How To Make a Go-Kart Faster
How To Make a Go-Kart Faster
Making a go-kart faster can be as simple as adding a few key modifications. In this blog post, we will outline the basic steps that you can take to make your go-kart more competitive on the track. Whether you are looking to improve your acceleration, top speed, or handling, we have you covered! Keep reading for our tips and tricks on how to make your go-kart faster.
Simple methods: Make go-karts faster, but weaker
Method 1: Use bigger tires
By "bigger", I mean tires having larger diameters. Here's why:
A go-kart's speed mainly comes from its engine, but the tires play an important role as well. The larger the diameter of a go-kart's tires, the further it can travel per revolution. That means that a go-kart with bigger tires will have higher top speed, given that its engine is powerful enough.
However, there's a downside to using big tires:
- Weight: Bigger tires are heavier than smaller ones, which makes the go-kart harder to accelerate.
- Acceleration: it requires the engine more power to rotate bigger tires, which reduces the go-kart's acceleration.
Therefore, switching to bigger tires may benefit the kart if your tires are undersized regarding to the engine's power. Otherwise, it will take your kart forever to reach its top speed.
Method 2: Change the gear ratio
In a typical go-kart, there are only two gears - the drive gear and the driven gear. The drive gear is attached to the engine (usually a clutch or a torque converter), while the driven gear is connected to the live axle.
The gear ratio, in this case, is calculated by the formula:
The number of teeth on the axle sprocket / the number of teeth on the clutch (or torque converter.)
For a standard racing go-kart, the gear ratio is about 8:1 to 6:1. This ratio will give the kart a good balance between acceleration and top speed.
Off-road go-karts usually have a lower gear ratio (higher numerically) to give them more torque for climbing hills and crawling over obstacles.
If you're feeling your kart is too slow and has too much acceleration at the same time, replacing a smaller (fewer teeth) axle sprocket can be a good option.
Method 3: Use a centrifugal clutch
If you're using a torque converter, switch to a centrifugal clutch.This type of clutch allows better top speed. However, running a centrifugal clutch at low speed or high load will cause it to slip, so don't use one if you're going to be doing a lot of stop-and-go driving.
Method 4: Adjust the carburetor
Another option is that you can try adjusting it to leaner or richer settings.
Next to the choke, there is an adjustment screw that alters the mixture of air and fuel going into the engine.
Turning this screw clockwise will allow a rich mixture (more fuel) to enter the engine while turning it counter-clockwise will cause a lean mixture (less fuel) to enter.
By making the mixture richer, more power will be produced, but this will also make the engine run hotter and may cause it to seize up if the mixture is too rich.
More than that, doing this method will increase the idle RPM, which may be dangerous in some cases.
Intermediate methods: Light modifications to make a go-kart faster
Method 1: Remove the governor
The governor is a device that limits the engine speed. In most cases, it's used to keep the engine from over-revving and damaging itself.
On a go-kart, the governor serves no purpose other than to keep you from going too fast.
Note that taking this off will decrease the engine's fuel efficiency.
Method 2: Make it lighter
The lighter your go-kart is, the faster it will be.
There are many ways to lighten up your kart:
- Use a lightweight battery
- Use titanium fasteners, crash bars
- Get rid of the steel vibration
- And the most effective and hardest method - have a diet
Method 3: Change the valve springs
The biggest problem when the engine is revving too fast is the valve float. You feel power losing quickly at high rpm. Sputtering sounds may appear if the situation is serious.
To fix this, you need to upgrade to stiffer valve springs.
Method 4: Buy a more powerful engine to make your go-kart faster
Buying a new engine sounds like it should be an advanced method. But trust me, swapping engines is one of the easier ways to make your go-kart faster.
Your engine may be too old or too small for your go-kart. Maybe it's time for an upgrade. A good small-block engine (212cc) is often a decent choice for your go-kart. I recommend buying a new one so that you can get the most out of it. And there are many good, affordable Honda clone engines on the market, so the price may not be big of a deal.
If you want something even more powerful, choosing a big-block engine can be an option. However, the setup is more expensive and harder to control. In case you are a kart beginner, I don't recommend this.
Of course for any of the engine swaps, you'll want to run a better fuel or a quality fuel additive that assures each piston stroke is powering through with the best efficiency.
Advanced methods: Heavy modifications will make your go-kart faster
Method 1: Get a turbocharger
The easiest way to get more power out of your engine is to force more air into it. This can be done with a turbocharger.
Will it make your go-kart faster? Yes!
Does it have any downsides? Yes! There are a few things you need to consider before installing a turbocharger.
- Cost - the turbo itself costs nearly $200
- Weight - installing anything will add weight to your kart
- Oil pressure system - Because the turbo's bearings are lubricated using oil pressure, this is required.
- Heat - turbochargers will make your engine hotter. You need to take this into account when choosing an intercooler or even water cooling system.
Method 2: Get a NOS kit
Installing a NOS kit is not very difficult but it's not easy. Then why would it be the advanced method?
Installing the kit is not cheap. When it's running out of gas, and you need to refill it, the price for NITROUS OXIDE is not cheap either.
The NOS gas will give your engine a big power boost. How can it do that?
NOS will increase the amount of oxygen in the cylinders. Therefore, more fuel can be burned, and this will lead to a huge power increase.
Go-karts are a lot of fun, and with a few simple modifications we’ve outlined in this article, you can make your kart faster and have more fun on the track. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know how they worked for you in the comments below!
About the Author
Automotive enthusiast, passionate about Jeeps, hot-rods, turbos, performance, efficiency, diesels, fuels, high performance oils, additives and anything with an engine.