Why Your Motorcycle Won’t Start After Carb Cleaning

Save Hundreds on Motorcycle Insurance!
Riders Are Saving Hundreds a Year With This Trick!
Insurance companies don't want you to know how easy it is to compare rates.
Don't keep overpaying for insurance - Click below to compare rates now! COMPARE INSURANCE!

Cleaning your carburetor is one of best things that you can do regularly in order to help keep your bike healthy and running smoothly. As dirt and fuel residue build up in the carburetor, the engine itself will run less efficiently. Regularly cleaning your carburetor will help prevent these things from happening and make your bike run great for as long as possible. 

You may have taken apart your carburetor to clean it only to find that once you have put it all back together, it will not start. What could be wrong? Your motorcycle might not start after cleaning the carburetor because you may have put the float back together upside down. This will prevent the flow of fuel and therefore your bike will not be able to start. Make sure there are no air leaks, the spark plug is plugged in, and clean out the jets and ports.

Your carburetor has a very important job to perform and if things are blocking it from doing its job, your bike will not run. The carburetor has the important job of mixing the fuel and air before it enters the engine. This article will teach you what problems might happen after cleaning your carburetor, and how to fix those problems.

Why A Motorcycle Will Not Start After Cleaning The Carbs

So, why exactly might your motorcycle not start after cleaning the carbs? Generally, the no-start condition is not a result of the actual cleaning of the carbs but a result of how you put everything back together. The most common culprit is the float. If you are not careful, you may accidentally put the float back together upside down after cleaning. This will cut off the flow of fuel into the engine. With no fuel, the engine will not run at all. Take a look at your float and make sure that it is installed correctly.

Secondly, you will want to make sure that you do not have any air leaks. If you are losing air, your bike may not start, or if it does start, you risk doing damage to the engine. By running a leak test, you can verify if there are any. You also can run a compression test on your engine. If your compression is bad, that could be your issue.

The next thing that you will want to check is for spark. Make sure that your spark plug is actually connected. If it is, run a test and make sure that you are actually getting spark. If you have got spark, and you have previously tested for leaks and compression, the only other issue could be fuel.

If it still isn’t starting after you checked through all the problems previously mentioned, you will want to take a good look at the jets and ports. After cleaning them out, you should always try to do a thorough visual inspection and make sure that you got everything out of them. If you cannot see any gunk in any of them, then you did a good job. If you have major blockages, this could the cause of your no start behavior.

Tips On Starting Your Motorcycle After Cleaning The Carbs

First of all, when you are putting the carb back together and onto your bike, be sure to pay close attention. Make sure that everything gets put back together correctly. You do not want to forget to connect any hoses or plugs. Make sure that you reassemble everything properly. Not paying attention while reassembling the carburetor can cause a lot of trouble down the road.

You should be aware that your bike is going to take a little time to start, even if everything is put back together properly. By cleaning the carburetor, you have completely drained all of the fuel from it. It will take a minute before the necessary vacuum pull has formed again and fuel is flowing through the carb. Do not be alarmed if you experience this because it is completely normal.

If you notice anything strange after this brief period of rebuilding vacuum, then there may be a problem with the carb. Start by checking the simple and easy things. Are you sure that you reconnected all of the vacuum lines? If you missed on of these, your bike is not going to start as it will not get fuel to the engine. If you do not see anything apparent and obvious, then you may need to remove your carb again and make sure everything got put back together properly. Checking the simplest things first will save you time down the road.

How To Know Your Carbs Are The Reason Your Motorcycle Is Not Starting

There are potentially a lot of different things that could be causing your bike not to start. While the issue is often a carb-related issue, that is not always the case. So, how can you tell whether it is the carb or if it is something else? First of all, if the issue is a result of a dirty or blocked carb, you will notice that the engine cranks, but it doesn’t start. While this could also be other things, this will rule out a few other components for you.

Remember that your bike needs four main things to run. Those are air, fuel, spark, and compression. Without any one of those, your bike will not run at all. Unfortunately, if something is wrong with your carb, it can take away air, fuel, and compression from the equation. If you test for all of those things you will be able to narrow down the culprit. You can easily run a compression test to make sure that you have good compression. You can also run a leak test to be sure you do not have any air leaks. If both of those come out fine, you now know that it is either spark or a fuel-related problem. You can now inspect the carburetor for any fuel-related problems. Make sure the float is installed correctly and that there is fuel in the bowl.

How To Properly Clean Your Carbs

So, what is the proper way to clean your carburetor? First off, remember how important your carburetor is. Doing a good job on your cleaning is very important. Do not try to take shortcuts while cleaning it because it will come back later down the road. You will want to do a good and thorough job so the bike will continue to work properly.

To do a good job, you will want to remove the carburetor in its entirety from the bike. Next, you will need a good cleaner that is safe to be used with plastics and rubbers. There are lots of carb cleaners that you can use. Once you have the carburetor off, you will now want to take the float off. 

Now you are ready to start cleaning things up. You can take the float and the other carb pieces off and soak them in a cleaner. This will really help to get all the gunk to start coming off. You can also take a brush and use that to scrub the parts while they are soaking in the container. This will help to get the really tricky stuff off. Afterward, you will want to wash things off with water to get rid of your cleaning chemicals. Then let the carb dry. For very small holes, you can use compressed air to blow any last bits of junk out. 

Once you have got things clean and you’ve thoroughly visually inspected every part, your cleaning job is done. You are now ready to start putting everything back together. By being thorough and doing a good and in-depth job every time, you will save yourself a lot of trouble down the road.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

Recent Posts