How to build a go kart

If you have always wondered how to build a go kart, we have just the tutorial for you. A man-project, this do it yourself is a great undertaking for father and son.

Note that, when it comes to building go karts that are driven by engines, it is suggested that you have some knowledge of axles, engines, cutting and welding. Start out with a smaller project if you are not yet confident in your go kart building skills or find go karts for sale on Junk Mail.

Frames-for- a-go-kart

1. Planning your Go Kart

First, you will need to get a solid plan into place. Draw up your diagrams and plans, making them as detailed as you possibly can. Note that your basics here include the braking and steering systems, an engine as well as a chassis.

Getting your measurements right is key. Your measurements will vary depending on who this go kart is for.

  • Children: A length of 1.3 meters and a width of 0.76 meters is perfect.
  • Adults: If your go kart is for an adult, a length of 1.8 meters and a width of 1 meters is ideal.

2. The supplies

Once your planning is all mapped out, it is time to gather your supplies. Note that there is absolutely no need to buy brand-new supplies. Visit your local scrap yard and don’t forget to salvage old parts from riding lawnmowers. Get creative with acquiring your supplies – repair men and scrap yards might have just the parts you need.

You will need:



  • Between 9.2 and 10 meters of square tubing approximately 2.5 centimetres in diameter.
  • Between 1.8 and two meters of round, steel bar stock which has a two centimetre diameter.
  • Bar stock with a diameter of 1.5 centimetres and a length of 1.8 to two meters.
  • A thick steel plate that is a little bigger in width and length than the engine you choose to use for your go kart.
  • Material for making your floorboards. Metal and plywood works great for this.
  • An old seat. If you can’t find an old seat that will work for your kart, you can make your own by making use of plywood and foam.


  • A four-cycle engine that has a horsepower of between 10 and 15 is ideal for go karts.
  • Get your bolts and washers ready.
  • You will also need a gas tank and a chain that will fit your sprocket.

Drive Train:

  • Here you will need all the wheels – the steering wheels as well as your go kart wheels.
  • A brake and throttle pedal.
  • A drive shaft, handbrake and gears.
  • Bearings and a steering shaft.

3. Get cutting

Now it is time to cut your tubing to the suitable lengths. Go karts usually feature a camber angle at the front – this allows your wheels to turn, in turn allowing the chassis to twist. In order to make this ‘twist’ a little easier, it is suggested that you mount a Kingpin, which will be your main pivot in your kart’s steering mechanism, at the front corners (where your go kart wheels will be).


4. Assembly

First, you will need to construct your axle. Here you will use a straight piece of steel rod and bushings attached to your go kart frame. Keep your go kart’s assembly in place by drilling cotter pins and using washers.

Next, install your front stubs and make sure that turning is easy. Attach your Kingpin to your steering arm, allowing for a minimum of 110 degrees angle on the front wheels.

Your rear wheel and axle assembly is next. Assemble your axle carrier with a bearing bracket – this allows you to weld your axle to the go kart’s frame while being able to spin freely.

You will now have to weld a steel plate onto the chassis. This plate needs to be secured with high-tensile lock nuts and bolts, effectively squeezing the bearing. Do note that, while you can build these systems for go karts yourself, you can also buy it, making the job a little easier.


5. The throne

If you can’t find an appropriately sized car seat, or recycle one from an old lawnmower or even used go karts, you can always make your own by simply using plywood as your base, high density foam as your seat and material (such as vinyl). You can do this by installing your plywood seat using T-nuts. After your seat is secure, the next step in this how to build a go kart tutorial is to cover it with a high density foam and add a material over it as the finishing touch.


6. Mounting your engine

Weld a piece of steel plate (the one just a little bigger than your engine) to the rear of the go kart’s frame. After the steel plate is secure, place your engine onto it and carefully mark the holes where your mounting bolts will be. Remember that your engine’s pulley should match up with your axle’s drive pulley.

It is a good idea to attach your go kart’s drive pulley onto the axle before you mount the axle in the bushings. You can either weld it or make use of a screw to hold it in the correct position.


7. Getting the steering right

Here, you will use your bar stock (with a 1.5 centimetre diameter) for linkages and your steel bar stock (with a two centimetre diameter) to build your kart’s axle. Also note that you will also have to make ninety degree bends. This can be done by simply heating your steel with a torch.

8. Don’t keep rolling

Now you can start attaching your wheels to the axles using hubs. Once your wheels are on, you will have to start working on the kart’s brakes. The best system to use in this case is a calliper assembly and fixing a disc onto the rear axle of the kart. You can also salvage these types of assemblies from other go karts and old riding lawnmowers.

After your assembly is complete, install your foot-operated brake pedal.


9. Give it throttle

Depending on your go kart’s engine, you can either assemble a foot pedal or set up a hand throttle (like you would see on a lawnmower).

10. Checking your go kart

Finally, your go kart is fully assembled and it is time to give it a test drive. Before taking your go kart out though, it is very important to first test your suspension and brakes. Remember to check your welds, bolts, screws and engine mounting before taking it out to an open area.

Remember that, when looking into how to build a go kart, Google is your friend. There are tons of great resources, videos and tutorials available for download online. If DIY is not your thing, Junk Mail features a number of go karts for sale at great prices.


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Annabel Schoeman

SEO'er, blogger and lover all things weird, wacky and interesting.

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5 Responses

  1. azg george says:

    Thanks to Annabel Schoeman for this wonderful article. I believe that these points for a go kart are meant to inspire me and help me to determine what items I will need to create the best go kart possible.

  2. Robert Smith says:

    It’s an awesome article about go kart builds.Build a go-kart for myself I found another article from google. here the link and I think it will help you for build your own go-kart.

  3. Patricia Russell says:

    Thanks Annabel Schoeman for sharing this wonderful guide.

  4. robin says:

    Go Karts is one of the most popular kid’s sports item.

  5. Mary Harper says:

    Building go kart is not a easy task if someone does not have any knowledge especially in mechanical field.Choosing right engine is the key .Also building fram is depends on the motive of rider what he or she what to do .If its for racing my opinion is to buy from establish company rather than build.If its for off road or for kids then we can try to build something customized version .

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