While carburetors are no longer present in modern vehicles, ATVs, smaller motorcycles and certain equipment like lawn mowers still use them.
The carburetor in your ATV mixes air and fuel in the right proportions, so that the engine always has the right amount of power. For instance, when you press the throttle to speed up, the carburetor lets in more air and fuel, allowing the engine to produce more power.
Keeping your carburetor in good condition is essential for keeping your ATV running properly. A bad carburetor can reduce engine performance, prevent the engine from starting, and result on black smoke from the exhaust or unusual engine noises.
Cleaning the carburetor can usually get it working properly again. Once you open it up for cleaning, it’s also an opportunity to replace any worn out parts such as gaskets and O-rings.
In this quick guide, we explain how to remove and clean the carburetor on your ATV. For a step by step video guide, see the video below.
What You'll Learn Today
How To Clean An ATV Carburetor
Tools You Need
Gather these tools before you get started.
- Carburetor cleaner
- Air compressor/compressed air can
- Small Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
- An 8mm or 10mm wrench (depends on the size of bolts on your carb)
- Toothbrush to scrub inside the carb and a soft rug
Don’t forget to flip through your ATV’s service manual. Carburetors have slightly different designs and placement of components, and you need to understand your ATV’s carburettor. The service manual will be especially helpful when disassembling and assembling the carburetor.
Locating and Removing the Carburetor
The next step is locating the carburetor and removing it from the ATV for disassembly and cleaning.
Your service manual should indicate where the carburetor is located. In most ATVs, you have to lift up the seat and remove the air box to access the carburetor.
Before you go any further, you need to shut down fuel supply to the carburetor. Follow the fuel line from the carb until you locate the fuel valve shutoff. Turn it to the off position (check manual, but in most ATVs you turn it to the side).
Now you can remove the carburetor. Loosen the hose clamp holding the carb in place with a screwdriver then wiggle and pull it out.
The carburetor is still attached to the ATV via the throttle cable. To detach it, unscrew the top cap. This will remove the throttle cable and slide. Now the carb is completely free and you can move it to a proper work surface.
Look for a surface with lots of light and where you can safely place small parts without loosing them.
Disassembling and Cleaning the Carburetor
The next step is taking the carburetor apart and cleaning it. I prefer cleaning each component as I take it out. That way, I don’t miss any of them and when I get to the last one, I’m ready to put everything back together.
Before you open it up, take the carb cleaner and spray the outside. Then use a toothbrush to brush away any dirt and grime. This ensures that no dirt from the outside gets into the internal components when you open the carburetor.
With that done, you are ready to take it apart. As you remove various parts, arrange them in the order you’ve removed them. This makes it easier to reassemble the carb.
- First remove the bowl or what’s called a float feed chamber. It’s held onto the carburetor by four screws. Pull the bowl away gently being careful not to damage the gasket. Clean the inside of the bowl with the toothbrush (or a soft cloth) and the carb cleaner.
- Next, remove the pin holding the float in place. You may need a pair of needle nose pliers to grasp and pull the pin. The float should come off easily. Give it a quick wipe down and set it aside.
- Pull out the fuel needle and check to see if it has any obstructions. Blow compressed air through it to clear any debris.
- There are several jets you’ll need to remove. These include the pilot jet and starter jet. Blow compressed air through this to clear debris. Also, check whether the tiny holes on the sides are obstructed. If they are, use a pin to clear them. Check the conditions of any O-rings on the jets. If they are dry or cracked, get new O-rings or replace the entire jet.
- Spray some carb cleaner into the empty holes where the jets were. You can also use compressed air to clear any debris.
- The other two parts to clean are the throttle adjustment screw and the fuel air mixture screw. You’ll want to return the fuel air mixture screw exactly to the position it was in. To do this, turn it right to tighten it while counting the number of turns you make. Then you can remove it. When returning this screw, turn it fully closed then turn it left the number of times you turned it right.
- Remove the two screws, spray them with the carb cleaner, and wipe them clean. Also spray the holes they were in. Put the two screws back in, remembering to set the fuel air mixture screw to the right position.
- Clean any other remaining parts and surfaces on the carburetor.
And that’s it. Put everything back together the way it was and mount the carb back onto the ATV. If any O-rings or parts look worn out or damaged, replace them with new ones.
How do You Clean an ATV Carburettor Without Removing It
Unless you only want to wipe the outside, which isn’t much help for your carb or ATV, you need to remove the carburettor and disassemble it to clean it properly.
Can You Use Wd 40 to Clean a Carburettor
Yes, you can. Look for WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner.
That’s all! For more ATV DiY guides, check this article about restoring faded plastic on your vehicle.