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How to Maintain Lawnmower Carburetors with Ultrasonic Cleaning

Lawnmower Carburetor Ultrasonic Cleaning

Lawnmower carburetors can be influential when it comes to the performance of lawnmowers and other gasoline-powered outdoor equipment. When considering the environment in which lawnmower carburetors operate one can appreciate the importance of keeping dust and other contaminants from degrading their performance. Air filters help but rough operation and difficult starts signal the need for attention. This post describes how ultrasonic cleaners help maintain lawnmower carburetors.

We'll take a look at

  • How an ultrasonic carburetor cleaner works
  • How to select your ultrasonic cleaner
  • Setting up your ultrasonic cleaner
  • How to remove, clean and reinstall your lawnmower carburetor

How Ultrasonic Lawnmower 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 interior parts over time.

Cavitation is the term used to describe the implosion of billions of minute 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.

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.

Ultrasonic Carb Cleaners are Thorough

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. These techniques may also create environmental and disposal challenges.

Ultrasonic Carb Cleaners are Fast

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 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 Carb Cleaner for your Lawnmower

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

At iUltrasonic, a popular model for carburetor cleaning in small-engine repair shops or backyard mechanics is the 1.6-gallon capacity SGB-160 kit that we especially promote for this application. The kit is supplied with a recommended cleaning solution concentrate plus a handy user guide on how to clean carburetors.

Units with larger cleaning solution capacities are available. It is recommended that whatever you select the cleaner should have a heater to bring the cleaning solution to the recommended temperature.

How to Set 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. Continue adding water to the fill line.
  2. Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner, set the heater to approximately 70°C, and operate the ultrasound for about 30 minutes. This mixes the solution and drives off cavitation inhibiting entrained air. Repeat this operation when preparing fresh cleaning solution.

How to Remove, Clean and Reinstall your Lawnmower Carburetor

Here's a suggested procedure that you will modify depending on your equipment.

Step 1: Removing the Carburetor

The first thing to be done is to make sure that the fuel line is shut off. The means in order to do this would vary in different lawnmower models. Since most lawnmowers have a fuel knob to control the fuel flow, you will just need to turn it to switch it off.

Remove the air filter cover. With a ratchet or socket, remove the nut holding the air filter to the lawnmower assembly. Once the cover has been removed, it’s time to get the air filter and the gas line off as well. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to disconnect the gas line. Tip: replace a cracked gas line or a dirty air filter right away.

Remove the screws holding the carburetor to the lawnmower body. Make sure that you have already disconnected the linkage and any other springs that may get in the way. Remember where all the parts go since you will also put them back later.

Pull the primer line from the primer bulb. Your lawnmower may come equipped with either a stop switch wire or a speed control. Either way, these parts will have to be disconnected. Once disconnected, you should now be able to simply pull the carb off your lawnmower.

Now proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Cleaning the Carburetor

Although you can clean your carburetor without any disassembly you will achieve the most thorough cleaning with partial disassembly to allow the 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 to hold very small parts.

Set the thermostat to 70°C. While the solution is heating, place your carburetor parts in the basket taking care that they do not touch 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. If they are not clean replace them in the bath until the cleaning is complete. 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.

Step 3: Reinstalling the Carburetor

Reassemble carburetor internal components. Then connect the stop switch wire or speed control wire back to its original position.

Reattach the primer line to the primer bulb just like before. Connect all other linkages and springs that you have unplugged. Return the carburetor to its original location. Reattach the screws holding the carb to the lawnmower body. Ensure that it stays secure.

Once the carburetor is in place use your needle nose pliers to connect the gas line back into the mower. Return the air filter and seal it in making sure to screw the air filter cover back on. You may now turn the knob so that the fuel flows to the machine.

Now your lawnmower should be good to mow.

Cleaning Solution Maintenance Tips

Oils that rise to the surface of the bath should be skimmed off and disposed of properly. When the solution becomes discolored or cleaning time takes longer it is time to replace it.

Drain the tank and dispose of the spent solution according to local regulations. Take the time to remove sludge that settled to the bottom of the tank. Clean the tank using a cleaning process recommended by the manufacturer.

Questions? Contact the iUltrasonic.com ultrasonic cleaning expert.

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.

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