[Kartbuilding] Differential (fwd)

Stephen Burke sburke at burkesys.com
Wed Aug 27 00:16:41 IST 2008

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 05:41:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: James Alford 
Subject: Re: Differential

Dear Steve,
Thank you for the advice. I will have to approach the local agricultural dealers to see what they may have lurking around.

From: Stephen Burke
Subject: Re: Differential
To: "James Alford"
Date: Monday, August 25, 2008, 11:29 PM

Hi James,

It is very difficult to steer a live-axle kart on tarmac. The steering has
to be setup correctly so that when a kart goes into a corner, that through
correct camber and castor angles that the chassis flexes and produces lift
on the inside rear wheel allowing it to slip to achieve smooth cornering.

I would highly recommend using a differential. I did manage to
successfully use a differential from a self-propelled lawnmower. Pictures
can be seen at:
This was quite a small diff, and the rear axle had to be split to get it
into the middle. While it did work quite effectively, it was not strong
enough and I broke the first one after a few weeks. I suggest you try and
get a larger differential from a ride-on/tractor lawnmower. Note:
differentials can get large and heavy very quickly, so you need to try and
get a suitable sized one.

More information on the steering angles of karts for a solid live rear
axle can be found at:

Best of Luck,

On Mon, 11 Aug 2008, James Alford wrote:
> Dear Sir,
> I have been reading your website as I am thinking of building an off-raod
buggy that could be SVA'd to go on the road. I intend it to be quite low
powered, no more than 15hp or so. Ideally, it will use some sort of
differential. I notice that you refer to the use of lawnmower diferentials in
karts.. Do you whether anyone has successfully used one for an off-road machine?
Alternatively, how hard is it to steer a live-axle machine on tarmac?
> Any advice that you can offer will be apreciated.
> Regards,
> James.

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