Uncovering the Benefits Of Cleaning an Old Tractor Carburetor
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
An efficient carburetor helps ensure that your engine delivers its peak performance, but ensuring this takes place requires some tools. To do so, here are the essential supplies.
An LED flashlight or headlamp can help illuminate each piece as you remove them, giving you better control of each process.
Carburetors contain passageways, ports, and cavities that attract grime, so prior to submerging each part in a chemical bath, you should remove any heavy deposits that accumulate.
Table Of Contents
First, be sure to don safety gloves and goggles. Additionally, needle nose pliers, screwdrivers, flashlight or headlamps, and needlepoint pliers may all come in handy for making the task go more quickly while protecting hands and eyes from potential rust, corrosion, or chemical damage.
Shut off both engine and fuel lines before disconnecting and removing the spark plug wire (making sure it’s in non-firing mode). If there’s too much gunk on the spark plug, use an air compressor gun to loosen it before extracting it from the carburetor.
Before removing your carburetor, it’s wise to place some rags or a bowl underneath its fuel line to collect any gasoline leakage as you unbolt the unit. Also, make sure that the air filter is clear of clogs; otherwise, it must be replaced before reassembling your carburetor.
Take the carburetor off of the lawn mower and inspect it closely for damage or wear, making note of any parts that need replacing or repairs that need doing. If a gasket has become torn or corroded, replace it before moving forward with cleaning the carburetor.
Before disassembling a carburetor, spray it down with carb and parts cleaner, but this won’t do much good when trying to restore its original condition. In order for effective restoration to take place, stripping it down and cleaning each individual part must take place, which can be accomplished faster using proper tools.
With a screwdriver in hand, unscrew the main jet from its carburetor by unscrewing. Be careful not to damage its soft brass material which is easily scratched or cut. As you remove the jet, take note of how many turns it took before coming loose; this information will come in handy later when refitting it.
When your engine’s fuel flow becomes restricted, try applying WD-40 directly to its needle seat before spraying carb and parts cleaner over it. This may help restore fuel to your engine, though if your carburetor is severely blocked, it might be better to purchase a new one instead.
If your carburetor is underperforming as expected, it may be time to give it some TLC. A spray can of carb cleaner sprayed down its throat will clean where fuel enters but won’t get to all the areas that may be problematic inside (clogged main jet or stuck/sticking float). To reach these spots properly, you will need to disassemble and soak your carb in chemical cleaner. Carburetor cleaner comes in aerosol cans for quick cleaning sessions as well as larger quantities in jugs so you can soak larger parts as well as whole carburetor housings – plus, you will also require a bucket, shop towels, brass brush wire, etc.
Start by unbolting the float needle and fuel splash plate from their respective supports, then take steps to disassemble your carburetor using a flathead screwdriver for air screw and idle screw removal. Next, detach any air or idle screws on either side of your carburetor that might need taking apart; air screws and idle screws can usually be found under their respective air screws/idle screws – they may need to be taken off using an adjustable wrench as well. Finally, unscrew and take apart air/idle screws located along those parts of your carburetor which you find beneath its air screws/idle screws/idle screws/idle screws/idle screws/idle screws held onto by fuel splash plates, the top half must also be taken apart with an adjustable wrench before taking apart its contents!
Once your parts have been cleaned with a brush, they should be submerged in carburetor cleaner for at least an hour or more – make sure that a fresh set of gloves and safety glasses is worn when doing this, as the cleaner can be quite strong. Once they’re clean, reassembling can resume while replacing gaskets as necessary.
Before installing certain parts, they may need to be thoroughly cleaned a second time; jets, in particular, can be challenging as they contain small portholes through which fuel passes; should dirt enter these pores, it could result in poor fuel flow, rich or lean running conditions, and other issues; using wire will often do the trick in clearing these ports. Also, make sure your air filter is functioning as it should so your carburetor receives clean, breathable air.
Carburetors contain numerous small holes that are easily blocked by dirt or other foreign matter, and using carburetor cleaning wipes is an easy and quick way to unclog them without needing to disassemble the entire carburetor. Furthermore, they can also help eliminate gunk that has collected on its surface, making this method quicker and more practical than soaking your carburetor in chemical solutions.
Before beginning to scrub down an old tractor carburetor with carb cleaner, ensure all parts are completely dry. This will prevent moisture from getting into any small passageways within the carburetor that could cause rusting or other damage; use a towel or rag to dissipate excess moisture.
Once you are ready to proceed, place the carburetor on your workstation and remove any nuts holding it in place. Unscrew and unscrew the float bowl from the carburetor carefully so as to not misplace any screws holding it in place, as they will be needed when reassembling your carburetor.
Once the float bowl has been taken apart, unthreading its cap from the carburetor body allows you to remove the carburetor needle by unscrewing it from its socket. Remembering which parts belong where makes reinstalling them easier. The float pin connects directly to the float via a hinge pin; once removed from its hiding place, it can be grabbed using needle nose pliers so as to pull it free.
Alternately, you can soak the entire carburetor body and disassembled parts in enough carburetor cleaner to cover them for several minutes before rinsing them off with water and using compressed air to blow dry it all, focusing on small passageways or hard-to-reach spots.
As you reassemble your carburetor, refer back to your notes and pictures for easy installation and restore your tractor back to top working condition. After installation, check to make sure all seals and gaskets are in good condition and that no debris is out of their openings.
Carburetors are primitive machines with plenty of parts and mechanisms inside that collect gunk. Cleaning one requires time and patience but can be accomplished with just some basic tools.
Start by placing the carburetor upright on top of a white cloth large enough to cover your entire lap (a pillowcase will work just fine). This allows you to see individual parts as they disassemble during disassembly and makes reassembling much simpler, as well as prevents parts from disappearing down your engine’s throat into permanent storage.
Shut off the spark plug wire, remove the fuel line from the carburetor, and disassemble the throttle link, spring, choke lever, and float pin from their respective locations to make reassembling them later easier. It might also be beneficial to take this opportunity to clean or replace the air filter.
Use the appropriate tool for each task; this will ensure that you don’t get stuck and can utilize both hands during disassembly. A flat-head screwdriver works fine for greater ease. However, Phillips-head drivers are ideal. Long, flexible wire and wire brushes come in handy for removing debris that has become stuck to your carburetor; brass jet cleaner is also beneficial; this product can provide much less abrasive cleaning action than torch tip cleaner, which could conceivably ruin a carburetor in minutes!
After stripping your carburetor down to its core components, place it in a container of carburetor cleaner and give it a thorough cleaning. Be sure to spray liberally so the cleaner soaks into all ports, receptacles, and crevices – and be sure to spray the float needle and choke needle as well.
Once finished, rinse the carburetor with fresh water and dry it thoroughly. If you blow out its jets with wire, compressed air should also be used to blow through and clear any remaining debris or fuel that remains trapped within. When finished, your carburetor should be ready for reassembly.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may like old classic or vintage tractors.