The float has a little tab that the needle sets on. When you bend the tab towards the needle it shuts the fuel off sooner so it will not overflow or flood the engine.
With the carb off you can verify operation by connecting a clean piece of hose to the fuel inlet of the carb, take the float bowl off and turn the carb upside down. Blow in the inlet hose and move the float away from the carb. You should be able to get an idea how high the float has to travel up towards the carb before it shuts the fuel off. I usually try to adjust the float until the top of steel cage that holds the floats(the part the pin goes through) is parallel to the flat spot where the bowl seals to the carb.
This will also verify that the needle is sealing properly in the seat. It should seal with the weight of the float, if not there is something in there or some buildup on the needle.
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