How to Select Go Kart Engines Step by Step Guideline

So you have decided you want to take on building a go kart. You may have also required one that needs work as well. Well the main item you may need in either case if an Go Kart engine. There are options out there to choose from, so if you don’t know what to choose within the realm of go kart engines hopefully this will help you out.

Go karts are a great way to have fun, but you want to select the engine that is the right one for your needs. You don’t want to go with just any go kart engine you find. So let’s get started and hopefully help you out with what you want to know.

The Brands of Go Kart Engines 

There are several brands of engines out there that are great for go karts. Some you may even heard of, because they are used on many of your other lawn and maintenance items. Briggs and Stratton is one of biggest names heard or known and they are a great choice. However, they can be pricey or when in a last minute need, you have other options if you can’t find a Briggs.

Other runners up are Honda and Tecumseh engines. There are many that do go the Honda route because like cars their reliability is a big deal for many. They are great for go karts that can be temperamental, making sure that go kart keeps going.

You Briggs and Stratton used to offer readily for go kart engines, but quit doing so because of liability issues. However, there are still many people that do use them for them. So if you decide to do so that is on you not the B&S company.

So if you try to call to get one and ask for it for a go kart engine specifically you may be told they don’t produce a go kart engine. That is where you are going to want to know the specs you want in an engine. That way you can be sure you just tell them what engine you need.

Horsepower Needs

If you are building a go kart, first thing that comes to most people mind is the faster the better. Well that ends up being more of a want than a need. If you want to go that route, that is very well your choice.

Take into consideration though the go kart you are using and who will be driving that go kart. Safety needs to be at the top of the list, especially if you will be letting younger people or other people drive your go kart. 

  • An engine on the smaller side is your 3HP, it is great for a small or light build. With that small of a horsepower you will also need someone light to operate. This is a great choice for younger children, that are at least old enough or skilled enough to operate something motorized.
  • A good middle ground engine is going to be a 5HP, the most common being the classic Briggs & Stratton engine. It is known for being the most used one in go karting. It has a 60 tooth sprocket that will give you a decent speed of approximately 20mph. If you can’t get your hands on them they come in 5 ½ HP today.
  • Another option is a large engine rating at 6.5 HP and above. Typically suggested or selected for off road go karts, or situations you may be looking for more torque. It is also a great selection for a heavier go kart, or something requiring larger tires.

Vertical Mount or Horizontal Mount

There are two types of mounts you can go with. Most go karts are going to utilize a horizontal mount engine like what a tiller uses, because the shaft of the motor comes out in the horizontal position. So it is practical for a go kart build or replacement. It is also the most cost efficient and easier to install.

There is also a vertical which is typically not the first choice, due to the position of the shaft. However, if you are still possibly thinking about going that route it is possible. There will be a lot of customization that will need to be done, which can add up to a lot of money if you want to go that route. So they are not usually the first choice for a go kart.

Final Thoughts

So the final thoughts are pretty simple, your choice is going to be your own. Just make sure that you choose what will work for you best. Don’t get in over your head, unless you are an experienced avid go kart builder. Sure there will be trial and error when getting into the hobby.

However, it can be a fun time for single or family fun. Make sure that you maintain your go kart engines properly and a good go kart engine can last for quite some time. Make sure you get the right engine for the frame weight and size that you will be using it with. If it is light and the operator is light, if it is big and heavy you will need more power. Or even using larger tires on your go kart.

Then of course you would get a larger engine in those situations. So all that is pretty much common sense. Safety is always at the top, so make sure to take safety measures where ever you can. Knowing proper safety is in place in most cases can make things more fun. Since there are not as many worries as there would be otherwise. Today there are really some great advancements in safety equipment.

As well as items for your go kart build, so go ahead have fun with it. If you have kids, it’s a great hobby to pass on to the younger generation so they may pass it on too. That’s all for today, I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have about selecting go kart engines.  

Melissa Gibson

Melissa has been a technology writer for the last five years. She lives in New York City and during her vacation, you will find her riding scooters, reading books and hiking mountains.

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