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Best way to clean a carb

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#16 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted February 15, 2015 - 11:48 PM

just got a can of Gunk's latest carb dip yesterday, It don't smell mike their "old stuff" but it don't seem to do much either.  I wasn't thinking Wal Mart for the Berryman's, forgot about them. The farm store that I got the Gunk from used to sell the Berrymans;   the last can of "that" stuff I got from Useless Zone a couple years ago, seems they charged me ~$25.

Gonna have to go see my old buddy at Napa and see if they still got the 2-ish gallon bucket of their old "Mac's" brand  That stuff USED to be the best....  Gunk Hydro Seal used to be pretty close too/   this can I got yesterday says on its side,  to get that for "bigger" jobs, but I do not see it sold anywhere any more.

last summer there was a post herre about "car-b-que"/  that is boiling them out with lemon juice.  I have done a few that way since seeing that post, with mixed results.  DO NOT do this in the house on the kitchen stove, it puts off a nasty stench when it starts to boil.

I picked up a brand new propane powered camp stove at a garage sale a year ago (Chinese brand, Ozark Trail if I remember right) that I paid a whole $3 for. It takes the throw a way screw on bottles, one lasts for quite a few carbs. 

The 1st one I did, I did on one of my old Coleman stoves,  but if you let it boil over it gets a thick heavy black crusty coating on everything. So I don't feel bad sacrificing that $3 China made stove for the purpose.


I have done 4-5 in the current batch of lemon juice, (not at once, LOL) you can use anywhere from 50-50  mix with water, to straight lemon juice, depending on How "bad" your carb is.  I use a 3 lb coffee can to soak them in. Usually I top off with water as it boils off but this last time, I poured in a whole fresh quart of juice, I had 2 nasty ones in there at that time, one from an 8HP Kohler (unsure of number) and the #30; the 8HP one was the worst of the 2; after roughly 40 mins in the boiling juice, it made a pretty good dent in the varnish on the carb/ but barely touched the inside of that bowl which I put in there separately;  I soaked that 8HP one in the fresh vat of Gunk mentioned above/ as the 1st carb done in that new can of solvent, and it finished the cleanup on the carb quite nicely, but didn't touch the 1/16" thick layer in the bottom of the bowl or on the float.  deposits. I've done ~10 or 12 this way so far, since seeing that post.

I usually get 4-5 carbs out of 1 jar of lemon juice. It's cheap and sure don't seem to "hurt" anything....

I have "just" that bowl in the Gunk right now after I scraped as much as I could out of it with a flat screw driver. Will look in on it tomorrow after I drop the Durango off at the glass shop for its new windshield.

#17 Appalachian OFFLINE  

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Posted February 16, 2015 - 08:29 AM

Pine Sol soak, then ultrasonic cleaner. I use guitar strings to clean the jets.

I also like the Berrymans gallon can for soaking.
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#18 olcowhand OFFLINE  


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Posted February 16, 2015 - 09:08 AM

Many years ago I had a 5 gallon can of Gunk "Hydro Seal" carb/parts cleaner, and back then it WORKED like gangbusters.  Sadly EPA put their touch of death on the formula, and now it's almost useless IMO.

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Posted February 16, 2015 - 09:51 AM

I tried the pine sol on a Ford 8N carb, came pretty clean, enough for rebuild, but stil rusty looking. I would try vinegar next time as final l soak. If you can get an ultrasonic cleaner, that's the cat's meow.

#20 3v0 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 16, 2015 - 10:01 AM

Pine Sol soak, then ultrasonic cleaner. I use guitar strings to clean the jets.

I also like the Berrymans gallon can for soaking.

I wanted to get away from harsh solvents so I purchased this heated ultrasonic cleaner Oct 2013. 

Kendal Industrial Grade 160 Watts 2.5 Liters Digital Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner.


Harbor freight has a similar unit but Kendal has a parts basket and the HF has a tray that sits on the bottom.  


For a greasy part I clean with tide the first few times.  Then I switch to dawn dish soap.  I have tried adding ammonia and it may clean faster but it stinks. The heat helps a lot and suggest anyone working with a non flammable cleaning solution give that a try.  



I have cleaned 15+ carbs, some had not been run in decades.  They all worked when I was done.  I find myself doing less disassembly prior to cleaning.  I have not attempted to clean carbs with a lot of rust.  


It works for parts other than carbs.  Last week I was rebuilding a briggs starter motor and cleaned the end plate with the brushes.   



The heating cycle is crappy.  There is no thermostat.  Instead they limit how often you can hit the heat button.  The  heater quit working while it was in warranty. I got return authorization but never sent it in.  I heat the solution on a hot plate which works better for me because while I am cleaning with one batch of solution I can be heating the next.  You can't use water that is too hot because it will fry the electronics.


You can clean a carb start to finish in a lot less time but you have to be there to tend the cleaner.  It only runs for a few minutes at a time.


After cleaning some carbs the outside will have very dense non greasy dirt packed into spots.    Rub it off and run it again.

Edited by 3v0, February 16, 2015 - 10:02 AM.

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#21 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2015 - 09:17 PM

Here is what I use.


Darn-it...can't post photo.


NAPA Carb cleaner in a 1 gallon can with a basket.


OK, watch this clip.



just got a fresh bucket of this MAC'S stuff today from NAPA, haven't used it yet.  I know that the 1 gallon (3 quarts really) GUNK carb dip isn't near as good as it used to be; on the side of that one it says that for lager carbs to get the 2 gallon "hydro seal"    back in the day I'd use one of those a year (they do lose strength the more they get used)     I have not seen that available in more than a few years...

I'd like to have gotten the 5 gallon mac's  It is still available but for $130 I figured I'd spend $25 and try the smaller version 1st to see how bad the EPA loused this stuff up as compared to back in the day.   I do still have a couple of carbureted cars and trucks, the 1 gallon isn't big enough to do any part of a 4 barrel in.... I used to be able to do the 2 barrels  like what is on my 78 Fury one part at a time in the 1 gallon  cans but that meant having to wait for 3 soaks.

#22 JBRamsey ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 08:46 AM

To start I use a can of cheap spray carb cleaner to blow the big stuff away before disassembly. Then I soak it in a gallon can of good carb cleaner from NAPA. Stubborn spots get hit with a toothbrush and resoaked. I use a cheap scotchbrite pad on the bowl. If I fold it around my fingers I can get inside the bowl well. After it's done, I hit all of the passages with the nozzle from the spray carb cleaner. I wear safety glasses when spraying. It's inevitable that you will get some spray back on you.

I haven't tried lemon juice, primarily because I have a gallon of cleaner. A gallon lasts a long time. I've had mine well over ten years. I believe if I did lemon juice I would use a cheap crockpot to heat it in the garage.

I don't use wire wheels on small soft parts for fear of damage or getting them caught and thrown across the shop.

That's what I do. I don't know if it's the best way to clean a carb, but it works for me.

Good luck.

#23 KennyP ONLINE  



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Posted February 26, 2015 - 11:12 AM

To those of you using vinegar, are you using white vinegar or the cider vinegar?