Go Kart Engines

 

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Twister Hammerhead Engine
Engine design is based on Honda GY6 engine.

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What Engines can be used on Go Carts?

There are quite a few choices out there when it comes to powering a go cart.  If you plan to build your own go kart, or if you are modifying an existing kart for more power, then be sure to ask yourself some basic questions before you make your final engine choice.  It's always easier to do your research up front, rather than making a poor choice and being disappointed after the fact.  There can be a lot of work involved in adapting some of these engines to a go kart, so you want to make sure that you make the right choice up front.

How much power do I want?

Do I want electric start?

Will I need to run lights or other accessories (will the engine need an alternator)?

Do I want reverse?  and so on.... 


Off the Shelf Engines

There are quite a few different off the shelf motors sold specifically for go kart use.  Tecumseh offers a good selection in various horsepower ratings.  However, keep in mind that some of these will only have an aluminum cylinder bore.  Steel piston rings rubbing against a softer aluminum bore will not last very long.  They are not designed for longevity.  For occasional use, they might last a while, but for heavy usage they will not hold up as well over the long haul.  The larger models will often come with a cast iron cylinder sleeve for longer life.  Some come equipped with electric start and also an alternator to power lights and charge a battery.


Tecumseh Go Kart Engines

Tecumseh Powersport Engine



Snowmobile

Another popular choice for people who build their own go karts is to use an old snowmobile engine.  This choice is usually very powerful and relatively lightweight.  They are typically 2 stroke, and offer a lot of power for their size.  Snowmobiles also typically use a CVT (continuously variable transmission), and this can be adapted for use on a go kart.  These can be extremely powerful for their size, but keep in mind that they are normally quite loud and can be a bit finicky to run.  Some of these also do not like to run at lower RPM's and some may frequently foul spark plugs.  Many of these 2 cycle powerplants can rev up to high RPM's and can make a go kart very fast!  Even too fast for an inexperienced driver!  So, be careful if you decide to choose one of these.

2 Stroke Snowmobile Go Cart Engines

Old Snowmobile Powerplant

 

ATV or Motorcycle

Another popular choice of engine is from an ATV or motorcycle.  One possible advantage of an ATV engine is that they sometimes come with a reverse gear.  If you want to have reverse, then something like the Yamaha Warrior 350 can be a good choice.  The Yamaha Warrior 350 has decent power and torque, and it also has reverse built into the gearbox.  In addition, it has a sprocket output that can work well with a go kart chain setup. 

ATV Engines for Go Karts

Motorcycle or ATV Engine

Regardless of what you choose, just be sure to maintain it properly.  Keep the air filter clean, change the oil regularly, and keep parts like spark plugs on hand in case you foul them.  With proper maintenance, many of these go kart engines can last a long time.  These engines can power your kart with exciting acceleration and speed - especially if you choose one of the high performance 2 stroke engines such as those found in snowmobiles.  Some of those engines have an incredible power to weight ratio!  Just make sure to build the rest of your go kart to be able to handle the power of whatever engine you choose, and that includes building it carefully with your safety in mind.  It can be fun to go fast, but it's no fun to get hurt, or to have your hard work wrecked because of an accident!  Below is a video showing a go kart with a 600cc motorcycle engine.


 

 

 

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