The 5 Best Torque Converters for Go-Karts (With Buying Guide)

In this review, we’ll be taking a look at the best torque converters for your go-kart. We’ll be evaluating each torque converter based on affordability, build quality, components, belt size, chain size, dimensions, and specifications. 

After the review section, you can find a buying guide in which we will be discussing several aspects on what to look out for when buying a go-kart torque converter. The buying guide aims to help you with your purchase decision.

Torque converters are variable transmissions for go-karts that are attached to the side of the engine. They provide a variable gear ratio and are therefore ideal for lower-speeds, heavy stop-and-go situations or climbing uneven terrain. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best torque converters for go-karts.

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1. Moosun Torque Converter (30 Series)


Features

  • Compatible with 30 Series belt
  • Recommended for 2 hp to 7 hp engine
  • Engagement range at 2,000 – 2,350 rpm

The Moonsun Torque Converter is the best go-kart torque converter in this list as it strikes the perfect balance between affordability and quality. It’s a direct aftermarket replacement for the Comet TAV2 torque converter and is compatible with 30 series belts that have an asymmetrical design.

This torque converter is compatible with any straight crankshaft that has a 3/4” diameter and is a great fit for homemade, custom, Yerf Dog and Manco go-karts. It also comes with two sprockets. The 10-tooth sprocket fits #40/41/420 chain and the 12-tooth sprocket fits any #35 chain.

It provides smooth acceleration and reduces the engine load. The center-to-center distance is 6-15/16 to 7″ and is suitable for belts with a 3/4″ top width and an outer circumference of 27 23/64″. The Moonsun Torque Converter also comes with the required mounting hardware and instructions for easy installation. It’s the perfect torque converter if you’re planning on building your own go-kart or replacing an existing unit.

Specifications

Driven Pulley Diameter: 6″
Driver Pulley Clutch Bore: 3/4″
Belt Top Width: 3/4″
Sprocket Chain (10 Tooth): #40/41 chain
Sprocket Chain (12 Tooth): #35 chain
Engagement Range: 2,000 – 2,350 rpm
Recommended Engine: 2 hp – 7 hp

Kit

1 x Drive Belt
1 x Plastic Cover
1 x 3/4″ Driver Pulley
1 x 5/8″ Driven Pulley (6″ Diameter)
1 x Aluminum Mounting Plate
1 x 10 Tooth Sprocket for #40 #41 Chain
1 x 12 Tooth Sprocket for #35 Chain
1 x Mounting Hardware Kit

2. AcPulse Torque Converter (30 Series)


Features

  • Compatible with 30 Series belt
  • Recommended for 2 hp to 7 hp engine
  • Engagement range at 2,150 – 2,550 rpm

The AcPulse Torque Converter is another great option for go-karts, as it’s high-quality and reasonably priced. It’s made of a durable iron and aluminium material, which is very wear-resistant. Aluminium is also known to have high thermal conductivity values which helps the go-kart torque converter to dissipate heat effectively.

Overall, it’s a great Comet TAV2 aftermarket replacement that has similar qualities and specifications as the Moonsun Torque Converter. The AcPulse Torque Converter is compatible with 3/4″ crankshafts and a great fit for Predator 212cc engines.

This kit contains two sprockets that are compatible with a #35 chain and a #40/41 chain. The pulley belt is an asymmetrical type with a top width of 3/4″. Unfortunately, this torque converter doesn’t come with assembly instructions. However, you can refer to the FAQ for further information. All things considered, the AcPulse Torque Converter is a suitable transmission for homemade and off-road go-karts.

Specifications

Driven Pulley Diameter: 6″
Driver Pulley Clutch Bore: 3/4″
Belt Top Width: 3/4″
Sprocket Chain (10 Tooth): #40/41 chain
Sprocket Chain (12 Tooth): #35 chain
Engagement Range: 2,150 rpm – 2,550 rpm
Recommended Engine: 2 hp – 7 hp

Kit

1 x Plastic Cover
1 x Aluminum Mounting Bracket Plate
1 x 10 Tooth Sprocket for #40/41 chain
1 x 12 Tooth Sprocket for #35
1 x 5/8″ bore driven pulley 6″ diameter
1 x 3/4″ Driver pulley
1 x Full Mounting hardware Kit
1 x Drive belt

3. GoPowerSports Torque Converter (30 Series)


Features

  • Compatible with 30 Series belt
  • Recommended for 2 hp to 8 hp engine
  • Engagement range at 2,000 – 2,450 rpm

The GoPowerSports Torque Converter is a great fit for go-karts with a Predator, Harbor Freight, Tecumseh, Briggs & Stratton or Honda engine. GoPowerSports is a large wholesaler and retail distributor of high-quality go-kart parts. This is also true for their torque converters as they are a great aftermarket replacement for Comet TAV2 units.

It features a heavy-duty aluminium backplate for effective heat dissipation and a plastic belt guard that encases the pulleys and drive belt. The belt guard is a nice addition, as it protects the torque converter belt from external damage. The driver pulley bore is 3/4″, whereas the driven pulley has a bore of 5/8″.

The GoPowerSports Torque Converter is compatible with Comet 30 Series asymmetrical belts, or any equivalent that match the 30 Series belt specifications. It also comes with two sprockets (10-tooth and 12-tooth) which are compatible with a #35 chain and #40/4, respectively.

Specifications

Driven Pulley Diameter: 6″
Driver Pulley Clutch Bore: 3/4″
Belt Top Width: 3/4″
Sprocket Chain (10 Tooth): #40/41 chain
Sprocket Chain (12 Tooth): #35 chain
Engagement Range: 2,000 rpm – 2,450 rpm
Recommended Engine: 2 hp – 8 hp

Kit

1 x Belt Guard
1 x Aluminum Mounting Bracket Plate
1 x 10 Tooth Sprocket for #40/41 chain
1 x 12 Tooth Sprocket for #35
1 x 5/8″ bore driven pulley 6″ diameter
1 x 3/4″ Driver pulley
1 x Full Mounting hardware
1 x Drive belt

4. Bullet Lines Torque Converter (30 Series)


Features

  • Compatible with 30 Series belt
  • Recommended for 5 hp to 9 hp engine
  • Engagement range at 2,350 rpm

The Bullet Lines Torque Converter is another great option for smaller sized go-kart engines such as the Predator 212cc. It requires no external modifications and can be installed fairly quickly. It’s a torque converter that is similar to the Comet TAV2 and is compatible with almost all go-kart engines.

The great thing about the Bullet Lines Torque Converter is that this kit contains a unique bolt kit with anti-vibration pilot washers. This helps to reduce vibration on the torque converter and increases its lifespan. There’s also an extra piece of hardware included that makes it uniquely compatible and suitable for Predator 212cc engines.

Although it has a rated engagement range of 2,350 rpm, it can be adjusted from a minimum of 1,200 rpm to a maximum of 3,100 rpm. However, this may require additional springs. Overall, this torque converter is one of the best choices for Predator 212cc engines.

Specifications

Driven Pulley Diameter: 6″
Driver Pulley Clutch Bore: 3/4″
Belt Top Width: 3/4″
Sprocket Chain (10 Tooth): #40/41 chain
Sprocket Chain (12 Tooth): #35 chain
Engagement Range: 2,350 rpm
Recommended Engine: 5 hp – 9 hp

Kit

1 x Belt Guard
1 x Aluminum Mounting Bracket Plate
1 x 10 Tooth Sprocket for #40/41 chain
1 x 12 Tooth Sprocket for #35
1 x 5/8″ bore driven pulley 6″ diameter
1 x 3/4″ Driver pulley
1 x Full Mounting hardware
1 x Drive belt

5. Jeremywell Torque Converter (40 Series)


Features

  • Compatible with 40 Series belt
  • Recommended for 8 hp to 18 hp engine
  • Engagement range at 1,600 – 3,300 rpm

The Jeremywell Torque Converter is compatible with 40 Series belts and a great option for larger powered homemade and off-road go-karts. This torque converter kit is relatively lean, as it only features a driver pulley, a driven pulley and a compatible torque converter 40 Series belt.

This is a much larger torque converter than the typical TAV2 aftermarket units and therefore only suitable if you’re using a larger go-kart engine. The driven pulley is 7.5” and therefore requires a 40 Series belt, which is included in the kit.

Unfortunately, there is no mounting bracket, hardware or belt cover included. You could purchase these parts separately or opt for a different version. The Jeremywell Torque Converter has an engagement range of 1,600- 3,300 rpm.

Specifications

Driven Pulley Diameter: 7.5″
Driver Pulley Clutch Bore: 1″
Belt Top Width: 7/8″
Engagement Range: 1,600 – 3,300 rpm
Recommended Engine: 8 hp – 18 hp

Kit

1 x Driven pulley
1 x Driver pulley
1 x Drive belt

Buying Guide

In this section, I’ll be pointing out some of the aspects that you should consider before deciding which torque converter is best for your go-kart. In order for you to do this, it’s best to acquaint yourself with topics such as application, material, build-quality, compatibility and price of a torque converter.

Application

The first thing you should consider when purchasing a torque converter is it’s application. In other words, you should determine what type of go-kart you have or are intending to build.

A torque converter is a variable transmission for go-karts that has the ability to go into overdrive. It usually starts out with a great ratio of 2.7 : 1 and can go as low as 0.9 : 1. This makes it extremely versatile for lower torque ranges, climbing uneven terrain and stop-and-go-traffic.

Homemade Go-Karts

Torque converters are great for custom and homemade go-karts. If you’re building your own go-kart, it’s usually advisable to go for a smaller to mid-sized torque converter. Any aftermarket TAV2 (30 Series belts) would be a good choice, as they’re compatible with almost any type of go-kart engine.

Off-Road Go-Karts

If you own an off-road go-kart, you’ll notice that torque converters are very common. This is because they handle heavy loads and low-speeds better than other transmissions. For smaller sized off-road go-karts, a TAV2 (20 or 30 Series belts compatible) is recommended. They’re compact and should suffice. If you own a larger off-road go-kart it’s highly recommended to use a larger torque converter, that supports a 40 Series belt.

Racing Go-Karts

Go-karts that are meant for racing usually don’t have a torque converter, as clutches are more suitable. However, under certain circumstances you could opt for a torque converter instead. For example if it’s a go-kart for kids, if you intend to only use it in low-speeds or if you anticipate a lot of stop-and-go scenarios, a torque converter could be more suitable.

Material

Torque converters are designed to take heavy loads. This means that the pulley and belt system will create a lot of heat, as the crankshaft spins. Therefore, it’s important that a torque converter is made with high-quality and durable parts.

You’ll notice that all of the torque converters in this list (besides the Jeremywell Torque Converter) have an aluminium backplate. Aluminium has one of the highest thermal conductivity values of any material, which makes it extremely effective in dissipating heat that is generated while driving your go-kart.

You should always ensure that you get a torque converter with an aluminium backplate, as it functions as a heat sink. An overheating torque converter will lead to increased part and belt wear.

Contents

Most of the torque converters come in a kit that you can easily assemble on to the engine of your go-kart. It’s important that you ensure that it contains all the parts that are needed. You should make sure that it has at least two pulleys, a belt and the required hardware for mounting.

However, it’s best if the torque converter kit contains all the added parts such as an aluminum backplate, belt guard and two sprockets. Here’s a list of components that you should expect from the best go-kart torque converter kits:

  • Drive Belt
  • Driver Pulley
  • Driven Pulley
  • Belt Guard
  • Aluminum Backplate
  • Sprockets (usually 10-tooth & 12-tooth)
  • Mounting hardware

Compatibility

Another important thing to do is to ensure that the torque converter is compatible with your belt. The best go-kart torque converters in this list come with a compatible belt (30 or 40 Series).

If you have an existing belt that you want to use, you’ll need to check that the measurements of the belt are compatible with the torque converter. To check belt and torque converter compatibility, you can use the belt size chart. In this chart, you’ll be able to see all compatible belt sizes for your torque converter.

Price

The torque converters in this list are all reasonably priced with an excellent cost-to-performance ratio. A high-quality aftermarket torque converter will cost about $90 to $110. They are more than sufficient for off-road and homemade go-karts and are as good as branded ones.

The normal price for a branded torque converter would cost you about 2 to 3 times more for the same quality. It’s always best to decide on your budget first and then select a torque converter that fits comfortably in that range.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that I have received through comments, messages and emails. If you would like to have a question added, please get in touch with me.

When to Choose a Go-Kart Torque Converter Over a Clutch?

To give you the short answer, go-kart torque converters are most suitable for off-road, custom, kid and homemade go-karts. It’s also suitable for go-karts that are often in a low-speed or stop-and-go situation.

The reason for this is rather simple. Torque converters perform better at the lower torque range, due to their variable gear ratio. It can easily adapt according to the engine’s rpm and has the ability to dynamically change the gear ratio.

The same thing cannot be said about a go-kart clutch. Clutches perform better at higher torque ranges and are therefore more common in racing go-karts. They feel “snappier” and offer a better top speed. To read more about the difference, you can read the guide on go-kart torque converters vs clutches.

What Engines Are Torque Converters Compatible With?

Torque Converters are compatible with most vertical 2-stroke go-kart engines. It depends on the engine design, but most of them are compatible with go-kart engines from brands such as:

  • Tecumseh
  • Honda
  • Briggs & Stratton
  • Predator
  • Harbour Freight
  • Titan
  • And many more…

What Kind of Gear Ratio Can I Expect From a Torque Converter

For a standard TAV2 equivalent torque converter that is compatible with a 30 Series belt, the gear ratio usually starts around 2.7 : 1. At higher rpm ranges of the engine, the torque converter can go into overdrive and dynamically adjust the gear ratio to about 0.9 : 1.

How Do I Install a Torque Converter?

Unfortunately, most of the torque converter kits do not come with an installation manual. However, the good news is that installing a torque converter is really easy and very straightforward. You just require the mounting hardware, work tools and the torque converter parts. No welding is required, only assembling the parts. 

If you require a guide on how to install a torque converter on a go-kart you can refer to this video. It shows you all the individual steps of the installation process.

2 thoughts on “The 5 Best Torque Converters for Go-Karts (With Buying Guide)”

  1. Hello, I am interested in information regarding motorcycle engines in kart application. The intent is for me to build unit that I can use off road. Can a torque converter be use with a 500 cc engine (or larger)? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hey Donald,

      Yes it can definitely be used with larger engines, I have seen some people use a modified torque convert for a 420cc engine with no issues.
      However, I’m unsure if your motorcycle engine would be compatible. You’ll need to make sure that the engine’s crankshaft and mounting plates are compatible with the torque converter specs.

      Reply

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