How to build a go kart: 15 steps (with pictures)

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How to build a go kart: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to build a go kart: 15 steps (with pictures)

Nothing channels the demon of internal speed better than driving a go kart. Building one on your own from a kit or scratch can be a highly addictive project, or a fun garage activity for hobby mechanics of all ages. Depending on the access you have to the necessary tools, you can learn how to make the blueprints for a great go kart, weld the right type of chassis, and make the best move. Read the steps below to learn more.


Part 1 of 3: Plan the project

Build a Go Kart Step 1
Build a Go Kart Step 1

Step 1. Make detailed plans for the go kart you want to build

Go karts can come in many different sizes, shapes, and designs. These homemade vehicles are susceptible to any design element you want to create. The basic elements are a chassis, a simple engine and a steering and braking system.

  • Get creative in planning the project and come up with detailed diagrams to ensure you have enough materials to complete the job. Check out other go karts for inspiration and learn from people who have built one before.
  • You can also look up some schematics and blueprints online for many different models in case you'd rather have someone else do the design. Use a template and modify it according to your needs.
Build a Go Kart Step 2
Build a Go Kart Step 2

Step 2. Give the go kart the right size

The size of the go kart will depend on the age and size of the driver. In the case of young drivers, about 75 cm (30 inches) wide by 1.3 m (50 inches) of something will be enough, while for adults you can opt for a size 1 m (40 inches) by 1.8 m (72 inches) long.

It is important to draw up exact plans of the go kart, using specific measurements, otherwise it will be difficult to get the correct materials and the right amount of them

Build a Go Kart Step 3
Build a Go Kart Step 3

Step 3. Gather your supplies

If you don't have a lot of money, go to a junkyard and see if you can pick up some cheap parts. You could also salvage parts from an old lawn mower or old go kart that you find at a yard sale. Check with mower repair services for answers or scrap metal in addition to four-cycle engines that are in the 10-15 horsepower range with a horizontal shaft and a set of clutches. This is what you will need:

  • For the chassis:

    • About 9 m (30 ft) of 2.5 cm (1 inch) diameter square tube
    • About 1.8 m (6 ft) of a 2 cm (0.75 inch) diameter round steel bar
    • About 1.8 cm (6 feet) of a 1.5 cm (0.5 inch) diameter bar
    • A 3/16 '' thick steel plate with a width and length slightly greater than that of the motor
    • Plywood or metal plates (for vehicle seat and base)
    • A seat
  • For the motor:

    • Motor (may be an old mower)
    • A chain that fits the sprocket
    • Bolts and washers
    • Gasoline tank
  • For transmission:

    • Wheels
    • Steering wheel
    • Gearbox and handbrake
    • Drive shaft
    • Bearings
    • Steering axle
    • Brake pedal
    • Throttle
Build a Go Kart Step 4
Build a Go Kart Step 4

Step 4. Get a soldering iron

If you do not have welding experience, you will need to hire a welder to handle this project. The most important part of go karts is having a solid chassis that supports you while driving and houses the engine. If you are going to weld all the bars together, the welds must be done with the right heat, with the right penetration, and evenly. Otherwise, the welds can be weak, brittle, bubbly, cracked, or shallow, making the vehicle a death trap.

If you don't have experience welding, don't start building a go kart. If you want to learn how to do it, start with other smaller projects

Build a Go Kart Step 5
Build a Go Kart Step 5

Step 5. Consider building a go kart

If you're not interested in welding and designing your own go kart, buy a solderless kit that you can put together with simple tools, that has detailed instructions and diagrams to get the job done in a snap.

These kits are widely available for around $ 550 and you can have the satisfaction of putting together a go kart yourself and going to the hassle of designing and purchasing all the materials separately

Part 2 of 3: Building the Chassis and Steering Column

Build a Go Kart Step 6
Build a Go Kart Step 6

Step 1. Cut the metal tube

Cut the lengths of the tube according to the correct length according to your design or scheme.

  • In most designs, the front end will have a lean angle, narrower at the rear, which will give the wheels room to turn, thus allowing the chassis to turn slightly. To do this, mount a hitch bolt in the front corners where the wheels will meet, allowing for easy turning.
  • For a better visualization, consider chalking the floor of your garage or work area according to the appropriate measurements so you don't have to measure repeatedly. You could even draw the entire design on the ground and start building the vehicle from scratch.
Build a Go Kart Step 7
Build a Go Kart Step 7

Step 2. Weld the structure according to your design

Use concrete blocks to keep the structure elevated while you work, making sure all connection points are solid and the chassis is secured. It should be strong enough to support your weight and that of the motor, so you shouldn't be doing poor quality welding. To give it more strength, use reinforcements in all the corners.

Build a Go Kart Step 8
Build a Go Kart Step 8

Step 3. Mount the front knuckles

Build the axle with a 0.75-inch (2-cm) straight steel rod and two bushings attached to the frame. It uses washers and cotter pins drilled through the shaft to hold them in place.

Install the knuckles that will allow you to turn easily before altering the drive column and connecting the hitch bolt to the steering arm. You will need to have at least a 110 degree angle on the front wheels, so plan accordingly

Build a Go Kart Step 9
Build a Go Kart Step 9

Step 4. Install the rear axle and wheels

You will probably need to mount an axle bracket with a bearing bracket for the rear axle, which means that the axle itself can be welded to the frame while rotating freely and comfortably. Weld a steel plate to the chassis, securing the outer pressure plate with heavy duty bolts and lock nuts to adjust the bearing.

Instead of doing the go kart on your own, you can also buy these assemblies in kit form

Build a Go Kart Step 10
Build a Go Kart Step 10

Step 5. Build the seat and base of the vehicle out of plywood or metal

You can salvage an old go kart seat or the right size car from the junkyard to save money, or just fit a simple bucket with a cushion for support. Leave enough room for the steering and other controls.

Part 3 of 3: Assembling the engine and steering column

Build a Go Kart Step 11
Build a Go Kart Step 11

Step 1. Install the motor mount

Weld a flat piece of thick steel about 0.5 cm (3/16 inch) to the rear frame to mount the motor. Place the latter over the plate and mark the mounting bolt holes so that the motor pulley lines up with the drive pulley on the shaft.

Place the drive pulley on the shaft before mounting it on the bushings. You can use a set screw to hold it in position or weld it directly to the shaft, but it must be aligned with the motor pulley

Build a Go Kart Step 12
Build a Go Kart Step 12

Step 2. Assemble the steering linkage

Use the 1.5-inch (1.5-cm) steel rod for the linkages and a 0.75-inch (2-cm) steel rod for the axles. To create the 90 degree bends on the 0.75 inch (2 cm) rod, you may need to use a torch to heat the steel.

Provides adjustable links to align the steering, because it is very important to have the correct casters and camber: vertical front wheel and steering camber

Build a Go Kart Step 13
Build a Go Kart Step 13

Step 3. Install the wheels and brakes

Get some small racing wheels to give your go kart optimal acceleration and control. Fix them on the axles using bushings and start working on the brakes, so that the go kart is safe.

  • For the brakes, attach a disc to the rear axle and a caliper to the chassis for the most professional system possible. You can often get these kits in relatively good condition from your motorcycle junkyard. They are the right size and will be easy to install.
  • Install a brake pedal that you can operate with your foot, regardless of the type of acceleration you have. Don't leave too many things to do with your hands other than steering.
Build a Go Kart Step 14
Build a Go Kart Step 14

Step 4. Connect the throttle cable to the hand throttle

Depending on your experience and the type of engine you work with, you could fit a foot pedal or you may need to make things easier and operate the throttle like you would a lawn mower.

Build a Go Kart Step 15
Build a Go Kart Step 15

Step 5. Check the brakes and suspension system before testing them

Even if you're going at a relatively slow speed, it's important to make sure you don't forget not to drop an axle on your first turn. Also check the welds, brakes, and motor assembly. Then take the vehicle out for a spin!


  • Add extra parts at the end so you can take care of the larger and more important parts first.
  • Get a manual for go karts, it will help you and also give you some tips for driving and tuning the vehicle.
  • This guide assumes that the go kart uses a centrifugal clutch, but a modification may include a drive belt tensioner system and even a hand or foot throttle or clutch.
  • The assembly features a throttle, which can also be added using a simple throttle cable. From an older mower or a more sophisticated foot throttle.
  • Some people recommend buying a well-designed set of planes that incorporate some of the tried and tested principles (such as Ackermann, Castor steering, hitch bolt pitch, etc.). You are more likely to finish and enjoy your go kart if you build it using good blueprints.
  • The tips above refer to the fact that it is assumed that the builder will use “scrap” from discarded lawn mowers and other sources. It is probably cheaper to buy a manufactured go kart than to buy some pre-engineered parts to build it from scratch.
  • Costs for a simple go kart can easily run up to $ 60 or $ 70, if not more. You can get a good set of blueprints for around $ 40, and some blueprints cost even less. The cost of the plans is slightly less than 8 dollars. This is probably not a bad idea unless you are a professional.
  • Use a motorcycle engine with a limiter to avoid going as fast as a motorcycle.


  • When driving a go kart, wear protective gear, such as helmets, cushions, etc.
  • Try the go kart before hitting the race tracks, as parts could come off or fail.
  • This is not a real car and under no circumstances should you drive it on a highway!
  • Because this is a simple project using no high-tech engineering or designs, using a high-speed transmission or large motor is not recommended for this go kart. Speeds in excess of 16 to 24 km / h (10 to 15 mph) can cause damage to low-performance mechanical components.

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