[Kartbuilding] go kart steering question

Stephen Burke sburke at burkesys.com
Mon Apr 27 20:17:22 IST 2009

Hi Rick,

The reason the steering is difficult is due to the live rear axle, to 
which both rear wheels are attached.
In cars, smooth cornering is acheived by using a differential. See: 

On the kart you have, the reason for the problem in steering is due to:
Insufficient weight on the front wheels (as the engine is now further 
towards the rear axle)
Were the new rear wheels you added wider?

On a typical kart with a solid live rear axle, when cornering, the inside 
rear wheel MUST slip (read the above page). (imagine a runner on an oval 
track. The distance on the inside is less.).
If you have more weight on the rear axle (as opposed to centrally based on 
the kart) it will allow the front wheels to skip and hop.

It all depends on how bad the skipping and hopping of the front wheels 
are. Typically on a racing track the kart is going quite fast, allowing 
the rear axle to slip and slide (a little). At slow speeds it will be 
difficult no matter what kart it is, with no differential. It would also 
be fine on grass or gravel, as the inside rear wheel can spin more easily.

If you are on tarmac/concrete pavement then it will be very difficult to 
achieve smooth cornering.
One possible solution is to change one rear wheel. Attach one of the rear 
wheels to the rear axle using bearings. Essentially the kart will be one 
wheel driven in this case. This will make for excellent cornering, but in 
an off-road situation this would not be ideal.

How was the cornering ability of the kart before you made your changes? I 
think its cornering might not have been much better at slow speeds.

I hope this information helps.

Best of luck,

On Sun, 26 Apr 2009, Rick Burger wrote:

> Steven,
> I just found your blog and would like to pick your brain if I could. I purchased a used go kart frame that was used for racing originally. I moved the engine from beside the seat to behind and put taller tires on. I have tried to adjust the toe to about 1/8" toe in. The cart pulls left pretty hard no matter what I do with the toe setting or centering the steering wheel. Also, when turning on pavement at slow speed, the front tires try to hop and skip. Any suggestions as to why these are happening and what I can try to fix it?
> Thanks!
> Rick Burger
> _________________________________________________________________

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