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Old 25-09-2016, 13:09   #1
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Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Motor won't idle, so I'm cleaning the carburetor with attention to the idle jet and the small openings just inside the throat near the throttle butterfly. After removing the idle jet I can spray carb cleaner into that opening and I get a nice spray of cleaner out of the first tiny hole into the throat, the one that is located just outside the area where the butterfly closes. My question, there are three additional small holes just *inside* the butterfly and I can't get any spray to exit from those holes.

I thought when I did this a year ago, that I was able to see the spray coming out of those three holes when I blocked the first, outer hole with my finger. I have been able to get a very small guitar string wire into the three inner holes but still nothing to spray out.

Anyone know if I should be seeing the cleaner spray from those three inner holes or if there is another location other than the idle jet, on the carb to enter the carb cleaner spray?
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Old 25-09-2016, 14:02   #2
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

The three little holes are transition ports and the Idle mixture. The Idle mixture screw has a limit cap unless someone took it off. The cap can be removed if you heat it with a mini torch and gently pull it off. There is a slot head screw under the cap. Do not try it without heating as it is designed to break off. Unscrew the mixture screw and then you can shoot some carb cleaner in there and it will (should) come out the bigger of the transition ports. Best to take the carb off and apart and make sure all the jets are clear.
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Old 25-09-2016, 16:06   #3
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Thanks Will, sounds like you know about this. I saw the little cap, looks like aluminum, just under those three holes. But if there is a screw under there that is designed to break off I don't think I will mess with it unless as a last resort.

The carb cleaner is in a pressurized spray can. Do you think that I should see some carb cleaner exiting from one or more of those transition holes, if I can insert the carb cleaner pressure tube into the right place on the carb body and can plug up any other points of exit?

There is a brass idle mixture adjustment screw on the side of the carb, not under any cap. Is the screw under the aluminum cap used to adjust mixture in the transition zone?

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Old 25-09-2016, 18:44   #4
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Doug, the mixture screw that feeds the idle is under the "aluminum" cap. In order to clean it out you must remove it and unscrew the mixture screw....I use an Ancor mini torch that is often used on heat shrink connectors. The cap is glued on with heat sensitive Loctite. To reset it .....carefully turn the screw in until it stops. I believe the factory setting is 1.75 turns out. However 2 turns out will richen the mixture slightly and improve the idle.

That carb is a pretty complicated item compared to others. You might want to have the dealer clean it for you.
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Old 25-09-2016, 22:20   #5
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

OK now it is more clear. I don't have a minitorch - for heat shrink I use a heat gun but the minitorch sounds useful for this and other things too - I have only a larger torch that would probably destroy something if used on this.

Anyway I did clean this carb out last year and motor was running great until recently when it got some goop in the gas tank - yes its a bit complicated but very well engineered unit as far as I can tell. If motor won't idle tomorrow I'll take the carb to a shop.

Thanks for your sound advice.
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Old 26-09-2016, 09:27   #6
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

This is a known problem with these outboards. Having dealt with it many times here's what I've learned. Honda only recommends sonic cleaning & the dealer will charge more to clean it than to install a new carburetor costs. In fact our dealer will no longer clean them because it often doesn't work. The most common problem is the main nozzle (12). You can try to clean it but I've never been successful & the dealer that I've taken them to has never been successful. It's best just to buy a replacement & install it yourself. After you take these things apart a few times it's pretty easy. If the nozzle doesn't work I'd buy a new carburetor. After you get this fixed I'd recommend nonethanol fuel, stabil & running the carburetor dry if it's not going to be used for more than a day.

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Old 26-09-2016, 11:57   #7
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Rebuild it. Not that hard. Of course drain gas as part of winterizing.
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Old 26-09-2016, 13:00   #8
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

The dealer recommended sonic cleaning, because with the new 4 strokes, the passages are so small, traditional cleaning rarely works. The ultrasonic cleaning is definitely the way to go. You can get an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner from Harbor Freight. Fill with warm water and a little soap, let the carburetor vibrate in there with the heat for about 30 minutes. I usually disassemble as much as practical before putting the carb and parts in it, but it does not have to be completely stripped down. It's clean, it's easy, and it does not damage the gaskets and o-rings. But best of all, it works very well.
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Old 26-09-2016, 22:25   #9
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been sucessful in the past with this carburetor, completely disassembling the main jet, I find it rather easy to clean but it's those passages in the carb body that I think are the problem here. I'll check out the ultrasonic cleaner - if not too expensive it sounds like a great idea to get the tiny passages clean.

I think I need to pay more attention to the fuel - we may be getting the 85 ethanol here in CA, as I think that did cause the "goop" that I saw - like clear jelly in the float bowl and elsewhere. I do always run the the carb to dry every time I'm not using it for more than a day, but not convinced it really gets all the fuel out before stalling.

I"m a tinkerer if there is such a word - don't want to give up on this old thing but I probably will get a new carb to keep the crew happy and use the old one as a rainy day project.
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Old 27-09-2016, 05:26   #10
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

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Originally Posted by Mojadito View Post
The dealer recommended sonic cleaning, because with the new 4 strokes, the passages are so small, traditional cleaning rarely works. The ultrasonic cleaning is definitely the way to go. You can get an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner from Harbor Freight. Fill with warm water and a little soap, let the carburetor vibrate in there with the heat for about 30 minutes. I usually disassemble as much as practical before putting the carb and parts in it, but it does not have to be completely stripped down. It's clean, it's easy, and it does not damage the gaskets and o-rings. But best of all, it works very well.

This, I have had very good luck with either Mr Clean or Simple Green.
For aircraft fuel nozzles Hoppes gun cleaning solvent works very well, maybe for carbs too, but I haven't tried it on carbs.



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Old 27-09-2016, 06:19   #11
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

Another thing u might want to consider is I use a stabilized gas sold at lawn mower shops for the tree saw. It ain't cheap.

I would run the regular gas down to skinny and then add a cup of the stabilized and run that down to skinny and shut her off.

Since I started leaving stabilized gas in the tree saw even for 6 months ... 5-6 pulls and she whirs back to life. Should work in the outboard the same.
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Old 28-09-2016, 15:00   #12
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

You might also look for a fuel filter on the gas line between the fuel pump and the engine hose fitting. My Yamaha 8hp has one about the size of your last thumb joint. Running the carb dry still leaves gas in the filter. I use non-ethonal gas and it forms blue flakes about the size of dandruff in the filte if not ran in a month. When stared after a month, the blue flakes move into the low speed jet and clog it. Only solution that I have found is to run the engine once a month or plan on cleaning the carb,.
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Old 28-09-2016, 15:06   #13
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

When I rebuild a carb. I replace the jets. I was always told NOT to try to ream jets out with a wire.

For these small outboards, if the carb is under $100.00 (They usually are), I just buy a new carb. It comes with a new mounting gasket anyway. Typically to do a complete rebuild with jets and a full gasket set it's 50% -75% of the cost of a new carb anyway.

To me it's just not worth it to spend hours cleaning and disassembling/reassembling to save $40.00.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:28   #14
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

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When I rebuild a carb. I replace the jets. I was always told NOT to try to ream jets out with a wire.

For these small outboards, if the carb is under $100.00 (They usually are), I just buy a new carb. It comes with a new mounting gasket anyway. Typically to do a complete rebuild with jets and a full gasket set it's 50% -75% of the cost of a new carb anyway.

To me it's just not worth it to spend hours cleaning and disassembling/reassembling to save $40.00.
This, to me, definitely makes sense, but if you are in the boonies replacement is often not an option. I had the same difficulties with my carburetor and what finally worked was unraveling some marine wire and using one of the fine strands to gently ream out the holes. The local carburetor repair shop wouldn't touch it and carburetor cleaner and compressed air were not doing the trick.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:07   #15
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Re: Honda 4 stroke 15HP Carb Cleaning

With the Hondas it's the "main nozzle" that's the problem. It's a hollow tube with tiny holes in the sides & neither cleaning or reaming is effective. If you're not going to replace the whole carburetor you should at least replace the nozzle which is inexpensive. However, it's important to note that Honda has updated their carburetors & the nozzles are not interchangeable. With my 2hp motor I couldn't get a nozzle for the original carburetor. Of course I couldn't tell till I got the new one & tried to fit it so I had to buy a new carb. The good news is that the newer carburetors appear to be less susceptible to clogging.
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