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ATV Carburetor Cleaning Tips


I recently cleaned a Keihin carb from a Honda TRX300 ATV that was sticking fairly badly. The carb itself looked clean but it would not slide smoothly. Instead of spending money on rebuilt parts or giving the ATV carb an overhaul I wanted to know if it could be cleaned into working order again.

ATV Carb Cleaner: Many ATV carburetors have a special coating that can accidentally be removed by strong chemicals. Without that clear coating the slide mechanism will stick inside of the throttle body and intermittently lock up and that’s exactly what was happening on my TRX350 ATV carburetor. Use manufacturer approved carb cleaner for best results and follow the instructions. Gasoline, diesel fuel and various other chemicals sometimes used in ATV carb cleaning products can all potentially damage a carb’s special coating over time.

A warning about wire brush wheels: While its possible to clean an ATV carb using a soft wire brush wheel it is equally dangerous, proceed with caution and take it slowly. I’ve cleaned several carbs this way without problem and I avoid using chemicals when possible but I might just have gotten lucky. Is it worth the risk and repair cost if you scratch the finish coating off your ATV’s carb? probably not.

Protect the coating if one exists! If you’ve accidentally removed the carb’s clear coating and are experiencing sticking, binding or seizing try polishing it. Using your favorite copper/metal buffing compound carefully smooth out the passageways by hand with a soft cloth to restore some smoothness. Small nicks and gouges will cause further binding so proceed with caution. The carb isn’t necessarily ruined but you will need to restore some of the smoothness no longer provided by the clear coating to get it working again.

Added tip: While you have the ATV carb out of your ATV take a few minutes to treat the air filter with a spray coating to prevent fine sand and particles from getting into the carb. These will cause you more long term problems than anything and can easily be prevented with a little prep work.