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How to clean a generator carburetor?

Discover simple, step-by-step instructions to clean your generator carburetor, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of your equipment.

Table of Contents

A well-functioning carburetor is vital for an engine to operate smoothly. A dirty carburetor could be one reason why your generator isn’t starting. Maintaining the cleanliness of this crucial component is necessary, as it impacts the overall efficiency of your generator.

Discover simple, step-by-step instructions to clean your generator carburetor, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of your equipment.

Why do carburetors need cleaning?

The main reason to clean your carburetors is that today’s ethanol fuels absorb moisture. This causes corrosion inside the carburetor and the fuel tank.

If ethanol is left in the engine for too long, it can evaporate and leave a sticky residue that can clog the carburetor and cause it to work poorly.

how to cleaning a generator carburetor

Signs you need to clean your carburetor

Various factors can contribute to the dirtiness of your generator’s carburetor, including debris from the fuel tank and incorrect storage. Nevertheless, it’s simple to spot the early indicators of a filthy or malfunctioning carburetor.

Here are the primary signs of a carburetor in need of cleaning.

1. The generator won’t start

The primary indication of a dirty carburetor is when your engine cranks but fails to start. The buildup of dirt within the carb disrupts the balance of the air and fuel mixture, which complicates the engine’s startup process.

Furthermore, as dirt accumulates in the carburetor over time, it can completely obstruct the passageways, hindering the flow of air and fuel into the engine. This leads to your engine churning without igniting or starting.

2. Generator running roughly

A clear indication of a dirty carburetor is when it causes the engine to operate unevenly. The buildup of dirt or debris within the carburetor disrupts the balance of air and fuel, compelling the engine to run excessively rich or lean.

Consequently, your engine may misfire or emit black smoke.

3. Generator flooded

When the passageways in the carburetor become obstructed due to the buildup of dirt or gum, it impedes the flow of air and gasoline, leading to a flooded carb. This flooding results in overflowing or leakage from the carburetor bowl vents and saturation of the spark plugs.

To determine if a clogged carburetor is the cause of a generator that won’t start, try spraying starting fluid directly into the carburetor. If the engine cranks or turns over, but fails to fire, this is an indication that the carburetor is dirty or clogged and your generator carburetor needs to be cleaned promptly.

take off the carburetor and put it on the table

Steps on how to clean a generator carburetor

This is a general guide to cleaning a generator carburetor, written by a generator carburetor manufacturer manufacture. Most carburetors use the same basic design, so these steps will help you clean the carburetors on both inverter and gasoline generators.

Follow BISON to get started.

Required tools to clean generator carburetor

  • Carburetor cleaner
  • 10mm combination wrench or socket (you can use an adjustable wrench if your carburetor has a different nut size)
  • Smaller size head screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Thin thread or needle

Ensure the engine and muffler are cool before starting maintenance or repair work. Follow all safety procedures outlined in the owner’s manual. Use common sense. Avoid injury since carburetors produce gasoline fumes, and clean carburetors in a well-ventilated area.



  1. Start by switching off the fuel valve and identifying the fuel drain bolt at the base of your carburetor.
  2. Take out the drain bolt to empty the fuel from your carburetor and fuel line into a receptacle, then put the drain bolt back when done.
  3. Detach the carburetor.
how to clean a generator carburetor without removing it

removing the carburetor

  1. Make sure the fuel flow valve is in the closed position. For instructions on how to do this, refer to the BISON product manual.
  2. Empty the carburetor by loosening the drainage screw. Your product-specific manual can provide detailed instructions on how to do this.
  3. Detach the fuel intake line from the carb. Some fuel lines may possess a spring clip; in such cases, employ pliers to shift the spring clip away from the intake port, then remove the fuel line. For other fuel lines that use a small Phillip’s head hose clamp, a flathead screwdriver may be necessary to disconnect the fuel line from the fuel port if it is stuck.
  4. By using a 10mm socket wrench, loosen and remove the through-bolts that secure the carburetor to the engine. If you are uncertain about which bolts require removal, refer to the exploded view in your specific product manual.
  5. If your carburetor includes a spring and wire tensioning cable, delicately use a pair of needle-nose pliers to extract the cables.
  6. Apply gentle but firm force to pull the carburetor away from the through-bolts. Also, disconnect any other attached drainage tubes from the carburetor.

cleaning the carburetor

The carburetor has been previously disassembled so that all air and fuel lines can be seen. There is no need to disassemble the throttle and blocking butterfly valves; if necessary, leave this task to the BISON professionals.

  1. Begin by scrubbing the outer areas using a solvent.
  2. Use a carburetor cleaning solution, wire brush, or manual cloth to clean the carburetor bowl. Initiate the cleaning process by spraying the solution and then proceed to wipe it off.
  3. Apply the carburetor cleaner using the straw into the carb nozzle’s opening. A slender wire, needle, or finely stranded copper wire can be employed to clear out any debris within the opening.
  4. Replicate this cleaning method for every hole, jet, and emulsion tube, inclusive of the tiny holes at the base of the jet.
  5. On the needle seats in both the open and closed states, the distribution tube, the air mixture screw hole, etc., apply the carburetor cleaner.
put it on the table to remove the carburetor

re-attaching the carburetor

When putting your carburetor back together, proceed in the opposite sequence of disassembly, taking care to prevent any dirt or dust from getting inside during the process. Refer to your notes, drawings, and turn count data to ensure everything is correctly positioned, preventing the need for another disassembly. Here are a few cautionary tips:

  1. While gasket sealant may be necessary, avoid types that could lead to permanent adhesion and subsequent damage to the gaskets if you have to disassemble the carburetor again.
  2. Avoid silicone-based sealants as they break down in the presence of gasoline.
  3. Refrain from using Teflon tape with threaded fittings, as it can result in stripped threads which can potentially enter and obstruct the jets.

Tips for cleaning a generator carburetor

  • Use a carburetor cleaner designed for generator engines.
  • Be careful not to overspray the carburetor cleaner, as it can damage the rubber seals and gaskets.
  • If you are not comfortable cleaning the carburetor yourself, take it to a BISON technician.

How to clean a generator carburetor without removing it?

Cleaning a carburetor without removing it is possible if the blockage isn’t severe. However, for carburetors that have become thoroughly gummed up, removal and disassembly are necessary to ensure a comprehensive cleaning.

The interior of a carburetor contains narrow passages inaccessible from the outside. If these slim pathways become gunked up, the only solution is to dismantle the carburetor piece by piece to regain functionality.

Alternatively, if the carburetor is just dirty and the problem is in its early stages, it can be cleaned directly without disassembly. Spraying carburetor cleaner directly into the carburetor will effectively clean the inside of the carburetor and eliminate small blockages.

Additionally, a fuel tank treatment added to your fuel tank can efficiently clean initial-stage debris and gums. Both products are effective in maintaining the carburetor if used in the early stages before severe clogging occurs.

However, if the above methods prove ineffective, the last resort is to remove and clean the carburetor. It’s important to remember that dismantling a carburetor is not a simple task, particularly for those lacking technical skills.

It may be more cost-effective to seek professional help and pay a modest maintenance fee rather than risking a do-it-yourself approach that could result in the need for a costly replacement later.


BISON China parts manufacturer describes the step-by-step process for successfully cleaning a generator carburetor.BISON also discusses how to clean a generator carburetor without disassembling it.

Cleaning the generator carburetor is very important and you should pay special attention to it. If you find it difficult to clean it yourself, we recommend that you hire a BISON professional for the task.

Frequently asked questions about cleaning generator carburetors

clean a generator carburetor FAQ

Typical substances employed for carburetor cleaning encompass:

  1. Trichloroethylene
  2. Toluene
  3. Acetone
  4. Cleaner specifically designed for brakes
  5. Spray intended for cleaning carburetors
  6. Spirits derived from minerals
  7. Ethanol
  8. Methyl ethyl ketone, also known as MEK.

Carburetor problems typically manifest as flooding, choke failure, severe backfiring, stuck throttle, failure to idle, engine vibration, kickback, or accelerator pump failure. Excessive carbon monoxide in the exhaust indicates a problem with the carburetor.

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