One of the most crucial components of a go-kart is the transmission setup. On go-karts that are equipped with a torque converter, belt wear is a common problem that almost every go-kart owner will have to deal with. Although it’s an annoying problem, it’s also a problem that can be easily fixed with some basic diagnosing steps.
You can fix go-kart belts that wear fast with a correct belt size and type, aligning the pulleys or fixing torque converter problems. A properly set up torque converter belt should give you many hours of driving enjoyment and fun but if not set up properly, it can quickly land you on the side of the track!
Go-Kart belt wear is typically caused by one of five things:
- Wrong belt size installed
- Incorrect installation of an asymmetrical belt
- Misaligned driver and driven pulleys
- Overloaded torque converter
- Malfunctioning torque converter
1. Wrongly Belt Size Installed
If you install a torque converter belt on your go-kart that is incorrectly sized, you’ll encounter unique problems depending on if the belt is too short or too long. If the belt is too long, you’ll lose drive efficiency, and several of the lower end ratios needed to quickly move off of the line due to additional slack in the belt. A belt that is too long can also lead to slipping because there is a lack of tension on the belt between the two pulleys. This will cause premature wear and eventually cause the belt to fail completely.
If the belt is too short, you will have increased friction on the belt and it will degrade prematurely. You risk not only damaging the belt in this scenario but also damaging the pulley system as well. Either way, you want to ensure the belt on your torque converter is the exact one you need.
How to Fix It:
Fixing an incorrectly sized belt is very simple. All you need to do is measure your go-kart belt to the correct size by using the center-to-center distance and the pulley size on your torque converter.
After that you can take these values and look them up in the go-kart belt size chart. There you can simply refer to the corresponding values with the information in the chart and replace your belt with one that is suitable.
2. Incorrect Installation of Asymmetrical Belt
Another common belt wear problem arises when the wrong belt size is installed. For example, on CAT99 and 30 Series belts (or equivalent belts), the design is asymmetrical to match the driven and driving pulleys of the transmission.
This means that while one side is flat, the other one side has a slight, increasing angle to it, which is designed to line-up with the driven/driving pulley. The flat side should always face the engine, and if this does not happen, it will instantly cause a loss of efficiency and improper operation.
How to Fix It:
If you’ve installed a symmetrical belt on an asymmetrical torque converter, you will experience excessive belt wear. The same can be said for running an asymmetrical belt on a symmetrical torque converter.
Fixing this is really simple. You’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the T when installing a belt and insure that you have the correct belt type installed.
3. Misaligned Driver and Driven Pulleys
If you see uneven belt wear or fraying edges on your belt, this is a surefire sign that your pulleys are misaligned. The torque converter transmission on a go-kart operates with a driven and driving pulley but has a belt in between the two of them.
These pulleys must be aligned perfectly otherwise the belt will not line up properly on their tracks and pressure will be unevenly distributed around the pulley, especially on pulleys with an asymmetric face. If this happens you will be dealing with premature wear and loss of efficiency and function.
How to Fix It:
There are a variety of ways to check for alignment, including something as simple as running a straight edge from pulley to pulley or using a laser leveling tool to ensure but the pulleys are even with each other. Remember, utilize the center point of each pulley as a reference point.
4. Overloading the Torque Converter
Torque converters have a certain range of weight capabilities that they can handle. If his range is exceeded, it can cause excessive wear on the belt and pulley system as well. If you constantly drive uphill at slow speed, especially with a heavy load, this will also prematurely burn out the belt on your torque converter because it is “slipping” the entire time.
How to Fix It:
In order to avoid this problem, ensure that the capabilities of your torque converter are within the acceptable range of driver weight and usage patterns. You should also make sure to drive your go-kart normally not excessively slowly, especially when going uphill.
If you’ve got a torque converter installed on your racing go-kart and you are experiencing excessive belt wear due to overloading, you may want to consider a clutch.
More Information: Go-kart Clutch vs Torque Converter
5. Malfunctioning Torque Converter
A torque converter is like any other piece of mechanical equipment and although its design is simple, there are still several parts that can fail and cause belt wear. You should ensure that you regularly maintain your torque converter and belt to ensure that you notice and replace any faulty parts.
Here are some of the most common parts that could be faulty, which could lead to premature belt wear:
- Driver Pulley
- Driven Pulley
- Malfunctioning jackshaft sprocket
- Binding or stuck brake
- Binding or stuck axle
- Binding or stuck bearings
How to Fix It:
Firstly, you’ll have to diagnose the problem. Locating the faulty part is essential to ensuring that your go-kart is running optimally. Once you’ve located the fault part, replace it and make sure that it’s working as intended.
In some scenarios, you may be dealing with a malfunction or faulty torque converter. If you’re unable to locate the problem or the parts are damaged beyond repair, you will have to swap them out for new ones. Sometimes you may even need to replace the torque converter itself. Fortunately, they are inexpensive. Feel free to read more about the best torque converters for your go-kart.