How to Remove Carbon in a Muffler

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Carbon buildup in your engine is manifested by the black soot that eventually coats the inside of your muffler. A variety of factors contribute to carbon buildup in engines, including bad gas and bad driving habits. Carbon buildup is especially prevalent in 2-stroke engines since lubricant is added directly to their fuel mix. The carbon deposits that result can be very thick, to the point that it affects the performance of the engine. In 2-stroke engines, cylinder scavenging depends on proper exhaust flow. Carbon deposit removal from your muffler will restore that gas flow that the exhaust system was designed for. You can complete the decarbonizing process in an hour with a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Carburator cleaner spray
  • Wire brush
  • Rags
  • Propane torch
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Small tray
  • Spray the tip and the inside of the muffler with the carb or combustion chamber cleaner. Use a liberal dose. Let the cleaner work for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.

  • Scrub inside tailpipe with the wire brush to remove the carbon. Place a tray under the muffler opening so that you catch the carbon particles that come out of the muffler. Unless you do this procedure often, do not expect the carbon buildup to come off in one application. Repeat this and the previous step 2 or 3 times until most of the carbon buildup in the muffler has been removed.

  • Wipe off the exhaust tip with a rag after the carbon removal process. Reattach any external muffler baffles you may have removed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the carbon buildup is so thick that chemical cleaners do not work, you can try using a propane torch to heat up the muffler tip and the inside of the muffler until the carbon has been burned off and is turned to ash. Use the screwdriver to scrape the carbon from inside the exhaust pipe. Tap the sides of the muffler to further knock off carbon deposits. Remember to remove any external baffles so that these don't get discolored from the heat.
  • After the decarbonizing process, some carbon particles may be left in the muffler. Make sure the area behind the muffler is clear before you start up the engine.

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