2019 - Ultimate Yard Kart

JTSpeedDemon

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Full Color Ad!

I was Ebay searching "bird engineering go kart" and I found this old 1979 paper ad!

This is the only one I've found that shows the entire kart in full color! :wai:

It looks like it's the top end model, as it's got the bodykit, aluminum wheels, and pedal pads.
It would be totally epic to find one of the top end ones as a survivor!

The gold steering wheel is interesting..... :drool5:
 

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JTSpeedDemon

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I'm a Pro Scrapper now!

I was walking my dogs past Darrell's house today(the guy who sold me the rototiller), and I stopped to look at some electric motors/generators/alternators(most notable was a free turning Coleman motor, but it had something like a 1/2" PTO and I don't have a use for it).
As I was looking through some crates of miscellaneous junk, I found a bunch of 3 HP Briggs flathead parts!!! :cheers2:
Darrell picks this stuff up on trash day BTW, so who knows where it came from.

I found a piston/con rod, but the piston rings were rusted in place. :eek:
I also found some rusty 3 HP valves and tappets, but again, rust had beaten me to it.(I guess I can call it the tetanus crate now :roflol:)

However, I did find a pretty clean 3 HP flywheel, a points type ignition coil, and a spare starter rope assembly!!! :wai:

So I made a mental note and came back riding the Hothead, and I ended up paying him only $1!!! for the parts!! :2guns:

I don't know what condition the coil is in, but it probably would've been trashed anyways, and it is probably good since it's pre-Magnetron, which means less complicated construction. The starter rope is a bit handy to have around, especially with the handle assembly.

The flywheel was in amazingly good condition!! It has been painted silver on the front, so no rust there, and the only other rust was some VERY light rust on the back and the taper bore.:2guns:
No cracks or chips of any kind!! :cheers2:

I think the coil and 'wheel came off a silver small-block, as the spark plug wire and the 'wheel are silver. The rust on the 'wheel came off with about 5 seconds of a wire brush! Plus the magnet is still quite strong.


And of course now you're wondering what my plans for the flywheel are? Simple, put it on the Hothead and go FAST!! :auto:

It's actually in better condition than the original flywheel on the HiPo, plus the engine will rev a little faster! I also plan to go with an adjustable timing coil bracket that I can now use with a 3 HP flywheel.

I just need to get the stuck HiPo flywheel off now....


On the same kart trip today, I also got some scrap wood for a seat bottom!
I actually strapped a plastic crate to the Hothead to carry some tools and the parts today, so what happened is I carried a right angle ruler and a saw to these two big sheets of plywood someone put on the curb and just cut out a big enough chunk!
Since the pillow is a bit ugly and I don't want to wait until I relocate the seat back to make a seat bottom, so I'll just make 2! One for the current setup, and one with original dimensions later!


Today was actually the first time I used the Hothead for a utility purpose, despite that it's still got a vacuum leak.



When I left Darrell's place, I had spilled oil when I was oiling the clutch all over the drive tire, and I was starting in decaying leaf litter, so when I hit the gas, the Hothead peeled out for about a solid 5 seconds!!!:popcorn::auto:

It took a while to get going, but it was SO EPIC!!
 

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J.S.@SMS

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You're lucky, I have a kart that on leaves won't even try to go. It would rather just sit there spinning the tire and digging a hole for eternity. Although that kart doesn't run at the moment, too many peelouts on a gokart with 9:1 reduction and a minibike backplate. Plus it's a larger kart, and I'm 150 pounds. And that's why I hate turf savers.b But that 3hp flywheel's a nice find.
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Well, I just took the Hothead for a spin around the neighborhood, and it's surprisingly pleasant to cruise around in! Albeit it took me a little to figure out the tuning, but it's nice to ride at about 1/2 throttle.

I explored the neighborhood, and even found a beautiful 1968 cherry red Mustang notchback in someone's driveway! It had an automatic, a 289 V8, Cragar alloys, and it was simply BEAUTIFUL!! Plus it was all factory!!:cool:
The owner was out trying to get it running after it had been sitting a bit, and it coughed a little, but didn't stay running while I was there.


Aaaaand then I ran out of gas. :oops:
This kart is surprisingly thirsty, and it doesn't help that the tank is a bit small, but oh well. It only had about a 1/6 gal. of gas in it, so that explains the rather short run time today. I plan to keep the tank dry until I fix the vacuum leak, since I'll have to pull the carb, and that way I won't have to drain it.
 

Randy Forbes

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Good job! I just skimmed over a lot of the pages, cutting to the chase at the end. But I have a question, and a tip about chains...

In one thread or another, you mentioned that you thought you were the youngest to win the Build Off; how young is that? In full disclosure, my 65th birthday was in December, but I built my 1st mini-bike at age 11, and earned the money to buy my first go kart when I was 14 (see picture of 14 yo me at the end of post).

Much like you, I learned about chains the hard way, and I no longer use a master link in any of them, instead preferring to "break" the chain at the appropriate link, and then press the pin back into place. This won't necessarily make up for when you need a half-link (sometimes called an offset link) but they too can be inserted without using a failure prone m/l.

Your solution of stacking washers, while addressing the problem, may not provide enough support under the engine, and could cause one or more of the mounting lugs to break off. See if you can find a suitable piece of aluminum (or steel, but it adds weight) the same thickness as your stack of washers. Use two (>2) or more plates if you need to, but then the engine will have full support.

Here's a random picture of the chain-break tool, and whether it's #35 or #219, the tools look and operate the same, only the spacing is different. Most go karts and mini-bikes use #35, and the #219 seems to be more popular on modern racing karts (like the World Formula PDB/Yamaha setup I lucked into last summer).



Chain break tool prices start at under $20.00 to over $40.00, so shop around, use caution as the pin can be fragile (replacements available).

Here's a reliable source for one, and there's probably the best video on using one properly. I have used them for parts purchases, and their service has been very good.

https://www.accelerationkarting.com/35deluxechaintool.html

To anyone in south/central Florida (J.S. @ SMS...) then check out TS Racing in Bushnell, Florida, my preferred place to get new parts from. They also own and operate the VERY NICE Bushnell Motorsports Park, where they host an annual Vintage Karting Association 3-day event in January (last year) or February (on the 13th-15th this year).

TS Racing: http://www.tsracing.com/Default.aspx

BMP: https://bushnellmotorsportspark.com/bushnell-motorsports-park-facility/

Vintage Karting Association website: http://vkakarting.com/
VKA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1394603367499268/

Please note that I have no financial interest, just promoting the locals and the sport.

Fourteen (14) year old me on my 1st kart, a McCulloch R200



And again, congratulations on winning the Build Off, that's good incentive for more builds in the future!
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Nice kart! :popcorn:

I'm 13 and this is actually my first kart. My very first experience with small engines was cleaning the carb on a Lawn-Boy mower that had been sitting for awhile. That was only a few months before I got this kart! I got it and started working on it when I was 11 in fact.

Yeah, I know the washers are not ideal, but they were all I could get right now and I can't fabricate much with the limited tools I currently have. I do have spare mounting bolts just in case! :)

If I was going really high speed or had an absurd amount of power, I would just directly pin the chain together, or at least use a safety wired master link. (I do have a chain breaker tool BTW :thumbsup:)

It's not really possible for me to directly pin it together, as clutch to tire clearance is extremely tight. There's only about 1/8" between the tire sidewall and the crankshaft. For a while, the tire would literally rub the end of the crankshaft, so it made grooves in the sidewall. I managed to space the tire out to the max to keep it clear, but it's still tight.

You're probably wondering why it's set up like this, simple: It wasn't me! :lolgoku:
As I have mentioned before, this kart has been modified a LOT by the previous owner, and the roll hoop literally touched the engine until I cut it off. And as you can see in this picture, the PO also slotted out the engine plate like crazy to make it work. Butchery!

The way I got it, the engine was/is behind the axle, and was tilted a bit. The flat bar that was welded between the rails in the back is thicker than the engine plate, so it made for a tilt. The washers actually increase the contact area with the frame.
 

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JTSpeedDemon

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Ok phew. I found the bushings on partstree.com as well! :eek:
I have contacted the seller as they still haven't arrived, so if all else fails, I can get it from PartsTree, albeit for a higher price. If the seller didn't ship them via UPS Mail Innovations, this wouldn't have happened!
 

JTSpeedDemon

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About a month, 2 screwed up transactions, and a whole lotta frustration later, I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Jacks Small Engines actually failed, the vendor they had it on order from didn't deliver, so now I have 2 bushings ordered.
It's actually the same listing as the last time I bought it, except this time they're shipping it directly via USPS. The problem last time was that UPS Mail Innovations failed, so this should work. *fingers crossed*

Once I fix the vacuum leak the engine should run like a dream. Then I've got more plans for it, that I will release in a video soon......:stir:
 

Budget GoKart

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Found this on facebook market place i could buy it its a bird silver streak and i just sold my 405 so it would be pretty fun
 

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JTSpeedDemon

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Oh yeah, get it!! That one looks PRISTINE! Minus the tires.....

Never seen that steering wheel, only the butterfly style on mine.

Ooooh, still got the pedal pads! :drool5:
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Workin' on Wheels!

I finally got the front tires off the rims. They were RUSTED on! :eek:
All I had to do was let out the air, then squeeze them in the vise with the rims bolted together.

I went crazy with the wire wheels on the right rim halves so far, and they're cleaning up pretty well! Except for two rust pinholes, but I can fix that with a welder. I checked the others, and it's just this one rim half, and it's just that particular spot. Should be fine.

Otherwise, the rims were one of the biggest cosmetic problems! I expect to finish wire wheeling them tomorrow, then several coats of clearcoat are in order.
 

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JTSpeedDemon

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One of them is just about bald on one side since the front right wheel had a wrong sized bearing.
Sorry, but I'm probably going to use them a lot, at least until I replace the kingpin bushings, then the front is getting fresh rubber. By then the tires will probably be toast. :(
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Wow, I'm trying to make contact with the guy who used to be the CEO of Bird Engineering! I'll share any useful or cool information, within reason of course.
 

JTSpeedDemon

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A LOT of progress!

All right! I wire wheeled all the wheels and clear coated all of them, and they look AWESOME! I even wire wheeled the fasteners, and MAN! It did so much to improve the looks of this kart!

I also disassembled the front right spindle to measure for replacement bushings, but to my dismay, there are no bushings! So essentially I will always have a very small amount of front negative camber, but that's not the end of the world. I was waiting to replace the front tires until I replaced the spindle bushings, but since there are no bushings, I just went ahead and put some fresh rubber on the front!
Those Carlisles look good!
They've got a slight rounded profile since they're tubeless tires with tubes in them, but it's still a LOT better than the old dry rotted tires.

I also soldered up the rust pinholes in the rim, so that looks a lot better now, plus it didn't need a welder to fix!

I also finally made a seat bottom! I got some marine vinyl from Hobby Lobby, plus some high density polyurethane foam! Then I got some t-nuts and bolts, put it all together, and it turned out pretty well! After some initial fitment issues, it's bolted down, looks great, and is pretty comfortable! :cheers2:

I also had my dogs out in the garage with me today, my favorite little pals. They approve of the seat! :wai:


Soon I need to install the carburetor throttle shaft and bushings, then I'll have a nice running, good looking go kart! :auto:
 

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Functional Artist

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Nice seat bottom :thumbsup:
...what we can see of it anyways
...doin' the seat back next?

If you have excessive slop/play in one of your spindles
...make your own bushing :cheers2:

I've used flat pieces of hard, thin, clear plastic
...like "bubble mold" plastic that many HF tools are packaged in

I have also, gotten nice flat pieces, of this type plastic, from the lids of muffin/baked goods containers from the Bakery @ WalMart too :wai:

Cut an appropriate size pieces
...wrap it around the bolt
...add some grease
…& reassemble :2guns:

A full length bushing would be best
...but, if it's only "sloppy" at (1) end
...just cut/use a 1/2 size bushing :cool:

It probably won't last forever
...but, a nice little DIY fix :D
 

JTSpeedDemon

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For now I'll leave it, it's good 'nuff! (that goes for the seat back AND the spindles)

Speaking of bushings, I installed the new throttle shaft and bushings in the carb and took it out for a spin! It still acts up, tuning-wise, but I think I just need to spend more time(and gas) dialing it in.

With the new tires, it handles SO MUCH BETTER! IT can actually turn right AND left, with plenty of traction! It's also easier to drift.....:stir:

Plus the seat's more comfy.
 

Randy Forbes

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Good job JT!

A truism when dealing with old sports cars, so maybe it applies to old go kart motors too, but most carburetor problems are electrical...

Which is to say, make sure your ignition system is spot-on (timing of points opening, contact gap clearance, condition of primary/secondary wiring, flywheel/coil gap, spark plug, etc.).

Next in order, is if it's possible to adjust the valve clearance, verify they are within spec.

When you want to adjust the carb(s) it is the LAST thing you touch, and only after the aforementioned systems are checked out. ;)

IF the carb has a float bowl, A LOT depends on it being set at the right height. Only now are you ready to fine tune the mixture strength.

Do a little research on how to read the color of your spark plug, and the proper way to do a plug cut (quickly and cleanly shutting off the engine while under load).

Today, you're working on a go kart engine, but before long, you'll probably switch to cars (sports cars, ideally; a natural progression from a go kart). While most cars built in the last forty (>40) years have fuel injection__many of the same basic fundamentals still apply__you might find yourself faced with a brace of these!

Weber 45 DCOE aftermarket carbs on my 1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 2-seater. Between choices for main choke (bore) diameter, auxiliary venturi, idle, main fuel/air & accelerator pump jets, emulsion tubes and mixture strength, there are sixty-eight (68) variables among these three (3) carbs!

 

JTSpeedDemon

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Thanks! I suspect the coil might be weak, I'll check that out. I really appreciate the encouragement, plus the advice! :cheers2:
 
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