Go Kart Steering System: How to Build a Go Kart

Go Kart Steering System: How to Build a Go Kart

Hey everybody, its KartFab here, and today
we are going to learn about assembling the go kart steering parts. This is for the go
kart kit that I got online, you can check out the links in the description, as well
as get free go kart plans on my website (KartFab.com). Alright, so the steering column is the first
thing we are going to look at. That’s the thing that rotates when you turn the steering
wheel that will move the pitman arm, tie rods, and eventually, your wheels. So the pitman
arm, steering stop, fixed bracket, collars, hub, and steering wheel all go together. We
are going to show you how they go together. So, you basically to make your tabs and your
pitman arm, you take 3/16″ steel, and cut it out. You are also going to want to cut
out the steering stop out of angle iron. So, if you look up here, this is the hub that
the steering wheel attaches to. It’s basically just a big flat washer that you get at a hardware
store. There are three holes in the steering wheel, so you are going to want to drill holes
out so you can bolt the hub onto the steering wheel. You mark it, drill it out, and then
make sure the dots line up. This next thing is a fixed bracket that you are going to drill
a 3/4″ hole through. This is the pitman arm, and you are going to drill a hole through
that for the tie rod bolt. It would be a good idea to grind off some sharp edges so you
don’t catch on them; then finish it up by removing the burrs. This next thing is the
column again, but if you notice, these collars don’t fit on very well, and the shaft has
to rotate very well within it. You just grind and polish a little bit off that shaft, then
the collars fit right in there. There’s a 1 5/8″ gap at the end of the steering shaft.
You are going to have to make sure that, that’s right on the money and only weld on one side
of this collar. The reason why is this lower support needs to have an open space in between
it to allow the column to pivot within it [the lower bracket], then weld the pitman
arm to the bottom of the shaft. Alright, so if you notice here, this pivots very well.
The steering stop that prevents you from over steering, needs to have a little bit of play
right there so that this lower bracket can rotate freely. Notice it rotates freely, (it
has a little bit of play room). That’s exactly what you are looking for. You do not want
this to bind. Next you have a little washer that you can weld to the opposite end of the
steering column. Make sure you have your collar in there so you don’t have to weld anything
on there and have to chop it off later. Then, you take the flat washer (the steering wheel
hub) and you put the bolts in it. You make sure that the pitman arm is pointing up with
one of the three supports for the steering wheel. The reason why you do this is, you
want to have a free spot for each hand when you are steering left and right. You don’t
want to have one of those three supports in the way. Alright, so the next thing we are
looking at is the steering hoop. It’s the thing that the column will be attached to.
Take your protractor, and you are going to want to cut out an exactly 51 degree angle
for the cuts for the top of the hoop and the two side supports. You can cut from both sides
if you need to. If you look at this, this is a little jig or setup that I use to prevent
warping. Whenever you weld, as you probably already know, things will tend to shift on
you, or warp. So, if you support everything when you tack weld, that will hold everything
in place. Then you do your final welds after you tack weld. Then, grind down your welds
if you want to make them look good, then take a polishing wheel and polish them up. Next,
you want to take the front of the go kart, and mark where the lower steering bracket
is going to go. The lower steering bracket is centered within the driver’s side. Then,
you mark the other side where the steering hoop will go. Then, you take your angle finder
and you rotate it to about 55 degrees. Then, you raise the steering column up and you just
tack weld. I want to repeat this, you just tack weld this one spot. The reason why you
want to tack weld that is that it will bind if you full weld everything, so just make
a few little welds on the top collar, then you rotate your pitman arm to about 45 degrees.
Notice it’s right there at 45 degrees, then rotate it the other way 45 degrees after you
make your first tack. Then,the steering stop will contact the front axle at 45 degrees
left and right. The next thing we are looking at is the kill switch bracket. There are two
holes you want to drill. I used about a 1 1/4″ flat bar, and I figured out- you know
– this is right about where I want to have the kill switch, so I used a c-clamp, marked
it with a razor blade, put a little dimple in there, and drilled the two holes out. The
video only shows one hole, but you drill one big hole and then a tiny hole for the ground.
Then, you weld it right up! It’s that simple. Next are the spindle brackets, these are very,
VERY critical welds. So, if you have a very small 90 amp welder, you will need to do a
couple passes on that. So, you tack weld them first right at 90 degrees (or a small 2 degree
incline from the 90’s), and then you fully weld. The welder I used was pretty powerful,
so I only did one pass. So again, if you have a very small welder, do a couple passes so
it will be a strong weld. Now, before you fully weld everything, you might want to check
the spindles and tie rods and make sure everything lines up the way you want it to line up. So
you assemble the kingpin bolt on the spindles (there is a right hand and a left handed spindle)
as well as the tie rods. You can adjust the tie rods by rotating the tie rod ends in and
out. If everything lines up great, you are good to go and fully weld. The final step
is to go ahead and cut out some spacers, or alternatively, you could just buy some spacers
at your hardware store. That is about a 1″ spacer that goes over the 5/8″ spindle bolt.
Put the rim on, put on your machine washer, and hand tighten the nut on it. So that’s
it! That’s what it should look like with the spacer and tire on it. That’s what the kill
switch will look like when its all bolted together, and the steering wheel, pitman arm,
all of the steering wheel assembly for your go kart is set up. So, if you like this video,
as always, give it a thumbs up, rate, and if you haven’t already, subscribe. The last
video that we looked at was how to install the seat and seat slider, the next one will
be the brakes. Thanks guys for watching this video, have a good one, check out the plans
at kartfab.com

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. At about the 2:35 mark you weld a small washer to one of the ends of the steering column, but I don't see that in the PDF plans? There it looks like the steering column is welded to the 2 1/2" OD washer.

    Can you clarify?


  2. hi 🙂
    when i convert from inch to cm : 41" = 104,… cm its not enough !! i think that its too small for an adulte !!
    (sorry for my poor english ! ) can i konw what do you think about that ?? thanks ! ^_^'

  3. Greetings from Venezuela, I really like your channel, it's fine. I always liked Go-kart, in my country it is difficult to do one but with effort and managed to go buying everything and I almost have everything, it is within your reach to help me with the plans, I'm looking for something easy to do and this model it is ideal. If you can help me with the plans and measures I appreciate it very much. Greetings from Venezuela and continue with the channel that is fine. My email if you can help me, [email protected]

  4. bro i need a help i want to know how to paint a fibreglass​ sample plz tell this in ur next video its urgent

  5. how you decided the angle of steering control arm?
    I am developing something similar to it so if there is any general angles for fixed radius of rotation , they may help alot.

  6. I notice some go karts have the tie rods at the back, and some (like yours) have the tie rods at the front. What difference does this make?

  7. Just finished a few runs with my grandkids up and down the street. One issue i experienced. I put the nuts on the spindles finger tight. After a few runs the right tire froze up and ruined the bearings on the right wheel. It had tightened itself so much that the tire wouldn't spin at all. Any suggestions to keep this from happening again. Also any suggestions where I can get new bearings? Also the clutch that came with the kit had set screws. Inside the clutch the keyway only went half way through the clutch assembly thus keeping the clutch 1 1/2 inches away from the engine. This pushed the motor mount plate off the frame. I had to weld extensions to the frame for the plate to bear on. You may want to address this with a different arrangement for the slots so the plate will bear on the frame. Anyway had a great time with the go cart just need some new bearings.

  8. bro ive watched alot of guys but you have given me complete confidence and inspiration…the world needs more people like you for sure

  9. plz show me how to calculate all the dimension for steering goemetry i am from D Y PATIL ENGINEERING COLLEGE AKURDI PUNE INDIA my team is working ona gokart n we are stuck on the steering goemetry plzz help

  10. Thanks for the video. How tight should the bolt and lock nut be on spindle?.im having steering issues. When i turn the cart pushes through the outside tire and slides. Any thoughts thanks

  11. I was thinking how to steer the wheels in school. I was thinking of gears then I knew it wouldn't work cuz if I steer. It would move the wheel forward. Then I tryed thinking of bars and stuff then it would be too hard to make and complicated. Thanks to you. Now I can make a steering mechanism

  12. Google 'Ackermann theory'BEFOREyou weld the tie rod arms.If out front,they need to be angled towards tire's inner sidewall,if theyre in behind axle,they need to be angled in toward the framerails.

  13. Hi, you explain really well, i tryed to do a go kart too and i put the spindle brackets with a 10° angle, because if you put it exactly at 90° the go kart won't bend. Thank you for this videos. It is very inspiring

  14. Excellent video. If I were you though, I would invest in a steel table top(36×36, or 48×48). Go to the scrap yard and you can find something that would work nicely. The second thing about the steel table would be no longer needing nails to hold your form. You can use magnets… Like nature intended! 😂😂😂 PS, please drill your wheel nuts and attach a cotter pin. Vibrations will ultimately cause the nut to loosen, and fall off. Hopefully not while you are riding fast.

  15. Sir, I urgently need your help.
    I have finished my go kart thanks to you and your tutorials.
    My front wheels turn at different angles!! If I turn right the right wheel turns about 30 degrees and the left turns 45 degrees. If I turn left the opposite happens. With your experience, pls share what makes the angle issue.
    Will appreciate your response

  16. what would the schematics look like if you made it with miniature springs for shock absorption. i would love to make a small racer cart lifted just a bit to add that, that way it'll not only be fast but smooth as well

  17. I have a kart frame I'm building it's an old race frame I think? I don't think it's home made. I can't find any info on it itself. It's definitely made for going in circles around a track. The steering spindles are at extreme angles and it always wants to turn you really have to hang on the wheel to keep it straight. I want to change that. Should I just cut and weld them back up straight?

  18. Ah this answers my question seconds into the video go karts should steer easily. Which is what I had been used to go karting for many yrs not professionally though. The reason I ask is one place I went to had karts that were well hard to steer the wheel was hard to turn and track was rough so trying to go full power was creating many times I felt I would crash. These were a different kart than I was use too as well though the ones I am use to are fast but not racing ones this ones looked faster but not sure if they were

  19. Ive watched your video.I'd point out that you have no Ackerman with the tie rod arms at a 90 degree to the spindles.A good rule of thumb is If the arms are out in front,they should be angled out,(with the tires straight ahead)so an imaginary line from center of tie rod and kingpin bolt should meet at the center of back axle.And if the arms are behind,angle them in toward frame.you'll be amazed at how much better they'll turn.No scuffing off the treads.(see my video. Go Kart steering explained .Including Ackermann theory. ) john wade,you tube.

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