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6 Ways To Improve Your Engine

Go Kart Racing

While a brand-new engine will last you for a while, eventually it will be time for an upgrade. Either old parts will wear out or the racing you participate in will become more competitive, or maybe you are simply looking for a faster, more exciting time. At some point, you will want to make some upgrades and do some fine-tuning, so let's look at some effective ways to get the most out of your machine without breaking the bank.

There are three main factors that determine how fast your go-kart can go: the engine’s RPM, tire size, and kart weight. Let's look at a few modifications and changes that can really push the limits on what your kart can accomplish. In this review we will be looking at modifications that can be made to the Honda GX200; however, this should give you a good idea of what can be done with other karting engines such as the OHV Clone or Predator.

Let’s start with the engine, the main power source of the go-kart. Before we start discussing how to improve your go-kart’s engine, we first need to understand a few key terms. The first thing you will need to know is engine RPM (rotations per minute). This is the number of rotations that your engine’s crankshaft makes per minute. Simply put, the higher the RPM, the faster your go-kart will be. You will also want an engine with a lot of power, and horsepower = (torque X RPM/5,262).

So how do you get more power, torque, and RPM out of your engine without having to buy a completely new and expensive model? There are two easy and affordable modifications that can quickly give you more power and speed.

Remove the Governor
Most go-kart engines come with a governor that limits the RPM to a 3,600 maximum. This is done for safety reasons and because most small engines are designed to perform optimally at only 3,600 RPM. However, you can remove the governor to instantly increase your speed by a few mph, at the cost of some additional wear over time.

While this can be the quietest and easiest way to gain some extra speed, it is important to do some research before removing go-kart parts. Some engines are not built to perform without a governor and can break down at higher RPMs. Always check with a mechanic or certified expert before modifying your vehicle.

Change the Carburetor
A carburetor is a device that takes in fuel from the fuel tank and air from the outside, then mixes them to create proper proportion for combustion inside the engine. Go-karts usually come with a smaller carburetor, such as the type used in lawnmowers and motorized scooters. While these carburetors provide enough fuel for combustion, they aren't enough for reaching the kart’s full potential. Upgrading to a larger, more powerful carburetor can help you reach speed faster than ever before.

Upgrade Engine Parts
For some people, working on an engine is their favorite hobby. For others, it can be a difficult chore. No matter whether you love it or hate it, giving some extra time and attention to your engine is the best way to get more speed out of your kart. There are several parts you can replace and upgrade, so be sure to figure out what works with your budget and how much time you want to spend on this project. You can upgrade the air filter, exhaust, camshaft, connecting rod, and nearly any part of the engine to make it go faster. While we don’t have space here to go over all the possible upgrades for all the different go-kart models, we suggest looking into parts that work with your particular kart and asking for an expert opinion before making any major modifications.

Change the Tire Size
One major factor affecting the speed of your go-kart is your tire size. Bigger tires take more torque to spin but can also cover more ground if rotating at the same speed as a smaller tire. However, you can’t simply just switch to a larger tire. Bigger tires require more torque from the engine, meaning you’ll need a more powerful engine or lower gearing to make the most of your new tires.

Lighten the Kart
This one might be a bit obvious, but lighter go-karts will go faster. Try to reduce as much weight as you can by using lighter parts or removing excess parts that are just for style. Just be sure not to remove any exterior parts that are there for your safety in case of an accident.

Buy a New Engine
When all else fails, maybe it's time to simply replace the engine. Moving from a smaller engine to one with more horsepower will instantly give you more speed, and sometimes might be the only way to achieve the speeds you are looking for. It also might make more sense than replacing or upgrading all the surrounding components, which might be more costly and time-consuming than simply upgrading the engine itself.

The Finish Line
In conclusion, there are many changes and upgrades you can make to your kart to gain that additional bit of speed, from changing out the engine to using better parts and even removing some of the excess holding you back. Always be sure to ask a professional mechanic before making any major adjustment, and make sure that your modifications work with your engine and kart model. With all these enhancements, you’ll be sure to take first place in your next race!