Your almost done with the go kart fabrication! I've broken down the rest of the steps into OPTIONAL (safety flag, seat belts, and go kart lights) VS RECOMMENDED (side rails and foot rest )
OPTIONAL (safety flag, seat belts, lights)
This is the stuff that you don’t really have to put on the go kart, but you may think about. I have addressed the optional fabrication points here with their pros and cons. Don’t want optional fluff? Scroll down to the recommended section.
Go Kart Safety Flag
A go kart safety flag would be nice to install on the back of the kart. The flags that I have seen on some karts just bolt through a hole. You would weld on a tab on the back of the kart and bolt the flag onto it. The size of the hole would depend on which flag you get.
Here is an Ebay link to a go kart flag list so you can see what I am talking about.
- go kart flag pro: visibility – others can see you 🙂
- go kart flag con: aesthetics – others can see you 🙁
Go Kart Seat Belts
The kart is built low to the ground, and can be dangerous if you put someone inexperienced behind the wheel. Naturally, one of the first things you think of is safety, and you may think is ‘Can I put seat belts on my go kart?’ which may or may not be a good idea.
Seat belts on go karts can be a double edged sword.
Yes, a lap band go kart seat belt can be installed. You go about doing this by welding three 1/2″ or 3/8″ flat washers on the kart behind the seat, buying some go kart lap bands, and bolting them through the washers.
- go kart seat belt pros: the feeling of safety, keeps you stuck on the kart.
- go kart seat belt cons: you crash, or roll and are crushed under the kart instead of being thrown off
My take on the matter is if you want to get seat belts, make sure you make your own roll cage, otherwise, just drive smart and wear a helmet.
Please drive safely, and always wear a proper full helmet. The kart has a limited speed, and wide base. It is unlikely that you will flip. Driver and passenger safety rests on whoever is driving the kart. Don’t yank the wheel at full speed, or drive it into the curb or a tree. Practice slowly at first until you get a good feel for the kart.
Go Kart Lights
Installing headlights on the kart looks cool, but is optional. If you need more visibility, a headlight would help you be seen in the day and night. I did not put a light on the kart because I planned on driving it in the daytime. Here is a go kart light wiring diagram to show you what hooking up go kart lights entails.
- Figure out which set of lights and battery you need. An 18 to 27 watt LED light is a good start with a 12v battery. Battery size should be somewhere between 7 to 10 amp hours for just lights. If you have an electric start engine, a 12v 35 amp hour battery is a very common size to use. An electric start engine will charge the battery. If your engine doesn’t have electric start, you will need to buy a charger, which is inexpensive. Here are some helpful links to go kart lights for sale and batteries for sale ( they open in new windows):
- Weld a mounting bracket for the light. You can use the extra 3/16″ steel plate and weld it to the steering hoop top. The light will bolt through this tab. Go kart lights typically have a bracket supplied with them so you can adjust left and right, up and down.
- Install a light switch. Drill a hole next to the kill switch for the light on/off switch. The light switch can be any old on/off switch that you can find at a hardware store and typically has two terminals.
- Weld the battery holder. You can simply weld a rectangle with angle iron, then use some threaded rod and nuts to bolt the battery on top of this battery mount.
- Wire the battery to the switch and lights using outdoor braided wire you can find at any hardware store 18 gage is good for . The battery has a negative (-) black and a positive (+) red. Wire the negative (black) to the light’s black wire. For the positive (red) run the wire from the battery + to the switch’s
- go kart lights pros: looks cool, drive at night, increased visibility in the day, can use electric start engine too
- go kart lights cons: battery may need to be charged externally, light really isn’t useful
RECOMMENDED (side rails & foot rest)
I recommend putting in side rails, and a footrest to help keep the driver and passenger safe. The side rail help keep you from sliding off the side of the kart, and the footrest keeps you from sliding off the front or into the tie rods. Check out the free go kart plans for dimensions and materials.
I strongly recommend installing rails next to the seat. Doing so not only makes the kart look better, but also gives the driver and the passenger something to hold on to as you turn. This will keep you firmly planted in your seat and give you more confidence and safety as you drive the kart. Here are the rail plans:
- cut the steel (see free go kart plans)
- angle the rail around 45 degrees
- weld the rail to the kart
I also strongly recommend welding a passenger footrest onto the kart frame. The footrest will give the passenger more comfort and stability when the kart is braking, as well as protect his/her feet from slipping onto the tire or tie rods. This is especially useful for taller passengers. Here are the steps:
- bend the 3/8″ steel rod into the pictured footrest
- cut a section of 3/8″ rod for the vertical section
- weld the two sections to the go kart
Now that we have gone over the final fabrication points, the frame is ready to be prepped and painted.