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Basic Go Kart Build


This is a basic guide for building a go kart using one of our frames. Feel free to use your imagination and make any changes you would like. Just be sure the end result is user friendly and safe.

The go kart frame you purchase will accept either a large seat or a large engine. It may not accept both at the same time, be sure to check dimensions and clearances before purchasing an engine and seat. (Engine will need to slide forward some to tighten chain slack.)

We recommend you do a mock up assembly of all your parts on the frame before painting and final assembly. Don't use lock nuts during your mock up as they are intended to be used only one time then replaced with new ones. (The nylon in the nuts are not as affective when reinstalled, and they may loosen.)

Ride quality and ground clearance will be affected by the size of the tires used.

Acceleration will be affected by the engine size.

Maximum speed will be affected by the sprocket sizes.

Use correctly sized clutch or torque converter per manufacturers recommendations. (Engine size affects this greatly.) Clutch must be used for primarily full throttle driving or they overheat and are ruined easily. Tires over 13" without proper gearing (1:6 ratio) or a heavier go kart and rider combination (400 lb. +/- ) may overheat a clutch prematurely. Dirty and hilly riding conditions may shorten the life of a clutch. Torque converter costs more but typically lasts longer if kept clean. Must be cleaned regularly to work properly.

Parts used for our test kart and this manual (Your custom go kart may require different parts than what is listed here.):

  • adjustable seat sliders

  • 6"x5" steel rim 1" bore (2)

  • 6"x5-1/4" front steel rim (2)

  • knobby tire for 6" rim (4)

  • 10" steering wheel

  • 34" steering shaft and hub assembly (unwelded) 

  • tie rod kit 13-1/4" (2) 

  • spindle (2)

  • brake foot pedal

  • gas foot pedal

  • 1" steel live axle 40" with (2) axle nuts 

  • steel lock collar 1" bore (4)

  • torque converter for #41 chain 1" bore (TAV2 replacement)

  • #40 chain sprocket 54T

  • steel multi-patterned sprocket/brake hub 1" bore (2)

  • 1" bearing kit 3 hole

  •  throttle  springs (2)

  • throttle cable 71" (2)

  •  4" band brake and drum

  • #40 chain with 1 connecting link

  •  performance pro high back race seat

     301cc engine

Live axle install

  1. Bolt bearings loosely onto bearing hangers on each side at back of frame.

  2. Slide axle through one bearing and slide any parts (chain sprocket, brake drum, and any needed hubs) that will be on axle, before sliding it through the bearing on the other side of the frame.

  3. Tighten axle bearing bolts on bearing hangers and adjust axle so there is an even amount sticking out each side of frame.

  4. Tighten set screws on axle bearings.

  5. Position a locking collar onto the axle to be used for a wheel backstop.

  6. Slide the wheel onto the axle to determine the correct location for the locking collar.

  7. Tighten set screws in locking collar. Insert a piece of key stock on the axle.

  8. Install and tighten a locking nut on the axle.

  9. Repeat tire installation on other side of go-kart.

Steering shaft install

  1. Slide steering shaft up through bottom mount from below kart frame. Install any needed locking collars on shaft before sliding it through the top steering shaft mount.

  2. Adjust locking collars and tighten set screws as needed. Be certain steering shaft spins freely.

  3. Attach steering wheel using hub and any other needed hardware (line the steering wheel up with the tie rod connectors pointing straight forward, this will be the steering wheel position when you are driving straight).

Spindle and tire install

  1. Insert any supplied bushings into spindles.

  2. Attach front spindles with tie rod mounts up and forward. Install and tighten lock nut (don't over tighten, spindle must move freely).

  3. Slide any needed spacers, wheels, and washers onto spindles.

  4. Install and tighten lock nuts onto spindles (don't over tighten, spindle must move freely).

Tie rod install

  1. Align front tires so that they are pointing straight ahead. Steering shaft tie rod mounts need to also be pointing straight ahead.

  2. Adjust tie rods to the length needed to be bolted up in this position (tighten each end of tie rod evenly so that there is good thread contact on each end).

  3. Check fit using bolts and make any needed adjustments.

  4. Now shorten each tie rod about 1/8" and install on go-kart. This will give you about a 1/4" toe in.

Throttle and brake pedal install

  1. Install throttle return spring onto throttle pedal.

  2. Insert throttle pedal stud into go-kart pedal mount near front right of frame.

  3. Install and tighten a lock nut onto the stud (don't over tighten, pedal must move freely).

  4. Repeat this for the brake pedal on left side of go-kart.

Engine and torque converter install

  1. Set engine on mounting plate with shaft pointed towards brake mount side of frame as far back as possible. Attach engine to plate with two bolts, but don't tighten them yet.

  2. Mount torque converter to engine using manufacturers instructions. A torque converter may be mounted in any direction that clearance will allow. Be sure your belt is installed properly, some of them have sides with different angles (asymmetrical type). DO NOT LUBRICATE THE TORQUE CONVERTER.

  3. Position chain sprocket on axle so that it lines up with chain sprocket on torque converter perfectly. (A straight edge will help with this.) Insert keyway and tighten set screws on the chain sprocket that is on the axle.

  4. Wrap chain around both sprockets to determine chains needed length, best to be a little long than too short. Cut chain to the needed length and install on the sprockets using a chain master link.

  5. Slide engine forward on the mounting plate to take the slack out of the chain (chain should have about 1/2" of play). Double check that chain sprockets are in perfect line with each other. If not loosen two bolts and readjust. After sprockets are lined up mark location of other two engine mounting hole locations on the mounting plate.

  6. Remove chain and engine from mounting plate and drill the two holes you marked for.

  7. Reattach the engine and chain using all four bolts now. Make sure chain sprockets are lined up after tightening the 4 bolts, if not loosen bolts and readjust.

  8. Complete the torque converter installation at this time.

Seat and seat belt install

  1. Lay seat mounting plates on go-kart frame with seat centered and bolted on top of mounting plates (if using seat sliders they should already be attached to the seat at this time).

  2. Determine what your preferred seat location will be and mark locations where you need to drill bolt holes (should be 4 attaching seat to seat mounts, and 4 attaching seat mounts to go-kart frame).

  3. Drill all necessary holes. DO NOT DRILL HOLES LARGER THAN 3/8" IN FRAME TUBING

  4. After holes are drilled put all bolts in loosely and then tighten.

  5. Drill appropriately sized holes for seat belt mounting bolts on each side of the go-kart frame. Install seat belts using bolts supplied with seat belt.

Throttle/brake cable & brake pad install


  1. Loosen one nut on throttle cable until it is off threads. Slide throttle cable through slot in top of mount near right front of frame. Push threaded section of cable into hole of mount. Rethread loose nut just a couple threads.

  2. Attach front end of cable to top hole in throttle pedal, don't over tighten as the connection must swivel freely so it doesn't bind.

  3. Attach back end of throttle cable to the engine. (Methods of attaching to engine will vary by engine make and model. Do a web search to find the method for your application.)

  4. To adjust throttle cable push pedal fully against front of frame. Pull throttle cable housing towards rear of kart until you feel tension, hold in this position while you tighten nuts.

  5. Elevate rear tires off ground and start go-kart, tires should not turn without throttle pressed when adjusted properly.


  1. Slide brake pad onto mount located at rear of go-kart frame. Insert and bend cotter pin into the hole in the mount so that the brake pad can't slide off.

  2. Align brake drum with the brake pad and install keyway on axle and tighten set screws to keep brake drum in place.

  3. Attach front of brake cable the same way you connected the throttle cable.

  4. Insert rear end of throttle cable through mount near brake pad. Insert brake pad barrel into pad end and insert brake cable, tighten set screw to hold cable in place.

  5. To adjust brake cable pull cable housing towards rear of kart some, but not so far as to create brake pad contact with drum. hold in this position and tighten nuts.

Kill switch install

  1. Mark and drill holes as needed to attach kill switch to mount on steering column.

  2. Attach kill switch and any needed ground wire to the mount.

  3. Make any needed wire connections at the engine. (Some engines have low oil sensor wire you can tap in to, others have a kill switch on the engine you can tap in to. Do not wire it to your spark plug as it can send an electric current through your go-kart frame. You will need to do a web search on your engine type to see what wire connections are needed at your engine.)

  4. Route wiring out of harms way so that it can be zip tied to the frame.

Test switch function before riding the go-kart.

How To Build A Go Kart: Projects
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