How to Clean a John Deere Carburetor: Step-By-Step


It is common for a carburetor to become dirty from the fuel you run through your mower. Ethanol and other fuel additives can develop a gummy substance that can clog components in your John Deere mower carburetor. If you are a little mechanical and don’t mind working with small components, you should be able to tackle cleaning your carburetor. If not, have your local lawn mower repair shop clean it for you.

Symptoms of a Bad Carburetor on Your John Deere Mower

When your John Deere carburetor is acting up, you will notice these symptoms due to your mower running with the incorrect fuel to air mixture or having a blockage:

  • John Deere won’t start
  • John Deere starts and then dies
  • John Deere backfires from running lean
  • Engine is sputtering and running rough
  • Engine is surging
  • John Deere is consuming too much fuel

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12 Steps to Clean Your John Deere Carburetor

Spray Carburetor Cleaner in the Air Intake on Your John Deere

First, identify if you need to take your carburetor apart for cleaning. Do this by removing your air filter from the air filter housing. Spray some carburetor cleanerOpens in a new tab. into the air intake and start your John Deere’s engine. If your mower starts and then shuts down, you must take apart your carburetor and clean it.

Gather Tools and Items Required to Clean Your John Deere Carburetor

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • Thick wire
  • Needle nose pliers

Take Photos for Reassembly of Your John Deere Carburetor

There are many small parts you are disassembling when cleaning the carburetor on your John Deere mower. These days, most people have a cell phone with a camera on them. Use the camera to take photos of your carburetor to document the steps you performed to take apart your carburetor.

These pictures will be helpful when you reassemble your carburetor to make sure all the parts get installed in the right places. You don’t want to be left with any extra pieces or get the installation wrong.

Shut off Your John Deere Fuel Supply

Use your fuel shut-off valve to stop fuel flow. Remove the fuel line from the carburetor.

Remove Your John Deere Throttle Cable & Choke Cable

If your John Deere has a throttle and choke cable, remove it.

Detach the Filter Housing

Remove the hardware that attaches the carburetor to the air filter housing.

Remove the Springs

Next, you need to slowly remove the springs. Be careful to not stretch out the springs. You may have to twist the carburetor a bit to get the springs to come off. There is a gasket located between the engine block and the carburetor that you need to not tear. If you do, you’ll have to purchase a new gasket.

Remove the Bowl from Your John Deere Carburetor

The carburetor bowl stores a little gasoline inside your carburetor. You’ll find the bowl at the bottom of your carburetor held on by a screw. Clean around the outside of your carburetor bowl before removing the screw from the bottom of the bowl. Have a rag available to catch any remaining gas in the bowl.

When you remove the bowl, be careful not to damage the o-ring that sits between the bowl and the carburetor. This o-ring looks like a rubber band. Take care not to get carburetor cleaner or any other substance on the o-ring. You won’t be able to reuse the gasket if it stretches because of this substance.

Check the Stem for Clogged Holes

There is a little piece that hangs down from the center of your John Deere’s carburetor. This is known as the stem. There are holes in the stem that can become clogged from running old fuel.

When this happens, the stem will not draw fuel up to the jet. Use a flashlight to better see the holes in the stem. Clean the holes with a thick wire to unplug the holes.

Check Your John Deere Carburetor for White Crusty Buildup

Check out the carburetor and its parts for a white crusty buildup which is the result of fuel additives including ethanol. Try to remove as much of this crusty material as possible using carburetor cleaner. It is almost impossible to remove all the crusty deposits.

Reassemble Your John Deere Carburetor

Once you have cleaned your carburetor and ensured the float and float needle are moving freely, it’s time to reassemble it. Reference the photos you took earlier when putting your carburetor together to make sure all the small parts get put back in the right places. Reattach components to your carburetor including the springs, filter housing, throttle and choke cables (if the mower uses them) and the fuel line.

Fill Your Fuel Tank with Fresh Gas with a Fuel Additive

Start your fuel flow. Use fresh gasoline mixed with a fuel additive, like Sea Foam Motor TreatmentOpens in a new tab., in your John Deere’s fuel tank. Give the fuel a chance to fill the bowl of your carburetor and start your engine.

The fuel additive stabilizes your fuel and cleans your fuel system. Read more about the advantages of Sea Foam here.

Replace or Rebuild Your John Deere Carburetor

If cleaning does not work because your John Deere carburetor is corroded or has damaged parts, it may be your best choice to replace the carburetor. To make sure you get the correct carburetor, have your engine model and spec number available when ordering your new carburetor from your local engine dealer or online.

A carburetor rebuild kit to repair your carburetor may be available from your local John Deere dealership if you choose to rebuild your carburetor instead of replacing it. Check the cost of the rebuild kit in comparison to a new carburetor. You may be surprised to find there may not be a significant price difference.

John Deere Problems Could Be More than a Carburetor Problem

A dirty or bad carburetor can be a cause of your John Deere mower not starting, quitting after starting and leaking fuel. There are many other items that can cause these problems. To find out more about these causes and how to solve them, check out the links below.

Powered Equipment Team

We're just a guy and a girl obsessed with outdoor power equipment! We are excited to share the knowledge and tips we have learned over our combined 55 years in the power equipment industry. We have both ran equipment dealerships and took pleasure in helping our customers everyday providing equipment repair, parts, purchasing, and business tips to our residential and commercial clients. We hope our blog will help you with your next purchase, repair, or project.

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