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Archive for Editorials

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.

When viewing your Dyno Sheet from SwedeTech Racing Engines, the first question you might ask yourself is, “Where Are My Dynamometer’s Horsepower Numbers?”

Great question!  We don’t supply dyno numbers.  We do not want to understate the importance of having the proper tools and equipment to build a racing engine and the dynamometer is a huge asset.  However, we want to educate our customers on when the dyno numbers are important…

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Is that a picture of a new chassis in the ekartingnews classifieds? No! That’s my year old kart after being Spotlisized.

I have often been asked at the track how I keep my kart so clean.  I was considering doing an article on this subject anyway and then a subscriber asked to see an article on “chassis preservation” in the FKI survey, so here we are.  Now, before you possibly blow this article off thinking it will not make you any faster, I beg to differ.  Why?  Well, in my opinion, there are a number of reasons.

First and foremost, if you clean your kart often, you will find things and many times these things will adversely affect the performance of your kart and would otherwise go unnoticed.  The perfect example – a cracked or broken seat strut or seat tab.  I can’t tell you how many times I have chased an unexplainable oversteer condition only to find a broken strut while I was cleaning the kart.  The same could be said for the seat posts, especially the one on the engine side.  If this post is covered in a thick coat of baked-on chain lube and dirt, you are never going to be able to tell if it is cracked or broken until it gets very severe!

Here’s the other more theoretical side of my clean kart is a fast kart philosophy…

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Kart Tool - Makita

This tool will save you so much time and energy at the track it’s not even funny. Hey, Christmas is right around the corner…

Hands down this is one of the best kart tools I own!  Why?  Because this tool makes my karting life so much easier its not even funny.  It is light weight, recharges quickly, has a long battery life between recharges and perhaps most importantly, it has the perfect built-in torque rate for karting.  You literally hold the trigger down to tighten a nut or bolt until you hear a couple of “ratchets” on the wrench and you are good to go!  No need to re-check the torque rate by hand (although I highly encourage you to do so when you first use it to inspire your own confidence in the tool.)  It literally feels like Makita specifically built this wrench for karting – its that good!

I use this tool for almost everything.  While I purchased the Makita primarily for taking the tires on and off the kart, I also use it on the engine mount, the spindle bolts and for removing and installing the rear gear on my shifter kart.

So, to be specific (since they’re are many Makita cordless impact wrenches out there) you are looking for the BTD142.  Among other things, most of the other Makitas have higher torque rates which are too high for your karting needs.  I bought my Makita at Home Depot but just went online and found one for $179 which includes a nice carrying case and an extra battery.  I know $179 may sound like a lot of money to spend on a kart tool, but I am confident you will actually be thankful you spent the money once you have this tool.  In fact, you may even wonder how you survived so long without it!

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SwedeTech-nobackgroundSwedeTech is preparing for the 2015 SKUSA SuperNationals which is only weeks away. For most of us, this is our largest and favorite event of the year. What other event can you race side by side with the local club “moving Chicane” or karters that have progressed to the highest pinnacles of motorsports? Some classes will have 80 entries, of which half will never see the green flag of the main event. Others are happy to be wandering around the pits looking at the massive rigs and huge tents. The SuperNationals truly is an event.

When Nick asked me to prepare another SwedeTech Corner, my initial thought was to write one on data acquisition and how to determine if your chassis is slowing down the engine. Then it dawned on me, most of the tech support questions I receive, the customer can barely turn on a MyChron, much less download the data and create readable graphs. As a FIRESTONEKARTINFO subscriber, I have to believe your level and need for knowledge is greater than the average karter…

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As a subscriber to FIRESTONEKARTINFO, you thirst for more knowledge, you are very hands on, and you want to have an edge over your competition.  Karting should be about drivers or families working on their own equipment, as it is the grassroots bastard child of racing that receives little respect from those that leave us hardcore karters behind.  It is the simplest form of motorsports and a very cost effective way to feel the sensation of high speed cornering and head tilting acceleration (if your kart has a SwedeTech engine).

On that note, I am not going to highlight one particular engine package this month, but the complete karting package as a whole.  In my opinion, one of the most overlooked resources easily available to karters is the rule book and/or technical regulations available from every major karting series…

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FORGET ABOUT THE POINTS!  Don’t forget about the goal. If you are paid to race a kart, and your livelihood depends on winning the championship, and your future revolves around collecting a piece of hardware or tangible recognition of this past year’s accomplishments, you will think I’m an idiot.  For the rest, read on.

The title may sound very strange, especially since this newsletter targets those who are honing their karting craft.  You might read the title and say to yourself, “What’s this crap, I’m a racer, I want to win!”  Karting makes up a very unique group of people and we all have at least one thing in common, Karting.  I’ve been around the sport for over 17 years.  I’ve raced from the club level to the national level and I have also lived the different ‘types’ of characters you will find at that the track…

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Kart Master's seat struts are slotted to accomodate quicker ride height changes and greater flexibility in mounting. At $19.99 and stainless steel to boot, one of the more clever ideas in karting. (www.kart-master.com)

A seat strut is just a seat strut, right?  You measure how long a strut you need, bend the ends a bit to fit the chassis and seat, drill the seat holes, bolt it in and go.  Pretty simple…

Well, no, not necessarily.  How many times have you tried to fit a seat strut to a hole in your old seat only to realize that it is close but you have to try to slot one of the holes with your drill to make it work.  Or, you go to make a rear ride height change and your struts no longer fit in their original seat holes so you have to move them and drill yet another hole in the side of your seat.  Either situation is far from ideal, time consuming, and generally a pain in the ass, especially if you are rushing to get back on the track by the next practice session to try your ride height change.

Enter Kart Master and their full line of slotted seat struts.  This is one of the more clever ideas I’ve seen in karting making what appears to be a simple part even better.  Kart Master’s slotted seat struts allow you to have some adjustment in your seat struts.  Now when you go to make rear ride height changes, you simply loosen your seat struts, make the ride height change, and then re-tighten the struts.  This saves a ton of time and aggravation and actually makes it possible to honestly back-to-back a rear ride height change.  If you are mounting a Kart Master strut to you existing seat, the slotted ends give you a greater chance of using a preexisting hole.  Either way, they are really cool.

To take advantage of the strut’s adjustability…

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SuperNats By The Numbers

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For American Karters, November only means one thing – The SuperNats.  It’s our Month of May, our Indy 500.  I wrote this article two years ago after the 2010 SuperNats but am re-publishing it for two reasons: first, the numbers still astound me every time I read them.  But perhaps more importantly, nothing speaks more to learning how to squeeze every tenth out of you and your kart than this race.  Just look at how many karts qualify within 1 second of pole in every class and you will see what I mean – there is nowhere to hide.  So read on, and then think what gaining a tenth or two more would mean to you…

Number of Karters (Entries):  491

Number of countries represented: 23 (listed below)

Number of countries if felt like I walked across to get from my hotel room to my pit area:  1.2

Number of sick, full-sized IndyCar type transporters like the one pictured above: 10+


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Rubens Barrichello on his way to the Formula Opel Lotus Championship as a 17 year old!

In January of 1990, the Opel Lotus Euroseries was about to have the deepest, most competitive season in its 11 year history.  As a one-make “wings and slicks” series (everyone had the same car, engine, and tires) with sponsorship from GM and eight race dates held in conjunction with Formula 1, the Euroseries had quickly and firmly established itself as a stepping stone to Formula 1.

The sheer depth and talent of the 1990 field was attracting a lot of pre-season media attention.  The 35+ car field consisted of 15 Formula Ford champions, 13 Karting Champions, and two World Karting Champions from 15 different countries including: Rubens Barrichello, David Coultard, Gil de Ferran, Kenny Brack, Andre Ribiero (former Tasman and Penske IndyCar driver), Pedro Lamy (Lotus F1), and Vincenzo Sospiri (World Karting Champion ’87, F3000 Champion ’95, F1, IRL).  Average age – 21.5.  All of the above drivers were being circulated in the media as the potential series champions due to their blistering pre-season open test times, except for 17 year old Rubens Barrichello.  Then the season started.

In what seemed like out of nowhere, Rubens took the 1990 season by storm with 6 wins, 7 poles, 7 fastest laps, and 8 podiums on his way to the Championship.  Keep in mind this is a series that was oversubscribed and sent people home on many occasions.  I know, I was one of them.  The rumor in the paddock was that Rubens and his Draco team had found something, found that magic bullet in a highly policed one-make series with limited adjustments.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  More importantly, what Rubens actually did to achieve his success can be replicated by you in your karting program…

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