Your carburetor is one of the most important pieces of your gas pressure washer, which is why you will need to carefully tend to it and clean it now and again. If left unattended, carburetors can get clogged – and needless to say, your pressure washer will stop working.
No matter if you have a clogged carburetor or you simply want to do its first cleaning yourself, here is a guide for you on how you can get it done. It’s a less expensive alternative to taking it into a shop – and also a timesaver if you can’t find the opportunity to go there yourself.
What Do Carburetors Do?
Before you get onto how you clean your carburetor, you need to understand exactly what a carburetor does and why its proper functioning is essential for your pressure washer. Once you know that, it will help you understand better how to clean and maintain it.
Simply put, the carburetor ensures that your pressure washer has a proper air to fuel mix, guaranteeing the unit’s proper functioning. Ideally, the air to fuel ratio needs to be somewhere between 12:1 and 15:1 – and if you wish for your pressure washer to function properly, you need to maintain the fuel ratio within that sweet little spot.
Still, from time to time, the carburetor can get clogged – which can cause your pressure washer to not function properly and not burn the fuel as it should. As a result, you might end up consuming way more fuel than necessary. The carburetor is like the heart of your pressure washer that keeps the fuel and the air pumping – and without it, it’s obvious that the unit will not start.
Signs That a Carburetor Needs Cleaning
If a carburetor wants to be cleaned, it will let you know. Generally speaking, you do not have to open the carburetor unless you need to fix a clog (and maybe conduct its regular maintenance). However, if your carburetor is clogged and needs cleaning, here is how you will know.
- Failure on Startup
If the carburetor needs maintenance, then you will see that your pressure washer requires a lot of effort to get started – or worse, it does not start at all. This happens because air and fuel do not pass through the carburetor properly, triggering it to start. Before checking into other problems, make sure that it’s not the carburetor.
- Popping and Sneezing Sounds
If you hear any sounds resembling popping and sneezing, it’s probably coming from your carburetor. In most cases, it is a sign that there’s an imbalance between the fuel and air mix. If there isn’t sufficient fuel going through the carburetor, then you might notice a popping sound coming through it.
- Black Smoke
If you see black smoke coming through the pressure washer, then there is a great chance there’s something wrong with your carburetor. It might mean that there is more fuel going through the combustion chamber than it should. Once it exceeds the recommended level, it might lead to the formation of black smoke.
When your carburetor is blocked, then the fuel will not be able to go through. If you see that there are any leaks coming from your pressure washer’s carburetor, then it might be a sign there’s something preventing the fuel from passing through. And in the end, that fuel will eventually start overflowing your carburetor. If it’s leaking, it’s a sign that you should unclog it.
Steps for Cleaning Your Pressure Washer’s Carburetor
Cleaning your pressure washer’s carburetor can be quite a challenging task, especially if you have never done it before. One tip before you get started would be to take pictures of the entire ensemble before you take everything out. This way, you will remember how to fit everything back into its rightful place.
When putting the pressure washer back together, you should do so in the exact order that you took them out. To make the process easier, you should lay them on a towel (placed on a flat surface) so that reassembly can be easier.
If you haven’t cleaned a carburetor before, then you can follow these steps to do so:
- Turn the Fuel Valve Off
Before commencing to clean your carburetor, you might want to first remove the cap of the spark plug and turn the fuel valve off. This way, you know that no fuel will be passing through the carburetor.
- Access the Carburetor
The second step would be to find and access the carburetor. Under normal circumstances, you might also have to take off the throttle cover, the intake setup, and the air filter box in order to gain access to the carburetor.
- Empty the Gas Tank
Before cleaning the carburetor, you should find the gas line that is connecting the carburetor and the fuel tank. To empty the old gas, you should take out the tube from the nipple of the carburetor. You may also leave the gas there if you have new gas – in which case, you should just clamp the fuel line. Regardless of the method that you are going for, you should place a towel or a bowl at the bottom so that you may catch any stray drips.
- Remove the Carburetor
Using a nut driver or a socket, you may now remove the carburetor from your pressure washer’s engine. First, you should unscrew the two bolts that are connecting the carburetor to the unit’s engine. Once you have done that, the next stage is to disconnect the throttle cable from the linkage of your unit’s carburetor.
- Remove Residual Gas
This is where the cleaning part actually starts. Check the carburetor for any residual fuel and drop it in a towel or in a container (depending on how much fuel there is). Once you have done that, you need to check whether the carburetor is corroded or dirty. Obviously, if the carburetor is corroded, then you have to buy a new one. However, if everything seems just fine, then you can go forward with the cleaning process.
- Take the Carburetor Apart
Here is where you should take one more picture of how the carburetor is connected. To do that, you may start by unscrewing the bottom of the unit in order to remove the carburetor bowl. This action will expose the float of your pressure washer, no matter if you are using a residential or a commercial pressure washer. Take the other pieces apart in order.
- Spray the Carburetor Cleaner
Now that the “bulk dirt” is off, you may proceed to spray the carburetor cleaner in the parts that require cleaning. Bear in mind that if the parts are made of rubber, you should not use carburetor cleaner (as it can be too harsh). Regular soap and water should work just fine in this case. Rinse every piece properly and let them dry.
With everything nice and clean now, all you have to do is put the carburetor back together in the order that you took it apart. Use the pictures that you took beforehand as a reference.
Cleaning a pressure washer is not that big of a deal, and it is certainly something you can do without taking the unit into the repair shop. However, you have to be careful that you put back the pieces in the same order that you took them out. Reference to your pictures to be safe.