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Archive for How To’s

Axle Collett Sleve

As I mentioned in my previous article on axles, changing axles is one of the most tedious changes you can make on your kart.  Enter the axle collett system.  Not only does this system simplify the whole axle changing process, it is much quicker and eliminates the damage set screws inflict on your axle.  All the above being said, the collett system does require a slightly different procedure to change the axle and if you are not familiar with its subtleties, you will never get the axle out of the kart…

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Categories : How To's
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Seat Mounting Tool

You may read the title of this article and realize that there has already been an FKI article on installing your kart’s seat.  True, but that article was written so you could install a seat without the aid and use of a Seat Mounting Tool.  As you may have deduced from the first article, mounting a seat properly is a cumbersome and time consuming affair.  Enter the Seat Mounting Tool (February’s Kart Tool of The Month).  Not only does the Seat Mounting Tool (SMT) make the process a definite one-man job, it cuts the time in half.  Having just used the SMT to move my seat position, this tool is worth its weight in gold.  So let me walk you through the seat mounting process using the SMT and pass on a few pointers along the way…

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Rebuilding Brake Calipers is not as daunting as it looks.

Hopefully for most of you, your kart’s brakes will work fine with regular bleeding and brake pad maintenance. But, if you check your calipers regularly (which I highly recommend) and notice that one piston is slower to move than the other or you have a pulling problem with your front brakes that won’t go away when you bleed them, you may have to rebuild your caliper to fix a bad seal or scarred brake piston. If you see a leak on one of your calipers, you definitely have to rebuild the caliper. Don’t worry, it is not that big of a job and can usually be accomplished in under an hour…

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Categories : How To's
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Oct
08

How To: Bleed Reservoir Brakes

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Go Kart brakes are pretty impressive these days.  Not only do they replicate the stopping power of their big car brethren, some of the car racing big boys have entered the karting arena, most notably Brembo.  Not to be outdone, the kart manufacturers have come up with some pretty impressive systems of their own with all the trick big car features such as self adjusting pads, ceramics, and floating discs.  Nonetheless, the best designed brakes in the world won’t function very well if they are not bled properly.  All it takes is a couple of air bubbles for you to be very disappointed or even outright frustrated with your brakes.  So what’s the best way to bleed them?  I’ll explain and explore the two common techniques so you can try both and decide which one works best for you…

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Prospeed Components’ Perimeter Throttle Kit should be standard equipment on all karts. It’s that good.  (Click on picture to enlarge)

Ever look at your kart and wonder why the throttle cable adjustment is so far away from the throttle pedal?  Ever think to yourself that as beautifully engineered as your kart is why does the throttle cable look like an after-thought that has never been addressed since the first kart was invented in 1959.  Well, luckily for us Roger Hargens of Prospeed Components did and has come up with the best throttle cable routing system I have ever seen.  Not only is it beautifully engineered, it is 100% functional in its purpose, completely eliminating the trailing throttle understeer caused by most kart’s current throttle cable set-up.  The system is so cool, almost everyone that has seen it on my kart has vowed to get one.  Once installed, it looks like a factory part worthy of its place with the rest of your kart’s components…

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The Sniper Adjuster System. (Click on image to enlarge)

Before you blow off this article because you don’t have a Sniper Adjuster system on your kart, might want to look into it.  The reason I say this is the Sniper pill system is the only system that allows you to unilaterally change your camber without affecting/altering your caster setting and vice versa.  As I discussed in the Tuning With Caster (FKI Free Trial Issue) article, even making a small caster change with the 20 hole TonyKart caster pill set-up will slightly affect and change the camber setting (and this is a great system).  The Sniper Adjuster system is only $58 and can be fitted to most kart’s with a 22 mm caster pill opening.[i] Perhaps most importantly, you can make both caster and camber changes very quickly (5-10 min) WITHOUT having to re-align your kart.  That being said, having used the system, there are a few tips to ensure you make the changes accurately as well as quickly…


[i] Editors Note – The Sniper Adjuster system will not fit on all karts.  Check with the dealer on your kart’s yoke dimensions as two 4mm holes need to be tapped into frame (and you will need to buy the tap).  The system is available for karts with both 8 and 10 mm kingpin bolts.  Check with your dealer to be sure your current bolts will work or you can purchase some for about $10 each.  You will need a “Neutral” or center pill on the bottom which you most likely already have but will want to check.

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Categories : Chassis Tuning, How To's
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Before you read this article and install your seat, be sure to read the Seat Position and You article in the November FKI newsletter to determine how and where to place your seat.  While the Seat Position article addresses how to determine where to place your seat if you are starting from scratch (new go kart, new seat), I would advise that if you are replacing an existing seat, before you remove the old seat, take all the measurements listed in the article to give you a starting point for your new seat.  Keep in mind any factors that may make you adjust those measurements before you settle on your final seat placement – i.e. you bought the kart from a smaller guy and you’re a bigger guy or you are replacing a factory seat with an aftermarket seat that is a different shape/and or size etc…

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One could argue that for the sake of logical progression, this should have been my third article after Intro to Karting and How To Buy a Kart, especially if you are new to go karting.  Since you as a driver make up almost 50% of your go kart’s overall weight, seat position is critical to your kart’s handling as it is the biggest factor in determining your go kart’s weight distribution.  Get the weight distribution wrong with improper seat position and you can throw all the set-up changes you want at your go kart and it will not handle the way you want it to.

Aside from the basic weight distribution factors, there are considerations to make regarding seat position if you are a particularly tall or shorter driver or race on a particularly high or low grip track.  Changing your seat position could be the change you are looking for to help your go kart come alive and respond to the other changes you have been throwing at it.  While I include an article on how to install the seat in the November Newsletter, read this first…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning, How To's
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Covering your tire’s  basics ensures optimum performance.

As a non-sprung or non-suspended vehicle, your kart’s tires are an increasingly important factor in the handling equation since there is no suspension to help the tire grip the pavement.  I could go on about how a kart tire is therefore a major factor in determining a karts spring rate etc. but my main point is that given their increased importance to your laptime, getting the most from your tires is critical.  Consequently, there are some tire basics that you should know to ensure you get the maximum performance from your tires…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning, How To's
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Don’t worry, axle changes are easier than they appear!

It’s no mistake that I am starting my How To series of articles with changing the axle.  First, I still remember as a new karter how daunting the task looked so I want to give all new karters the reassurance that A: you can easily do this and B: once you get your steps down using tips from the newsletter and develop a consistent routine, this is actually only a 15-20 minute job.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, axles are one of the biggest tuning components on your kart.  Why?  Well, with no suspension a kart’s “spring rate” is determined by the chassis design and flex at the front and the axle’s flex at the rear.  Most karts these days have interchangeable front bars to change the spring rate of the front of the chassis.  Nonetheless, the majority of a kart’s front spring rate is dictated through chassis design and tubing thickness.

The rear of the kart, on the other hand, relies on the axle to attach the kart to the tires.  Therefore, that distance of metal axle between the rear tire and the kart is essentially the kart’s rear spring rate.  Just as spring choice is the starting point of all big cars set-ups, axles are the starting point of all kart set-ups.  To boil it down even more simply, when I arrived at the track when I was racing big cars, the first thing I’d ask my engineer is what springs we were starting on.  Today, if I am going to a new track and am trying to get a starting set-up, the first thing I determine is what axle am I putting in the kart to start the weekend with.

So that being said, I have broken the article down into two parts…

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