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Old 04-24-2019, 11:20 AM
Bmr4Karts Bmr4Karts is offline
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Default Just picked up an unused Lightning Bug

After modifying and breaking my daughters Power Wheel over and over I finally decided to look for a real go kart yesterday. I immediately found one and picked it up today.

The seller posted pictures showing it was not put together and said all the parts were there minus one rear shock and two of the batteries. I studied the images closely and figured out that it was a 36v Lighting Bug, usually price around $450-$500. Only a couple websites sell it and the info there is very limited. The seller didn't want it because he got it from someone else he didn't know how to put it together. I took a gamble and met him today.

It was as described and 95% of the parts are there. Minus the one shock, three batteries (the included one is completely dead, no surprise), and some cheap hardware I should be able to get this running in no time.

I powered the motor directly and it fired right up. Then I tried the controller and got nothing. Trouble shooting led me to a bad power connection in the wiring. Worse wiring I've ever seen. The one soldered connection was horrid and the other 3 wire connection had no solder or connector, just twisted around with electrical tape on top.


That said, I really like some design features of this kart.

The throttle pedal has no electrical components. Just a cable that leads to a scooter twist throttle in the back by the disc brake. It also had a travel limiting hold to control the top speed.

The brake pedal has two cables, one for the disc brake and one for a brake switch that goes to the control. This way the motor is deactivated when the brake is pressed and it actually works.

The wheels are tires are pretty nice. At least what I paid in just rubber according to aliexpress.

With the current 36v 350w gear reduction motor it's supposed to hit 8mph. My daughter is used to going 13mph in her Power Wheel so this will have to change, but not until she is used to having two pedals.

One big con I'll need to figure out is that the steering is super tight without the wheels even mounted. My daughter is not strong so I need to figure out how to get that as free as possible.

Oh yeah, I paid $80 for it.

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Old 04-24-2019, 01:12 PM
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*cough*
Not exactly "brand new".
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTSpeedDemon View Post
*cough*
Not exactly "brand new".
I'll refer to it as unused. I mean tape was still holding the axle keys in.

Got it together and ran it off with 2 18v Ryobi batts. Moves my 200lbs around on flat without issue. Jumps teeth and/or stalls out when trying to get me up the steep hill on the side of my house. I think the chain is a little long even if I were to add a tension-er.

I still need to perfect the throttle linkage, what they provided is too long.

I doubt I need the 2nd shock but I'll still order it.

Now to free up the steering, add a reverse relay, and maybe get some better bearings or the front wheels.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:51 PM
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Looks awesome! Also check out the Razor Dune buggy. Similar looking, easy for kids and fits an adult.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:35 PM
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Yeeah, that thing is MINUSCULE! I'd be surprised if my 7 year old sister could fit in it!
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:21 PM
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Yup, it's perfect for my little girl. Put her in it and she can just operate the pedals with part of her back on the seat. Unless she has a massive growth spurt she'll be able to ride this for a few years.
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:23 PM
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Yup, it's perfect for my little girl. Put her in it and she can just operate the pedals with part of her back on the seat. Unless she has a massive growth spurt she'll be able to ride this for a few years. Also love that it can fit in the car without having to remove the car seat.
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:52 PM
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That thing is awesome!!

Regarding the steering, post a few pics of the steering linkages, spindles, pitman arm etc etc so that we can see what you are working with. Maybe also a pic or two from the top with the wheels pointed all the way to the right and all the way to the left
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landuse View Post
That thing is awesome!!

Regarding the steering, post a few pics of the steering linkages, spindles, pitman arm etc etc so that we can see what you are working with. Maybe also a pic or two from the top with the wheels pointed all the way to the right and all the way to the left
Here you go. I know I have to center the steering and I'm going to remove everything to see if anyone individual parts are binding.

After taking parts:

Steering is free, still have to figure out how to get that A shape part off.
Wheel spindles? 1 is free, one is tight. I may do some sanding spreading to loosen it up.
Turnbuckles all are tight, still trying to figure out how to free them up. I bet I will have to switch to something like this.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:36 AM
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Figured out why the steering if off center. The keyed collar is not centered. I'll try grinding off the welds (hope that works) to get it out. Maybe JB weld to put it back?
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:56 AM
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Nice little kart.
...can't beat it for under $100.00

Kinda reminds me of a kart I built for my twins when they were little.

They rode 'em till they were like ~ 11 or 12 yrs.
...got too tall


As for the steering on your kart, I would disconnect the tie rods in the middle (I nut is already off) to determine if the stiffness is in the steering shaft or @ the spindles.

One of the steering bushing is probably binding (try to just add a few drops of oil
...or maybe one of the spindles is too tight. (loosen nut, if there is one)
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:02 AM
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Everything you said is right. One spindle was tooth tight so I spread it with a bolt and some nuts. The part of the tierods that are supposed to spin are very stuck. I put one in a drill for about a minute and it's a lot better now. About to go to autozone and get some grease for them. Then I'll spin them all in the drill.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:14 PM
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Worked the tie rods on the drill with some grease for a few minutes each. They feel a lot better now and the steering feels very good. Now I'm onto getting it centered.

I found a small file and have been working away at widening the key slot. Once I've opened it enough I'll shim the other side or use jb weld.

The pics attached show the before and after done in 20 minutes of filing while watching tv. Also sanded the steering shaft so this attachment doesn't need a hammer to go on and off.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:57 PM
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Done.

I'll find an appropriately sized nail or something similar to jam into the gap locking it in the proper location. I filled higher up into the metal than I needed to due to my manual abilities, but it should be fine. If not I'll jam something in that gap also.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:59 PM
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Looks like you are good to go
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:06 AM
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Alright. Got it back together and my daughter got to drive it around. Even though this kart is super small I still had to stick a pillow behind her back for her to comfortably reach the pedals. Even then, she has a difficult time pushing the go pedal all the way down. But that can easily be solved with a block of wood.

When going over a curb and up a hill the chain still made a popping sound even with just her 34lbs. I think the chain is too long. What do you all think?

Also, what the heck. It's 06B chain.
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:55 PM
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Yup, too long.
Ideally should have I think ~3/8" of play.
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:57 AM
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You can tighten that chain by adding fender washers under the motor mount and therefore raising the engine up to tighten it.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
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You can tighten that chain by adding fender washers under the motor mount and therefore raising the engine up to tighten it.
Went to add washers and found out the mount holes are actually slots. Was able to get the chain nice and tight.
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmr4Karts View Post
Went to add washers and found out the mount holes are actually slots. Was able to get the chain nice and tight.
Don't have it too tight! There must be a slight amount of play in the chain. It mustn't be taught.
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