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Old 06-29-2020, 07:13 PM
Djj624 Djj624 is offline
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Default New (to me) kart, engine question

Hi everyone I'm Dennis and I just aquired a manco American Express kart from a friend. It has a flathead 5hp Briggs with the code stating it's from 1989. Now it seems to run decent but I don't know much about about these motors. Although it did go 29mph on a telephone pole radar I'm thinking that's pretty good? Anyways I was thinking of swapping on a predator 212 but if these old Briggs are work horses then should I leave it? How do they compare to a predator 212?
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:40 PM
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Disclaimer: I'm totally and completely biased!!!

I love flatheads, personally. There's even a small chance that's the factory original engine. If it runs good, and goes 29 MPH, that's quite good! You may think that Predators would be better due to the extra 1.5 HP, but small engine HP ratings are usually over exaggerated and inaccurate anyways. A 5 HP Briggs is a nice balanced powerplant for a kart, plus they actually have a BIGGER aftermarket than Predators(more cams, valvetrain, pistons, connecting rods, etc.)

That $100 you could spend on a Predator? That's enough for some entry level upgrades to a Briggs that'll make it easily outpace a stock Predator, plus sound wickedly awesome(not like a lawn mower)!

My mildly modded Briggs has outpaced a stock Predator quite easily, and every Predator I've encountered is VERY problematic, usually in the carburetor area. Briggs are usually very reliable, although of course a lot of them are beat to pieces.

Another plus is that Briggs are designed to be very simple and serviceable, virtually every part on them is replaceable, and governor removal is much easier than on a clone engine(literally just drain oil, remove sidecover, pull off governor gear by hand, put sidecover back, torque to spec, fill with oil, go fast).

Extra bonuses, if you're lucky with your Briggs, would be a cast iron sleeve, dual ball bearings, and heavy duty valvetrain.

So yeah, I'd recommend sticking with the Briggs!
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:41 PM
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Thanks jts. Sounds awesome think I'm going to stick with the old classic. Is there anyway to know if it's cast iron sleeve, dual ball bearings and heavy duty valvetrain without tearing it down or opening it up?
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:41 AM
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For your Briggs to have all those extras inside you'll have to be really lucky as must just simply don't... especially not the ones that came factory on an inexpensive kart. The racing and HP engines are the exception. The Briggs engines are good, tough, reliable, and fun to play with.

I will be the first to disagree about the predator carburetor though. I'll take it over that Briggs carb any day of the week.

If your argument is based on carbs don't even go there. That Briggs carb is a pain to deal with and I know very well how to work on both of them.

As far as the governor goes... pulling the side cover is still pulling the side cover. It's gotta be done on both. It's just a few more steps on the predator. It's not difficult by any means.

Aftermarket parts are plenty for both but cheap for the predator.

OHV engines flow better. Something to consider if you plan on doing extensive mods. That is a fact not an opinion.

The stock predator has a higher compression ratio than a stock Briggs, another fact.

What you do have is an engine already running on your kart...that too is a fact.

Possibly enjoy what you have for a while and weigh out all the facts before you decide what to do with your money.

And by the way, I've never had issues with the predator or clone carbs. Any carb issues I have seen come from other people simply not taking care of their equipment. And that will manifest in any carburetor or equipment. It's not engine specific.

Except for Tecumseh carbs, they kinda suck...I have fixed those...the trash can works best...

That was my non-biased reply
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
If your argument is based on carbs don't even go there. That Briggs carb is a pain to deal with and I know very well how to work on both of them.
have had 1 briggs that I kept on a kart for about 1 yr. I put a new carb on it but it still ran like trash and it did not handle bumps well. also had to start it with a drill.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:40 AM
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have had 1 briggs that I kept on a kart for about 1 yr. I put a new carb on it but it still ran like trash and it did not handle bumps well. also had to start it with a drill.
That sucks. I had one back in the day that had the points and condenser under the flywheel. Stuff like that was a royal pain. Lol I remember having an old piece of water pipe sticking out for exhaust pipe...I think I even had thread marks burnt into my skin at on point or more....ahh the good old days.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:36 PM
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mine was a '96 and had electronic ignition. I still have it and use it for parts.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigWes View Post
For your Briggs to have all those extras inside you'll have to be really lucky as must just simply don't... especially not the ones that came factory on an inexpensive kart. The racing and HP engines are the exception. The Briggs engines are good, tough, reliable, and fun to play with.

I will be the first to disagree about the predator carburetor though. I'll take it over that Briggs carb any day of the week.

If your argument is based on carbs don't even go there. That Briggs carb is a pain to deal with and I know very well how to work on both of them.

As far as the governor goes... pulling the side cover is still pulling the side cover. It's gotta be done on both. It's just a few more steps on the predator. It's not difficult by any means.

Aftermarket parts are plenty for both but cheap for the predator.

OHV engines flow better. Something to consider if you plan on doing extensive mods. That is a fact not an opinion.

The stock predator has a higher compression ratio than a stock Briggs, another fact.

What you do have is an engine already running on your kart...that too is a fact.

Possibly enjoy what you have for a while and weigh out all the facts before you decide what to do with your money.

And by the way, I've never had issues with the predator or clone carbs. Any carb issues I have seen come from other people simply not taking care of their equipment. And that will manifest in any carburetor or equipment. It's not engine specific.

Except for Tecumseh carbs, they kinda suck...I have fixed those...the trash can works best...

That was my non-biased reply

Well, I DID say I'm totally biased. Thanks for balancing me out, actually. But yeah, my entire experience with Predators(admittedly, limited), has been very poor.

Djj624 - As BigWes said, those features are quite uncommon, my Briggs with them is a bit of a diamond in the rough. Most likely you have 1 of those listed features, or none at all. But even the basic Briggs are workhorses, I see a lot of flathead mowers still chugging.
But to answer your question, you would have to at least partially disassemble your engine to find out exactly what you have.

BTW - If you post your engine's model and serial codes, I can decode them for you and tell you a bit about the engine.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTSpeedDemon View Post
Well, I DID say I'm totally biased. Thanks for balancing me out, actually. But yeah, my entire experience with Predators(admittedly, limited), has been very poor.

Djj624 - As BigWes said, those features are quite uncommon, my Briggs with them is a bit of a diamond in the rough. Most likely you have 1 of those listed features, or none at all. But even the basic Briggs are workhorses, I see a lot of flathead mowers still chugging.
But to answer your question, you would have to at least partially disassemble your engine to find out exactly what you have.

BTW - If you post your engine's model and serial codes, I can decode them for you and tell you a bit about the engine.
I'll be one of the first people to agree with you about a flathead Briggs being a workhorse on a mower if...

It has been taken care of...meaning that the owner changed the oil in the thing at least occasionally and serviced the air filter regularly.

Next..had the late model or really early model carburetor that was separate from the fuel tank...

Points ignition deleted if needed...I despise those things...yes they work...yes they suck...

Now, all that being said that engine makes a dang fine mower. It's awesome. I actually just put a 98 model Toro push mower back in service for a guy. I told the dude if he kept the oil changed and the air filter clean and ran good gas it would out live us both. And I believe that it can so long as he does his part.

But when it comes to evolution in modern engines the flathead engine just isn't as effecient as an overhead valve engine. That's why modern engines don't use the design today. Briggs stopped making theirs because it wouldn't pass emissions test in a way to be competitive in the global market (insert cheap imports). I personally don't think small engines are the problems with the world's air quality...such is the corruption of world politics.

Flatheads have a cool sounding rap when they are running right, but, then again....have you heard any of Flying hillbilly's race engines running? Or the loping sound of a big v-twin Harley with a nice cam in it?

I still have a 5hp Briggs flattie at a friend's house I'm gonna build up if he ever gets it back to me.

I'm letting him have the stock tank and carb assy off of it. I have... maybe had...plans for it...

Anyway... it'll be interesting to see what JT digs up on your engine. He will surely be able to tell you all about it. Y'all have me curious now. Contrary to what you think I love seeing old engines running. I just think there is a time place and purpose for them all. Just don't blow it up

Blow up a predator...those are a dime a dozen.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:24 PM
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My '69 Briggs 7hp runs like a top (since I got a new carburetor for it), points and all are in good shape!
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:13 PM
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You can get a transistor for eliminating the need of points...

I can't wait to get my '52, #14, 6hp running...
I have the new carb and new throttle linkage..
Just have to put it together..
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mckutzy View Post
You can get a transistor for eliminating the need of points...
I know but I do appreciate the info in case I wasn't aware

I prefer to leave it in it's original configuration it starts and runs just fine. I plan to rebuild the original carb over the winter to get it back into shape and back in service!

I am still trying to find an intake elbow and a medium sized oil bath cleaner for it if anyone has any leads? I've been on and off fleabay but the prices are ridiculous AND the couple sellers I've messaged asking for a measurement never got back to me!
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:22 PM
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you guys got those old school Briggs with the old glass filter bowls and the oil bath breathers on them and the side draft carbs?

I like those things. They are pretty cool. Some of the really old ones have cast iron blocks. Heavy rascals. They sound great when they are running to me. I'd love to have one. But I wouldn't run it on a kart by any means. I'd love to have one on one of those old tiny yard tractors. We had one when I was a kid but it caught fire and burned up I wish I had it now.
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Old Yesterday, 08:27 AM
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Ya, mine does have both..
I think the filter is like horse hair...
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Old Yesterday, 12:20 PM
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My friend actually has a minibike(needs TLC), but someone at some point swapped on a cast iron flattie. That sucker is HEAVY!! So heavy in fact, the bike constantly wants to lean to the right. They need to move the engine to the left a bit.

Anyways, let's see what the OP says when he gets back.
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