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How To Clean Motorcycle Carbs

Carburetor Rebuild

Spring is here which means it’s time to pull your bike out of the garage, fire it up, and go on a ride. If you’re like a lot of people you may realize that you accidentally left gas in the carburetor over the winter, and now your dirt bike doesn’t want to start or run well. Fortunately, cleaning your carburetor isn’t hard and we’re providing a step by step guide you can follow to do this simple repair yourself at home. Don’t worry, if you get stuck or lost you can always contact repair professionals for help.

To get started carefully remove the carburetor from the bike, There are typically a few hoses, a set of wires, and a throttle cable that need to be disconnected before the carburetor will come off the bike. Some models of dirt bikes are more difficult to remove than others and in some cases you may need to strip the bike down removing even the subframe to get good access.
how to clean dirt bike carbs
Once the carburetor has been removed, remove the float bowl. It is held on by four screws that should come out easily. Take care when removing them though as they are made of soft metal and can strip easily. Once the float bowl is removed we recommend that you take pictures of the inside of the carburetor. These pictures can be referenced later during reassembly if you forget where certain parts go. This is an especially important step if this is your first time cleaning a carburetor.

Now that you have taken pictures and made a mental map of how everything looks it is time to disassemble the carburetor a little further. You’ll need to remove the float, float needle, and jets. Be careful removing these. There are a lot of small pieces that can easily be lost; specifically, there is a small wire that holds the float needle to the float. This is notorious for getting lost because it is so tiny.

Cleaning the carb is the next step. If the carburetor body has green sludge or a film across it you’ll want to soak the entire carburetor in a high strength solvent to make everything clean and shiny again. The jets are important to clean thoroughly and if you don’t clean them well enough your bike will continue to have problems when you reassemble everything. Because of this we recommend just buying a carburetor rebuild kit and replacing the jets rather than trying to clean them. Rebuild kits are typically only a few dollars and are well worth the investment. If however, you do decide to clean the jets yourself and reuse them use a pressurized can of carburetor cleaner to spray out the inside of each jet. An abrasive metal brush can also be a useful tool to get a clean finish.

In some cases, if gas has been sitting in the tank for a long time it may be necessary to drain and clean the gas tank as well. This prevents you from pushing more bad gas into the carburetor and reclogging everything again.

As soon as everything is as clean as you can get it, it is time to rebuild and reinstall everything. Then try starting your bike again. It should fire right up and run a lot better than it was before.

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