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TKART magazine Expert Advice | How to clean the intake silencer like real karting professionals!
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Mattia Livraghi
18 January 2023 • 9 min. read
“Effective and constant cleaning of the intake filter is essential, both to safeguard the engine and to fully exploit its performance”
For the preparation of this article, a FreeLine brand intake silencer was taken into consideration, model B23R, diameter of the intake ducts 23 mm, suitable for direct-drive engines.

The intake silencer is a component which, in karts with 2-stroke engines, plays a triple fundamental role. In fact it contributes to:

  1. search for the optimal carburetion, since it is the element that regulates air flow towards the carburettor;

  2. protection of the carburettor and the engine, since it has the task of preventing, through its filter, external bodies (such as grass, pebbles, dust, etc...) reaching the Venturi channel of the carburettor or, in the worst cases, the combustion chamber, causing breakages (this is also why this component is usually referred to simply as the "filter")

  3. reduction of engine noise emissions.

Precisely for these reasons, the international FIA Karting federation has also managed the regulation of its development and design, imposing precise construction rules on all manufacturers (volumetric limits, filtering capacity and noise reduction) to obtain the approval of their products (to learn more about how the approval process in karting is regulated, we recommend “Dossier | FIA Approvals: what they are, what they are for, how long they last... the definitive guide!”). For kart drivers it is a priority to make sure that the filter is always clean and in optimal condition to protect the engine and allow it to reach maximum performance. If in the article “Dottor Tkart | Servicing the intake silencer” we drafted a step-by-step guide for its correct servicing, now, thanks to Massimo Aceto, owner of the ACE Racing team and a professional mechanic in international kart competitions, we will illustrate the ideal techniques for cleaning the intake silencer as real karting professionals do it.

The outside of a dirty FreeLine filter after use on the track.
The inside of a dirty FreeLine filter following use on the track.

1 Is the cleaning of the intake silencers carried out in the same way for all models of all brands?

The most effective cleaning methods vary according to the type of intake silencer. In fact, there are models that use a sponge as a filter, such as the FreeLine model (the Birel ART accessories/components line, editor's note), while there are others, such as those of the KG Karting brand, which operate by means of filtering. We will deal further and in detail with the most effective techniques for cleaning the FreeLine filter that is the filter this article concerns. We can immediately say, however, that to best clean silencers with filter cartridges (such as the KG Power 23 model in the picture, editor's note) it is sufficient to use a brake cleaner, which acts excellently on the cartridge. The product is sprayed over the entire surface and then "blown" with compressed air.

2 Are internal and external cleaning of the intake silencer equally important?

No, external cleaning is for purely aesthetic purposes and has no impact on the functioning and performance of the kart. But be careful: the dirt on the external plastic of the silencer can "hide" any tears in the plastic (which make it necessary to replace the intake silencer). There is a radical difference when it comes to the inside of the filter. If this contains dirt residues and the engine sucks them in through the carburettor, there could be possible damage or a breakage of the engine. Furthermore, the filters are specially designed for the various engines with which they can be combined and to get maximum performance from the engines. It is also thanks to the filter and its degree of efficiency that trainers and drivers can search for the optimal carburetion, the one "at the limit", finding the ideal balance that allows the engine to perform at its best. However, if, for example, the conduit that the air travels through to enter the engine is obstructed by dirt residues, the carburetion suffers. In fact, dirt can alter, albeit slightly, the air flow. This results in possible drops in performance and can lead pilots and technicians down the wrong path, precisely because the carburetion reading is "falsified".

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