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Old 01-08-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
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Carburetor cleaning


Just thought I would share this with those interested.
I inherited a Honda Magna Motorcycle that had been in storage for a very long time. The whole fuel system had to be cleaned. As many of you know, today's carburetor cleaner is inferior to what we could purchase a few years ago. I thoroughly cleaned the carburetors no less then 3 times and still had a fuel issue. This is an extremely complicated and time consuming repair!
I did an experiment and soaked them overnight in "acetone".
The acetone did the job carb. cleaner couldn't. The bike runs perfect.
If anyone decides to do this---Use EXTREME caution with "acetone"

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Old 01-09-2011, 03:05 AM   #2
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Carburetor cleaning


I used to rebuild carbs back in my college days, we used Barrymans B12 and it was great, the new stuff can do the job but it's not nearly as good. Acetone evaps too quick to use well in open area, if you have a large can or metal bucket and brush it'll do a great job.
The downside is that you need compressed air to get the passages and you reall got to watch the spray back, it'll get u in the eyes...

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Old 01-09-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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Carburetor cleaning


And we will all need to do this more and more - if they up the ethanol content, as is being discussed. I bought my boy a 90cc dirt bike and it did not idle without the choke on. I took it to a shop and they did a full carb clean, and explained that the pilot jet was clogged. It ran perfectly - I hid it for 3 weeks before Christmas, and then on Christmas day - same thing, no idle without choke! I pulled the pilot jet and had to RAM a wire through it. This ethanol fuel will varnish a jet closed in 3 weeks - wow! I've heard that "they" (we all know who "they" are) want to raise the content from 10% to 20%. I think many engines will just plain stop working at that point.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:15 PM   #4
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Carburetor cleaning


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And we will all need to do this more and more - if they up the ethanol content, as is being discussed. I bought my boy a 90cc dirt bike and it did not idle without the choke on. I took it to a shop and they did a full carb clean, and explained that the pilot jet was clogged. It ran perfectly - I hid it for 3 weeks before Christmas, and then on Christmas day - same thing, no idle without choke! I pulled the pilot jet and had to RAM a wire through it. This ethanol fuel will varnish a jet closed in 3 weeks - wow! I've heard that "they" (we all know who "they" are) want to raise the content from 10% to 20%. I think many engines will just plain stop working at that point.
I thank it is the overall blend that is the problem.
When I buy gas that may not be used in a couple of week, or so, I treat it with stabil. Any gas I put in gas cans, get the treatment.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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Carburetor cleaning


Yamaha makes a good carb cleaner available at their dealerships in quart bottles. You mix it with water according to the directions. The water should be hot. I put it in an old sauce pot and put it on a coleman propane stove out in the gravel drive by my shop. I use a low heat so the mix just simmers for about a half an hour. Cleans 'em right up. The other thing you should do if you are storing the bikes is to drain the carb. They usually have a drain screw on the bottom of the float bowl.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Carburetor cleaning


trueback in the old days hotrodders always ''boiled'' their carb...as long as your mom wasn't around
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:20 AM   #7
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Carburetor cleaning


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trueback in the old days hotrodders always ''boiled'' their carb...as long as your mom wasn't around
Just to keep things clear for the others, DO NOT do this inside on your stove. Even though the yamaha cleaner is water based, it still is caustic. Rubber gloves are needed. When I was a fireman, I remember a fire in one of the mansions we had in town. A physician who was a bicyclist, took his chain and put it in a sauce pot on the stove in the kitchen. In the pot he had a mix of oil, grease, and parafin. It didn't take long for it to catch fire and not only burn the kitchen and dining room up, but the smoke damage throughout the house was pretty severe. I used to use that same concoction on my dirt bike chains when I use to race. But I always did it outside in a hubcap over a charcoal fire. Didn't do that very long as good chain lubricants came out about that time.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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Carburetor cleaning


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Originally Posted by OffRoadAudio View Post
And we will all need to do this more and more - if they up the ethanol content, as is being discussed. I bought my boy a 90cc dirt bike and it did not idle without the choke on. I took it to a shop and they did a full carb clean, and explained that the pilot jet was clogged. It ran perfectly - I hid it for 3 weeks before Christmas, and then on Christmas day - same thing, no idle without choke! I pulled the pilot jet and had to RAM a wire through it. This ethanol fuel will varnish a jet closed in 3 weeks - wow! I've heard that "they" (we all know who "they" are) want to raise the content from 10% to 20%. I think many engines will just plain stop working at that point.
AWESOME thread guys and very helpful. This is very relevant to me. It seems that my Toro mower that is only a few years old needs to have it's carb cleaned every 4 to 6 weeks. It's only 2.5 years old...and in the beginning the dealer did it under warranty most of the time...but sometimes costing my $40!! And of course the dealer lectured me about their standard BS excuse of "old gas" even though my gas was only a month or two old...was treated with Stabil...and was premium gas to begin with!!! BTW...part of my mower problem is the idiot proof auto choke. Anyone point me toward how to convert it to a manual choke? Seems I'd have to do something to the throttle control too?

So I learned how to clean a carb myself with carb cleaner but it still needs it every month or so!! My next step was to try soaking it in gasoline based on a recommendation I got...see if that extended carb cleaning intervals. Would it be better to use gasoline or acetone for a soak? Is acetone safe on plastic parts?

Its just so ironic that the old clunker of a mower my dad had 40 years ago almost NEVER needed any maintenance. I think we're screwed between the EPA requiring these things to run so lean...and all the crappy gas.

Edit to add: And it seems to be a pervasive problem...my power walk behind edger needs a carb cleaning...so does my pressure washer....

Last edited by piste; 01-10-2011 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:23 AM   #9
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Carburetor cleaning


piste---Would it be better to use gasoline or acetone for a soak? Is acetone safe on plastic parts?

On all carburetors I rebuild, I clean the outside with spray carb and choke cleaner, soak it in carburetor cleaner, and blow out all passages.
I only use acitone as a last resort and have never needed it on large carburetors.
Acitone will disolve a lot of rubber and plastic parts, as will carburetor cleaner.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #10
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Carburetor cleaning


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piste---Would it be better to use gasoline or acetone for a soak? Is acetone safe on plastic parts?

On all carburetors I rebuild, I clean the outside with spray carb and choke cleaner, soak it in carburetor cleaner, and blow out all passages.
I only use acitone as a last resort and have never needed it on large carburetors.
Acitone will disolve a lot of rubber and plastic parts, as will carburetor cleaner.
Thanks for your advice. Where can I get liquid (non-spray) carb cleaner? I have the spray kind already..but very much want to do a soak. Is it available at most auto parts stores and I'm just not looking hard enough?
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:51 AM   #11
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Carburetor cleaning


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Thanks for your advice. Where can I get liquid (non-spray) carb cleaner? I have the spray kind already..but very much want to do a soak. Is it available at most auto parts stores and I'm just not looking hard enough?
I am not necessarly recommending Barrymans B12, but it is about as good as anything I have recently tried. It is available at many auto parts stores.
Thing is---If you clean the outside of your carburetor, as described, and then soak, the cleaner will last much longer.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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Carburetor cleaning


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I am not necessarly recommending Barrymans B12, but it is about as good as anything I have recently tried. It is available at many auto parts stores.
Thing is---If you clean the outside of your carburetor, as described, and then soak, the cleaner will last much longer.
Awesome. Looks like Advance Auto carries it. I have a glass container thats a great size to use ...and I can re-use to get all my small engine carbs done. How long to soak? overnight?

This info on Berryman's reminds me of Seafoam and wondering if that might work as well. My local Advance Auto has it in gallon containers.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:33 AM   #13
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Carburetor cleaning


The regular (pink) StaBil doesn't play well with gas containing ethanol. Had lots of trouble with my motorcycle because of it. I prefer Seafoam.

As far as carb cleaning, it's been a few years since I did any, but I had some sort of cleaner that came in a gallon can with a strainer basket inside. You put the parts in the basket and submerged them overnight. It worked well.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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Carburetor cleaning


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The regular (pink) StaBil doesn't play well with gas containing ethanol. Had lots of trouble with my motorcycle because of it. I prefer Seafoam.

As far as carb cleaning, it's been a few years since I did any, but I had some sort of cleaner that came in a gallon can with a strainer basket inside. You put the parts in the basket and submerged them overnight. It worked well.
Hmmm..interesting. Particularly cuz Sta-bil advertises it deals with Ethanol...but interestingly they have Marine formula and this month introducing one called an "Ethanol treatment".

R U saying you use Seafoam as a preservative when storing gas for a while???
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:26 AM   #15
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Carburetor cleaning


I use Seafoam in the gas tank of my motorcycle over the winter. That's the only gas I store - I have no lawn, hence no lawnmower. As for the StaBil, the blue (marine) grade is specifically for gas containing ethanol. Never heard of the Ethanol Treatment.

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