The "I guess I'll build a go-cart" page

With buying a business and the extra work involved it doesn't leave me with much time for a car project at the moment, but I had to do something with the little spare time I've got, so I decided to build the kids (me mostly) a go-cart out of that old Kawasaki KZ-650 motorcycle engine that I bought at a swap meet about 15 years ago for $30.00. 

(I know, my wife says it ain't no go-cart either)



First thing I did was searched the internet for an idea of what I wanted my go-cart to look like, and let me tell you, there's some ugly home built (and factory) go-carts out there, I found one that some guy in Australia made.



Now that I have an idea of what I want it to look like, I can get started. 

One thing that I want to point out at this time is that this go-cart is being designed by me as I build it, and that there are no plans, drawings, or blueprints for this.  I am just going by the pictures of the red cart above, changing things for my taste, and doing all the fabrication work myself.

On 8/20/2001 I started looking for the pieces that I was missing on the KZ-650, some covers, the carbs, and after contacting a few motorcycle salvage yards and finding out that they wanted $450 for the carbs and the one side ignition cover, I discovered an almost endless supply of parts for KZ-650's on Ebay.    I ended up getting the carbs for 111.50 (with shipping) and all the side covers including the clutch/chain side cover for $26.07 that I had thought I wasn't going to find and have to build. 

Side view, lower rails builtRoll Cage installedGo-cart10.jpg (117224 bytes)

Click on any small picture for a larger view

These pictures show from the first weeks up to present day, if you want to see it a little more close up just click on the small pictures. The frame is started, the motor mounted, I'm going to hinge it for the rear suspension right in front of the motor, behind the seat, and the front suspension will be tubular a-arms. The rear axle is not going to have any differential, just both wheel drive, spool style. The axle doesn't have the outer bearing supports yet made or suspension.

The tires are 21X7 - 10 front, and 22X11 - 10 rear Titan Fast Trekkers. 

The rims are Douglas Rims. (ATV Rims, can be purchased in many bolt circles)

I purchased them from Chaparral Racing and they mounted them. 

(click on the link below to go there)

 Tacking on the A-armsSitting on the ground, steering made, coilovers onGrass001.JPG (81909 bytes)Grass002.JPG (106234 bytes)Grass003.JPG (46700 bytes)Grass004.JPG (139774 bytes)

Click on any small picture for a larger view, I've added some shots that people have requested closer views of below, including:


*Front suspension A-arm close-up shot*

*B&M Automatic transmission shifter cable to homemade handle for gear shifter*

*Side view of engine showing heim joints that the rear suspension hinges on*

Click on any picture thumbnail to view larger picture



SuspensionFront2.jpg (101562 bytes)MotorShifter1.jpg (104547 bytes)MotorSideView.jpg (99817 bytes)ShiftHandle.jpg (90352 bytes)Painted motor mounted.jpg (100873 bytes)Painted motor mounted 2.jpg (150134 bytes)Painted motor mounted 3.jpg (169479 bytes)Painted Front suspension.jpg (191360 bytes)Painted front view.jpg (130607 bytes)

Just need to add the throttle, brakes, clutch.

Here's some specs that have been requested:

Front tread width: 47"

Rear tread width: 47"

Wheelbase: 67"

Frame width front: 33"

Frame width at seat (widest point of frame): 33"

Overall length of cart: 84"

Length from seat base to front of cart: 50.5"

Height from floor pan to bottom of roll bars: 36"

Ground clearance: 7.5"

Rear axle diameter: 1.250"

Distance roll bars are apart: 14" (inside bars)


Now that I've driven it some I've got some things that I don't like about it that I'm going to change. 

First matter of business was that I geared it way to high. I figured it would be nice if it could do 100 mph, but after driving it (and going at least close to 100), it became clear to me that the fun is not at 100, it's climbing hills and squirreling around. With it geared for 100, it hasn't got the bottom end to do stuff like that.

    I originally had put a 5 inch sprocket on it, I pulled that off and went to a 7" sprocket. That helped out some, but it still had the top end around 120 mph or so, it still couldn't start from a dead stop on the old train dike out back and climb it without a 10 or 15 mph run on it, so I did some figuring and it looked like I needed around a 9.500" sprocket, which would put the top end at 92 mph at 9000 rpm. 

That's where the trouble began, though, the rear axle reinforcement tubes were right in the way of the 9.5" sprocket. So I cut some clearance blocks out by drilling a 1.5" hole in the block, then cutting the sides so it made me an easy way to just cut the tubes and weld it into place. 

Another thing I didn't like was the chain tightener block I had made originally, so I'll be cutting off the rear axle and making it so that it swivels to tighten the chain.

sprocket description.jpg (63679 bytes)Rear axle description.jpg (67114 bytes)

Well, the go-cart is now painted and done, I've made all the changes I described above and I am very satisfied with it now. 

As with all of my projects, I'm now done with this one and ready to start my next one, so the go-cart is now:
650 Kawasaki Go-cart
650 Kawasaki Go-cart

 Last known update: 12/13/2019 06:52:50 PM

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