Predator 212cc Engine Mods: Comprehensive Guide & Stage Kits

The Predator 212cc engine is one of the most popular go-kart engines around. That’s not a big surprise given its outstanding cost-to-performance ratio and ease of installation. In essence, it’s a great go-kart engine at a relatively affordable price range. 

With an output of 6.5 hp, and a displacement of 212cc it can pretty much power any type of go-kart. But there are people out there who want to bring the engine performance to the next level!

If that’s you, then this guide is exactly what you’re looking for! We will be taking a look at all of the predator 212cc engine mods and upgrades for your go-kart and any other type of vehicle or equipment. 

Here’s a quick summary of topics I will cover in this guide:

  1. Important Notes
  2. Stage 1 Kit
  3. Stage 2 Kit
  4. Stage 3 Kit
  5. Stage 3+ Kit
  6. Buyer’s Guide
  7. FAQ

Important Notes

Before I get to the predator engine mods and upgrades, it’s important that we get a few things out of the way first. In this section, we’ll be discussing stage definitions and other important things that you’ll need to take care of first, before installing any type of stage kit on your engine. 

Stage Definitions 

Take note that there are no consistencies of stage definitions between manufacturers. This means that each stage number can mean different things. Most stage upgrades go by power, complexity, or budget. 

In this guide, we’ll be looking at it in the perspective of power power increase. Since I will feature kits from various manufacturers, it’s important to keep in mind that stages from kits 3 for example, may feature parts already included in stage 1 or 2. Here is a quick guide that you can refer to:

Kit StageCostPowerComplexityGuide
Stage 1 KitLess ExpensiveLess PowerLeast ComplexRead
Stage 2 KitAverageAverage PowerModerately ComplexRead
Stage 3 KitMost ExpensiveMost PowerMost ComplexRead

Speed Governor Removal

You’ll also need to remove the speed governor of the predator 212cc engine before you modify it. If you don’t do this, there won’t be any point to upgrading your engine, as it would be speed/rpm limited. 

If you’re wondering how to do this, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered! Simply follow the process in my guide on how to remove the speed governor of the predator 212cc engine. Keep in mind that you’ll need the proper tools for this and a big enough workspace. 

In this guide you’ll notice a billet flywheel and billet rod that you will need for some of the stage kits. Make sure to grab those as well if you’re looking at a stage 2 or 3 kit (if it’s not included in the kit). 

Engine Stress

Modifying your predator engine on your go-kart will definitely lead to component stress inside the engine, as they will be exposed to more friction and higher speeds. Take note that the stock valve springs will float at about 5,500 rpm.

This will prevent the engine from exceeding the 5,500 rpm mark at which point you’ll need to replace the valve springs to either 18 lbs, 22 lbs, 26 lbs or 36 lbs. It’s also important to check for Hemi and Non-Hemi compatibility before doing so. You’ll find more information further below

Stage 1 Kit

Predator Stage 1 Kit (Hemi)

  • Stage 1 Kit
  • High-Quality Parts
  • Easy to Install

The Predator 212cc Stage 1 Kit (Hemi) is great for go-karts and contains all of the important components for the stage 1 modification that you’ll need. Take note that there is also a Predator 212cc Stage 1 Kit (Non-Hemi). Stage kits for Hemi and Non-Hemi engines are slightly different due to the header pipe positions.

Once installing the stage 1 kit on your predator engine, you should expect a much better low-end throttle response. The moment you hit the gas pedal, you should notice faster acceleration. 

Keep in mind that you should also have an adjusted carburetor to ensure that the engine gets the right air-fuel mixture. If you don’t have a carburetor installed, then check out my guide on the best go-kart carburetors for predator engines

You may also want to take note that header pipes holes are generally quite a tight fit, meaning that you may have to widen the holes slightly for better mounting. Other than that, the rest can be installed relatively problem-free and quickly. 

Once you have the stage 1 kit installed on your go-kart engine with optimal fuel-air flow, you should experience an increased top speed of about 5 – 10 mph. However, take note that this may vary between different types of go-karts and setups. 

Stage 1 Kit Components

  • 1 x Angled air filter
  • 1 x Air filter adapter
  • 1 x Choke hold bracket
  • 1 x Heavy rubber gasket
  • 1 x Long carburetor stud
  • 1 x Emulsion tube
  • 1 x .036 jet
  • 1 x .037 jet 
  • 1 x 8 Degree advanced timing key
  • 1 x Header with screw on muffler
  • 1 x Exhaust gasket

Stage 2 Kit

Predator Stage 2 Kit (Hemi)

  • Stage 2 Kit
  • High-Quality Parts
  • Easy to Install

If the first stage mods are not enough for you, then I suggest you go straight for the stage 2 kit, as this really packs a punch. The Stage 2 Kit for the Predator 212cc Engine (Hemi) includes almost everything you’ll need except a new set of valve springs. 

If you have a non-hemi predator engine, I would recommend you get the Stage 2 Kit for the Predator 212cc Engine (Non-Hemi). This kit comes with valve springs. 

Installing the stage 2 kit on your predator go-kart should increase the top speed by about 10 – 15 mph (not on top of the stage 1 speed; only from the engine’s original top speed). You’ll also notice better low-end to mid-end throttle response from this upgrade. 

Take note that the hemi kit doesn’t come with any valve springs, so you’ll need to get 18 lbs or 22 lbs separately. However, the Non-Hemi stage kit does come with appropriate valve springs. 

Important Tip: For stage 2 upgrades and above, you’ll definitely need a billet flywheel, billet rod and a high-quality carburetor. You can find the links to them in the “Important Notes” section above. 

Stage 2 Kit Components

  • 1 x angled air filter 
  • 1 x air filter adapter 
  • 1 x choke hold bracket 
  • 1 x heavy rubber gasket 
  • 1 x long carburetor stud 
  • 1 x Non-EPA stock style carburetor 
  • 1 x .037 Main Jet 
  • 1 x 8 degree advanced timing key 
  • 1 x header with screw on muffler 
  • 1 x exhaust gasket

Stage 3 Kit

Predator Stage 3 Kit (Hemi)

  • Stage 1 Kit
  • High-Quality Parts
  • Easy to Install

Modifying your predator 212cc engine with a stage 3 kit is where it gets really interesting. Similar to all kits, there is a Predator 212cc Stage Kit 3 (Hemi) and a Predator 212cc Stage Kit 3 (Non-Hemi) version, depending on your engine type. Be sure to select the right one. 

The third stage modifications come with the same items as the stage 2 kits, with the addition of a billet rod and the Mod2 Camshaft. This new camshaft will make all the difference in performance when installed correctly. 

The modified camshaft allows the valves to remain open for longer periods of time, which promotes more air intake into the engine, thus resulting in increased performance. 

It’s not uncommon to see a much higher performance increase with a stage 3 kit. You should be expecting a top speed increase of about 15 – 20 mph. At this stake, you’ll need to ensure that all of your other components can take the additional stress. 

Stage 3 Kit Components

  • 1 x Billet Rod
  • 1 x Mod2 Camshaft
  • 1 x Upgraded air filter adapter
  • 1 x angled air filter
  • 1 x choke hold bracket
  • 1 x heavy rubber gasket
  • 1 x long carburetor stud 
  • 1 x Non-EPA stock style carburetor
  • 1 x 8 degree advanced timing key
  • 1 x exhaust with screw on muffler
  • 1 x exhaust gasket

Stage 3+ Kit

Well, if you want to get the absolute maximum out of your Predator 212 engine then you could think of upgrading and installing additional parts. You should definitely assess the engine and your go-kart before deciding which type of additional upgrades are suitable. 

Upgrade Valve Springs

Valve springs are a key part of the valve train and help to exert pressure on the valves by keeping them closed. This helps to build compression in the engine. If your valve springs are not heavy enough by being able to exert enough pressure, you’re not going to experience an increased performance. 

Also take note that some springs are already included in some of the stage kits listed above, so there may be no need to upgrade them. Here are the valve springs available for the predator 212cc engine. Take note that they usually come in pairs:

  • 18 lbs
  • 22 lbs
  • 26 lbs
  • 36 lbs

Upgrade to a Racing Clutch

Your stock clutch is definitely not able to handle the additional stress from the increased engine speed – you’ll pretty much fry it instantly. Therefore, I recommend getting a heavy-duty clutch or a go-kart racing clutch that is designed to withstand the additional stress. 

Install a Turbocharger

You should be able to further increase the power of your Predator engine by installing a turbocharger. A turbocharger is designed to inject more air into the cylinder and as a result generate more power. 

A turbocharger is essentially a fan that is spun by the pressure which is exerted by the exhaust system of your go-kart. It uses this exhaust pressure to pump additional air into the cylinder. 

Installing a turbocharger on a go-kart may be tricky, as these turbo kits are relatively small compared to the engine and may not yield as much power as desired. Check out this video for more information on how this works. 

Install a NOS Kit

As the name suggests, a Nitrous Oxide System (NOS) injects nitrous oxide into the combustion chamber of the engine, which allows more oxygen and fuel to be burned. 

This enables your Predator engine to temporarily generate more power, until the nitrous oxide is depleted, in which case it needs to be replaced. There are several NOS kits available, but for this engine I would suggest the Predator Engine NOS kit

Explore Additional Upgrades

There are various other things that you can do to increase the output potential of your Predator 212cc engine. Some performance upgrades can be done directly to the engine, while another area you could look at is the go-kart yourself. 

Take a look at my detailed guide on how to make a go-kart faster for more information and tips. 

Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider

When it comes to Predator engine mods and upgrades, there are definitely a few things that you’ll need to consider before making the decision to mod it. In this section I will guide you through additional aspects like prerequisites, costs and kit components. 

Prerequisites

Remember that when you upgrade your Predator 212 engine, several internal and external parts on your go-kart need to be accounted for. If you don’t consider the additional stress the modded engine exerts on the other components, you’ll definitely damage them over time.

Kit StageBillet Flywheel & RodCarburetorClutchValve Springs
Stage 1 KitNot RequiredRecommendedStock18 lbs
Stake 2 KitRequiredRecommendedHeavy-Duty18 - 22 lbs
Stage 3 KitRequiredRecommendedRacing22 - 36 lbs

Mod Costs

It’s important to note that there is a cost associated with modifying your Predator engine. While some modifications are more expensive, there are several smaller mods that don’t really cost that much. 

There is also a price difference between the different stage upgrades, as they differ in quality, quantity and complexity. Here’s a rough estimate of how much each of these stage upgrades costs:

  • Predator Stage 1 kit costs: $80 – $120
  • Predator Stage 2 kit costs: $130 – $160
  • Predator Stage 3  kit costs: $260 – $300

Take note that there may also be additional costs to the components that you may need in order for your go-kart to support the additional power output. Here’s a quick overview of the cost range of these items:

  • Valve spring costs: $20 – $30
  • Billet flywheel + rod costs: $150 – $200
  • Racing clutch costs: $200 – $300

Kit Components

I would also suggest checking all of the components of the mod kits. There may be some kits available that don’t include certain prerequisite parts such as valve springs or a billet flywheel and rod. 

Ensure to check the list of the kit components for better reference, or go to the product page to check the contents. You should source for parts that are required and not included in the list. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding upgrading and modifying your Predator Engine. 

Do I Need Each Mod Kit Stage?

No, you only need to purchase the stage kit that you wish to modify your engine with. For example, if you’re looking to install a stage 3 kit on your predator engine, you won’t need to buy a stage 1 and stage 2 kit.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Mod Kit?

This depends on how experienced you are with go-kart engines. While an inexperienced person would require a little more research, it could take about 2 – 3 hours, whereas an experienced person could do the mods in about 30 minutes to an hour.  

Can I Revert My Predator 212 Back to Stock?

You can always revert all mod upgrades back to stock by simply removing the parts and replacing them with the stock component. Take note that this would require you to reinstall the speed governor and remove several other parts.

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