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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-30-2019, 01:39 PM
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Hot rod of a different sort

This is a long winded one, so sit back and read.

A week ago, I let my 7 year old drive the riding mower by himself. He done an excellent job driving and my wife asked if he wanted a go kart, of course he said yes.

However, he told me he wants to get a frame and build one from there. Well, I informed him that I’m in, but I’m not doing every bit of the work and him just reap the rewards, he yelled at me saying “ I’m not lazy dad, c’mon!!” He’s not, he was with me a good part of the time putting the 496 in my Buick, those small hands came in very handy and he saved me a bunch of frustration.


So I picked this little feller up yesterday for $40, it needs some real loving as you can see. But, all we wanted was a frame that wasn’t rusted through.

So, here’s the plan and tell me what you guys with go karts think.

Live rear axle, 4 wheel disc brakes, racing slicks on back, treaded racing tires on front. Actual roll cage.

I’m pretty committed to a semi automatic 125cc 4 stroke dirt bike engine, here’s why.

Just a 6.5hp and clutch or 30 series torque converter will run about 20-40 mph. The torque converter cost just about or more than the engine. A half way decent clutch is around $60. For him to learn and not get killed, I’d have to put an 80 tooth sprocket on the rear to keep it slow, well the sprocket is about 9” in diameter, the tires at best are 11”. So no ground clearance for a chain.

So, with a dirt bike engine, I can use a smaller sprocket for ground clearance, and just leave him in first gear so he can get a real feel for driving, while having room to grow already built in without having to buy another sprocket, hop up parts for the motor,etc.

The engine I’m looking at puts out 8.5hp, has 3 forward gears and reverse. It a semi auto trans(auto with manual valve body) so no clutch to fool with. Electric start as well.

And the small slicks coupled with the low stance of the cart, it should slide around vs cleat tires grabbing and flipping over. He’ll be in the backyard only, maybe up the street if I’m with him.

Oh, and seat belts, non negotiable there. We’re looking at it as an opportunity to get him into fabrication vs just bolting something together, while also not being terrible expensive like a car can be. This will also start him on the concept of using a shifter.

So what do you guys think? Any pointers, other than don’t do it,lol.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-30-2019, 02:09 PM
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That's cool. Always wanted something like that when I was a kid, but we was po.......

Keep us informed as it comes along.

BTW....since this is yours and your sons project, I am moving it to the projects section. Easier for you to keep track of the thread that way.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:15 PM
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I'm in the po department now,lol.

I guess the title I put can work for a project thread. It'll be a long one, so stay tuned.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:34 PM
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Been a while. Picked up the motor for $10. It runs fantastic after a carb cleaning, new plug, and straightening out the recoil starter. Got it where it revs almost instantly and will snap out of my hands easily.

Got the torque converter bolted on just a few minutes ago and it works smoothly as well. $52 off eBay for that.

My son, wife and I got the steering working. It was seized up, had a bent rod, and the knuckles were loose and seized up. Pb blaster, brake cleaner, and lots of working back and forth got everything freed up. Got a piece of all thread to replace the bent rod, got a stick of aluminum tubing to cover the all thread.

My son, who is seven btw, fitted the tubing by himself, tape measure, sharpie, and a hacksaw was all we have him and there’s the result, there might be 1/32” on each end for a gap. I’m darn proud of the work he done, plus he’s handy with a wrench too.

The reason I got the torque converter was so I can put a set screw under the throttle while he learns to drive and not hurt anything. Regular clutch will just slip and wear out quickly.


I’ve ordered the axle, disc brake kit, axle sprocket, brake and throttle cables, and wheel hubs. I’ve got the axle bearings already which are pillow block bearings, if those break, then it’s been a heck of a hit.
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:56 AM
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I love it, and it brings back some great memories for me, THANK YOU

Will follow with anticipation
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Old 11-23-2019, 01:58 PM
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My kids have the same one. I paid $100 for it. It needed a $20 carb and a $20 clutch. A new chain. Itís great fun for them even at 30mph.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:47 PM
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make the roll bar come down to the front so he will never pass under a car or wire fence..the two bars coming down to the front are very important.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:16 AM
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This looks like a great project! I'll second New Interiors suggestion of the roll bar front tubes. I can't wait to see a video of him ripping around the yard.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:29 AM
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Reminds me of a mini bike I have sitting here rusting away. Got to get that on Craigslist some time. Is before Christmas a good time (it's a project) or is in the spring the time to sell it?


It's a pretty awesome frame, front and rear suspension, front and rear drum brakes with spoked wheels, just like a little motorcycle. Had a 2.5hp on it and my daughter had fun with it, changed to a 5hp and never really finished it. Now it's sat for 25? years. Can't remember what the holdup was with it?
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2019, 03:06 PM
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The roll bar does come down over the front bumper, it'll go back on, along with seat belts.

Now, another safety thing I wasn't budging on is 4 wheel disc brakes, Ill put up a pic when they get here, but it's a hydraulic setup with one caliper and disc for the back(solid axle, think spool) and individuals for the front. Supposed to stop very very well from what I've read.

So hopefully with treaded tires up front and slicks on the back, it'll be a fun combo, no ridin in the rain, it sucks.

If he keeps with it, I told him we'll buy a Honda clone engine and make something real scary, 13hp stock governed at 3600rpm, high 20's hp and 7000rpm after we are done, that's a few years down the road though.


As to mounting the motor permanently, if I use the mount on the kart already, I'll need to open the slots on one side about 1/4". I have extra mounting holes on the side of the motor, and was thinking of using a couple turnbuckles bolted from the frame to the motor to lock it in place, while still giving adjustment for chain slack, sound ok?
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfish1247 View Post
was thinking of using a couple turnbuckles bolted from the frame to the motor to lock it in place, while still giving adjustment for chain slack, sound ok?
I cracked an engine block doing this one time and would suggest using some rubber between the block and the frame. Maybe some muffler-hanging material from the local muffler shop.
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Old 03-10-2020, 02:17 PM
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I'll get some pics in the am of our progress.

Anywho, we've piddled here and there over the winter and finally took it out yesterday to see what needs fixed. Oddly enough, it runs awesome, and will do donuts on grass easily.

One issue we found, one I feared, was the carb setup. The carb hangs under the intake and the fuel/air mix has to pull up into the head. On flat ground, no issue, not flat ground, have to baby the throttle till enough gas gets in to richen up, then off it goes. Anyway, any of you know if a Honda/ Honda clone intake meant to use a mikuni carb will fit? I can do the matching of port and bolt holes if close enough.

Worst case, I chop the bend off of the intake and use a boot to attach a mikuni, same principle as buying one, just not as pretty.
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Old 03-10-2020, 02:25 PM
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Ok, I couldn’t wait.

Don’t panic about the zip ties and the throttle cable lasso around the carb idle screw. Get it working first, then do things right so someone doesn’t get hurt.
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