How To: Plans for Building a Go Kart

MI’s HIGHWAY KART You don’t need a trailer or a station wagon to haul this kart to a track-you can drive it there on public roads! By R. J. Capotosto RIVING a kart is a real thrill. Seated on a low-slung frame only inches from the ground, you teel as if you’re doing 80 mph when you’re doing 20. Yet it’s surprisingly safe. The low center of gravity and a width two-thirds the length make it almost impossible to flip a kart in a tight turn. Just about everyone who tries a kart gets the urge to own one—and if you’ve got that urge, you get a bonus in building the MI Highway Kart. Since karts are generally driven on special tracks, it is not necessary to register them. However, transporting a 90 CLAMPS and a piece of angle-iron hold kingpin brackets in position for welding. Mechanix Illustrated SHEET STEEL is cut and bent to shape, then spot-welded beneath the sissy rails. ENGINE MOUNTING plate is tack-welded at first since it may require shifting later. NOTES: FRAMING MEMBERS, BUMPERS AND SEAT RAILS ARE ANGLE IRON WITH JOINTS WELDED. OF REAR AXLE ROD AND PLATE ARE OF COLD-ROLLED STEEL FRONT AXLE BRACKETS ARE OF HOT-ROLLED STEEL. BRAKES are the internal expanding type. Two are needed for kart used on highways. 92 BOTTOM view with the belly pan welded in place. Note bends in the control rods. Mechanix Illustrated THROTTLE control linkage is simple but foolproof. Return spring is on the right. DON’T overtighten the nut on the kingpin. Use a slotted nut and a cotter pin. CUSHIONS are foam rubber. A Boltaflex cover is stapled to the plywood backing. RETURN spring connected to brake linkage is strong enough to pull pedal back. READY for the road. Latex paint was used to give tires white sidewalls. Headlights 24 inches above ground comply with the law for night driving. EVER READY 12V FOG LAMP (2) BRACKETS are adjustable so that headlights may be lowered when not required. 94 HEADLIGHT ASSEMBLY TAIL LIGHT LICENSE PLATE LIGHT SINGLE CONTACT 4 C.P. TURN LIGHT DOUBLE CONTACT LAMP 4 C.P. (2) kart is often a problem. It can be hauled in a station wagon—if you own a wagon—or it can be towed on a trailer. Either way, the lugging can be quite a nuisance. With this in mind, our model was designed so that registration could be obtained, making it possible to drive the kart to its destination on public roads. Our plates were obtained in New York. However, regulations vary and the requirements would have to be checked in other states. First we had to supply three things: proof of ownership (a bill of sale for the engine); an affidavit stating that the kart was built by ourselves; and a list of the parts used. To make the kart legally roadworthy it had to have front and rear bumpers, a brake on each r e a r wheel, headlights, taillights, turn signals, a rear license plate and a horn. In use, the head- GROUND SEE NOTE BRAKE LIGHT STOP SWITCH RED LEAD RED LEAD 12-VOLT GENERATOR BUILT INTO ENGINE LIGHT SWITCH BLINKER SHORTING SWITCH BLACK LEAD DPDT TURN SWITCH TURN LIGHT SINGLE CONTACT 4 C.P. (2) FOR HEADLIGHT USE CLEAR FOG LAMP (2) NOTE: IF TWO STOP LIGHTS ARE REQUIRED USE ANOTHER SWITCH WIRING DIAGRAM FOR 12-VOLT SYSTEM WITH TWO BRAKES, the linkage must be set so that both will be applied at once. HAND CRANK for engine’s impact starter folds up out of the way when not in use. 95 LARGE-SCALE PLANS are available with complete text and photos. Send $3 to MI Plans Service. Fawcett Bldg., Greenwich, Conn., and specify Plan WB-4, Mi’s Highway Eart. MICRO MUFFLER is shown being bolted over exhaust port of Clinton E-65 engine. LIGHT switches and a switch for shorting out engine are on panel below wheel. CRANK is pressed after four turns, releasing a spring which starts the engine. lights are required to be 24 inches above the ground. A permanent arrangement of this sort would not be desirable, so we mounted the lights on adjustable brackets which allow them to be lowered. Electrifying the kart was simplified by using a Clinton E-65-1100 series engine with a built-in, 12-volt flywheel generator. This eliminates the need for a heavy battery, relay and external generator. The engine delivers 5.2 hp and it has a 5.76 cubic inch displacement, putting it in the Class A category. It is fitted with an impact starter and four turns of the crank followed by a press to release the spring are sufficient to start the engine. A Mercury centrifugal clutch permits no-load starting and load-free idling and it automatically applies the load to the engine at its most efficient speed. Brakes are the six-inch internal expanding type. If you do not plan to register the kart, one brake will be sufficient as a Class A rig. For simple and sturdy construction, angle-iron is used throughout. This eliminates welding of fish-mouth joints on tubing, something which is rather difficult unless you’re an experienced welder. Welding angle-iron is very easy by comparison. It’s also easy to shape the angle-iron by cutting slits or notches in one side and bending it in a vise. Start construction by cutting all the angle-iron to size and forming it as shown in the drawings. Cut the notches with a hack saw and save the triangular waste pieces. These can be used to fill in the spaces formed where the slits open up on reverse bends. When cutting notches, drill a 3/16-in hole at the base of the V to allow proper bending clearance. File all cuts clean to remove burrs prior to welding. The 3/8-inch holes for the brake and [Continued on page 112] Mechanix Illustrated Highway Kart [Continued from page 96] throttle studs should also be drilled at this time. To simplify the welding, clamp the pieces together and tack-weld them first. Then check the positioning to see if it’s all right to complete the welds. We used a Lincwelder 100 and obtained excellent results. The 1-1/4×1/2-in. kingpin brackets should be clamped in perfect alignment before they are welded in place. These brackets are made by heating the metal to a cherry red and then bending them in a vise. If your welder is equipped with a carbonarc torch, you will find it excellent for heating the metal. The rear axle and brake flange are also attached at this time. Note that the rear axle is offset to allow for the sprocket on the left side. The engine mounting plate is made from quarter-inch steel plate. It has elongated slots to allow for proper alignment of the engine. A simple way to make the slots is to drill the two end holes and cut out the material between. Use a keyhole saw or, better still, a jig saw with a finetoothed blade and a slow speed. Wax the blade and feed the work slowly. Since this plate may have to be moved slightly on final assembly, tack-weld it into place. The throttle and brake linkages are assembled as shown in the drawings. Make the control rods from quarter-inch coldrolled steel, threaded at each end. Temporarily attach the rod assemblies to the frame, clamping them at the stop guide brackets. The rods should not bind when the pedals are operated. The return springs should also be in place at this time so that proper tensioning and positioning is obtained. When all checks out, the units can be assembled to the frame. The firewall, belly pan, dash and side pieces under the sissy rails are cut from 20-gauge sheet steel with heavy-duty shears. Bending is required to fit the side pieces into place. Attach all these plates by spot-welding every inch. The steering knuckles are made by welding 3/4×4-inch cap screws to steel tubing of half-inch inside diameter. Drill and tap the tubing to accept a grease fit[Continued on page 116] May, 1962 Highway Kart [Continued from page 112] ting, taking care to remove any burrs that may form on the inside. The cotter pin hole in the axle also may be made at this time. Determine the location of the hole by placing the wheel with bearings on the axle. Then remove the wheel and thread a nut onto the axle, noting the exact location of the hole. Lock the nut in place with a second nut and then drill through the flat side of the nut. The wheels, incidentally, are available from the Indus Corp., 1815 Madison Ave., Indianapolis 25, Ind. The steering tie rods are threaded at each end for a distance of one inch so that there will be sufficient adjustment for toe-in. The steering rod and wheel are made of 3/8-inch cold-rolled steel. The large bend in the wheel may be made cold but the sharp bends will have to be heated. The 3/8-inch bronze bushings are pressed into the top and bottom of the steering rod tube. A plastic mallet is good for driving them in. As an added safety feature, the wheel and arm are welded to the steering rod after assembly. Make sure that the arm is in alignment with the steering wheel before welding. The carburetor throttle lever is connected directly to the throttle linkage through a length of throttle cable. Attach the cable to the body of the engine with a bracket made from a scrap of 20-gauge steel. The separate gas tank is mounted directly behind the driver’s seat, again using 20-gauge steel for straps. The electrical system is next added by following the wiring diagram. Use stranded wire and tape all the leads in a neat bunch so that none will dangle. The taillights and turn lights are screwed directly to the frame by drilling small holes at the rear of the fixtures. The stop light switch must be positioned so that it closes the circuit when the brake pedal is depressed one half of its travel. Naturally, the engine must be running to provide current for this test. The upholstery consists of a quarter inch plywood backing, a two-inch foam rubber filler and a covering of Boltaflex, a product of Bolta Products, Division of The General Tire and Rubber Co., Lawrence, Mass May, 1962 Highway Kart . Pull the material tight over the foam and staple it to the rear of the plywood. The Indus wheels do not come with white walls as shown. We used a latex paint for this. Be sure to clean the rubber thoroughly before painting. All metal parts of the kart should be given a coat of metal primer before painting them with enamel. The lamp brackets, control rods, etc., are sprayed with aluminum paint. To add to the looks of the kart, a ribbed rubber floor mat is used. Due to the space limitations where the engine is positioned, it is not possible to make full turns of the impact starter crank. However, the crank is connected through a ratchet and full turns are not necessary. Our kart, including everything but the engine, was built for $116. The 5.2-hp engine with built-in 12-volt generator was $85.74, bringing the total cost to $201.74. Naturally, you can build the kart for considerably less if you don’t want to include the features necessary for highway use. MI has made arrangements with the Finecrafts Products Co., Box 7031, Jersey City 7, N. J., to supply readers with the parts for this kart. Write to them for a price list. •

Having grown up with an old Sears go kart, i’ve always had a soft spot for anything go kart related. I’ve thought about drawing up a set of plans that show the overall dimensions and layout of the go kart that i had. It would make a great how to project that’s fun and pretty easy to do. But like a lot of things, I can never seem to find the time to do it. Luckily, i ran across these go kart plans. They’re extremely detailed and thorough. And the best part is that this go kart is very similar to the one that I had when i was a kid. So if you’ve been looking for tips on how to build a go kart, or plans for a go kart, you’re in luck. This project is also good in that it’s a fun way to hone your welding, fabrication, and metalwork skills.

Even though it’s somewhat dated, it’s still a very detailed set of plans that show you how to build one from start to finish. I’m not sure i’d do everything exactly as they demonstrate, but it’s a great starting point if you’re thinking about building one. The frame plans are great and easily scalable in case the adult kid in you wants your own toy. Imagine putting a motorcycle engine on a scaled up version of this. Scary fast!

I also don’t think I’d waste my time with the headlight assembly, or the electrical assembly for that matter. My old go kart had nothing more than a kill switch, which was basically just a button that was wired to the spark plug. When you pushed the button, you grounded out the plug wire causing the engine to stop. Simple and pretty foolproof.

You could also simplify the braking system quite a bit. Instead of using drum brake assemblies, my old go kart used a rather primitive system that was basically a set of plates that pushed against the tread of the tires. These plates were hooked to a common shaft. When you depressed the brake pedal, the shaft would turn and push the plates against the tires. It worked very well and i never had any braking problems.

So if you’ve got a spare horizontal shaft gas engine lying around and you’re looking for a fun project, this is a great idea. And these plans are a good starting point. Have Fun!

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