How to Make a Go Kart for Cheap

Written by jeremy dunn
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How to Make a Go Kart for Cheap
(karting back image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com)

Driving go karts is an appealing activity for people of all age groups. Some enthusiasts enjoy racing them in a competitive setting while others simply drive them for the pure thrill. You can purchase go karts either new or used. However, constructing your own go kart is fairly simple and cheap to do. All you need are specific instructions and the right tools and supplies to complete the task.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Welder or electric saw
  • Spray paint
  • Frame tubing
  • Axles
  • Engine and accessories
  • Tires and inner tubes
  • Wheels and wheel bearings
  • Brake and accessories
  • Seating components
  • Steering and throttle controls
  • Tie rods
  • Pitman arm
  • Plywood
  • Cushioning material
  • Screws and brackets

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw up plans for your go kart. Most go karts are constructed out of welded frames while some are built of wood. Both materials can be inexpensive. Knowledgeable go kart enthusiasts may be able to come up with their own design plans while less experienced ones may start with a go kart building kit. You can find go kart building kits online from websites such as GoKartHeaven.com.

  2. 2

    Purchase the materials to build your go kart. The basics you will need to get started include frame tubing, axles, engine and engine accessories, tires and inner tubes, wheels, wheel bearings, brake and brake accessories, seating components, steering and throttle controls. Most of the parts can be found online or at a go kart speciality shop.

  3. 3

    Assemble the frame of the go kart. If you are constructing the go kart from conventional frame material, you will likely need to own, borrow or rent a welding tool. Make sure the go kart is welded precisely square in order to satisfy adequate wheel and tire placement. If you are building the go kart out of wood, you will need accurate measurements and an electric saw.

  4. 4

    Position the steering system at an equal weight distribution so it will steer properly. Determine the weight of the go kart's frame prior to installing the steering system so you know the amount of weight to distribute. Equal weight distribution is when the weight of each side of the go kart is equal, with the steering system in the centre. Confirm that the Pitman arm and tie rods are sturdy and can withstand a great deal of stress.

  5. 5

    Mount the go kart seat with screws and brackets. Use plywood and cushioning as the materials for the seat, as opposed to buying an actual seat, as this is cheaper. You could also shop around for a used go kart seat. An online auction site, such as eBay, is a good place to start.

  6. 6

    Install the brake system and its components. The brake system is typically installed in the rear of the body. Mount the springs for the brake pedal to either the pedal itself or the brake system. The brake system must have a return spring system so it does not get stuck down nor become too hard to depress. Mount two springs to either the braking system or the brake pedal to ensure that the brakes float properly.

  7. 7

    Mount the throttle by using bicycle cables. Make sure the throttle system works as a return mechanism that allows it to disengage when the driver lifts his foot off the pedal. This is vital as you do not want the throttle to malfunction and remain wide open. This is called a stuck throttle, and it can be dangerous.

  8. 8

    Install the engine and its components. Determine the placement of the engine through the drilling holes on the engine mount. You can do this by spray-painting the holes in the engine mount. Mount the bottom plate on the bottom of the go kart.

Tips and warnings

  • Use safety equipment, such as eye protection, when welding or cutting wood.

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