Dirt Bike, ATV and Dual-Sport Motorcycle Carb Jetting, Page 1

4Strokes.com Technical: ATV/Dirt Bike Carburetor Jetting

Page 1 - What is Jetting | Page 2 - Pilot, Needle & Main Jets | Page 3 - Signs, Symptoms & Causes

What is Jetting

Carburetor jetting can be easily understood if we understand the basic principles of carburetor and engine operation. A carburetor mixes fuel with air before it goes into the engine. When the mixture is correct the engine runs well. The bottom line is a carburetor must be adjusted to deliver fuel and air to the engine at a precise ratio. This precise ratio can be affected by a number of outside and inside influences. If you are aware of these influences you can re-jet your carburetor to compensate for the changes. I'm going to show you some examples of how you can change your jetting for better performance and in some cases increased engine life. As with any engine work be sure you have good tools the correct parts and a good manual before you get your hands dirty!


Altitude Compensation

For our first example let's say we find a new riding area WAY up in the mountains. Our jetting is dialed in for our usual riding area which ranges from sea level to 1500 feet. Our NEW riding area starts at 4000 feet and goes up from there. Going to a higher elevation will require will require a jetting change but which way? Like our fuel density, air density can also change. Higher elevations have less air density then lower ones. At high elevations our engines are getting less air, so they need less fuel to maintain the proper air/fuel ratio. Generally you would go down one main jet size for every 1750 to 2000 feet of elevation you go up (info for Mikuni carbs). If you normally run a 160 main jet at sea level you would drop down to a 140 at 4000 feet. Something else goes down as you go up in elevation is horsepower. You can figure on losing about 3% or your power for every 1000 feet you go up. At 4000 feet your power will be down about 12%-even though you rejetted! For our second example let's say we are still at our new 4000-feet elevation riding area and a storm comes in. We head back to camp and ride it out overnight. The next day there's a foot of snow on the ground the skies are clear and it's COLD! Aside from getting the campfire going and making some coffee you should be thinking about jetting again! Cold air is dense air and dense air requires bigger jets. If the 140 jet ran good the day before you will need a bigger jet to run properly today. If the temperature is 50 degrees colder than it was the day before you can actually go back to your sea level jetting, a 160 main jet! If you don't rejet you can kiss your assets goodbye when you rebuild the seized engine. Air temperature makes that much difference!


Gasoline and Elevation

Our final example will deal with something often overlooked. We are still up in the hills enjoying our NEW riding area when we notice the old fuel supply getting shorter. No biggie; there's a little store/gas station just down the road. A short trip a few bucks change hands and we are ready to go again. Out on the trail the bikes are running funny, sometimes "pinging" and running HOT. What happened?! When we changed jets to compensate for altitude and temperature we were still using SEA LEVEL gasoline. Gasoline sold at higher elevations have a different blend of additives to compensate for the altitude. Generally high elevation gasoline is less dense to compensate for less available air going into the engine and to aid starting. The lighter specific gravity of the high elevation fuel actually "leaned out" our mixture! One to two sizes bigger main jet will get us back into the hunt. If you ride in vastly different areas try to bring enough or your normal fuel along to last the entire ride. It will save you hassles and gray hair in the long run!

Page 1 - What is Jetting | Page 2 - Pilot, Needle & Main Jets | Page 3 - Signs, Symptoms & Causes

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