Instructables

How to Clean a Carburetor

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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!
mrlunna131 year ago
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!
Cheers,
Mr. Lunna XIII
kurshiukas2 years ago
Actually I would suggest using aluminum wire for cleaning - its softer.
criggie2 years ago
Good work - looks absolutely nothing like my carb.

Be aware some bikes can have up to four separate carbs.
Like my Suzuki Katana -_-
thickneckarts (author)  criggie2 years ago
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.
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
amclaussen2 years ago
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.
bahi2 years ago
A very detailed instructable. Good work!.
I'll try the same with my honda rebel.
thickneckarts (author)  bahi2 years ago
Thanks!
toad2 years ago
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.
thickneckarts (author)  toad2 years ago
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.
JimmyM2 years ago
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!
thickneckarts (author)  JimmyM2 years ago
I enjoy it :)
weldor2 years ago
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.

marcintosh2 years ago
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
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.
Thanks for the reply-

Perhaps I should have mentioned that I replace the lid by drilling a hole just big enough for the airline to pass through and then installing the hose and airstone. This keeps the fumes in place mostly.  I've had the airstone fall off the end of the hose on occasion but the raw end of the hose also works well.  The lid also prevents the accidental "cleaning" of my iPod and gives me a second chance (from a spill) should I bump the container. 


Again, another point I failed to mention is that I use an anti-siphon valve in the hope that should the power fail and I don't catch it, I won't have solvent all over the floor due to siphon action.

If I were to find myself in the position of working on a number of carbs I would use the system employed by folks that brew beer at home where there is a "trap" of sorts so that CO2 can leave but nothing else can get in.  It's arranged like a sink drain trap.

Thanks again and thanks for allowing me the chance to point out some of my omissions.  I should have done an instructable in conjunction with your excellent work.  Another time perhaps.

M.


jpnagle592 years ago
Something to say about having motors and carburetors setting up over winter, or any length of time- There is a product called Sta-bu-lator ( close as I can get to the spelling of the name) that is made to protect things like we are discussing here. You add it to the gas before the motor sets up for a long time, and it prevents the gas, and carb form solidifying and being damaged. My brother uses it in all his stuff- from cars to lawn tractors. You can find it at automotive parts dealers, and maybe Wal-Mart...I hope this helps...Jamie
metdrummer2 years ago
Excellent job. What's always worked for me is to completely disassemble the carb, removing all the soft plastics and gaskets, and boiling them in lemon juice for about 15 minutes. Spray it all down with carb cleaner to remove the juicy residue, reassemble, double check float heights, and you're good to go.

Keep up the good work and keep the shiny side up!
timmmy2 years ago
worked thanks
jerdeebd2 years ago
Very nice instructable on how to disassemble a carburetor. I have worked on bikes for the last 10 years, and almost all of them have needed carb work. I was always told to never put anything solid through the jets because they are made of brass, and even soft wire can damage the inside of the jet causing the fuel delivery to be off. I have found that aerosol carb cleaner or berryman's carb dip and compressed air usually does the trick to clean out crusty jets.
Very nicely done. Even I could understand it! This gives me the courage to give it a whirl on my '96 Suzuki Intruder 800. Thanks for your detailed work and this fine instructable!
thickneckarts (author)  nicholas19512 years ago
Thanks! I just started training to be a motorcycle mechanic last fall and have really taken a liking to it!
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