How to Clean a Carburetor





Introduction: How to Clean a Carburetor

About: I dig making hemp jewelry and upcycling would-be tossed items. I also run a free website that maps businesses that offer "free tire air" to the public. is the URL. Check it out before...

Cleaning a carburetor can greatly improve engine performance and, often times, solve other fuel/air related problems. If a bike sits for any certain period of time without having the fuel drained, the carburetor could suffer damage and thus cause poor fuel economy or even keep the bike from running at all.

If you're bike is carburated and sat over this past winter, out in the elements, or even in the garage, it may need a good carb cleaning!

This instructable will walk you through removing, disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, and reinstalling a carburetor for a 1995 Suzuki LS 650 (Savage).

I bought this bike back in March 2011 and I thought I would record all the modifications, etc. that I do to it before I'm finished turning it into a sweet lil'bobber.

Tools you'll need:
Small flat head screwdrivers (several sizes)
Philips head screwdriver
Pick Tool
Needle Nose Pliers
Shop Towels
Carb Cleaner

I entered the steps in the diagram boxes within my pics.

Remember that ORGANIZATION is a must when removing parts from a bike. Using lidded containers will help ensure that parts don't go missing because of accidents. There have been so many times I have bumped a container and had it fall from my table or work bench. I learned after the first time, keeping parts in a lidded container will keep those parts from spreading out all over the shop!

To reassemble the parts, follow the steps in reverse order.

Hope this helps!

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    Will this work with a suzuki boulevard S40 carb?

    how did you shut off fuel? mine days RES, ON, or PRI.

    Hello, very good 'ible!
    You have no idea how much I like your bike! I have been looking for on like yours but here in Seattle are hard to find, I guess. I have a 1975 Honda "Naked" Goldwing GL1000, a 1971 Honda CB500, and a 1976 Yamaha XS650 "Digger" Chopper, but seriously looking for a 1995 Suzuki LS650 like yours. It looks "Custom" just by itself! I really like the shape and design.
    Thank you for giving me inspiration for my next "Customized" Bike!
    Mr. Lunna XIII

    Actually I would suggest using aluminum wire for cleaning - its softer.

    Good work - looks absolutely nothing like my carb.

    Be aware some bikes can have up to four separate carbs.

    2 replies

    True, but the basic concept of this instructable is how to clean each one. Removing and cleaning a rail of 4 is a whole other instructable!

    Nice, a couple years back i fixed up our old 76( i believe) yamaha (no i wasn't the original owner.)
    we tried putting air through the tubes and everything wires pins whatever we could find that would fit. nothing worked, So I heard that if you boil the parts in water for a good 5 minutes it should help. So I did that and it worked amazingly. First pump on that starter and it roared.

    2 replies

    I've not heard of that before, but boiling parts is probably way more environmentally friendly than using carb cleaner! Good suggestion!

    Sure its more environmentally friendly but that's not the point :D I just know that it works awesomely well... hehheh

    Well, it depends:
    Hot water (with or without detergent) tends to remove mostly Inorganic deposits, like salts, silt or tartar. Carb cleaners usually are organic solvents (like Xylene or other aromatics), and work better on organic gums, varnish and polymeric deposits.

    But you can try both in severe cases!

    There is another type of cleaner that gives a foam type of product, it is made by a German company called "Wurth", it showed me to be the best of all, albeit somewhat expensive, but being concentrated and effective, it was not that expensive. NO I don´t work for them or sell their products! for a reason I fail to understand, the North America site for that company does not show their carb cleaning foam, but it is available here in Mexico in a few places.That foam is effective in cases where a common Xylene or "thinner" type of cleaner is not.
    Best wishes. amclaussen, Mexico City.


    A very detailed instructable. Good work!.
    I'll try the same with my honda rebel.

    1 reply

    Please tell me these pick were taken after they were cleaned, or I work on some seriously dirty stuff. Not a fan of the new gas additives we have in MA they like to gum up carbs and it gives me a rash. Great job on your instructable.

    1 reply

    These were taken after the cleaning, but the inside wasn't dirty when I opened it up. I'm rebuilding the bike as a bobber and since I was going to be removing the engine from the frame and replacing other components, cleaning the carb just seemed the right thing to do.

    The carb rebuild is the cornerstone of maintaining any carbureted engine. I've rebuilt carbs on everything from a weed whacker to 4bbl V8s. A friends old Ford Futura which would barely start and run and idled sometimes became a 2 pump and bump the starter. Smooth idle and would leave rubber afterwards. My girlfriend's old 77 Old cutlass 350 (back in high school) with a Rochester Quadrajet went from a fuel thirsty pig that could barely get out of its own way to a smooth running tire melter with a carb rebuild and timing chain replacement.

    There's also something Zen about it for me. Clear your workspace, get all your tools ready and enjoy the almost artful experience of the rebuild. No rush. Just the perfection of the cleanliness and precision.

    It's like magic. Sadly it's a dieing art. Keep the art alive!

    1 reply

    I am a gearhead at heart and your idea using the pump is a good one. Here are a coupler of other methodsof preventing siphoning of the cleaner.
    First one- Place the pump about a foot higher than the liquid. The difference in head pressure that is incurred will prevent problems.

    Second one- Take your clear VINYL hose and put 2 or 3 loops in it. Yhhis will also prevent backflow as well.

    Third- If you are truly paranoid :) use both techniques.

    Have you ever tried using one of the small ultrasonic sinks like they sell at Harbor Frieght? When I was in the Navy, I used ultrasonic cleaning alot and it really works well. It also tends to work relatively quick.

    Nicely done-When I'm deep cleaning carbs I use Berryman products. Chem-Dip works well for me. The gallon size can comes with a basket to put your parts into and then you can soak them and check on them easily from time to time and not have to swish your gloved hand around in there trying to find the small pieces.

    BTW - careful of your skin with solvents. Nitrile gloves give me the best protection and they don't easily rip when handling small, sharp parts.

    Instead of boiling parts I plop them in the Chem-Dip basket and leave them for a day or so. To provide agitation I put an airstone and use a small aquarium air pump. It keeps the solvent moving and helps get into the tiniest holes.

    Chem-Dip is approved for use and California so if it's passed their stringent requirements I'll use it with reasonable confidence.  

    No, I do not work of Berryman and yes I do use their products

    1 reply

    I too have been a Berryman fan for many, many years, especially the Chemtool soak for carbs... But I've always manually agitated the mix several times over 2-3 days of soaking. Next time I will use your aquarium pump and airstone trick. That's one heck of a good idea; continuous but gentle agitation.

    The only potential drawback I see is that Chemtool has a film forming agent that floats on top of the actual cleaner to reduce evaporation of the high powered cleaning agent, and a continuous circulation of air through the working part of the solution to breakout at the surface will carry the "good stuff" away and accelerate the loss of cleaning power of the Chemtool solution.

    If there were some way to "recirculate" the air breaking the surface, then the volatile cleaning components would be recirculated also, reducing the loss of the potent cleaning agents. 

    Unfortunately I suspect that the potent vapors of the cleaning components recirculated through a cheap aquarium pump and hose would probably "melt" the rubber [or rubber-like] parts of the pump as well as the plastic air hose!

    And I also do NOT work for Berryman or any seller of their products even though I've used most of their products over the years.