How to Clean Snowmobile Carbs

Cleaning the carbs on your snowmobile can help improve performance and is a required regular maintenance task. Gummed-up carbs can cause engine issues across the board. 

Hi, I’m Chaz, and I’m a snowmobile fanatic. Since I was a kid, I’ve been riding these machines and have over 20 years of experience working on and maintaining 2-stroke snowmobile engines. I’ve cleaned more than my share of carbs over the years. 

In this article, I’ll show you a step-by-step guide to help you remove and clean your carbs. It’s a relatively simple maintenance task but can be intimidating if you have never done it before. 

Let’s open up your sled and get to work. 

What You’ll Need

If you have a basic set of shop tools, you’ll have everything you need to remove and clean a carb. Here’s a list of the items that will come in handy. 

  • Carb cleaner
  • Wrench and sockets (appropriate sizes for your sled)
  • Screwdriver (Phillips and Flathead)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Rags/Newspaper/Paper towels
  • A toothbrush or other small abrasive brush

How to Clean Snowmobile Carb

The process for removing a carb may be slightly different from one machine to another. Cleaning any two-stroke carb is the same, and many snowmobiles use the same type of carb. 

Before doing anything with your carbs, you’ll want to turn off the fuel valve to prevent fuel from leaking out of the lines when you remove them. 

1. Remove carb(s)

To clean a carb, you first need to remove it. This involves opening up the engine compartment and disconnecting the carb from the engine. Different engines will be set up slightly differently, but the process is essentially the same. 

Once you have access to the carbs, remove the fuel lines, throttle connections, and top caps. The throttle line will have a small bolt holding it in place. Then, take a screwdriver and loosen the connection point between the carb and the head. 

With all lines removed and the carb loosened from the head, wiggle and pull the carb until it comes free. You can use the needle-nose pliers to remove hose clamps and get smaller lines removed using a flathead screwdriver. 

2. Spray with carb cleaner/scrub

Once removed, spray the entire carb unit with carb cleaner before taking it apart. I like to use Gumout, but any carb/choke cleaner from the auto parts store should work fine.

Be sure to place newspaper, rags, or paper towels down on the surface you are spraying because it will get everywhere. This makes it far easier to clean up. 

After you have things soaked, scrub all surfaces with the toothbrush. 

3. Remove the bottom plate

The bottom plate of the carb covers the float, jets, and gaskets. Remove this plate using a small Phillips head screwdriver. There will be four small screws that need to be removed, and the cover will come right off. Don’t lose these screws.  

4. Spray and scrub bottom plate and floats

Take the floats out of the bottom plate once it has been unscrewed. These should fall right out, but if not, prying them gently with a screwdriver will do the trick. Spray the plate with carb cleaner and scrub clean with the toothbrush. Clean and scrub the floats as well. 

5. Disassemble the main carb section and clean

Next, remove the float lever by prying away the pin that holds it in place with a small flathead screwdriver. Take a socket and pliers to take apart the main jet. Also, remove the smaller jets using pliers. 

Spray carb cleaner into every jet hole to clean any debris or gunk that may be blocking these. Be careful not to directly spray any of the small components you just removed, as these can blow off the bench and get lost. 

Then spray each small component with carb cleaner as well. You can also remove the needle jet and spring and clean these as well. Not everyone will clean these, but if you are disassembling the entire carb, I recommend it. 

Here is a good diagram labeling all of the parts of the carb I just mentioned:

Image Copyright Polaris, courtesy of Ripperd

6. Reassemble the carb

After you have cleaned every nook and cranny of the carb, it’s time to put things back together. You will put all of the jets and plungers back into place, put the floats back in the bottom bowl, and make sure the needle jet and spring are secured. 

It doesn’t matter which order you put the jets back into place, but I would try to follow the steps you took to remove everything, just reversed. The last step is putting the bottom plate back on, and don’t forget to put the floats in. 

7. Reinstall carb back into the engine

Put the carb back into the engine first by reattaching the motor flange over the carb. You can twist it until it is secure and make sure that it is completely vertical and upright – this is important! Then tighten down the pipe clamp.

Put the plunger cap back on and tighten it down securely. Connect all of the vent lines and fuel lines back to the carb. Make sure the throttle cable nut is tightened securely as well. 

If you had to take apart the airbox, put it back on now. Then you can open the fuel line back up and close the engine compartment. 

The Importance of Carb Cleaning

I would recommend cleaning your carbs at least once a season. I usually do it after the winter and before I store my sleds for the summer. Clean carbs will allow them to function correctly, and you will notice poor performance with acceleration and speed if they are dirty. 

Carbs will get dirty over time, and there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent this. By cleaning them, you will help your snowmobile function at its best. 

Here’s a good video showing the entire cleaning process:

Final Thoughts

Removing a carb from the engine is pretty straightforward, but taking it entirely apart to clean it properly can be intimidating. Make sure you keep track of all the small parts and put everything back together correctly.  

Once you have done this job once, the second time around will be a lot easier. By learning basic maintenance tasks such as this one, you can save money and ensure your sled is always in excellent condition. 

How often do you clean your carbs? Do you have any suggestions that I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below. 

About Chaz Wyland
I’m a snowmobile fanatic. I live for riding and am out on the trails or backcountry as often as possible during the winter months. I was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains and have snowmobiled in dozens of North American locations. When the snow is falling, you’ll find me on a sled.

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