Building a go-kart requires time, special tools, money, and dedication. As we find ourselves in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be the perfect time to flex those creative “muscles” with a go-kart building project.
Even if you’ve never built a motorized vehicle before, there are go-kart kits for sale that will give you everything you need to get your kart up and running.
Let’s go explore the karting world of building a go-kart.
Go-Kart Build Kits
Unless you want to hunt down all the go-kart parts separately (and there’re a lot of them) then your best option is to purchase a go-kart kit. Complete go-kart kits come with everything you need to build a go-kart, including the engine. However, be sure to do your research, as some go-kart kits may only include the basics e.g. no engine included, and you will have to drop your own in the go-kart or buy one separately.
Go-kart kit parts include:
- Front A-arms assembly (where the wheels connect to the go-kart)
- Steering assembly
- Mainframe (chassis) assembly
- The “guts” (nuts and bolts etc.)
- Drive axle assembly
Note: If you are building a go-kart for a child, aim to have the following:
- A beginner’s go kart engine with a power range of 5-7 hp
- a 3/4″ shaft
- a centrifugal clutch or 30-series torque converter.
Electric go-karts have a motor that runs on a DC motor. A Direct Current motor is a type of electrical current that comes out of a battery (rather than an AC current that comes out of your wall socket (Alternating Current)).
When purchasing a battery for your electric go-kart, keep the voltage in mind – in the case of a go-kart, you will want a low-voltage battery. Experts recommend using not more than 48 volts of electricity (four 12 v batteries). Any more than this and you run the risk of overheating and frying the motor.
Two advantages of the electric go-kart kit option are:
- an electric engine allows the go-kart to hit higher speeds
- electric engines are lighter than gas powered engines and easier to handle.
Gas-Powered Go-Kart Kit
If you decide you want to build a gas-powered go-kart then you will want to keep these things in mind:
- Gas-powered go-kart kits have a heavy engine that is mounted in a specific location on the go-kart.
- The size and mount of the gas-powered engine affects the performance and handling of the go kart, if done poorly, your go-kart can end up being clunky and uneven which can potentially lead to inexperienced drivers running the risk of tipping or flipping the gas-powered go-kart.
- These types of engines also tend to run hot, so they are not recommended for children or beginners.
Experts recommend starting the go-kart building process with a new chassis. These will be straight and reliable right “out of the box.” Up-grading a go-kart frame may come in the future as your engine becomes more powerful or you go from an electric to a gas-powered unit.
To help increase the current speed of your racing go-kart, install a turbocharger to the engine. The “turbo” increases the amount of air being compressed inside the engine, which then will increase the horsepower and the engine output. However, know that turbochargers can be pricey and they do require skill to install, so enlist the help of a mechanic if you’re unsure of the process.
Another go-kart upgrade to help increase the kart’s speed is to use larger tires, especially on the rear of the vehicle. This allows the tires to push the go-kart forward with each revolution of the tire because they have more contact with the surface.
Increase the speed of your go-kart by installing a smaller sprocket on the drive axle and a larger one on the engine output. This change allows for more revolutions each time the engine makes a cycle.
Cool Go-Kart Accessories
If you want to “glam” up your go-kart with some fun accessories, why not try Glow-Lights. These LED lights are designed to fit on the underbody of your kart. They are simple to install and the control box allows you to change the color-mode.
Depending on what your new (or used) go-kart kit includes, you may want to upgrade your steering wheel to a fancier model such as a wheel covered with leather or colored material.
When building a child’s first go-kart, finish it off with a telescoping spring-mounted safety flag. It’s not only a cool go-kart accessory, but it will help those other beginner go-karters see your lil karter on the track.
Racing Go-Kart Parts
Experienced go-karting is all about the speed, so what happens when you put a Honda 1000 Fireblade engine on a go-kart? You will be going from 0 to 60mph in 2.4 seconds! If that isn’t crazy enough, this racing go-kart can hit a top speed of 186mph!
Do not try this next racing go-kart part at home!
Inventor, Colin Furze, has attached a small jet engine to a go-kart frame. How did he do it? He modified the go-kart chassis by almost five feet and “tinkered” with the fuel intake to allow it to burn either gasoline or diesel fuel.
Check out his crazy go-kart here.
I can’t believe he’s not wearing a helmet and all manner of safety gear such as a fire-retardant racing suit! As for wearing a tie, is he mad?
Building a Go-Kart
Whether you decide to get a new or used go-kart or construct one from a go-kart kit, always follow the directions closely and ask for a professional’s help if you get in a bind. Go-karting can be a fun pastime for young or experienced drivers, so during this COVID-19 lockdown, why not embark on the exciting project of building a go-kart today!