[Kartbuilding] go kart steering question

Stephen Burke sburke at burkesys.com
Tue Apr 28 19:53:45 IST 2009

Hi Rick,

I didn't realise that the kart also pulled towards the left.
Yes, if you bounce the front of the kart, the front wheel should point 

Have you repositioned the seat in the middle of the chassis?
It could be the weight distribution pulling the kart to the left.
You could sit someone in the kart, and lift the front end. Does one side 
feel heavier that the other?
Try lifting the rear of the kart. Does one side feel heavier?
This could indicate that the weight is not centrally balanced.

You could also check to see that with the wheels pointing forwards, that 
the distance from the front left to the rear left axles are the same as 
the distance from the front right to the rear right axles.

You may need to check the camber angle of the front stub axles.
See: http://blog.kartbuilding.net/category/steering-setups/

Best of luck,

On Mon, 27 Apr 2009, Rick Burger wrote:
> Steve,
> Thank you for your quick response and sharing your knowledge. Everything you mentioned makes sense. The engine is now positioned slightly behind the rear axle, thus making for a light front end. I am considering relocating the axle farther back or adding weight on the front. The rear wheels are 6 inch wide which came on the cart but I put on 15 inch tall turf tires, with 13 inch on the front. I have not tried the cart in the dirt yet, I have just been running it up and down the street, trying different things. The only thing that still is confusing is why it pulls left. Were these race carts built to pull left or could I have a bent frame? If I center the wheels then bounce the front end a few times, the wheels will center themselves pointing left about 5 or 10 degrees. What do you think ?
> Thanks again!
> Rick Burger
>> Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 20:17:22 +0100
>> From: sburke
>> Subject: Re: go kart steering question
>> 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:
>> http://www.kartbuilding.net/drive/Differential.htm
>> 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,
>> -steve
>> 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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