Jackshafts are a great solution for go-karts that aren’t able to connect the rear axle directly to its power source. For go-karts this can come in handy if you have wide tires, a short axle or a narrow frame. A Jackshaft setup is more commonly found in off-road and homemade go-karts, compared to racing go-karts. If you’re interested to read more on jackshafts in general, make sure to check out the article on what a jackshaft is on a go-kart.
If you’re opting to run a jackshaft setup, I highly recommend go-kart jackshaft kit, instead of sourcing all the individual components separately. This is for the simple reasons that scouting for each individual part will take up a lot of time and can work out to be much more expensive. You’ll first have to match all the required dimensions and also ensure that they are compatible with each other. Instead of going through that hassle, a jackshaft kit for go-karts contains all required parts that are all compatible with each other. All you need to do is to install them on your kart.
In this article I will recommend some jackshaft kits. I’ll also explain why they’re good and what they contain. We’ll also be taking a look at what to look out for when choosing a jackshaft kit. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
35 Chain Go-Kart Jackshaft Kit
- 2 x Sprockets for 25 Chain (10 tooth & 14 tooth)
- 1 x 5/8″ x 10″ Jackshaft
- 2 x Bearings
- 2 x Bearing Hangers
- 2 x Locking Collars
The #35 Chain Jackshaft Kit is the perfect fit if you’re running a 35 chain on your go-kart. It comes with a 5/8” x 10” jackshaft. The matching key is 3/16” and fits perfectly into the keyway seat. There are also two sprockets in this jackshaft kit. There’s a 10 tooth sprocket and a 14 tooth sprocket that are designed for a 35 chain. The two bearing hangers are for the two precision bearings. There are also two locking collars included to ensure that the sprockets are securely locked in place and don’t move about.
40, 41 & 420 Chain Go-Kart Jackshaft Kit
- 2 x Sprockets for 40, 41 & 420 Chain (8 tooth & 14 tooth)
- 1 x 5/8″ x 12″ Jackshaft
- 2 x Bearings
- 2 x Bearing Hangers
- 2 x Locking Collars
The #40, 41 & 420 Jackshaft Kit is great if you’re running a 40, 41 or 420 go-kart chain. It contains a 5/8″ x 12” jackshaft and a matching key. There are also two sprockets included, one 8 tooth sprocket and a 14 tooth sprocket. Both sprockets are compatible with a 40, 41 or 420 chain. This kit also contains two precision bearings and two bearing hangers that hold the bearings in place. Lasty, there are also 5/8“ locking collars to secure the sprockets.
What Should a Go-kart Jackshaft Kit Include?
While it’s possible to build your own go-kart jackshaft or buy individual parts and assemble your own jackshaft, I highly recommend getting a jackshaft kit for go-karts. Go-kart jackshaft kits are great, because they contain all the relevant parts required to run a jackshaft on your go-kart. These kits usually contain two sprockets, two bearings, two bearing hangers, two locking collars, two keys and one jackshaft.
One of the main benefits of a jackshaft kit is that it saves you a lot of time sourcing all compatible parts. All parts in a jackshaft kit are compatible with each other and only require you to install in on your go-kart. Let’s take a look at what a go-kart jackshaft kit should contain. Please bear in mind that some jackshaft kits contain more items, but they should at least include the six different components listed below.
2 x Sprockets
A sprocket is a wheel with teeth that the go-kart chains need to connect to. Both sprockets need to be installed on the jackshaft.
2 x Bearings
Two high precision ball bearings should be included as they enable the jackshaft to rotate on the hangers with as little friction as possible.
2 x Bearing Hanger
Each bearing will require a bearing hanger. There should be two bearing hangers included in the jackshaft kit to securely hold the bearings in place.
2 x Locking Collars
These locking collars ensure that the sprockets are held firmly in place on the jackshaft. You’ll require a total of two (one for each sprocket)
2 x Keys
You’ll require two keys that are placed into the precut slot in the key seat on the jackshaft. Each sprocket will have a cutout to hold it in place.
1 x Jackshaft
This kit should also contain the jackshaft, which is an intermediate shaft that transfers rotational force to the rear axle.
Buying Guide: How to Choose a Go-Kart Jackshaft Kit
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be taking a closer look into what to look out for when buying a jackshaft kit for go-karts. Not all jackshaft kits contain the same components. Some kits come with just the jackshaft and the bearings, while other kits even feature chains and mounting plates. Most commonly, go-kart jackshaft kits contain at least six different components that are mentioned above.
When selecting a jackshaft kit with its components, there are a few things that you may need to look out. You should pay attention to the quality, contents, compatibility, condition and price. Let’s take a look at these aspects in detail for you to get a better understanding.
When selecting a jackshaft kit for your go-kart, you should always ensure that the components are made of high quality materials. Often the product page contains details to what the components are made of. If that information is not available you can always refer to the manufacturer and check if they are reputable. If that’s also not available, you can go through reviews.
Most of the components are made of alloy steel with a hardened surface, in order to withstand forces and wear over time. The only more complex component that can’t be gauged well from pictures are the bearings. They should be high-quality precision bearings, so ensure to test them first before installing them on your kart.
Upon inspecting a go-kart jackshaft kit, ensure that you know all the items that are included. It’s quite a hassle getting only parts of the components and then having to source the parts that weren’t included. You should make sure that the jackshaft kit includes at least two sprockets, two bearings, two bearing hangers, two locking collars, two keys and one jackshaft.
There are several jackshaft kits that come with spare components such as plates, mounts and bolts that aren’t required if you are going for a simple jackshaft setup. Ensure that you also have a tool kit available to install the jackshaft as none of these kits contain the required tooling.
One thing people often forget is that their current setup most likely runs on one chain. With a jackshaft setup, you’ll need an additional chain that connects from your jackshaft to the sprocket on the rear axle. Make sure that you account for that before installing your jackshaft.
First and foremost, you should ensure that the jackshaft kit is compatible with your go-kart. There are several things to check before selecting your kit. Firstly, check if the dimensions of the jackshaft fit your go-kart setup. Some kits come with jackshafts that are different in length, so ensure that your go-kart has enough space to accommodate that. On some occasions you may have to modify the mounting or move the engine, in order to create the space required for the jackshaft.
You should also check that the jackshaft sprockets are the right chain size for your set up. If they don’t, you should get a jackshaft kit that fits your current chain, or change your roller chain to match with the jackshaft sprockets.
Jackshafts kits are designed for various go-kart chain sizes, however the most common ones are for a 35 and a 40/41/420 chain size. If you would like to find out more about chain sizes and sprocket compatibility, make sure to check out the go-kart chain size chart.
When it comes to jackshaft kit conditions, you can either buy them new or used. I highly recommend buying them new, as they are relatively inexpensive and you’re assured that the components are all in good shape and in good condition.
If you’re on a shoestring budget and are looking for used jackshaft kits, it’s a good idea to message the seller and ask him more about the condition and the current wear on the components. The last thing you want to do is to buy a used jackshaft kit that is unusable or that will only last a short while.
Jackshaft kits for go-karts are affordable. A basic entry-level kit containing the 6 most essential components will cost you around $40 to $65. A more professional kit can cost you about $80 – $150 depending on the brand and the number of components.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this buying guide and that it was able to inform you on what to look out for when it comes to selecting jackshaft kits. If you’re looking to install a jackshaft on your go-kart I recommend not sourcing individual parts, as this is extremely time intensive and can lead to compatibility issues with individual components.