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As a follow up to September’s article on Quick Change Caster, hopefully you have put the Quick Change Caster Set Up on your kart and are now wondering when and why you would use it.  If your kart has adjustable caster pills and for some reason you have not have put this set-up on, I highly recommend doing so, it will change the way you tune with caster.  To be more specific, since the base caster for any given chassis is set at the factory and changing it in the traditional sense was always a big time consuming task, I never experimented with caster.  Now I try a caster change almost everywhere I go. So let’s break down what caster does and why you would use it…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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Rain ShotFirst of all, hopefully you’ve either read or heard of the book The Art of Racing in the Rain, a story of a driver told through the eyes of his dog, hence my title.  Great read but will not make you quicker in the rain.  The following will however.

I know that the sight of rain clouds on the horizon of a kart track strikes fear in many a competitor.  You can see it in their face and can see it in the poor turnouts on rainy race weekends.  It shouldn’t.  Rain shouldn’t be viewed as a threat, it should be viewed as an opportunity.  Rain is the great equalizer, the leveler of the playing field.  Who builds your motor etc. all goes out the window in the wet.  Being successful in the rain can be broken down into 5 simple components:  1)  a good rain set-up (which I outline in the free trial of FIRESTONEKARTINFO, click here to receive yours), and 2) four basic on the track tasks I outline in this month’s FKI

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This may be my most controversial article.  Why?  Because if you go to any kart shop, go online, or talk to people at the track, they will have conflicting views on how to tune with axles.  Some will tell you that if you want to reduce rear grip, you have to soften the axle.  Others will tell you, quite categorically, that the only way to reduce rear grip is to stiffen the axle.  So who is right? Funnily enough, depending on which chassis you run, they could both be right.

I will give you a perfect example of how this is possible.  In the Tony Kart chassis lineup, they have two chassis that share the exact same frame geometry but have different tube thicknesses.  The Racer EVR uses 30mm tube thickness while the Krypton KRX uses 32mm tubing.  I have attached their homologation photos below.  (For those skeptics in the audience, print them up on thin paper, hold them over each other, and yes, it’ the exact same geometry.)  Anyway, if you want to reduce rear grip with the 32mm Krypton chassis, you need to soften the axle.  If you want to reduce the grip with the 30mm Racer chassis, you need to stiffen the axle.

Great, you say, that doesn’t help me at all.  You’re right, it doesn’t, and this is where the websites, shop owners, and fellow drivers end the conversation.  It’s their way or the highway.  So how do you tell which direction to go on the axle, I’ll tell you and the answer is simpler than you would ever imagine…

TonyKart Racer EVR (30mm Chassis) Homologation Drawing.  Same geometry as the chassis below but uses exactly opposite axle change to achieve the same goal!

TonyKart Krypton KRX (32mm Chassis) Homologation Drawing.  Same geometry as the chassis above but uses exactly opposite axle change to achieve the same goal!

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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The Bux Circlip Tool – just this side of magic!

There are a few specialty tools in karting that are a must-have.  They make your karting life so much easier you wonder why it took you so long to buy it in the first place.  This month’s Kart Tool of the Month – the Bux Circlip Tool – ranks highly if not first on this list.  The Bux Circlip Tool takes a job that may be one of the most difficult in karting – installing circlips – and makes it so easy, safe and quick to perform it’s not even funny.  As you will see in the article on rebuilding your own top end earlier this month, installing circlips is not only tricky to perform, but very difficult to describe.  There is a definite technique and art to installing a circlip and it is very difficult to do so without scratching the outside surface of the piston (or the inside for that matter).  Add the constant threat of the circlip springing out of the piston and flying into oblivion never to be seen again and you can see my point.

The Bux Circlip tool eliminates all of the above.  After reading the directions to quickly set the tool up for your piston type*, using the tool is literally this easy:  1.  Place the circlip on the end of the installer (pictured on the left above) making sure the circlip opening is in line with the groove on the installer handle, 2. Place the adapter/sleeve assembly (shown on the right in the picture above) of the installer snugly into the wrist pin bore.  3.  Insert the installer into the sleeve with the groove facing up (12 o’clock position) and slide the installer through the sleeve until the installer bottoms out and snaps the clip into place as shown in this link: http://www.fastech-racing.com/bux-circlip-tool.html.  That is it!  It will literally take you 15 seconds a side to install your circlips with no risk of losing the clip or scratching the piston. The Bux Circlip tool has single-handedly taken one of karting’s most difficult jobs and made it one of the easiest.  At $39.95, you will seriously wonder why you didn’t buy one yesterday!  You can find the Bux Circlip tool at Fastech-Racing. So, go online (http://www.fastech-racing.com/piston-tools/) or call Fastech (888-333-4181) today and save yourself time and aggravation for years to come.


* Tip:  Carefully remove some of your old circlips and use an old piston to set the depth of the adapter/sleeve assembly to your piston type.  Then practice installing an old circlip into the old piston to make sure you have everything set properly.  I found this very helpful.

While FKI is written primarily for the Sprint Kart racer, I know that some of you may also catch the occasional road race.  I will admit that when I first got into karting I swore that I would only kart on kart tracks.  I used to constantly say that “If you want to race on big car tracks, get a big car.”  Then in 2010, the ProKart series stopped at the Streets of Willow, a 1.6 mile road course with over 100 feet of elevation change.  The “Streets” features a 270 degree “Bowl Turn” with 20 degrees of banking (you could watch karts go through there like they were driving on a wall as you approached the turn), two 100 mph straights, a double right hander that perfectly emulated the long, double right hander (Turn 2) at Magny Cours (one of the best corners in all of Europe) and a blind, flat-out 90 mph kink.  Needless to say, I instantly became a huge fan and immediately erased my stupid “big car, big track” saying from my vocabulary.  But the big question I had going into the weekend was – how do I set my kart up for a road race?  Well, luckily one of my friends road races all the time and gave me the perfect (race winning) set-up which I will now impart to you…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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There are a couple of areas mechanically when you first get into karting that are fairly intimidating.  The braking system immediately comes to mind as one, the other would be the changing the Top End.  These are two areas where you feel you don’t want to get into the unknown and make a mistake as you definitely don’t EVER want to lose your brakes and you certainly don’t want to accidently do anything to cause your motor to lose power or blow.  Well, luckily changing the Top End, much like rebuilding the braking system, is fairly simple and straightforward.  Once someone walks you through it, it is relatively easy.  So let’s see what’s underneath that cylinder, take away the mystery, and give you the confidence to change your Top End like a pro…

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Categories : Engine Tuning, How To's
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If you have been reading your FKI’s and testing diligently, eventually you will notice certain tuning patterns emerge from your go kart chassis.  Pay attention to these patterns as every go kart has what I will term “tuning relationships” and once you see the pattern, you will dial yourself into any given track condition so much quicker.  Mastering tuning relationships can be the deciding factor between having a top-five go kart or a winning kart.  The quicker you get close to your ideal set-up, the quicker you can experiment with the smaller things to find that last tenth to push you much farther up the grid.  So what exactly am I talking about?  Well let me run you through a couple of examples which should help you determine your kart’s tuning relationships regardless of your chassis type…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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When I first started karting, I was presented with one of the best opportunities in my racing career.  Our family friend’s, the Jones (as in Parnelli Jones), had a dilemma on their hands as they had no way to get their youngest son Page (age 15 at the time) to the kart races as his older brother PJ (age 18 at the time) was moving up the ranks to race Midgets.  For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Parnelli Jones won Indy in 1963, could have won it 5 times, and is regarded as one of this country’s best all time drivers.  So, for two summers, I went to California, moved in with the Jones, and literally lived, slept, and ate karting.  In the first summer, Page and I competed in 28 races in 12 weekends.  It was karting heaven!  I was racing in one of karting’s hotbeds and had Parnelli Jones as a mentor.  I mention all the above because the biggest single element that I remember from this experience was Parnelli constantly telling Page and me that you need to be smooth and consistent to be fast.  Period.  He would drill that into our heads every single chance that he had.  Easy enough concept to understand but how do you become smooth and consistent?  Well, there are a number of things that you can do…

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Working the front office at SwedeTech, I receive a lot of phone calls and emails from many individuals.  Some own our engines, some own a SwedeTech accessory, and some just want technical help.

One of the most common questions I receive is, “Can you send me a jet chart?”

My first response is, “Do you own a SwedeTech engine?”

I will ask the customer about the specifications on the engine.  TM, Maxter, Pavesi, CR125, Modified CR125 or Stock CR125.  Blah, blah, blah.

It is very hard for us to supply a generic jet chart without knowing specifics from our customer.  A jet chart is not absolute, it offers a baseline to assist in tuning.  There is no magic jetting that we can just guess at over the phone.  But, there is a definite process you can follow to build your own jet chart…

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Categories : Engine Tuning
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Non-Reservoir go kart brakes are a little bit of an anomaly.  If you come from an automotive or race car background, when it comes to bleeding brakes, you are going to employ some kind of pump-and-hold technique using the brake pedal to pressurize the system while you open and close the caliper bleed screws to release the air bubbles and fill the system with fresh brake fluid.  If you have Non-Reservoir style brakes on your go kart, everything you know about bleeding brakes can be thrown out the window.  So how do you bleed this style of brakes, I’ll show you…

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Categories : How To's
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