An Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaner Keeps Carburetors in Shape

An Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaner Keeps Carburetors in Shape

As reported in a Gili's Automotive post, "carburetors, unlike fuel injection systems, are relatively straightforward when it comes to repairing them. Fuel injection requires sophisticated computers, but carburetors require only a screwdriver and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty….While carburetors may not have a life in new vehicles today, chances are good that they’ll still be used for many years to come."

This post describes why an ultrasonic cleaner is your best carburetor cleaner.

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How Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaners Work

Ultrasonic cleaners are used in a wide range of applications to remove virtually any soil or contamination by using the power of cavitation action.

In addition to plain old "dirt" they remove varnish, gums and other contaminants that deposit on a carburetor's exterior and interior parts over time.

Cavitation is the term used to describe the implosion of billions of minute vacuum bubbles when they contact parts immersed in an ultrasonic cleaning solution. The bubbles are created by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to an ultrasonic cleaning tank.

When these bubbles contact parts immersed in the solution they implode to blast loose and carry away contaminants on parts being cleaned.

Depending on models, cleaners typically operate at an ultrasonic frequency of 37 to 42 kHz (37,000 to 42,000 cycles per second). Cleaners are available operating at other frequencies as well as multiple frequencies.

Two Excellent Reasons for an Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaner


elma tec A4 cleaner

When the bubbles implode contaminants are quickly and safely blasted away from wetted surfaces without damaging delicate carburetor parts.

These bubbles are so small that they are able penetrate minute cracks, crevices and blind holes impossible to reach by hand scrubbing using conventional parts washers or aerosol sprays.


Once parts are placed in the cleaner basket and cleaning initiated they can complete the job in 25 to 40 minutes (depending on condition).

A big benefit here is that you are free to attend to other tasks. And, compared to solvent-based parts washers and aerosols, cleaning is completed in an environmentally friendly manner.

This is because the ultrasonic carburetor cleaning formula is a biodegradable concentrate that minimizes disposal problems.

How to Select an Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaner for your Car's Engine

Ultrasonic carburetor cleaners come in a variety of sizes from bench top to floor-mounted industrial ultrasonic cleaning units. You can select any size you need.

A popular model for carburetor cleaning by backyard mechanics or clubs is the heater and timer-equipped 1.6-gallon capacity SGB-160 kit that we especially promote for this application. The kit is supplied with elma tec clean A4, a recommended cleaning solution concentrate plus a handy user guide on how to clean carburetors.

Parts Cleaning Kit SGB-160

Units with larger cleaning solution capacities are available, such as the 10-gallon SGB 1000 kit. It is recommended that whatever cleaner you select, it should have a heater to bring the cleaning solution to the recommended temperature and a timer to "set and forget" the cleaning cycle while attending to other matters.

2 Steps to Setting Up Your Carburetor Cleaning Cycle

Whatever the model and size ultrasonic carb cleaner you use there are steps to take before cleaning begins.

  1. Add water to fill the tank half way and add the recommended amount of cleaning solution concentrate for a full tank. Continue adding water to the fill line.
  2. Activate the ultrasound, set the heater to approximately 70°C, and operate the unit for 10-15 minutes. This mixes the solution and drives off cavitation inhibiting entrained air. Repeat this operation every time you prepare a fresh cleaning solution.

How to Remove, Clean and Reinstall your Car's Carburetor

Forgive us for generalizations, but here's a suggested procedure that you will modify depending on your car's engine, your tools and other equipment.


Remove the air filter. Then disconnect the fuel line using small wrenches or pliers. Tip: check rubber gas lines for wear and replace if needed. And this is a good time to replace your carb's air filter.

Remove the screws holding the carburetor to the intake manifold. Disconnect linkages and springs that may get in the way - and remember where all the parts go since you will also put them back later.

Once the carburetor is completely disconnected, you should now be able to simply lift it off the intake manifold.

Check the condition of gaskets. These most likely should be replaced.


Proceed to Step 2.


Although you can clean your carburetor without disassembly you will achieve the most thorough cleaning with partial disassembly that allows the cleaning solution into the float chamber.

Remember that only surfaces that are wetted by the cleaning solution will be cleaned. Fine mesh baskets can be used for very small parts.

Set your ultrasonic cleaner's thermostat to 70°C. While the solution is heating, place your carburetor parts in the basket. Keep parts separated from each other.

When the operating temperature is reached lower the basket into the cleaning solution and set the timer for 25 minutes. As noted above, cleaning time depends on the condition of the carburetor and may have to be adjusted.

At the end of the cycle remove the components from the bath and inspect them. If contaminants remain continue the cleaning cycle until you are satisfied. Then rinse them in fresh water to remove all traces of the cleaning solution and allow them to dry.

SAFETY NOTE: DO NOT reach into an operating ultrasonic bath. Instead remove the basket if you want to inspect or rearrange the parts. They will be hot.


Reassemble carburetor internal components.

Re-connect linkages and springs. Return the carburetor to its original location. Reattach the screws holding the carb to the intake manifold. Ensure that it stays secure.

Once the carburetor is in place use your tools to re-connect the fuel line. Replace the air filter and housing.

Cleaning Solution Maintenance Tips

Contaminants removed during carburetor cleaning remain in the solution or fall to the tank bottom.

Periodically skim off the oils that rise to the surface of the bath and set them aside for later disposal. When the solution becomes discolored or cleaning time takes longer it is time to replace it.

Drain the tank. Follow local regulations to dispose skimmed off contaminants, spent solution and sludge from the bottom of the tank. Clean the tank following instructions in the user manual.

Fill the tank with fresh cleaning solution, degas it and you are ready for new cleaning cycles.

Questions? Contact the Ultrasonic Cleaning Experts

Disclaimer: This advice is not provided by a licensed mechanic. Follow at your own risk. We assume no liability for any damages caused by following the advice in this article.


Ultrasonic Cleaning Guide

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More About the Author

Dr. Rachel Kohn has extensive experience in developing technology-based business opportunities. Prior to founding Tovatech, she successfully built international sales of novel analytical instrumentation for Smiths Detection as a Global Account Manager in the Life Sciences division. Dr. Kohn’s prior positions include Director of Business Development at Photon-X, a telecom component start-up, Project Manager at Cardinal Health, and Business Director at the Medical Device Concept Laboratory, a nonprofit research institution focused on development of biomaterials and implantable medical devices. In addition, Dr. Kohn held various positions at Hoechst Celanese Corporation, including Marketing Manager, Project Team Leader, Business Analyst, and Senior Research Scientist. She has authored 37 patents and publications based on laboratory research in diverse fields such as advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Dr. Kohn has a B.A. in Chemistry from Barnard College and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from M.I.T.