Basic Carburetor Tuning Guide - Page 2 - ATV Forum - All Terrain Vehicle discussion for Honda, Yamaha and more ATVs
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 11:13 PM
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Carb trouble??

I have a 96 Kawasaki Lakota that hasn't ran in a year or so. I have rebuilt the carb, replaced the battery, put in a new plug and changed the oil. I am still having trouble keeping it running. I have to choke to start, when I get up to fourth gear it acts like it wants to die so I have to down shift and give it full throttle for it to catch up. I can get it to idle, but not for long because it dies. Any suggestions?

Last edited by SmokeyMcBong; 01-15-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 01:16 AM
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you can find a shop oem manual here fairly cheap, and you can download it right after payment


... Peace
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 03:48 AM
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Dual Carbs

That helped me understand a lot more about how Carbs work, but what about for a Raptor 660? It has dual carbs, so if you tune the left carb, do you tune the right carb the same? It's got me lost cause the Main Jets are a different size. So wouldn't one side get tuned differently?????
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 11:24 AM
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Understand carbs better but am still lost. I have a 1994 350 warrior with complete aftermarket dg exhaust. Rejeted main jet 2 sizes larger then stock for exhaust like dg said. Now back on. Starts fine idles fine. But now backfires from really high idle to 1/4 throttle fuel air mix screw won't get rid of it completely but close. Also won't die when lightly bottomed like stated earlyer but is stock pilot and pilot screw.and finally when you go wot you get maybe a hundred yards and falls on its face but if you let off and milk the throttle around 1/2 it cleans up and gets another hundred yards at wot. Runs awsome from little over 1/4 to 3/4. Any help ideas opinions would be awesome.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 04:23 PM
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To answer the different main jet in twins question, one side of twin will run hotter than the other, specially in air/fan cooled machines. The hotter side typically needs a size bigger jet.

Drake, your issue might be the float level. Maybe it got bumped while you were replacing the jet? Float level to low will cause exactly that, as the carb tries to draw more fuel it basically runs out. If that is not the issue, I'd go one size smaller (than mod) and see if that helps.

Nice beginning to carbs, but it should be mentioned that there are two common carbs used on bikes. Regular slide and Constant Velocity (CV) carb. Regular slide, the throttle cable attaches directly to the slide, be in round or flat, and controls the slide and the needle. On a CV carb, the throttle is attached to a butterfly valve and the slide is controlled by vacuum of the engine.

I believe that most larger 4-stroke ATVs (250+) used CV carbs. Honda 185s, 200's used regular slide (round).

The difference between these two types of carbs, in terms of working on them, is complexity. Because of the vacuum lines, the CV carb tends to be about twice as complicated.

Also, most CV carbs use a fuel screw, most regular slide carbs use an air screw.
Idle adjustment on a CV carb is just holding the throttle cable out. Idle adjustment on a regular slide holds the slide up.

The Choke is nothing more than another fuel passage that opens up allowing more fuel into the engine. Better term for it is Enricher. The term Choke comes from the fact that old carbs had another butterfly located on the intake side that would close, forcing the engine to suck more fuel.

Another difference a rider/mechanic can notice between CV and regular slides is that if the engine is running lean and it begins to sputter, the regular slides more often than not will not recover without letting off the throttle and will die. CV carbs will recover, but may just sputter more if the throttle is not released. It will stay running.
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-21-2015, 08:37 PM
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Hey I have a 99 Polaris sportsman 500.we bought it and we rebuilt the carburetor and now when we ride it after a while it doesn't have any power. You press the throttle all the way in and it stays at a constant speed of around 20. Any suggestions on what we ought to do to fix this? Thank you
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 07:19 PM
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i own 4 yamahas, 4 polaris , 3 suzukis. i am a retired mech. yamaha by far is the better atv. only the fuel injected ones have fuel pumps, they have true engine braking, and hardley any carb problems. they also have drive belts that last forever.
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 04:36 PM
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Limiting speed

I have a lil Chinese roketa 70cc. just got it from someone in a non running condition, got a new card, new plug and wire, filter and fluids changed ect. what im looking for is if there is a way to limit (govern) the speed it can go. it has a tether kill, and I bought a remote kill for it, but my son is only 4 so I want it to stay on the slower side (right now it get me (180lbs) up to about 30mph in about 50-100ft. anything I can do to the new carb before I put it on the slow it down, but not effect idle or how it runs.

Originally Posted by saber6 View Post
First off, there's 2 basic fuel related problems. You either have a rich mixture, or a lean mixture.

A rich mixture is caused by too much fuel compared to the amount of air being used during combustion. Rich conditions can be detected by the engine spitting and sputtering, blurbling, or acting like a rev limiter, rapidly losing and regaining power. In severely rich conditions, you may be seeing black smoke coming from the exhaust. The black smoke you see is actually raw fuel that is not being burnt and is being wasted. By looking at the spark plug, a rich condition can be detected by a black, sooty plug.

A lean mixture is caused by too little fuel compared to the amount of air being used during combustion. Lean conditions can be detected by the engine losing power, yet retaining it's engine speed. For instance, the engine sounds to be accelerating to higher RPMs, yet feels as if it has no power. By looking at the spark plug, a lean condition can be detected by a white, blistered plug.

Secondly, there are 3 basic carburetor circuits: Pilot Circuit, Mid-range Circuit, and Main Circuit. These 3 carburetor circuits can be troubleshooted by knowing the throttle opening they control.

The Pilot circuit is responsible for throttle openings from Idle (0 throttle) - around 1/4 throttle. This circuit consists of pilot air jet(s), the pilot fuel jet(s), a pilot screw (either fuel or air screw), and pilot ports inside the carburetor throat (a.k.a. Venturi).

There are 2 types of pilot screws: a fuel screw and an air screw.

The fuel screw is located on the engine side of the throttle slide in the carb, and controls the amount of fuel that is drawn into the Venturi by the pilot ports. By turning the fuel screw out, you are allowing more fuel to pass the screw, effectively richening the mixture. By turning the screw in, you are restricting fuel, effectively leaning the mixture. Another way to determine whether it is an air or fuel screw is that a fuel screw has a rubber o-ring to keep air from entering the pilot circuit around the screw.

The air screw is located on the airbox side of the throttle slide in the carb, and controls the amount of air that is drawn into the Venturi by the pilot ports. By turning the air screw out, you are allowing more air to pass the screw, effectively leaning the mixture. By turning the air screw in, you are restricting air, effectively en richening the mixture.

The air jets are hardly ever changed, so we won't go over that. The pilot fuel jet(s) can be changed to bigger (richer) or smaller (leaner), depending upon your problem. A good rule of thumb to use is that if you have to adjust the pilot screw more than two turns either way if it's stock setting, then you need to accommodate by changing the pilot air or pilot fuel jets accordingly.

Remember, the Pilot Circuit is only effective from 0 throttle to around 1/4 throttle. It still functions during the rest of the throttle positions, but it's effect is minimal, and goes un-noticed.

The Mid-range circuit is responsible for throttle openings from 1/4 throttle - 3/4 throttle.

This circuit is controlled by 2 things: the Jet Needle, and Needle Jet (a.k.a. the Main Jet Holder).

The Jet Needle, or needle as many call it, is attached to the throttle slide, and drops into the Needle Jet. All needles are tapered. Either the Jet Needle is adjustable or it is not. If there are more than 1 grooves for the needle clip to sit in, then it is adjustable. By raising the clip on the needle, you are allowing the needle to sit deeper into the needle jet, which restricts fuel, effectively leaning the mixture. By lowering the clip on the needle, you are raising the needle out of the needle jet, which allows more fuel to pass, effectively en richening the mixture.

When the slide raises, it raises the needle out of the needle jet, allowing fuel to pass by the needle and into the Venturi. This is where needle taper comes into play. Unless you are extremely fine tuning the carb, you don't need to worry about taper. You change which part of the taper is in the needle jet by the position of the clip.

Remember, the Mid-range circuit is only effective from 1/4 throttle - 3/4 throttle. None of the other circuits have a drastic effect on this circuit, so if your problem is in the mid-range circuit, then it can't be the main jet or the pilot jet.

The Main circuit is responsible for throttle openings from 3/4 throttle - Wide Open Throttle (you'll see me refer to this at WOT later on).

This circuit is controlled by 2 things: the Main Jet, and the main air jet. The Main Jet is the #1 thing that people change in a carburetor when it comes to tuning them. This is often a big mistake, as it only controls 3/4 - WOT, and NOTHING ELSE. Remember that. A larger main jet will allow more fuel to pass through it, effectively en richening the mixture. A smaller main jet will restrict fuel, effective leaning the mixture. With the main air jet, it allows air to premix with fuel as it goes up into the Venturi.

The Main Jet only functions at 100% when the slide is open and the jet needle is pulled completely out of the needle jet. At this time, the only thing restricting fuel flow into the Venturi is the size of the Main Jet.

Now for tuning.

If you read above, you should know the difference in feel of rich and lean mixtures. By knowing at what throttle opening the problem is occurring at, you can figure out what circuit the problem is occurring at.

If it's the pilot circuit, there are 3 basic way to tune the circuit. You can adjust the pilot screw, change the pilot air jet, or change the pilot jet.

Adjusting the pilot screw is simple. With the engine running at idle, warmed up to normal operating temps, turn the screw in until it starts to idle rough, then turn the screw out until it starts to idle rough, then turn the screw so it's between those two extremes. To check the position of the screw, you can count the number of turns as you turn the screw in until it seats SOFTLY with the carb body. Reason I capitalized SOFTLY is that the screws (especially the fuel screws) are easily damaged if over tightened. So screw them in until they SOFTLY seat the carb body. Compare your counted number of turns to soft seat and compare it to stock settings (stock settings are determined by counting turns until soft seat before you do any adjustments whatsoever). Again, if you had to turn the screw more than 2 turns either way, you need to change pilot jets (air or fuel) accordingly.

In the mid-range circuit, there are 2 basic ways to tune the circuit. You can adjust the jet needle, or change the needle jet. Raising the clip will lower the needle, leaning the mid-range. Lowering the clip will raise the needle, en richening the mid-range. You can also change the needle jet, but only if your jet needle adjustments make no difference in the way the mid-range circuit operated. If you are running lean on the mid-range, and you've raised the needle as far as it will go and it doesn't get any better, then you should go up in the needle jet size. Many carb manufactures don't have different sized needle jets, so the aftermarket may offer them, or they may not.

In the main circuit, there are 2 basic ways to tune the circuit. You can change the main jet, or change the main air jet. Changing to a larger main jet will effectively en richen the circuit. Changing to a smaller main jet will effectively lean the circuit. You can determine which you need to do by first determining whether you are rich or lean. Changing main air jets, again, is for very fine tuning. Once you have the main circuit functioning properly, you shouldn't have to worry about the main air jet, because the air for the circuit is mostly provided by the air passing through the Venturi. On many carbs, the main air jet is not changeable. They may be pressed in.

So there you have it. I basically touched base with carburetor internals and how to adjust them to tune the carb. Every brand carburetor has different ways of accomplishing the same main goal of every carburetor. That goal is to precisely and efficiently mix air and fuel in the right ratios for efficient engine operation. This efficient operation comes from complete combustion, which cannot occur if you are too rich. Whether Mikuni, Keihin, or whatever, they all do the same thing, just in different ways. Hopefully this will help some of you to understand the functions of the carburetors internals.

Lastly, you all need to know...

***This is only a reference guide. This is not to be used as a manual for any specific carburetor, as every carb is different. This is only a guide to be used to base your carb tuning off of. In no way am I responsible for the adjustments, or their results, you make on your own machine.***

If anybody sees any mistakes I may have made, please let me know through a PM or a reply. I would hate to mis-lead someone into tuning their carb wrong.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:16 AM
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Thank you very much saber6 for your Carburetor 101 Presentation on ATV Carburetor Basics. Your knowledge of the subject is very impressive and the best presentation that I have encountered at this point in my efforts to resolve a high RPM sputtering problem with an 05 Honda Ranger TRX350ES. I have acquired this ATV not knowing the operating condition other than it has been unused for several months. I, too, am experiencing a high RPM sputtering. Idle performance and mid-range RPM performance is good. Engine begins to sputter as you increase throttle position to full throttle. I have completed all of the usual attempts to troubleshoot the problem; i.e.: removing and dismantling the engine for internal inspection (rings, valves, timing chain setting, valve tappet clearance setting, etc.) to find these in excellent condition and per factory specs; spark plug in acceptable condition; replaced fuel line; completely rebuilding carburetor with new primer, changing main needle jet to slot 2 and slot 4 of a 5-slop jet adjustment to see if performance changes; and verifying that air cleaner and exhaust system are not restricted. All attempts are for naught. I have dismantled and inspected the carburetor three times to check for other potential carburetor problems with jets and passages. The vacuum cylinder diaphragm is good; however, the eyelet tap is broken (only half of the tap is there). My concern: would this impact high RPM performance? A new cylinder is $30.00 (+/-). The raised boss on the diaphragm cover on the back side (spring side) of the diaphragm does not appear to serve any port or passage into the carburetor. I am assuming this does not impact performance. The carburetor has several vent hose connections. I did not document the connection arrangement during dismantling. I am thinking I might have set us hose connections in error. I am not familiar with this engine; however, I am surprised at the high noise level at the inlet to the carburetor when the air cleaner and/or air box is removed and the throttle is opened full position. Is this normal? Any suggestions from anyone to help me resolve this high RPM performance problem?
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2017, 12:39 PM
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Need a little help with cable adjustment on a2005 Yamaha grizzley 80. I recently changed jets in the carb because it seemed like the primary was plugged .. carb was clean when i opened it, but it didn't have a filter (does now). Putting back in i don't seem to be able to make it run properly. I can set the idle ok with the idle screw and air screw, but i think the problem is the cable adjustment. It has just the one threaded adjustment on top of the carb, which is a Mekuni. It sounds like it is running rich . It sputters until i get to the higher RPMs. To lean it out should the cable be shorter or longer (up or down? on the adjusting screw? Thanks for any help with this.. It has been a good machine for the 3 years i have owned it.
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