How to put a street bike motor in a golf cart

Written by don kress
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How to put a street bike motor in a golf cart
Golf carts are boring until you drop in a motorcycle engine. (golf cart image by robert mobley from

Installing a motorcycle engine into a golf cart is a somewhat challenging undertaking, but with patience, you'll find that the process can be remarkably easy to accomplish. As opposed to installing a motorcycle engine into a go-kart, you will need to replace the rear axle of the golf cart unless it is fitted with either a belt or chain drive sprocket. Otherwise, the process is the same.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 3/8-inch socket set
  • Automotive jack stands
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Motorcycle battery
  • Starter switch
  • Motorcycle clutch lever and linkage
  • Heavy-gauge square steel stock tubing

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  1. 1

    Support the golf cart on jack stands and remove all unnecessary parts. Use the socket set and screwdrivers to remove the batteries if the golf cart is electric, as well as the rear body panels, seat and roof.

  2. 2

    Unbolt the rear axle from the suspension. If the rear axle transfer case can be used, discard this step. Usable transfer cases include golf cart models utilising chain or belt drives. Most electric golf cart rear axles will not be reusable.

  3. 3

    Remove the old golf cart's engine. If the golf cart is electric, the engine will most likely be integrated into the rear axle. In these cases, remove the rear axle and engine as a unit.

  1. 1

    Test-fit the motorcycle engine into position, being careful to leave clearance for the rear axle and suspension components. In most cases, modifications will be necessary to the body of the golf cart after the engine is mounted. The motorcycle engine should be mounted as near to the middle of the golf cart frame as possible to help distribute weight evenly. You will clear the golf cart body in later steps if necessary. Ensure that you leave plenty of room for the golf cart bench seat.

  2. 2

    Find a new rear axle if necessary. Possible choices include rear axles from single-seat ATVs, scrapped or damaged side-by-side ATVs or even golf carts with the proper axle sprocket.

  3. 3

    Fabricate the motorcycle engine's mounting brackets using heavy-gauge square stock steel tubing. Try to keep the engine as low to the ground as possible to help lower the golf cart's centre of gravity. This will aid in preventing tipping accidents. Also keep in mind the location of the rear end sprocket in relation to the engine drive sprocket. They should perfectly line up.

  4. 4

    Mount the engine and rear end into place, tightening down all fittings.

  1. 1

    Assemble the remaining parts, including mounting the gas tank, running the fuel lines to the engine carburettor and installing the drive belt or chain.

  2. 2

    Run the throttle linkage to the engine carburettor, then install the motorcycle-style gearshift onto the floor where it is easily accessible. Install the clutch as a hand-activated assembly either on the steering wheel or on a post mounted to the floorboard. You may also mount the shifter and clutch as a single unit if you mount the clutch lever onto an extended shift lever assembly.

  3. 3

    Install the new battery and run the terminals to the starter routed through the motorcycle starter switch. Install the golf cart body, cutting the plastic with a reciprocating saw where necessary to clear engine components.

  4. 4

    Prime the engine with fuel and fill the fuel tank.

Tips and warnings

  • Golf carts are prone to tipping--avoid mounting tires that make the centre of gravity too tall.
  • Golf cart batteries can be recycled for scrap value, offsetting some of the cost of the build.
  • Always wear a helmet when operating a modified golf cart, and do not allow children to operate the golf cart.

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