How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (2022)

Introduction: How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor

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Read this article for professional carburetor cleaning steps and advice. Learn why you may want to clean your tool's carburetor with or without a rebuild kit.

Cleaning a small engine carburetor usually gets done as part of a carburetor rebuild, but there are a number of reasons why cleaning a carburetor without rebuilding it is also a good idea for tool owners.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (5)

Properly cleaning a 2-cycle engine carburetor means completely disassembling and reassembling the unit.

We explain the steps to disassemble and reassemble an example 2-cycle engine carburetor below, and we also explain the correct way to clean a carburetor while it's still disassembled.

Carburetor Disassembly Steps

This carburetor disassembly, cleaning, and rebuild demonstration is performed on a carburetor from a Ryobi 2-cycle grass trimmer. Steps for other carburetor cleanings will be similar to these.

Tip! Carburetors have many small parts. Keep carburetor parts organized in the order that they are removed (like in rows) to make reassembly fast and accurate.

(Video) How to Clean a Two-Cycle/Two-Stroke Engine Carburetor

Step 1: Remove the Bottom Plate

On The Bottom Side of the Carburetor,

Unscrew the two screws that affix the lower cover plate to the carburetor body.The bottom plate is held on by four screws for some carburetor models.

Step 2: Remove the Diaphragm and Diaphragm Gasket--Separate Them If Needed.

The carburetor diaphragm will come off easily after the bottom plate is removed.

The diaphragm gasket will often stick to the diaphragm when removing it from the carburetor body. If the diaphragm and diaphragm gasket are stuck together, they must be carefully separated from one another to be cleaned later.

Step 3: Remove the Needle Valve Mechanism

The needle valve mechanism consists of three parts: a needle, a lever, and a spring.

It will be visible in the body of the carburetor after the diaphragm is removed.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (6)

The needle valve mechanism is held into place by a retaining screw.

Unscrew the needle valve retaining screw to release the mechanism from the body of the carburetor.

Make sure to hold the spring-loaded mechanism in place as you remove the screw. This will stop the valve parts from flying across the workbench.

Step 4: Remove the Primer Bulb and Its Retaining Plate

The Primer Bulb Side of the Carburetor

Remember to keep the carburetor parts organized as you go. This is a good place in the disassembly to start a new row of parts.

The primer bulb is held onto the primer base with the help of a retaining plate. Two screws affix the primer bulb retaining plate to the primer base.

Remove the two screws that hold the primer bulb retaining plate to the primer base.

Step 5: Push the Primer Bulb From Its Retaining Plate

Step 6: Remove the Primer Base and Carburetor Reed Valve

Removing the primer base retaining screws frees up the primer base from the carburetor body.

Set the primer base aside for cleaning. Look for a thin reed valve piece between the primer base and the carburetor body.

Handle the reed valve piece with care. It is important to the operation of the carburetor and very delicate.

If a fragile piece like this one is damaged on a carburetor that lacks a rebuild kit, the entire carburetor will most likely have to be replaced.

(Video) How To Clean a Clogged Carburetor on a 2 Cycle/2 Stroke Engine (Weed Eater, Chainsaw, Blower, etc.)

After following these steps, all the small pieces of the carburetor are now removed from the carburetor body and are ready for cleaning.

Step 7: Cleaning the Carburetor

For this part, you'll need:

  • a pan
  • a can of carburetor cleaner
  • a towel, and
  • compressed air (if available)

The procedure for cleaning each part of the carb is the same:

1. Clean the outside of the part.

2. Clean the inside of the part.

3. Dry the part.

4. Be very careful with sensitive parts.

Start with the body of the carburetor and don't be afraid to use a lot of cleaner on it.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (7)

Take advantage of the openings in the carburetor body to clean its fuel pathways.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (8)

Make sure to point orifice outlets away from you when you do this!

Thoroughly air dry the carb body with compressed air (f compressed air is available) and set in on a towel to continue drying.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (9)

Move on to the other durable pieces of the carburetor.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (10)

The internal orifices of the primer bulb base require cleaning just like those of the carburetor body.

Cleaning Delicate Carburetor Components

There are a few pieces of the carburetor that need extra consideration when cleaning them, including the reed valve piece, the screen filter on the carburetor body (see below), and the carburetor diaphragm.

  • That thin reed valve piece that goes between the carb body and the primer base must be cleaned and handled carefully.

Use as little carburetor fluid as possible and spray it at low pressure to avoid damaging the piece.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (11)

Quickly dry the reed valve on a clean towel after gently spraying it with cleaner.

  • Many carburetor designs include a small screen filter on the carburetor body.

This filter is easily damaged when removed. Leaving it in place is usually the best choice when replacement filters are not available.

  • The carburetor diaphragm is another piece that is often too delicate for rigorous cleaning.

The diaphragm is made of thin rubber in the case of our Ryobi demonstration carburetor. Because rebuild kits aren't available to replace it if it were damaged during cleaning, it should only be cleaned when absolutely necessary.

(Video) 2 Cycle Carburetor Rebuild / Cleaning - EASY Start to Finish Instructions!

Step 8: Steps to Reassemble the Carburetor

Most of steps to reassemble a carburetor are self-explanatory in that you simply replace components in the reverse order that you removed them.

Replacing the needle valve mechanism is the trickiest step when reassembling the Ryobi 2-stroke engine carburetor that we use for demonstration in this article.

Here are the steps for replacing the needle valve mechanism:

1. Place the needle on the lever.

This carburetor's needle valve lever has a forked portion on it. The top of the needle fits into the forked portion of the lever as pictured below.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (12)

2. Replace the needle valve spring.

Just place the spring back into it's slot in the carburetor body.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (13)

3. Drop the needle into the valve jet.

The needle valve lever will rest on top of the spring when the needled is dropped into position.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (14)

4. Reinstall the needle valve retaining screw.

Hold the needle valve mechanism in place with your finger once it is aligned into position.

Return the valve retaining screw while holding the mechanism down.

How to Clean a 2 Cycle Engine Carburetor (15)

The rest of the carburetor reassembly should be pretty straight forward if care was taken to keep parts organized while it was dismantled.

Watch this article's video demonstration of this procedure for detailed reassembly steps!

Ryobi Carburetors and Cleaning Maintenance

Owning a Ryobi gas-powered tool is usually a good reason to perform a carburetor cleaning without the help of a rebuild kit. This is because carburetor rebuild kits are not available for most Ryobi 2-cycle tools.

Carburetor rebuild kits include replacement parts for many of a carburetor's small, inexpensive, easily-worn parts. When used in a traditional cleaning and carb rebuild, these kits get an old carburetor running like new with little effort on the part of the tool owner.

Additionally, the availability of replacement carburetor parts takes some pressure off of the person performing the rebuild, because delicate parts that may be accidentally damaged during the rebuild can easily be found and reinstalled.

Maintaining the life of a carburetor takes extra care when carburetor rebuild kits are not available, like in the case of Ryobi tools.

When the small parts of the carb can't be replaced inexpensively, the best way to maintain the performance of the carburetor is to dismantle and carefully clean each part.

(Video) How 2 Stroke Carburetor Works - Fuel Flow through Carburetor for Cleaning & Rebuild

Carburetor rebuild kits can occasionally become unavailable for tools of every make, but we chose to perform this article and video's demonstrations on a Ryobi carburetor because of how commonly rebuild kits are not available for them.


If you're looking to check the availability of carburetor rebuild kits for your gas-powered tool, type your tool's model number in the search field at the top of this page.

Your tool's parts page will have available rebuild kits listed on its parts page just below its breakdown diagram!

You can also search for carburetor rebuild kits by visiting our Small Engine Parts page here at

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How do you clean a 2 cycle carburetor without removing it? ›

Vacuum away any loose dirt, dust, debris, grime, and great on the surface with a handheld and cordless vacuum. Lay out rags or cloths at the base of the carburetor to catch runoffs and protect the surfaces. Apply the carburetor and choke cleaner in thin, even coats. Then, wait for it to settle and work its magic.

How do you clean a carburetor without removing it? ›

Spray liberally with carb cleaner – trying to direct the cleaner into the jets – and leave to soak for a few minutes. Use an air line (or a can of pressurised air, sold as an 'air duster') to blow through the jets. Repeat the previous step and this one until you can see no more gunge.

How do you clean a 2 stroke engine? ›

Dirty 2-stroke engine lets clean it. - YouTube

Will Sea Foam clean a gummed up carburetor? ›

After removing gasoline from the tank and carburetor, add a mixture of Sea Foam followed by 8 ounces of fresh gasoline (1 to 2 ratio). 5. With the cleaning mixture in the fuel tank, crank/prime/rope-pull the engine to draw the cleaning mix into the carburetor(s). 6.

Can I spray carb cleaner into the air intake? ›

How to clean a gasoline carburetor upper engine (air intake) using Sea ...

Can you use wd40 as carb cleaner? ›

Throttle Body, Carb & Choke Cleaner - WD-40 Specialist Automotive Range

How do you clean a gummed carburetor? ›

Make sure carburetor is cool to the touch before cleaning.
  1. Dilute cleaner. ...
  2. Clear air filter. ...
  3. Remove the carburetor. ...
  4. Remove carburetor float. ...
  5. Remove other removable components. ...
  6. Soak and scrub components. ...
  7. Rinse and dry. ...
  8. Reassemble and replace.

Can you clean a carburetor without disassembling it? ›

Use carburetor cleaner to remove deposits, clogs & debris

Deposits inside the carburetor can clog fuel and air passages and reduce performance or stop the engine altogether. Luckily, you can take care of many of these problems quickly and easily; often without even removing the carburetor from the engine.

Can you spray carb cleaner into carburetor? ›

Position the tip of the aerosol can into the center of the carburetor and spray directly into the running carburetor. Doing this while the carburetor is running allows the cleaner to penetrate inside and clean the carburetor's throat and remove deposits that exist in the lower throttle plate.

How do you diagnose a carburetor problem? ›

AutoFix can look for carburetor trouble, and if you experience any of the following four signs, you should definitely have your carburetor checked out.
  1. Engine Performance Reduction. ...
  2. Black Exhaust Smoke. ...
  3. Engine Backfires or Overheats. ...
  4. Starting Difficulty. ...
  5. Don't Ignore the Signs.
Oct 29, 2019

How do I know if my carburetor needs adjusting? ›

The engine should rev smoothly and quickly as soon as you apply throttle. If the vehicle is displaying any sort of sluggish performance or misfires when you apply the throttle, then more adjustments are required.

How do you clean a gummed carburetor? ›

Make sure the carburetor is cool to the touch before cleaning.
  1. Dilute cleaner. ...
  2. Clear air filter. ...
  3. Remove the carburetor. ...
  4. Remove carburetor float. ...
  5. Remove other removable components. ...
  6. Soak and scrub components. ...
  7. Rinse and dry. ...
  8. Reassemble and replace.

How do you clean a 2 stroke dirt bike carburetor? ›

How To Clean A Two Stroke Motorcycle Carburetor - YouTube

How do you clean a 2 cycle fuel filter? ›

2 stroke ECHO fuel filter. How do I clean it? - YouTube

How do you clean a 2 stroke jet ski carburetor? ›

To clean the carburetor on a jet ski you have to first remove the air filter. Then remove the throttle and choke linkages along with the hoses. Finally, take out the bolts and remove the carburetor from the engine. Once you've removed the carburetor, disassemble it, and clean the metal parts with a carb cleaner spray.


1. How To Clean A 2- Stroke Carburetor | DoStuffRight
(Owen Bailey)
2. How To REBUILD A CARBURETOR On A ChainSaw, WeedEater, Etc.
(Steve's Small Engine Saloon)
3. How to Fix a 2-Cycle Engine Carburetor
(FIX Tech Guides)
5. How To Clean A Two Stroke Motorcycle Carburetor 🏍🛠
6. Teardown & Clean A 2-Stroke Carburetor
(Matt's Shop)

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