if those small parts are lost or misplaced in the process.
If you want to avoid taking your bike to shop or doing it yourself, there is an alternative. You can clean your bike carburetor without having to remove it.
I’ve owned motorcycles since 1997, and I’ve always cleaned my own motorbike carburetors. Sometimes I remove them, other times not, but I do get them clean.
You’re probably thinking if I don’t remove the carburetor from the motorcycle, how can I possibly clean it? And if you don’t remove it, can you really get it clean? The answer is yes, you can clean it while it’s on your bike, and yes, you can get it clean.
There are all sorts of issues with the performance of your motorcycle that can be traced back to s dirty, grimy carburetor. But you won’t want to remove your carburetor every time your bike acts up. Quick cleaning of the carburetor without removing it can really make life easier.
How to Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor Without Removing it – 15 Easy Steps
Indications that you need to clean your motorcycle’s carburetor include:
- poor idling
- poor engine performance
Here are simple steps to follow for a good cleaning.
Step 1: Buy an aerosol carburetor cleaner for motorbikes from your trusted auto parts store.
Step 2: Turn off your motorcycle. It should cool down before beginning the cleaning.
First things first! Where your carburetor located? The vast majority of motorcycle carburetors will be positioned somewhere in the center of the bike but placed behind the bike’s engine.
Step 3: Once you have located the carburetor’s position, you must remove the pod filters also known as the airbox. This is no big deal, and they are easy to reinstall once you have finished your cleaning. The rear end of the carburetor should be visible.
Step 4: With the rear of the carburetor visible, you will also see the butterfly valves. They open and close if you turn the throttle. If you remove the butterfly valves you will have greater access to your carburetor.
Step 5: Even if you do not remove the carburetor itself, you will need to remove the bowls that can be found at the carburetor’s bottom. To do this you will need to remove a couple of screws along the bowl’s side and a bolt at the center.
The bike’s petcock should be set to off. This will avoid that your gas runs out. Do keep some rags handy because there will be a minimum of leakage when the bowls come off.
Step 6: With the bowls removed, use your aerosol cleaner and spray the cleaner up into the carburetor. After a few minutes repeat the spraying inside the carburetor.
This needs to be repeated several times, if not more to cover the entire inside of the carburetor. The spraying every couple of minutes will help loosen grease and grime and dissolve it.
Step 7: Return the bowls to their position at the carburetor’s bottom and reattach them correctly.
Step 8: Turn on your motorcycle and evaluate how the engine is performing.
You may only require these initial eight steps. However, your carburetor may be really filthy or have residue build-up on the inside. If you find that engine performance has not improved significantly, continue with your carburetor cleaning.
Step 9: Shut off the bike and remove the bowls again from beneath the carburetor. You will be able to see floats similar to those found on the inside of a toilet tank, inside your carburetor.
They work in a like fashion. As your carburetor fills with gasoline, these floats have the function of letting the carburetor know when it is time to close the fuel valve to avoid a fuel overflow.
Step 10: Now remove the float. It will be connected by a wrist pin that is quite small and can easily be pushed through to allow the detaching of the float.
Once the float has been disconnected, you will see a piece in the form of a rocket ship attached to it along with a tip that acts as a rubber plug. The float and the rubber tip will detach as one piece.
Step 11: Take advantage of the floats being removed and test them to verify that they are in good working condition. You can toss them in a container filled with water to verify if they still float. if they don’t, replace them.
Step 12: With the floats removed, look inside your carburetor and find the jets. There will be two. Unscrew these and remove them. Glance through them to establish if they are obstructed. Clogged jets are the most common cause of an underperforming carburetor.
This happens often in motorcycles that use ethanol gas. Clean the jets if necessary, with carburetor cleaner. Repeat the cleaning until the jets are thoroughly clean.
Step 13: Spray the entire exposed carburetor with carburetor cleaner, both inside and outside. Wait approximately ten minutes, then you can reinstall all the pieces. This pause will allow the cleaner to dissolve and dislodge grime build-up permitting it to drip off.
Step 14: Begin to replace the pieces of your carburetor to their functional positions. Begin with the jets, followed by the floats. The final piece to reinstall will be the bowl.
Step 15: Restart your motorcycle engine. Before returning the air intake filters, evaluate the engine’s performance. If you are satisfied that the engine is performing and you have a clean carburetor, you can reinstall the filters.
A carburetor tune-up every two years is good practice, but cleaning will need to be done as needed. People who ride their bikes regularly will encounter fewer problems as running the engine helps in keeping the carburetor clean. The occasional rider will find more grime build-up due to the bike sitting dormant for extended periods.
If this simple method is not sufficient, you may need to disassemble your carburetor entirely and soak the individual parts in cleaner or use an ultrasonic cleaner if available for all those hard-to-get-to-crevices.