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By S. Calhoun Smith
kart" has taken the by THE "go A happysteel tubingU. S.four storm. wedding of lawn mower engine and on little wheels, it has become a craze among kids and adults with a yen for racing or just plain driving fun. Kart racing originated in California and has spread eastward since 1956. Now the GKCA (Go Kart Club of America) is firmly established and has set up sensible rules governing design and power for stable, safe "karting." Even the lowest powered Class A, 2.5
hp karts are capable of 30 to 35 mph with an adult aboard and more when driven by a lightweight 10-year-old. Races are run on paved parking lots and small dirt ovals and regular sports car type raceways have been built with tracks four-tenths of a mile in length and 20 feet wide. Such tracks incorporate eleven turns, both banked and flat. The MI Kart was designed and built by Bob Peru of Red Bank, N. J. and can be considered a basic Class A kart. It complies in all respects with GKCA Mechanix Illustrated
specifications. Cost runs from $100 to $110 complete with an A-400 Clinton engine. Peru did the welding himself but anyone not equipped to do it would have to spend $20 to $30 extra. The building time was about 25 hours and the tools required were a square, hack
saw, tin snips, files, hammer, large vise and an electric hand drill or drill press. To help hold cost down, the frame is made of thin-wall conduit, but more expensive chrome-moly tubing could be substituted throughout. Some parts, the seat and steering hoops, steering
COMPLETED FRAME with axles installed; a thin-wall conduit is used to reduce cost
BELLY PAN and seat back are sheet steel; they're spot-welded to the conduit frame. 103
FRONT END view shows brake and throttle pedals and the simple steering mechanism.
SPOT BRAKE pivots flush against inside face of sprocket. Note engine mount plate.
yoke, front wheel spindle b r a c k e t s and engine mount plate, can be purchased ready-formed from v a r i o u s kart manufacturers. Their use will speed building considerablyBegin construction by drawing a side frame outline on a piece of scrap lumber. Cut and flare the tubing required and heat the lower piece to make the bend. Fit the pieces over the outline and clamp them. Then tack weld all joints and remove the framing from the board. Using the first side as a pattern, clamp the parts of the second to it and tack weld them together. This will insure uniformity. Next fabricate the front and rear axles. Bend the front wheel spindle brackets to shape and drill them for the kingpin bolts. Then weld them to the front axle tube. Align them carefully, square on the tube ends and parallel to each other. The rear axle tube ends are bushed
CLINTON 2-1/2-hp engine drives MI kart at more than 30 mph with adult load; note throttle crank on seat hoop.
SPANKING NEW kart is ready to go. You can upholster seat but boat cushion from marine supplier does nicely.
with a length of pipe to reduce the inside diameter for the 5/8-inch round stock axles. The axles are held in the tube with a quarterinch bolt near each inner end. They can be tapped for short bolts or holes [Continued on page 150]
RECOIL STARTER is pulled as youthful driver sits with his left foot depressing brake pedal.
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[Continued from page 106] can be drilled all the way through for bolts brackets of 1/4xl-in strip steel. Bend the and nuts. steering shaft front end and drill it for the The side frames, axles and crosspieces tie-rod bolt. Then bend the yoke to shape. can now be assembled. Cut and flare the Put brackets and collars on the steering pieces and tack weld them, using a try shaft and weld the yoke to the shaft end. square to make sure they're aligned. Add Next slide the shaft through the top the axles to the frame ends, squaring up bracket to spread out the collars and weld the assembly as it progresses. Note that the bracket to the underside of the hoop the front axle is rotated slightly in the side curve. Hold the lower end of the shaft at frame ends so that the kingpin axis has a the proper angle to align the top bracket 7° rearward slant. The frame-axle assem- while welding. Finish by sliding the shaft bly can now be completely welded at all into position and welding the front bracket joints. As the last step, add the diagonal to the top of the front axle. crosspiece at the rear. The tie-rod ends are threaded for about The front wheel spindle units are made one inch to match the Heim ball end fitup next. Cut the kingpin bushing tubes to tings. Clevis end or Ford brake rod ends fit snug inside the brackets. Then weld the could be substituted if the ball ends are wheel spindle bolts to the sides of the bush- not readily available. Adjust the rod ends ings. Follow this by welding the spindle at the center to align the wheel spindles steering arm pieces to the bushings. Note at zero degrees. Toe-in or toe-out can be that right- and left-hand units are required adjusted later when the kart's running since the steering arm pieces slant inward. qualities have been checked. While workThe steering and seat hoops are now ing on the front end, weld the pedal pivot formed and cut to fit onto the frame. To bolts to the side frames. Drive and engine mount parts are next make the curves, apply heat and bend a little at a time so that the tubing will not on the list. The wheel hub is first fitted deform. Tack weld the hoops in position with a large washer for bolting on the after clamping them at the proper angles; large sprocket. This permits removal of the then complete the welds. Next cut the sprocket if different sizes are to be fitted. belly pan and seat back to shape, checking (If you do not wish to bother with removal, the pieces against the frame for correct di- the sprocket can be welded flush to the mensions. Tack weld the belly pan in place wheel hub inside face.) The large washer on the bottom of the frame and then skip and sprocket are drilled for mounting weld the pan edges to the frame. Welds bolts. Disassemble the wheel to make should be about one inch long and two welding on the hub easier. The large inches apart. Where the pan touches the washer is welded to the hub 3/16-in from crosspiece at the steering hoop rosette, the inside face so that the hub forms a welds can be used or the sheet and tubing shoulder for centering the sprocket. Weld can be drilled for self-tapping sheet metal the washer from behind, aligning it carescrews. To prevent the sheet steel from fully so that it and the sprocket will track buckling during welding, use a chill block without any wobble. After assembly, clamped about a quarter-inch from the mount the drive wheel and sprocket on the edge along the area to be welded. The chill axle. Next bolt the engine to the mount block can be a piece of 1/2xlx24-inch plate, install the clutch (if used) and the steel bar stock. The seat back is skip chain. Now carefully align the chain and welded to the front of the seat hoop in the sprockets, moving the engine and mount same manner as the belly pan. Make half- on the frame. When set, mark the position round cuts to clear the side frame tubes. and clamp the mount plate to the frame. Sissy rails can now be bent to shape, fitted Then remove the engine and wheel and to the sides and seat hoop and welded in weld the mount plate to the frame. The engine mounting bolts should be in the place. The steering assembly is made next. Cut center of the slots so that the engine can and drill the steering shaft support be shifted to correct for wear on the chain
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and sprocket. The spot brake is made and installed next. Detail drawings are self-explanatory, but follow this procedure for mounting on the axle: mount drive wheel on axle; mount brake on pivot bolt and tube; clamp brake firmly to sprocket in "brake" position (this will position pivot tube on bottom of axle tube); then clamp and weld pivot tube to axle. The throttle linkage is made next. Cut out and drill all parts shown on the detail drawing. Then put the engine in place on the mount so that the upper linkage parts can be aligned with the engine throttle. The brackets, rods and cranks can be assembled by brazing. Complete the throttle and brake linkage by making the pedals and push rods. Note that there are rightand left-hand pedals. Remember to slide the fairleads and stop tubes onto the push rods before bending the S ends. Rods can be fitted with clevis ends if desired so that adjustments can be made. Fit one end of the rod to the brake at the rear and put the pedal on the other end. Next put the pedal on the pivot bolt at the front, clamp the fairleads to the side frames and braze them in place. Braze the stop to the rod ahead of the fairlead with the brake off and clear of the sprocket. The throttle push rod and pedal are assembled in a similar manner. Last, make and install return springs on both pedals. This completes the metal work on the kart. All welds should be wire brushed. Welding splatters and braze flux should be chipped off all metal surfaces and the metal cleaned before painting. It's a good idea to clean up the welds during fabrication for easy access to the tight corners. The Clinton engine, of course, is not the only one which can be used; West Bend, Briggs & Stratton, Continental, Power Products and McCulloch engines fill the bill with slight mount modifications. The builder who wishes to customize his kart will find such items as mufflers, drum brakes, chromed tanks, steering wheels and racing slicks available from the many kart manufacturers. You can add whatever your pocketbook will allow—but simple or dressed up, the MI kart is a kartload of fun. •
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