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How to Clean a Generator Carburetor? – Best Method!

Written by Jamie Masterson

Regular maintenance is always necessary to keep your portable generator running smoothly. If you have problems starting your generator after it has been off for a while, the carburetor may be to blame.

Although removing and cleaning a carburetor can be challenging, you’re not alone there. Many small parts need to be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled.
Here we will show you how to do that right!

Clean a Generator Carburetor

Signs it’s time to clean a generator carburetor

The Generator Runs Roughly

Pops or chugs in the engine or producing black smoke means one thing – too rich or lean fuel conditions, usually resulting from a dirty carburetor.

The Generator Won’t Start

A clogged or dirty carburetor is likely responsible for the engine turning over without starting.

The generator has flooded

The carburetor bowl vents can become clogged with fuel and cause it to overflow and wet the spark plugs.

How to Clean a Generator Carburetor?

Step 1: Gather tools and equipment

  • A narrow flat head screwdriver that is the width of the main jet
  • 10mm socket or wrench set
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • The inner wire that comes from a twist tie
  • Straw nozzle insert for the cleaner
  • Carburetor cleaner spray
  • Safety Glasses
  • Rags

Step 2: Remove the spark plug’s rubber boot

Remove the spark plug's rubber boot

Take out the spark plug rubber boot for safety and shut down the fuel valve to prevent gasoline from leaking into the carburetor.

Step 3: Remove the air filter by unclasping the cover

Remove the air filter by unclasping the cover

Take off the air filter cover and expose the nuts that hold the entire assembly in place. Remove them – you will have two or three on the reverse side, depending on your model.

Step 4: Remove carburetor bowl drain plug

Remove carburetor bowl drain plug

You’ll need a glass jar or appropriate container and a 10 mm wrench. Now undo the drain plug at the carburetor bowl bottom.

Step 5: Unscrew the plug so the gasoline can drain into your container

Allow the gasoline to drain, then go ahead and screw the plug in so you don’t lose it.

Step 6: Disconnect all carburetor hoses

Hoses that connect to the carburetor get disconnected, plus choke or throttle connections. So remove the linkage from that end by turning the throttle a bit.

Step 7: Remove the carburetor and remove its two nuts

Remove the two nuts securing the carburetor and then the carburettor as well.

Step 8: Remove the bottom carburetor bolt with a 10mm socket or wrench

With a 10mm socket or wrench, remove the bowl by unscrewing the bolt at the bottom of the carburetor. Examine the carburetor for oil deposits, varnished gas, and water.

Make sure the rubber gasket comes out from the carburetor bowl before the cleaner. The cleaner will swell the rubber gasket, making it difficult to reinstall

Step 9: Take away the main jet from the supply line

Identify the main jet and remove it from the distribution tube. This is the tube that connects the bowl and the carburetor’s throat. Use a flat-head screwdriver for this.

Step 10: Disconnect the emulsion tube from the distribution tube

Disconnect the emulsion tube from the distribution tube

After removing the jet, remove the emulsion tube which is above the jet in the distribution tube. The tube will fall out when the jets are removed.

Step 11: Pull out either the left or right retaining pin to remove the float

Float Pin

Push the retaining pin out to release the float.

Step 12: Install the throttle adjuster screw on the outside of the carburetor body

Count how many turns you need to make. Take note of that number. Turn the screw all the way. When you later put it back in, screw it in, then undo the number of times you counted earlier.

Step 13: Remove the plastic piece below the adjustment screw

There should be a small plastic piece underneath the adjustment screw (if you have one). Try to remove it. It should pop out.

The idle jet will be below that. You can remove it with a flathead screwdriver.

Step 14: Remove the screw that controls the air-fuel mixture

Remove the screw that controls the air-fuel mixture

The same as the throttle adjustment screw, there is a spring preventing the adjustment screw from vibrating. Count how many turns it will take you to tighten it. Then completely screw it in and then back it out according to the number of turns you need.

Step 15: Examine the idle/pilot jet, main jet and the emulsion tube from the previous steps for clogs

Examine the pilot jet

It is easy to block these small holes. A blockage will affect engine performance or cause it to stop working altogether. Most failures to start are due to a blocked main jet. When the engine surges at idle, the main jet is usually blocked.

Step 16: The valve needle seat hole will now get blasted with carb cleaner

Once the carb cleaner is in the valve needle seat hole, it will spray out of the fuel line connection point. Keep that pointed away from you.

Step 17: Reinstall the needle and float valve and reinstall the retaining pin

Insert the pin into the retaining hole and replace the float and needle valve. The carburetor is upside down with the float sitting on top. You need to blow through the tube.

Step 18: If everything is good, reassemble in reverse

Now that everything is in order reverse the process. Then wash up afterward.

Tips for Cleaning a Generator Carburetor

  • Be careful when working around gasoline. It is dangerous to get on your skin, to inhale, and get into your eyes.
  • Ensure you stop the engine before you attempt to make any adjustments to the engine
  • Let the engine cool completely before touching hot parts. This can leave you with bad burns
  • Do not use wire or drills to probe any orifice compressed air sitting at 30 psi is suitable


Q. How often should a carburetor get cleaned?

Cleaning it every six months is a good idea. By doing this, all dirt and unwanted substances will get removed

Q. Can you clean the carburetor with water?

After cleaning, give the carburetor parts a good rinse with water and allow them to air dry. Compressed air is for removing excess moisture from small holes and vents.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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