Cleaning your snowblower carburetor is essential to ensuring that the machine works correctly – or in some cases works at all.
To clean your snowblower carburetor you’re going to need some carburetor cleaning solution, some compressed air or copper wire, a screwdriver, and where possible the machines manual. This process takes around one hour, although with experience you can easily cut this time in half. It’s something I’ve found the majority of basic DIY fans can do. However, if you don’t have the time you could instead replace the part or pay someone else to complete the work for you.
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Why Cleaning Your Snowblower Carburetor Is Essential
Major snowblower manufacturers recommend cleaning your carburetor every six months in order to extend its life. During the summer months when the snowblower is not being used gas breaks down inside the carburetor forming a ‘gunk’ which clogs the passageway to the combustion chamber. This prevents the machine from starting or limits the machine’s capabilities significantly.
As a result I opt to clean my carburetor just before the start of the snow season (for me that’s around September) and once again six months later (January / February time depending on how busy we are taking down the holiday decorations)
Unclean Carburator Warning Signs
There are a number of things you may notice when using your snowblower that signal that the carburator needs cleaning. These include:
- The snowblowers engine turns over but either does not start or struggles to start.
- The engine of your snowblower seems sluggish or jerky.
- The snowblower seems to be consuming more fuel than normal.
- The snowblower exhaust is pumping out black smoke.
If you continue to use your snowblower over a significant amount of time while showing these signs then you’ll likely cause extensive damage to your machine.
How To Clean The Carburetor On A Snowblower
Now we know what causes a dirty snowblower carburetor and the damage it can cause it’s time to rectify the problem by cleaning it.
If cleaning the carburetor seems like a difficult task, then you can either pay someone to do it (although it’s somewhat of a false economy as it costs more than simply replacing the part) or replace the old carburetor with a new one – they cost less than $50 in most cases.
It could take you over an hour to clean a snowblower carburetor for the first time. However, with practice over time I’ve found the process becomes quicker and easier.
1. Check The Manual
Not all snow blowers are the same. Some carburetors will be located in different places depending on the make and model. I, therefore, suggest reading the manual (if you have it) and following their step by step instructions as they will be specifically designed based on your snowblower.
2. Clear Your Work Space
There are a number of small parts you will be removing from your snowblower and the carburetor during the cleaning process. Missing even one tiny screw can cause a lot of hassle. I, therefore, recommend (based on multiple experiences of losing parts and spending longer looking for them than I care to admit) clearing a space for you to put these items.
3. Remove The Carburetor
You will need to remove the carburetor from the snowblower in order to clean it. If this is your first time cleaning a carburetor then consider taking a handful of photos for reference if you need them when refitting. To start, locate the carburetor on your machine before removing it using a screwdriver.
4. Apply Cleaning Solution
Once removed put the carburetor into a bowl and cover it with carburetor cleaning fluid (I use Chem-Dip) for around three hours. After this time you’ll want to remove the carburetor from the fluid and rinse it with water.
Once the snowblower carburetor has dried you can use either copper wire or a compressed air canister to get any remaining dirt out from the smaller holes. Be sure that the carburetor is as clean as possible before you begin the reattachment process. The better job you do at this stage the better the end result will be.
5. Reattach Carburetor
Once you have cleaned every nook and cranny on the carburetor, it’s time to put everything back together. Every single piece needs to be exactly the way it was before you began if the snowblower is to work correctly. Taking your time with this process and referencing back to the photos you took should minimize the likelihood of this happening.
6. Leave Notes
In the past, I have found it helpful to leave a sticky note either in the manual on the carburetor cleaning page or elsewhere in my garage about the experience. Anything I noticed that was different from the manual, or simple hints and tips for my future self. It’s one of those things that most people skip, but it takes two seconds and can save you hours of remembering or reenacting past experiences/mistakes a couple of months later.
I also write the date I completed the clean so I can reference back to it if required. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on selling your machine as people often enquire about when the carburetor was last cleaned or replaced.