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Old 02-05-2004, 01:06 AM
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Unique Go-Kart Question

I have a unique go-kart project and a low budget and I have spent all day researching, and have learned a lot, but I think I've probably raised more questions in the process. I know this a hot rod site, but searching this forum I saw some other go-kart posts, and I have scoured the net trying to find helpful info but haven't been able to find what I am looking for anywhere. Some of this info is pretty tough to come by (a lot of from scratch plans, or vague info) and, from what I can tell by browisng many forums, they all seem to be very unhelpful and full of immature people! But there seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people and good info here, so hopefully you all can help me out a little bit!

My budget is $500 max. Ineed to build something safe, low riding, and capable of speeds around 50mph. It NEEDS to be a DOUBLE seat go kart. It needs, obviously, to have a sturdy frame, good brakes, etc... and again low riding! I do not want to buy all the parts and build completely from scratch and do welding. I would prefer to spend a little more and get a DIY kit, for the frame at least (pre-welded) - and then maybe salvage parts for the other pieces, ie brakes, tires, clutch, and ENGINE! We need a engine that can push the go kart and two 175-lbs people at 50mph on a paved road (no off-roading here!). I have heard a multitude of engine ideas; from lawn-boy riding lawn mowers, to snow modible engines, etc... I was thinking a 250cc dirt bike engine might do it?

In any case, thats my situation, and I've read a lot of different stuff, but everything seems very vague. I know I'm a stranger, but if anyone would be so kind as to fill me in and help me out, I could really use some help here! I'm looking for a relatviely thorough walk-through - ie a good place to get a double seater frame; recommendations for which parts to search a junk yard for & what to buy, thoughts on the motor and what I would need to do to modify/convert it to make it work (Specifically), things to know / watch out for (ie safety considerations with steering, braking, stability, etc...) Basically instructions on what to do, things I should know, and advice and any thing you could tell me to help me out! I'm definetly in need!

Thank you so much!


PS - if that sounds like a lot, sorry!! To clarify I don't so much need an instructional manual; IE i DON'T need step by step, ie attatch this to this; I mean more so the CONCEPTS and the PARTS and the BASICS - but at the same time specific? If that makes sense? I hope so! In any case thank you SO much again!


Last edited by filmguy123; 02-05-2004 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 02-05-2004, 07:14 AM
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Did you find this site?... http://www.mfgsupply.com/GoMini.html
I would lean toward a snowmobile engine. They use a centrifugal clutch which is much easier to adapt to a go kart frame.
500 bucks isn't much of a budget for the speed you want. You will have to put some good brakes and bearings in this thing and that just about blows your wad right there...
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Old 02-05-2004, 12:35 PM
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Thank you for the reply. I did check out that site, as well as www.jackssmallengines.com, and looked over a lot of different parts, however I couldn't find the info/help I was looking for there.

The budget would be shot, unless I don't BUY the brakes / tires or what not and can salvage them... which is how I would plan to pull this off. What should I be looking for specificaly in brakes & bearings, and shocks, etc? The only thing I may need or end up buying is the double seater frame itself (but which one and where from?) What kind of snowmobile engine would I be looking for? And what are the concepts of converting it to work in a snowmobile engine - I hear lots of people say it should be pretty easy, but thats where I get hung up, because I don't know where to start to do so! And will I need to rejett it run in warm weather? How would I go about doing this myself? Finally, do you think a snowmobile engine may be a bit overkill - couldn't I just as easily get a dirtbike engine and then find a torque converter?

Thank you!

Last edited by filmguy123; 02-05-2004 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:47 PM
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Search junk-yards for parts. Thats what i did and it turned out to be a sweet ride. I spent about $300 for what you want.
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:51 PM
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Hey Dan, how about digging up an old golf cart frame? I built a pit chaser out of one years ago. The brake's, steering and suspension are already well engineered, and converting to gas power is fairly straight forward. You can haunt your local pressure washer repair shop,or mower repair biz and pick up a running 15 HP electric start twin cylinder brigs or tecumse(SP?)engine really cheap. I take all the hand me downs and give aways,(mostly junk, but some are repairable) from the town repair guy, and salvage some for the kid's cart's and mini bikes. I trade out machine work and late night shop help, so the cost is free!
What you want is a horizontal shaft engine with a 1 inch shaft, to accept a centrifugal clutch, ($28.00 from Northern tool cat.)
Some carts have a shift-able transmission, (fwd-rev ) some reverse the elect. motor rotation, by switching the polarity with a rotary switch or relays. If you want reverse, look for the trans mission style. hooking part A to part B will tax your hotrodding skills , but thats why we do this stuff, think chain drive, sprockets and jack shafts, Northern has a good selection of parts, and so does Grainger supply, happy hunting.!
Your 50 mph top speed is excessive for the tires and brakes of a golf cart. Going that fast, for the money you have available to spend,in my opinion, is foolhardy. 30 to 35 is do-able,with reasonable performance, and even that will feel fast when you re- arrange the seating position to a more "go cart like " design, and add a roll cage, a low center of gravity is your friend...
Sounds like a fun project, keep us posted, C-YA Paul
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:53 PM
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Hey Filmguy, nevermind gokarts and snowmobile engines (or lawnmowers for that mater)
Have you ever considered a Mini? I mean the real mini, the english one, with a 1000cc. engine, 10" wheels and anything from 80 to 100mhp top speed. The real McCoy.
Really. Consider this option. It's even road legal, and when you get bored with it, it makes a very good paperweight

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Old 02-05-2004, 04:58 PM
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A hydraulic brake system can be fabricated by using (by shopping the local auto junkyard) a hydraulic clutch cylinder from a truck and a disc brake rotor and caliper from the smallest car you can find, this application will not require power assist for stopping a car, and should easily handle the task at hand.

If you aren't into welding the frame I have no sources for go-cart frames and further research would be required.

For the engine, I personally would want a four cycle engine rather than two, but if you can find a two cycle cheap the RPM advantage will make your projected top speed easier to acheive.

Jacks doesn't have a lot of the small parts. And the prices aren't the best either.
The MFGSupply site link Astroracer supplied in his post is a GREAT source.
Tons of 4 cycle small engine parts, if you know what you are looking for.
Small Engine Warehouse.
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Old 02-07-2004, 09:53 AM
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what about a 3 wheeler , two in front and one in back,you can use a complete motorbike(less forks )for the back, this gives you a drive train, gears,clutch and brakes.
i'm no artist but heres a conceptual photo.
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Old 02-07-2004, 07:22 PM
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I had a 3 wheeled go cart once. It had 1 wheel up front that was medium sized and 2 larger wheels in the back. I am not sure what size the motor was but it went fairly good. We made it so it had a motorcycle throttle and brake and stead of a gas and break pedal.
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