Generator Care Generator Maintenance

How to Properly Clean a Generator Carburetor Yourself?

A carburetor is at the heart of a generator starting system. A problem in the carburetor, even some grime or gunk, will affect how the engine starts and the generator performance in general. That’s why it’s always best to keep it as clean as possible by following the correct generator carburetor cleaning steps. So how do you clean a generator carburetor the right way?

The first thing you want to do is remove the carburetor from the generator, clean the exterior with carburetor cleaner before gently disassembling it using the correct hardware set. You will need to apply the carb cleaner to all the internal parts as you clean them. Also, make sure you get rid of any grime, grease, or gunk you find in there before reassembling it back.

This post will take you through the steps you need to follow when cleaning your generator carburetor. I have generalized the post, but your carburetor model might be slightly different. The goal is to clean the carburetor and get the engine running well again.

How to Clean a Generator Carburetor

Carburetor cleaning can get complicated, especially if you’re not friendly working with gasoline. That’s why it’s a must you:

  • Turn off the generator engine and give it time to cool down completely before you can work on the unit.
  • Also, make sure the fuel valve and the engine switch are in the OFF position before proceeding.
  • Lastly, remove the generator spark plug boot and keep it disconnected until you complete the task at hand to avoid accidental engine start.

Removing the Carburetor

Step 1: Remove both the air filter cover and the cartridge. Use the correct socket to remove the bolts or a screw drive to pinch the air filter cover’s plastic snaps.

Once the cover is out, remove the air filter cartridge or foam filters and set them aside. Remove the filter separator and unscrew the nuts holding the air filter housing to the generator.

Step 2: look behind the air filter housing for rubber hoses attaching to it and disconnect them. There might also be a rear bolt, don’t forget to remove it too for the air filter housing to slide out.

Step 3: Loosen the clip on the fuel line using a pair of pliers and disconnect the cable from the carburetor.

Step 4: some carburetors have solenoid wires that run from the generator to their bottom. If you have it, find it behind the panel, disconnect the two wires from the quick-connect joint and remove the wire clip from the trap on the engine using a Phillips flathead screwdriver.

Step 5: With the fuel valve turned off, locate the carburetor’s fuel drain bolt on its bottom. Your unit might be slightly different, so it’d be best to use the generator manual to find it.

Remove it and drain the fuel remaining in the carburetor into an approved fuel-holding container. Don’t forget to clean up any spilled fuel using a rag and replace the drain bolt.

Step 6: Disconnect the throttle spring from the carburetor, then slide the carburetor partway off the studs just enough to lift and remove the governor rod, then entirely remove the carburetor

Step 7: On the upper side of the carburetor is a throttle spring that you need to disconnect gently. With that out, slide your carburetor slightly out of its studs enough to lift out the governor rod.

Step 8: Slide the carburetor out.

Disassembling and Cleaning the Carburetor

Step 1: clean the carburetor exterior as best you can. Use carburetor cleaner spray to remove the gunk and grime on the unit. When the shell is neat, lay it down on a clean towel or something that can help clean any fuel spills and debris you clean from the carburetor.

Step 2: At the carburetor bottom center, there is a bolt holding the float bowl. It might be covered by a rubber boot holding a solenoid to the carb.

If yours has it, start by removing the boot and remove the bolt using the proper hardware, mostly a 10-min wrench, to detach the bowl. Note somewhere the orientation of the solenoid wire before removing it.

For a solenoid-connected carb, don’t forget to clean the bolt. Using a thin wire and the carb cleaner spray, force the gunk out of the holes and passageway on the bolt. You can spray some carb cleaner on a soft cotton swab and use it to clean the shut-off pin on the solenoid.

Step 3: Use your carburetor cleaner spray to deep clean the float bowl. If there is stubborn sediment or rust, use a stiff wire brush or screwdriver to scrape them off. Try your best to make it as clean as you can get it.

Step 4: there is a pin holding the white round float to the carburetor. Locate and slide it out to detach the float. Spray some carburetor cleaning into the float pin seat and use a cotton swab to remove any debris in it. Also, do the same to the rubber tip on the floating heat.

Step 5: Assuming your main jet is located inside the carb head through the center post, slide in a flathead screwdriver and gently loosen the jet to remove it without stripping it.

Remove the main nozzle. If stuck with gunk or grime, open the choke. You should see it from there. Using a flathead screwdriver, pry it loose carefully. It should fall out of the center post.

Step 6: Using a thin wire strand, clean the central nozzle holes one by one and then spray the carb cleaner. Don’t forget the central passageway running at the center of the nozzle. Do the same to the main jet.

Step 7: find the carburetor pilot jet under a Philips screw or a capture plate (silver) fitted on the unit’s side. Locate a hole running to the pilot jet from the choke side and spray the carb cleaner through its passageway to clean it.

Flip the carburetor to check if the carb cleaner is coming out of the venturi in the middle. Also, spray the cleaner through the opposite passage to give it a complete cleaning.

Step 8: now loosen the Phillips screw or the silver capture plate, whichever your model has, and remove it. Using needle-nose pliers, carefully remove the pilot jet.

Get the thin wire strand you used before and scrap any dirt that might be accumulating in the jet passageway. Spray the carb cleaner to force clean it.

Don’t forget to spray the cleaner through the hole under the pilot jet seat. That should be able to clean the passageway connecting to the carb center post.

And that’s it; your carburetor is clean and ready for reassembly.

Reassembling the Carburetor

Step 1: It’s time to reverse the disassembly steps to reassemble the carburetor. Start by replacing the pilot jet. While doing so, ensure the jet’s hole is in line with its passageway before tightening the Phillips screw or the capture plate enough to secure the pilot jet in place.

Step 2: take the main nozzle and insert it into the carb’s center post in the correct orientation. Follow by inserting the main jet. Using a flathead screwdriver, secure the jet gently and avoid over-tightening.

Step 3: Insert the float needle into the needle seat and attach the float. Place in the pin to hold the float in place.

Step 4: Place the O-ring and the other rubber ring in place. Replace the float bowl and position it correctly before tightening the bolt from the carburetor base.

Step 5: If your generator carburetor had a solenoid, replace it.

Step 6: replace all the carburetor gaskets. Slide in the clean carburetor slightly on its studs.

Step 7: rotate the top pivot arm to the open position and reconnect the governor’s arm. Slide the carburetor all the way and attach the throttle spring.

Step 8: reconnect the fuel line to the carburetor. Fasten the clip using pliers and reattach the solenoid wires to the quick connectors. Don’t forget to snap in the wire to the engine shroud.

Step 9: replace the air cleaner base and tighten nuts that hold it and the carburetor in place. Also, don’t forget the rear support bolt.

Step 10: reattach the rubber hoses to the air filter housing back. Also, replace the air filter separately before inserting the air filter cartridge or foam.

Step 11: Tighten the nuts that secure the separator and the housing in place. When done, reattach the air filter cover.

Step 12: With your carburetor disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly done, you can reconnect the spark plug rubber boot firmly.


Why is Generator Carburetor Cleaning Important

A carburetor is the first point of contact between fuel and air. At this stage, the air is mixed with fuel at the correct ratio before getting into the combustion chamber for ignition. The carburetor is also susceptible to getting clogged by dirt coming in from the fuel or air.

What’s more, gasoline mixed with ethanol is susceptible to evaporation when it sits in the carburetor for a few minutes. What’s more, ethanol does absorb water that can also cause corrosion inside the carburetor.

When all these happen, there will be some problems that I will describe in the next section.

What Are the Signs Your Generator Carburetor Need to Cleaning?

Why would you want to clean your generator carburetor? Here are the common signs that will indicate your generator carburetor needs cleaning:

Engine Won’t Start: If your engine cranks and turns over as usual but won’t start, the generator carburetor might be dirty.

Remove the air filter cover and cartridge, and try spraying some starter fluid into the carburetor. If your generator starts but won’t stay running, the carburetor is dirty, probably clogged, and need cleaning.

Engine Runs Rough: when your generator engine starts to pop, chug or produce black smoke, it might be running rich or lean, a sign of a dirty carburetor causing it to stay open or closed.

The typical sign of an engine running lean, more air than fuel, is popping or sneezing sounds. When the engine runs rich, with more fuel than air, your generator will produce black exhaust smoke and probably some backfires.

Engine Flooded: when the generator carburetor is clogged, it can cause an overflow of fuel out of the bowl vents, thus flooding the combustion chamber and wetting the spark plugs. Check this by safely removing the spark plug and checking for wetness around its tip.

Carburetor Bowl full of Grime: When undertaking the regular maintenance routine of your generator, one piece that must be checked is the fuel bowl. Its status can tell you a lot about its status.

If you find any dirt or debris inside the fuel block or the needle valve is blocked and doesn’t close, there is a chance fuel is overflowing into the carburetor and out through the fuel vents. That could be upsetting the oxygen-fuel ratio flooding the generator.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to clean a generator carburetor?

A failed or clogged carburetor that needs cleaning will cost you anywhere between $20 and $75. That’s the amount you will save when you take the precaution and carefully clean yours with the steps described above.

What are the drawbacks of a generator carburetor?

  • It doesn’t always give a perfect air-fuel ratio.
  • It doesn’t control fuel wastage well.
  • It can be challenging to diagnose because of its complex design.
  • It gets dirty quickly, and its cleaning can be challenging to some.

About the author

Sharif Gen

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