Cleaning Carbs Without Removing Them
It’s no wonder people are researching how to clean the carbs on their motorcycle without having to take it off. A lot of issues associated with how a motorcycle is running is usually because of carburetor issues and the fact that they’re not clean inside. Issues like this that frequently happen can make cleaning a daunting task if you have to remove it every time.
Most motorcycle carburetors sit behind the engine towards the center of the motorcycle. A lot of people don’t want to have to deal with taking the throttle cable off or deal with the intake boots. In order to clean it without taking it completely off the bike, you’ll need to first take off the air box or pod filters. This is easily done and they can easily be reinstalled when you’re finished.
Removing the air intake filters will then expose the back of the carburetor so you should be able to see the butterfly valves opening and closing when turning the throttle. Removing these gives you better access to the carburetor. Now you’ll need to take off the bowl at the bottom of the carburetor.
There’s usually a center bolt or a few screws around the side of the bowl that will need to be taken off in order for the bowl to detach. These are very simple to take off and should only take a few minutes. Also make sure you turn your petcock to the off position so you don’t have gas running out. Have some paper towels handy because you’ll likely have a little bit of gas that leaks once you take those bottom bowls off.
When the bowl is off, you can attempt to spray some carb cleaner up inside. Do a few sprays every few minutes to let any dirt and grime become loose. Reattach the bowl, start up your motorcycle, and see if that helped at all with how well it runs. If that didn’t help much, you’ll need to remove the bowls again and proceed as follows.
Once the bowl is off again, you’ll see some floats up inside the carburetor (similar to the floats you see in the tank of a toilet tank). These floats rise when the bowl fills with gas and tells the carburetor to shut off the fuel valve to prevent it from overflowing.
You’ll need to take off the float as well in order to access what’s behind it. These are attached by a small wrist pin that you should easily be able to push through to detach the float. When you remove the float, there will be a rocket ship shaped part that is connected to it with a rubber tip. That tip is what plugs up the line to prevent overflowing. The float and this rocket shaped part will come off together.
While the floats are out, I usually like to test them and make sure they’re still good. Get a bowl of water and put them in to see if they actually float. If they don’t float, you’ll need to get new ones as this could cause mechanical issues with your motorcycle later on.
Now that the float is off, you’ll need to look up inside the carburetor and unscrew the jets. There’s usually at least two in there; one is a primary jet and the other is a secondary jet. Look through the jets once they’re out and make sure you can see through them.
Clean out the jets whether or not you can see through them. This will ensure you’re getting out any gunk that may be building up inside that you can’t see. Use carb cleaner a few times at several minute intervals to make sure you get everything out.
Now you can spray carb cleaner all over the carburetor. Spray up inside again and even spray some on the outside. Wait several minutes before reinstalling all the parts again so the cleaner has time to clean and drip off all the dirt. Reinstall the jets, the float, then lastly install the bowl on the bottom.
You can now try starting your motorcycle and make sure your cleaning was thorough by seeing how well your motorcycle runs. It’s okay to keep the air intake filters off for this stage in case you need to access the carburetor again. Once you deem the carburetor is clean, you can install the intake filters.