Predator 212 vs Predator 420: A Worthy Engine Upgrade?

Predator engines are well known for their reliability, affordability and high performance. Overall, they offer a great cost-to-performance ratio. Two of their most popular models are the Predator 212 and the Predator 420 engine. 

In summary, the Predator 420 engine has about twice the displacement (212cc vs 420cc), twice the output (6.5 hp vs 13 hp) and more than twice the torque (8.1 ft-lb vs 18.4 ft-lb) compared to the Predator 212. When installed on a go-kart a Predator 420 engine is able to increase the top speed by about 50%.

In this comparison, we’ll take a deep-dive into the similarities and differences between the Predator 212 engine vs the Predator 420 engine. I’ll be discussing the specifications, performance, top speed, transmission, additional features, size, suitability, modifications and price range. Let’s get to it!

Predator 212 Engine

Engine Features

  • Displacement: 212 cc
  • Output: 6.5 hp
  • Type: Non-Hemi Model

The Predator 212 is arguably one of the most popular and best go-kart racing engines on the market, as it’s considered to have a great cost-to-performance ratio. This means that it offers a considerable amount of power, at a relatively affordable price range. 

This Predator engine has a displacement of 212cc and an output of 6.5 hp, being able to power pretty much any type of go-kart. At 2,500 rpm, this engine produces a total of 8.1 ft-lb of torque. 

This engine comes in a Hemi and Non-Hemi configuration and has a traditional recoil starter. An electric start is only available through an aftermarket upgrade. However, one reason why this engine is so popular is because of various Predator 212 mods that are available. Overall, the Predator 212 offers great performance at a reasonable price range. 

Predator 212 Specifications: 

  • Brand: Predator 
  • Model: 212cc
  • Output: 6.5 hp
  • Type: Hemi / Non-Hemi
  • Torque: 8.1 ft-lb (@ 2,500 rpm)
  • Starter: Recoil

Predator 420 Engine

Engine Features

  • Displacement: 420 cc
  • Output: 13 hp
  • Type: Hemi Model

The Predator 420 is typically found on heavier and more powerful go-karts, as this engine is much heavier and also delivers much more power. With a displacement of 420cc, it manages to produce a total of 13 hp. 

At 2,500 rpm this powerhouse of an engine produces 18.4 ft-lb of torque. That’s a great amount of power for any type of go-kart or equipment. Take note that the Predator 420 also features Hemi and Non-Hemi versions, however the Hemi version is more common. 

The Predator 420 also features an electric start, which makes cranking up the engine much more convenient. There’s also a built-in recoil starter for backup purposes. Overall, this engine delivers a lot of power, but is also much larger and heavier. Is it a worthy upgrade? Let’s find out!

Predator 420 Specifications: 

  • Brand: Predator 
  • Model: 420 cc
  • Output: 13 hp
  • Type: Non-Hemi / Hemi 
  • Torque: 18.4 ft-lb (@ 2,500 rpm)
  • Starter: Electric + Recoil

Similarities & Differences: Predator 212 vs Predator 420

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the Predator 212 and Predator 420. I’ll go into more detail by comparing the specifications, performance, top speed, transmission, additional features, size, suitability, modifications and price. 

Specifications

Let’s first take a look at the complete specifications of both engines. You’ll be able to see that the Predator 420 has much larger dimensions, due to the increased displacement, and it is also heavier. Here’s a complete table comparing all of the specifications, measurements and features.

 Predator 212Predator 420Difference
TypeHemi / Non-HemiHemi / Non-Hemi-
Top Speed25 - 35 mph30 - 50 mph+50%
Cycle4-Stroke4-Stroke-
Output6.5 hp13 hp+100%
Displacement212cc420cc+98%
Torque8.1 ft-lb
(@ 2,500 rpm)
18.4 ft-lb. @ (2,500 RPM)+116%
Compression Ratio8.5:18.5:1-
Oil Capacity0.125 gal (473 ml)0.29 gal (1,318 ml)+178%
Fuel Type87+ Octane87+ Octane-
Mounting Pattern
(LxW)
6.40" x 2.95" to 3.17
(162mm x 75.5mm to 80.5mm)
7.7" x 3.4 to 4.1"
(195.5mm x 86mm W to 103mm)
-
Sound Rating104 dB108 dB+3.8%
Dimensions
(LxWxH)
15.4" x 12.6" x 13.6"18.9" x 13.8" x 17.1"+69%
Weight37.5 lbs (17 kg)73 lbs (33 kg)+95%
Shaft RotationCounter ClockwiseCounter Clockwise-
Shaft Diameter3/4" (19.05 mm)1" (25.4 mm)+1/4"
Shaft Length2.43" (61.7 mm)3.48" (88.5 mm)+26.8 mm
Stroke Length55 mm (2.12")66 mm (2.6")+11 mm
Bore70 mm (2.76")90 mm (3.54")+20 mm
StarterRecoilElectric + Recoil+ Electric Start

Performance

As the Predator 420 is a much larger engine, it has a much higher displacement. To be exact, its displacement is 96% higher compared to the Predator 212 engine (420cc vs 212cc).

A higher displacement also means that the Predator 420 draws more fuel and air into the cylinder, which ultimately leads to it having a superior output. The Predator 420 has an output of 13 hp, compared to the 6.5 hp of the Predator 212, which is twice as much.

However, it’s also important to take note that it will burn a lot more fuel, hence the larger fuel tank that it comes with.

Top Speed

The increased performance has a direct effect on its top speed. On the one hand, you have the Predator 212 that has a top speed of about 25 – 35 mph, and on the other hand you have the Predator 420 that has a top speed of about 30 – 50 mph.

Take note that this top speed is only a reference and applies mostly to standard go-karts and will of course depend on the type, size, weight and aerodynamics of the go-kart itself. 

It’s also important to acknowledge that by default, both the Predator 420 and the Predator 212 have a speed governor that limits it to operate at 3,600 rpm. Therefore, in order to realize the above stated speeds, the speed governor would need to be removed. 

Transmission 

Whether you opt for a torque convertor or a clutch as a transmission, you’ll have to take note of the shaft diameter, which is also known as the crankshaft diameter.

As transmissions are mounted directly onto the crankshaft, the bore of the clutch or torque converter needs to be compatible with the crankshaft diameter of the engine. 

The Predator 212 has a shaft diameter of 3/4″, whereas the Predator 420 has a shaft diameter of 1″. Most transmissions come with a 3/4″ bore, so it may be hard to find a compatible transmission; they are certainly available, but just a little harder to find. 

Additional Features

There are various features that the Predator 420 has over the Predator 212, for example an electric start, which makes starting the engine much more convenient than using the recoil starter on the Predator 212. Here’s an image of the electric start feature with a key.

Other features include an increased fuel tank, and a charging system, which means that you’ll have an easier time hooking up a lighting system for your go-kart. Although the Predator 212 doesn’t come with a charging system, you’ll be able to install an aftermarket charging coil so that you’ll be able to do the same thing. 

Size & Weight

The Predator 420 is a much heavier and larger engine than the Predator 212. At 73 lbs (33 kg) it weighs 95% more than the Predator 212, which weighs 37.5 lbs (17 kg). This is important as it will also increase the overall weight of the go-kart. 

The heavier Predator 420 engine is also more voluminous at 2.581 cubic feet (18.9″ x 13.8″ x 17.1″). On the other hand, the smaller Predator 212 engine is only 1.527 cubic feet (15.4″ x 12.6″ x 13.6″) making it 69% smaller. 

Suitability

Both engines are suitable for go-karts, as they have similar mounting patterns (despite the Predator 420 being larger) and both have a horizontal shaft. From a technical point of view, the only thing separating both engines are the physical dimensions and the performance. 

Therefore, the Predator 212 is a great engine that seems to be suitable for regular racing and off-road go-karts (and also other types of tools and equipment). As far as go-karts are concerned, this engine is suitable for youths and adults. 

On the other hand, the Predator 420 engine delivers much more power and is therefore only recommended for heavier or larger off-road go-karts; or racing karts that are all about hitting top speed. Due to the raw power of this engine, it’s more suitable for adult karts or heavy equipment.

Modifications

When it comes to mods and upgrades, the Predator 212 really shines. This is because it’s by far the more popular engine and has a lot of upgrade options available. Feel free to check out my guide on the best Predator 212 mods

predator engine mods

While you’re also able to upgrade and mod a Predator 420 engine, finding stage upgrades and modifications is much harder. This is because the dimensions and specifications are different from the smaller, yet more popular Predator 212 engine. 

Therefore, if modding and upgrading is in your wheelhouse then the Predator 212 may be more suitable for you with a variety of mods and parts available. 

Price

Both engines also vary in price, as they are different in size and also perform differently. The Predator 420 is typically about twice as expensive as the Predator 212. Below you’ll find a price indication of both engines. 

  • Predator 212 price range: $150 – $300
  • Predator 420 price range: $400 – $600

Verdict

So, which is the better engine: the Predator 212 or the Predator 420? Well, if we’re talking about performance, then the clear winner is the Predator 420. However, if your focus is on fuel efficiency, compatibility, mod potential and cost, then the Predator 212 may be the better choice for you. 

Let me summarize all of the points that we have discussed into a list, which helps you easily decide which of these predator engines is more suitable for your go-kart or equipment. 

Predator 212 if you:

  • Want better part compatibility
  • Want more mods & upgrades
  • Have tighter budget
  • Have a standard go-kart

Predator 420 if you want:

  • A more powerful engine
  • Have a larger budget
  • Have a heavier go-kart
  • Want in-built electric starter

To sum it all up, it really depends on what you’re looking for. Make sure to see which of these aspects are most important to you and how it suits your go-kart before deciding between the Predator 212 or Predator 420.

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