Advice / Tips

Carburetor Cleaning
Is your bike idling rough, and bogging down off the line at low speeds?

If so, it may be time to pull your carbs, and clean your slow jets. Slow jets are what deliver fuel to your engine at low speeds, and low rpm’s. After sitting for a decent amount of time, slow jets are often the first thing to become plugged. Some bikes have removable slow jets, others are pressed in. If you can remove them, take them out and soak them in carb cleaner. If you can’t remove them, or choose not to…squirt brake or carb cleaner up the slow jet, and also back down through the jet. It may take several times to loosen up the bad gas. For more stubborn debris, take a pair of pliers, and pull a single wire out of your standard wire brush. Then, stick the single wire up and down inside the slow jet opening. This should remove any hard fuel residue. Clean everything thoroughly with your brake or carb cleaner, including your main jets. Then carefully put it all back together. This should improve idle, and overall power.

8 Responses to Advice / Tips

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  2. rschilperoort says:


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  4. ben says:

    please DO NOT run wire through your jets! any sort of scratch nick or wear caused by the wire could throw off the jets ability to work properly, and i mean tiny tiny scratches. you have to remember its a pretty small part designed very specifically. to avoid future complications use compressed air. i found this out the hard way a long time ago. if the varnish is stubborn soak it in some white gas or kerosene for a while, it’ll loosen right up

    • Gage says:

      I thought I would give my two cents on the carb cleaning topic. As a motorcycle mechanic I learned that everyone has different ideas on the topic of “carb cleaning.” I would agree that you probably shouldn’t use a single wire brush bristle to clean your jets, I would also have to disagree with using compressed air (the first time you hear one of those tiny little jets shoot across the garage it’ll make you sick.) What I’ve found works the best is taking you carb bowl and dropping your jets in the bottom, and then just fill the bowls with carb cleaner. Leave them on the bench overnight and check them the next day. If they are still plugged get yourself some Orifice bits (very very tiny drill bits, sometimes referred to as “Jet Bits”) you are still inserting something into the jet, but it’s at least a controlled dimension so you’re not marring the inside surface of the jet as you clean it, just make sure to use the proper size bit. I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me, and that’s alright, this is just the system that’s worked for me.

  5. joecasta79 says:

    Ben is absolutely right about scratches or nicks. The heart of the issue is that if you need to stick something through the jet to clear a blockage, it needs to be a softer material than the (usually) brass jet itself.

    What I’ve always done regardless of other soaking and solvent is to use either a toothpick or the bamboo skewers that you can get at a cooking specialty store. Toothpicks may be too short or too thick but the bamboo skewer work well on either small jets or ones embedded in passages in the zinc carb bodies.

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