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Old 02-28-2012, 05:00 PM
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Default Honda 4-Stroke Carb Cleaning?

I have a 2007 Honda BF50 that I'm thinking needs the carbs cleaned/rebuilt. I screwed up and let it sit for a few months during hunting season without running it. I normally run ethanol-free in it but my last fill-up was E10 treated with Stabil Marine. Well, as you might guess, I'm having some rough idle/stalling issues. However, it runs fine once I get the RPMs up.

I had a Honda ATV that had the same issue. It ended up being a clogged idle jet in the carb. I was able to fix this pretty easily. This issue with my outboard seems like its probably the exact same thing. I guess it sat just long enough to gum up those tiny jets. I want to fix it myself as I can't afford to have someone else do it for me. The Seloc manual is on its way.

I realize this job is probably more complex than a simple ATV carb. My plan is to go in, clean the jets carefully so I don't enlarge them, and then GTFO without changing anything else. Have any of you guys ever cleaned/rebuilt Honda outboard carbs? Any tips for a novice backyard mechanic?
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:03 PM
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my mechanic told me that a trick that can sometimes work if the problem isn't too bad, is to just punch the throttle at idle a bunch of times and then immediately rev down, its rare that it works, but supposedly can work. the first time i had rough idling, it didn't work and cost me a few hundred in labor to clean everything, but last year the boat sat for a month or so and idled poorly. i stuck a paper clip up the pisser to clear out some salt grime, and revved the engine maybe 10 times. worked enough for me.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:15 PM
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have you tried draining the carbys. should be straightforward im guessing there is a drain plug on each carby.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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It wouldn't hurt to do a decarb...mainly because the SeaFoam used will definitely do a great job of cleaning carbs as well as the powerhead...

Scroll down to post #6 and follow this advice....

Ran Dunks Decarb procedure this weekend. - The BARN
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:26 PM
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They are simple carbs, easy to remove, tear down, clean, etc. Blow out the tiny orifices, check the float seat for corrosion, etc.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:42 AM
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I own one and have cleaned the carbs numerous times. They seem to get the idle jets gummed easily even with treated fuel.

Go to a welding supply store and get a set of cutting torch TIP CLEANERS. The absolute best thing to clean the very tiny jets.

Carbs are very simple. A set of motorcycle vacumn gauges are also handy for adjustments.

Weak point on that motor is the lower unit if used in salt water. Bite the bullet and get the two tools from Honda to remove, clean and grease the bearing carrier nut. If not done there is a very high probablity of the nut busting out the lower unit housing.

The motors sure idle nice when everything is clean.

Last edited by swj; 02-29-2012 at 06:47 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:58 PM
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I have pulled off the carbs, taken them apart, soaked the jets and bowls in dip. The jets actually looked pretty clean except for one of the idle jets which was partially clogged. The carb throats were pretty gummed up and seemed to be causing 2 of the choke plates to seem like they were sticking a little bit. The floats/needles seemed to be in good condition. I sprayed the throats/plates with carb cleaner and got them as clean as I could. Then I hit everything with compressed air. I'm still waiting on new gaskets for the full reassembly. This wasn't nearly as complicated as I thought it was going to be. Hopefully this fixes the rough idle/stalling issue. Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:04 PM
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There are channels that provide fuel through the body and exit past the throttle plate. Best way to clean is to use the red hose on a can of brakeclean and inject it into where the idle mixture screw goes. You should see two streams squirt out the holes in the barrel. Most people miss these.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:39 PM
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Thanks Mdohert, I would have missed this as well! Is the idle/mixture screw the same thing as the "pilot screw"? In the manual, it says something about the pilot screw having a limiter cap with forces you to break the pilot screw in order to remove it. Sound familiar?
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:24 PM
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My gaskets came in so I reassembled everything, made sure I had fresh gas and fired it up. Cranked up on the first try. Idled smooth.... BUT, now I have some new issues to deal with:

First, I have fuel leaking from the top carb, possibly the middle one too. All of my drain screws are seated, I tightened the float bowls back onto the carbs without over-tightening (per the manual), I attached all hoses using clamps the way they were before. I guess I have to get back in there and try to pinpoint where its leaking from.

Second, the motor is idling to high. I made sure to re-seat the idle/mixture screws the same amount of turns they were before. I decreased the idle by tightening each screw 1 to 1.5 turns. What would cause the motor to now idle higher than it was before if I seated the pilot screws the same way?

Third, the throttle seems to be sticking. When I rev the motor form the control box, the RPM's increase like normal, but when I power down the motor is extremely slow to respond in returning to idle. In fact, I had to walk back to the motor and manually press down on on the throttle control mechanisms to get it back down to idle. For obvious reasons, this could be dangerous on the water. What the hell could be causing this?

This project is starting to get a little outside of my comfort zone. I took this on hoping to learn something, which I have. At the same time, I don't want to cause any major damage. Any advice before I give in and take it to a shop?
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:50 PM
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The carb leaking scenario can often be caused by corrosion on the float valve seats. Those are the brass fittings that the rubber tipped needle valves press into when the float bowls fill up. If the seats are cruddy the pressure from the fuel pump will cause gas to squirt past causing the bowl to overfill and overflow into your little vinyl vent hoses. Best way I've found to fix is to get a short length of hardwood dowel small enough in diameter to fit into the hole where the seat is. Use a pencil sharpener to put a nice point on the dowel then insert it into the seat and spin the dowel between your palms to polish the surface of the seat and to clean out any hard crud that may be in there causing the needle valve to leak. Your float level adjustment could also be way out of whack but the problem is usually due to cruddy valve seats.

The idle problem sounds like your dashpot isn't hooked up right or its not functioning. High idle, did you adjust the idle screw on the bottom carb?
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