Last weekend I learned that getting aerosol-propelled carburetor cleaning fluid into your eye is one of the worst pains a man can know. Seriously, imagine your eyelid turning into a coarse file, superheated and electrified. So lesson one is BE CAREFUL. Post pretty much any problem on a motorcycle forum and you’re guaranteed to get the following responses: “Try cleaning the carb.” “Didja clean the carburetor?” “Give the carb a good clean first.” This is the go-to advice you’ll get from armchair mechanics when your bike’s running bad because hey; it probably is the carb. Since an engine really only needs fuel, air, and spark to live… and the carb is responsible for two-thirds of that equation… and many motorcycles are carbureted… you get it. If you’re looking for a complete tear-down, rebuild, and cleaning guide for your specific carburetor(s) then you should find one written by a decent mechanic. Or better yet, consult the factory service manual. I’m just here to tell you all the ways you’ll manage to screw up in spite of reading those. At least, if you’re anywhere near as inept as I am. Here are the biggest pitfalls I found the factory guides gloss over, but I traipsed right into, when I attempted to clean my 1981 Suzuki GS450’s pair of Mikuni BS 34 carburetors for the first time. Know what the screws do, and their proper settings, before you start. Not all the screws in your carb hold it together. Some are settings for… [Read full story]
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