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  #1  
Old 04-09-2015, 09:55 PM
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Default How to Build a Go Kart

Download the PDF of Free Go Kart Plans Here



Herein I will be posting my progress on a go kart build that will show you step by step on how to build your own go kart from scratch. This wont be a pimped out kart, or something dangerously fast, rather, a simple two seater go kart that two tweens could ride in comfortably, or an adult and a child.

I plan on making this something that is geared towards helping anyone that really just wants to make a go kart, but doesn't know where to start. This will be a concise guide that will cover the following in the final video:
  • Introduction to Go Karts
  • Tools, Steel, Go Kart Parts Kit
  • Measuring and Cutting The Steel
  • Frame Alignment and Fitment
  • Tack Welding the Frame Together
  • Final Welding and Frame Fabrication
  • Test Fitting of Go Kart Parts Kit
  • Metal Preparation Prior to Paint
  • Painting the Kart
  • Assembly of Parts to Frame
  • Showing the Final Project Off

Since joining the forum here a while back, I have always liked helping people out with their questions that I felt I could answer. Having restored karts for years, and not finding much excellent, free content online on how to build one from scratch (even the plans I looked for are not free) I am going to give it a stab and would like some input as I go along. All videos I post will be considered drafts and I need any and all of your help in being critical of what parts need to be changed, removed, and improved upon. Final edited videos will be posted with photographs of the finished kart on June 1st, 2015.

So without further ado, here is my build guide for a simple two seat go kart. I will also make detailed, free, PDF plans of the go kart that I will post on my website on June 1st as well. My hope is that it will help someone out there that wants to make one too!
Attached Thumbnails
go kart steel frame materials.jpg   go kart parts kit.jpg  

go kart hardware.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2015, 10:17 PM
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I like the OSB!!!! Good stable floorpan !!!!! JK.....
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:15 AM
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That would be a great plan to have kartfab. Thanks
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:36 AM
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Is this a sticky yet for the newbies ???


Of course they gotta look at it first. Lol
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:08 PM
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This is a great idea. I hope you do a good enough kob we can (HINT HINT) replace the plans on the DIY go kart plans page. There are some goofy things on that one. Hopefully you have a live axle in the works.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:16 PM
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^^Maybe not replace, but just add to the existing plans.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:16 AM
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why don't you put a link to your site in your signature?
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poboy kartman View Post
I like the OSB!!!! Good stable floorpan !!!!! JK.....
You will see why I got the OSB later on :-)
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Originally Posted by landuse View Post
That would be a great plan to have kartfab. Thanks
Thanks! I am hoping to make it good enough that people will want to share it and use it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe-405 View Post
Is this a sticky yet for the newbies ??? Of course they gotta look at it first. Lol
Lol! In all seriousness, I'll try to make the content good enough that perhaps Robert will consider helping me out (that will happen behind the scenes, and it would be in addition to the post which I hope will get stickied).
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Originally Posted by chancer View Post
This is a great idea. I hope you do a good enough kob we can (HINT HINT) replace the plans on the DIY go kart plans page. There are some goofy things on that one. Hopefully you have a live axle in the works.
I dont want to replace any plans, just add to what is there, First on the message board, then on youtube/my site, maybe DIYgokarts itself. Also, since this is a simple go kart, it will just be a two seater one wheel drive kart. It'll be the easiest and cheapest to build and that's the whole point of it. Depending on how well this is received on youtube etc, I will continue to make other karts (e.g. off road go kart, one seat go kart w/live axle, mini go kart (electric for kids), but that will be a long ways down the road.
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^^Maybe not replace, but just add to the existing plans.
yup
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why don't you put a link to your site in your signature?
cuz it sucks right now, and nobody wants to go to a website that sucks and is "under construction' or "shortly will have content" I will link to it when it has excellent content http://kartfab.com (see?)
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2015, 08:30 PM
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Default Tools, Parts, Measuring, Cutting the Go Kart Frame

Introduction to Go Karts

There are many different types of go karts. To keep things simple you can classify most as either a race kart, yard karts, or off-road karts. Some have suspension, some don't. I will be showing you how to build a simple yard kart. The most popular karts are two seat go karts, for kids, and young teens. I will be building the kart that is easy to build, and is based off common go kart models in years past. The kart I will be building will be a one wheel drive (also known as a dead axle) go kart with an adjustable bench seat. This will be good for small kids, or move the seat back and an adult and a kid, or two teens could hop on it and take it for a spin. This kart performs well on asphalt, dirt, and small hills.



Tools, Steel, Go Kart Parts Kit
  • Tools There are all sorts of metalworking tools out there, but for a go kart, all you really need are thee power tools: a drill, an angle grinder, and a welder. Other tools (like wrenches, measuring tape, etc) will be necessary.
  • Steel People have tried making go karts out of wood, PVC pipe, or without welding, and with few exceptions, most have failed. Steel is the only way to make a safe, durable go kart, and for that, you will need to weld it up.
    To build the majority of the chassis I will be using 11 ga 1"x1" tubing. The floor pan will use 16 ga sheet metal. Spindle brackets and other tabs that will bear large amounts of weight or bracing is either 3/16 or 1/4" plate. Other miscellaneous steel will be used and included in the final plans.
  • Kart Parts Go kart parts can really add up if purchased separately. I got a go kart kit online that had all of the parts I needed that I couldn't otherwise make. The kit I got includes things like the seat, spindle brackets, sprockets, rims and tires, brakes, chain, steering wheel, tie rods, kill switch, throttle cable, motor mount, gas and brake pedals. I did have to purchase some other nuts and bolts for the build, but that can be found at your local hardware or farm implement store.

Measuring and Cutting The Steel
When cutting the steel for the chassis, you will need to measure, mark, then cut. For measuring, you can use a tape measure(or protractor for angles). For marking, you can use silver permanent marker, welders chalk, or for precise cuts - a razor blade. For steel cutting you can use a hack saw, angle grinder, or chop saw. Once your cuts are made, double check the measurements. To remove burrs, you can use your angle grinder with a grinding wheel, or wire wheel. Its also a good idea to bevel the edges of the steel with the grinder for welding. Removing mill scale can easily be done with a wire wheel attachment on the grinder as well.

Frame Alignment and Fitment
Once you have all of your pieces of steel cut out, you can lay them down on a cement floor and make sure everything lines up. To be extra precise, you will need to square up the corners. Double checking lengths and widths is good, but make sure you measure opposite corner to opposite corner for squareness.

Because you will be welding the frame together, it is a good idea to use a workbench and clamps. Instead of clamping I used plywood (OSB, flakeboard) and nails to hold everything in place. Welding will cause the frame to draw together, and simply making sure it wont move will prevent your frame from warping and becoming out of square.
Attached Thumbnails
angle grinder for go kart frame.jpg   welder for go karts mig welder.jpg  

tools for go karts drill.jpg   go kart frame material needed to make a go kart.jpg  

go kart parts kit where to buy.jpg   go kart frame material steel.jpg  

go kart frame build bracing.jpg   go kart frame built from scratch.jpg  

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  #10  
Old 04-20-2015, 09:57 PM
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Default Go Kart Frame Fabrication

Tack Welding
  • Frame Tack weld all the joints together. I tack welded all corner joints together alternating from one side to the other to minimize the effects of warping.
  • Dead Axle Bolts Tack weld all four corners of the axle bolts to the axle tube. Use a straight edge to make sure the bolt is exactly parallel with the axle tube. If it is out of line, lay the tube on the ground and tap the bolt until it is just right. For each bolt, make four additional tacks, each between your original four tacks.
Welding
Remove the nails that braced the frame and double check your frame measurements again to ensure they are accurate.
  • Frame Weld one joint at a time. Because the metal will warp when welding, weld one side, then flip the frame over and weld the other side. This will minimize warping to keep your frame straight
  • Dead Axle Bolts The same goes for the axle bolts. Crank up the heat on your welder, and weld one section, then flip the axle over and weld the opposite side to minimize warping.
Pedals and Bumper
Mark the frame bumper where you would like the pedals to be installed, then use a center punch to mark the exact location to be drilled. Drill a pilot hole, then a larger hole. The brake pedals can now be inserted for a dry fit.
After you weld on the bumper, you may want to grind down the welds for aesthetics. I ground down the welds with a grinding disk, then used a sanding disk to smooth them out.

Floor Pan
The floor pan is the most prone to warping the frame if done incorrectly. Because I wanted a slight arch in the frame to support heavier riders without bowing, I created 3" long stitch welds spaced 3" apart, welded on higher heat. I welded opposite corner, to opposite corner. If you want to minimize warping, weld on lower heat, and make 1-2" stitch welds spaced further apart, and don't bother sticch welding the center frame support to the center of the floor pan.
Attached Thumbnails
tack welding a go kart frame.jpg   go kart frame welds.jpg  

go kart stub axle welded on bolt, dead axle.jpg   grinding down welds.jpg  

go kart bumper.jpg   center punch.jpg  

pedal drilling holes.jpg   go kart pedal installation.jpg  

go kart floor pan material.jpg   go kart floor pan installation.jpg  

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  #11  
Old 05-09-2015, 12:59 PM
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Default How to Build a Go Kart Steering Assembly

Steering Assembly Fabrication
The steering wheel i got was part of the go kart kit, and the rest i fabricated. The steering shaft is held in place by a 3/4" ID spacer welded to the steering hoop, and some steel with a 3/4" hole drilled into it welded to the kart. I used some angle iron for the steering stops, and the rest of a 3/4" spacer to hold it all together.

Steering hoop
The steering hoop was welded together making sure it was symmetrical using a square, tape measure, and straight edge. I tack welded the hoop to the kart frame, then welded the spacer to the hoop, and bracket to the lower portion of the kart.

Steering Wheel
The steering wheel was attached to the shaft by welding on a washer to the shaft. I then drilled three holes in the washer to allow the steering wheel to bolt right onto the washer.

Spindle Brackets
Using my angle finder, I carefully measured the go kart as level, then welded on the spindle brackets on a 1/4" heat setting for good penetration.
Attached Thumbnails
go kart steering assembly.jpg   close up of go kart steering assembly.jpg  

go kart steering assembly stops for oversteering.jpg   go kart steering hoop.jpg  

go kart steering hoop angle.jpg   go kart spindle bracket  welded on.jpg  

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Old 05-13-2015, 11:59 PM
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Default How to Build a Go Kart Brake and Throttle Assembly

Throttle and Brake Pedal Installation
Having drilled a 5/16" hole for the brake and throttle pedals, I simply used a bolt and nut to bolt to the pedals to install them. The pedals did not have a return mechanism or way of stopping them from hitting the tie rods.

Return Springs and Stop Tabs
I used some return springs that force the gas and brake pedals to go back to their original positions. To keep the pedals from hitting the tie rods, or being forced back too far, I welded on small tabs of metal about 1" beyond the frame that serve as a set point for the pedals to rest on, and as an upper limit to prevent collision with the tie rods, or stretch out the throttle cable.

Brakes
I took some 1/4" rod, to use as the brake rod, and drilled holes in some 3/16" steel for the pedal to be bolted to the rod, and the brake band to fit around. I used 3/8" round bar welded to the frame to hold the brake band (thanks firemanjim for the advice on the brake band!) Cotter pins held the assembly in place. I needed to bend the brake rod so I clamped it down in my vise, then bent it by hitting it with a hammer. Now the brake rod sits low enough that it will not be stepped on accidentally when entering and exiting the kart.

Throttle
I welded a tab about 4 inches from the gas pedal that the throttle cable will bolt onto. There is an eyelet on the end of the go kart throttle cable that allows it to be bolted to the gas pedal.
Attached Thumbnails
go kart throttle and brake stops.jpg   go kart brake pedal return spring mechanism.jpg  

go kart brake rod connected to brake pedal.jpg   go kart brake rod installation.jpg  

go kart brake band installation.jpg   go kart throttle cable connected to gas pedal.jpg  

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  #13  
Old 05-14-2015, 05:58 AM
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This is great! Very informative with great explanations.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KartFab View Post
Tack Welding[*]Dead Axle Bolts Tack weld all four corners of the axle bolts to the axle tube. Use a straight edge to make sure the bolt is exactly parallel with the axle tube. If it is out of line, lay the tube on the ground and tap the bolt until it is just right. For each bolt, make four additional tacks, each between your original four tacks.
I've welded up this type of axle before, but IIRC I pushed the bolts a few inches into the receiving pipe. Appears you just welded on the head; any guidelines for insertion depth or does it matter?
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:32 AM
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any guidelines for insertion depth or does it matter?
What matters is the weld build up and penetration The bolt size was perfect as just the corners of the bolt touched the tubing. I tacked four corners using a hammer and straight edge to make sure the bolt lined up perfectly, then tacked in between the tacks for a total of 8 tacks. I then cranked up my welder to weld at 1/4" thickness, and quickly welded the bolt, welding one side, then flipping it over to weld the opposite side. Because the weld was so hot, I had to weld it quickly or it would have melted through and dripped off.

Again, heat input matters most as there was sort of a gap there anyway.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:16 AM
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Default How to Build a Go Kart Seat Mounting Kit with Adjuster

Go Kart Seat
Below I will explain how I fabricated framing and tabs for a go kart seat kit with sliders to fit the go kart. The go kart parts kit that I got came with a seat slider with release mechanism that has about 4 1/2" of forward/reverse travel and a seat cushion and backrest with T nuts pre-installed. As much as I like to make my own seats, it was nice to have one that looked better than one I could make.

Seat Frame
The frame that I fabricated has a 105 degree angle between the bottom and backrest. I used my angle grinder and protractor to cut the exact angles (37.5 degree cuts accomplishes the 105 deg angle). I TIG welded the brackets and frame because I wanted to mix it up. MIG welding is much faster, but I hadn't TIG welded anything for a while.

Seat Brackets
I fabricated brackets that were welded to the go kart seat frame that will allow the seat T nuts to be bolted into the brackets and the seat slider to be bolted to the bottom brackets.

Seat Adjuster or Seat Slider
The seat slider was then bolted to the brackets welded to the bottom of the seat.

Go Kart Frame Seat Bracket
I welded two brackets to the frame making sure the seat had enough room to clear the engine and clear the steering hoop. There was plenty of room, but I made this one better for little kids and teens. Since the engine is further back, I could have installed the frame mounting brackets further back for tall people. This was a nice compromise.

Go Kart Seat Installation
Seat installation was cake. Provided your measurements were right, the seat bolts onto the brackets with ease, and the seat slider bolts fit right into the frame mounting bracket. After that it was a matter of threading four 5/16" nuts to the mounting bracket and it was done!

The go kart is starting to look like an actual go kart! I only have the foot rest and side rails left to weld on and ill be done with the hard part!
Attached Thumbnails
go kart seat angle.jpg   TIG welding go kart tubing.jpg  

go kart seat bracket.jpg   go kart seat mounting kit.jpg  

go kart seat adjuster.jpg   go kart seat.jpg  

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Old 05-18-2015, 12:30 AM
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Dang! Those are some lovely beads you laid down in pic 2 above!
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Old 05-25-2015, 01:51 PM
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Default How to Paint a Go Kart

How to Paint a Go Kart
Painting a go kart is pretty easy. You must make sure the metal is clean. You can either prime and paint, or have your frame powder coated. I used the rattle can and got excellent results.

Metal Prep
I build this kart while living in a humid climate with incessant rain. The frame had surface rust on it and it needed to be cleaned. I used a wire wheel attachment for my angle grinder to remove the rust. Prior to using the wire wheel, i wiped down any grease spots with mineral spirits so the paint can adhere properly. Using the angle grinder will not only remove rust, but also roughen up the surface of the steel so the paint can grip to it.

Paint: Powder Coat or Rattle Can?
If you want to skip the wire wheel and rattle can, you can drop your kart off at a powder coat shop where they could sand blast, coat the frame, and bake on the paint. This produces a hard shell of paint over the metal, and it is extremely durable. If you dont want to spend a lot of money to have it powder coated, buying some primer and paint (gloss enamel) from your local hardware store is pretty good.

Prime
Directly after removing the rust, spray off the frame with compressed air and make sure no debris is on it. I attached my frame to the garage ceiling with some wire and hooks that were previously there for a bicycle. Spray the primer onto the kart in even spurts. Primer should be paint ready in about an hour after application.

Paint
Painting with gloss enamel rattle can paint can be tricky. You should work in even sprays, only hitting the button as your hand is moving, never from stop. Quick spurts of paint. Also, the best results usually are achieved with a thin first coat, and a second coat after 10 minutes. If you wait much longer than that, you could run into wrinkling of paint. So make sure you get all the nooks and crannies of the kart by the second coat. Do a final inspection as well. If for whatever reason you missed a spot and you have let the paint cure/dry for more than a few minutes, read your paint and make sure you don't reapply until the paint has fully cured (typically 48 hours after application).

Go Kart Rims
The rims I got in my go kart kit were already painted grey, but I decided to change that. I used a fine grit sandpaper block to roughen up the paint, then primed with a very thin coat, then painted them black. I waited 2 days for the rims to cure, then used a combination of paper plates and painters tape to seal off a band around the outside edge of the rim. I then painted with very very light coats over top of this band to make a nice orange ring around the rims for that extra touch.

Almost there, just need to mount the tires to the rims, and reassemble the go kart, and get some good action shots! I have over 130 gigs of video to comb through too so thats going to be fun ahhh!!!
Attached Thumbnails
wire wheel attachments for angle grinder.jpg   go kart painting materials.jpg  

go kart foot rest.jpg   go kart frame fabrication.jpg  

how to paint a go kart.jpg   how to paint a go kart frame.jpg  

go kart motor mount.jpg   go kart rims.jpg  

go kart rims painted.jpg   how to paint go kart rims.jpg  

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  #19  
Old 05-26-2015, 12:42 AM
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The kart is starting to come together nicely
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:57 PM
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Default Go Kart Kit Review and Assembly

Go Kart Kit Review
When I was thinking about making some videos about how to build a go kart, I contacted BMIkarts, gopowersports, and a few others... nobody responded, except for gopowersports! I able to connect with Tim, the owner of gopowersports where he was able to sort out some parts and help me find out which ones I needed to make the kart from scratch. It took a lot of effort, but in the end, gopowersports will offer all of the parts for this go kart as a kit on their website on June 1st, 2015.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the parts, especially the pedals, which are super heavy duty (1/4" thick) and the seat was nice to not make for a change, just bolted right up. Anyway, just thought I would give a shameless plug for gopowersports. If anyone ever decided to build this same kart one day, they would have everything needed by making 1 trip to the hardware store, downloading the free go kart plans on my site, and getting the go kart parts kit from gopowersports.

Go Kart Reassembly
Just bolt everything back up, not much to it! Thread locker is a MUST. I used a drop or two on every nut that went onto the kart so nothing will rattle loose.

Wheels
Mount the tires to the rim. You may need to use a rope to put pressure around the tire so it can seat with the rim. I used a 4-way tool to remove the valve from the valve stem, then used compressed air to fill up the tires and seat the bead against the rim. I also used some lighter fluid and lighter to inflate two of them (i know stupid idea, but its so much easier sometimes). Inserted the bearings onto the rims by gently tapping them in with a pipe and hammer. I installed the

Seat
Bolted the seat first to the seat brace, then bolted the seat sliders to the seat frame, then bolted the seat sliders to the go kart frame.

Kill Switch
attached the kill switch to the frame, and drilled a hole for the ground of the kill switch to go to. I used the low oil cut off wire from the engine and ran the kill switch wire to it. I even used the same connector that the low oil sensor used.

Engine and Clutch
I ran the chain around the sprocket, placed the clutch on the chain, and slid it onto the engine resting on the motor mount. After making sure everything was aligned and having the 3/16" key put into the engine shaft/clutch, I slide the engine forward to put tension on the chain and bolted it down.

Steering Wheel
I used 1/4" bolts for this, even though the holes were 5/16" in diameter. I did this so i could line up the top of the steering wheel exactly with the steering shaft arm.

Throttle and Brakes
I installed the return springs for the throttle and brake. I had to get a spacer for the throttle cable eyelet so it fits perfectly. The brakes line up just right!

Spindles
The spindles were easy to install, just put them on the spindle brackets, installed a 1" spacer so the tires wouldn't hit them, and bolted down the kingpin bolt so there was a tiny space between the spindle and the spindle bracket. I did this so it wouldn't bind when steering.

Tie Rods
I lined up the tie rods, then made some fine adjustments by screwing the tie rod ends in and out until the tires lined up just right.

WHEW!!!! Now its time to go do some burnouts, donuts, and crazy stuff on this thing! (videos and more pictures to come on June 1st) 2015.

Attached Thumbnails
go kart parts kit review.jpg   go kart wheels.jpg  

go kart seat.jpg   go kart kill switch.jpg  

go kart engine and clutch.jpg   go kart steering wheel.jpg  

go kart throttle and brakes.jpg   go kart spindle and tie rods.jpg  

build your own go kart KartFab.jpg   build your own go kart kit KartFab.jpg  

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The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to KartFab For This Useful Post:
Blackdog (12-13-2017), landuse (05-30-2015), StratCat (05-31-2015)
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