If you’re building your own go-kart, changing your go-kart gear ratio or simply changing the sprocket on your go-kart you’ll need to learn how to install it properly. Sprockets are an important part of your go-kart, as they transfer torque from the crankshaft to the rear axle, which turns the rear wheels.
Installing a sprocket on a go-kart isn’t difficult. You’ll need a suitable socket wrench, a plier, a rear axle sprocket and a sprocket hub. More on that a little later. Here’s a quick overview on how to install a sprocket on a go-kart axle:
- Remove the Existing Chain
- Remove the Existing Sprocket
- Attach the Sprocket Hub to the Sprocket
- Install the Go-Kart Sprocket
- Reconnect the Chain
This guide will feature detailed step-by-step instructions that you’ll be able to easily follow. I’ve made sure to highlight the difference between replacing standard and split sprockets. There is a guide on that below, so make sure to check which type of sprocket you are installing. Now, let’s get going and install your sprocket!
Parts You’ll Need:
- Sprocket Hub
Tools You’ll Need:
- Chain Link Remover (Optional)
- Socket Wrench
1. Remove the Existing Chain
Before actually installing the sprocket on your go-kart, there are a few important things that you’ll need to remove first, in order to get access to the rear axle. Firstly, you’ll need to remove the chain. Take note that you can skip this step if you don’t have a sprocket installed yet.
In order to get the chain off, you will have to remove the master link. The master link is located on the outer plate of the chain and is a quick-release link that allows you to disconnect your chain. You’ll best achieve this using a plier and a master link removal tool.
You’ll notice that the master link clip has an open end. Use your pliers to squeeze out the clip so that you can remove it with your hands. Then, place it aside and remove the master link itself. If you’re dealing with an older or tighter chain, you may need to use a pointy object or a master link removal tool. See this video, for a visual guide.
Now that the master link is removed, you can go ahead and disconnect the chain from the sprocket of your engine and the rear axle sprocket.
2. Remove the Existing Sprocket
This step also only applies if you don’t have any sprocket installed on your go-kart yet. If you do, you’ll need to remove it in order to install the new one. It can get a little tricky here, as there are two different types of sprockets, depending on your type of go-kart.
As you can see from the image above, racing go-karts tend to have a split sprocket, also known as 2-piece sprockets, that allows you to easily remove and install it, without having to remove any other components. Simply remove one side of the sprocket hub by releasing the bolts, in order to get access to the sprocket itself. You’ll be able to remove both sprocket pieces by hand.
On the other hand off-road go-karts and homemade go-karts tend to have a standard sprocket, also known as 1-piece sprockets, that slide over the rear axle. This means you’ll have to remove one of the rear wheels first, in order to slide the old sprocket out.
Take note that you’ll also have to remove the sprocket hub when it comes to 1-piece sprockets. With 2-piece sprockets, you won’t need to remove the sprocket hub and can just release the bolts or pins.
3. Attach the Sprocket Hub to the Sprocket
You’ll now need to attach the sprocket to the hub. For racing go-karts, install both pieces of the sprocket hub around the rear axle first. Tighten them securely, followed by placing both sprocket pieces onto the hub.
If you’re using a 1-piece sprocket, you’ll need to insert the sprocket into the sprocket hub and tighten the bolts to ensure that it’s secure. If you are changing your sprocket, you may use your existing sprocket hub for this, if it’s compatible.
4. Install the Go-Kart Sprocket
Since on a racing go-kart you are installing your sprocket and sprocket hub directly onto your rear axle, you’ve already completed the installation step. The following step only applies for 1-piece sprockets, which are commonly found on homemade or off-road go-karts.
First, slide the sprocket with the hub attached to it over the rear axle. Once you have completed this, slide in the key to lock the sprocket in place. After that, you’ll need to reinstall the wheel back onto the axle of your go-kart.
Take note that if you have moved the sprocket’s position compared to its original location on the axle, then hold off tightening it first. This is because you’ll need to align it before tightening it. More on that a little later.
5. Reconnect the Chain
Before you start the last step, you should consider the following. If the sprockets position has shifted or if you’ve set it up for the first time, you’ll need to align the rear axle sprocket with the crankshaft sprocket first.
After you have done that, it’s time to reconnect your chain back onto both sprockets. You may need to shorten your go-kart chain if you’re using a smaller sprocket. There are plenty of guides here to help you out with that.
Once you have installed the chain by connecting the master link to the chain, place the master link clip back in with a plier. Ensure that it’s sitting correctly on both sprockets and take your go-kart for a spin to make sure it’s installed correctly.