How To Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor (Can You Do It Without Removing the Carb?)

Motorcycle Insurance Tip!
Save on Motorcycle Insurance in Five Minutes
  • Insurance costs increased in 2024.
  • Don't let your rates go up.
  • Compare rates to save big!
Compare Rates Now Moto Image

A motorcycle is one of the most basic forms of transportation out there.

But as simple as it looks from the outside, a motorcycle has complex parts that all need to work together efficiently to make your driving experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

Perhaps one of its most important yet often misunderstood components is the carburetor.

What is the carburetor?

The carburetor is the mechanical part on a motorcycle that controls the ratio of fuel and air mixture that goes into the engine to ensure good combustion and efficient engine performance.

Although this mechanism is pretty straightforward, the carburetor has many components that if not maintained properly, could easily cause the motorcycle to perform badly and in the long run, stop functioning at all.

Importance of a Clean Carburetor

With the proper ratio of fuel and air playing a crucial role for engine performance, it’s very important to keep your carburetor clean regularly to enjoy optimum driving experience and all these other benefits:

1. Better Acceleration

A dirty carburetor affects fuel flow, so it’s very important to clean it regularly so fuel flows faster into your engine and your motorcycle accelerates to its full potential.

2. Better Fuel Efficiency

Dirt and grime will not only starve your engine of adequate fuel, but it will also affect your motorcycle’s combustion resulting to more fuel usage.

Cleaning your carburetor regularly will help you get more mileage per gallon of fuel and save you a lot of money on fuel costs.

3. Better Starting

If you ever experienced difficulties starting your engine, especially in the morning or after your motorcycle hasn’t been used in a while, it’s a sign that you have to clean your carburetor. This will help fuel flow directly into your engine to start it quickly.

How to Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor Without Removing It

Unfortunately, there is no good way to clean a dirty motorcycle carburetor properly without removing it.

Sure, there are cleaning solutions that promise to remove all the dirt in your carburetor without removing it.

But if you really want to ensure that it’s cleaned properly, you have to remove it so all parts are cleaned thoroughly.

Otherwise, you’ll just end up with the same dirty carburetor that could cause serious problems in the long run.

However, you can help to keep your carbs cleaner by running a quality fuel and fuel stabilizers/additives.

How to Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor

The good news is, cleaning your carburetor is doable even for first-timers and you can save money by doing it yourself rather than taking your motorcycle to a mechanic.

Here are the steps that you can follow:

1. Gather all your tools and supplies.

First, you need basic tools like a flat screwdriver, a Phillips/JIS screwdriver, a wire brush, a socket or wrench set and needle nose pliers.

You also need a carb and choke cleaner, a gasket set or carb rebuild kit and a carburetor and parts cleaner.

2. Remove the Carburetor.

Start by turning the fuel valve off from the fuel tank.

All you need to do is track the fuel line down to the carb and remove the hose attached to it.

If your hose is already old and has some damages, replace it to prevent any leaks.

Then, remove the carburetor by loosening the screws in the clamps on the front and rear end.

3. Remove the different parts of the carburetor.

Begin with the float bowl by loosening the four screws on the bottom of your carburetor.

Then, remove the jets, slides, needle, and all the other parts of the carburetor.

If you’re not sure how to put them back together, it’s best to take photos before removing anything so you’ll have a guide later on.

Refer to your owner’s manual for specific steps.

4. Wear protective gear when cleaning.

Before you start cleaning your carburetor, make sure to wear safety glasses and gloves to avoid direct contact with strong cleaners and other particles that may be hard to remove and can cause irritation to the skin.

5. Clean all the carburetor parts thoroughly.

Using your wire brush and cleaner, tackle each carburetor part thoroughly to make sure that all dirt and debris are removed.

Once you’re done cleaning, dry all the parts using compressed air.

Ensure all jets and passages are completely cleared.

If you’re replacing the old gaskets and o-rings on your carburetor, install them first before putting back the rest of the parts.

6. Assemble your carburetor parts back together.

Once you’re done installing the gaskets and o-rings, you can start putting back the parts together on the opposite order in which they were removed.

Make sure that all screws are tightened properly so there are no leaks and unnecessary movements.

After you’re done assembling your carburetor, you can put it back to your motorcycle.

Bench sync, and then synchronize the carbs while running the engine to test to see that everything is working properly.

Keeping your carburetor clean isn’t only necessary to extend the life of your motorcycle, but it also helps you cut down on maintenance costs significantly in the long run.