4 Inch Go Kart Brake Band Assembly & Install

go kart brakes
Next up is the go kart brakes. This guide shows how to attach the 4 inch brake band to the kart, fabricate the brake rod, and attach the brake rod to the pedal.

go kart brake parts

Go Kart Brake Parts Needed

When installing the go kart brake band assembly, the following parts will be required, and are part of the go kart kit that I received for the build. Links to the individual go kart brake setup are listed below if you don’t need the kit:

Other materials needed to install the go kart brakes that aren’t in the go kart parts kit can be purchased at any hardware store such as a farm implement or big box store. I also got my steel at a steel distributor. You can get small amounts of steel at most hardware stores as well, but it does cost more.

  • (2x) cotter pins (1/8″ and 5/32″)
  • (1x) clevis pin (3/8″x 1 1/4″ or cut a ‘universal’ pin to 1 1/4″)
  • (1x) 5/16-18 nut
  • (1x) 5/16-18 x 2″ bolt
  • (3x) 1/4″-20 nuts
  • (2x) 1/4-20 x 1″ bolts
  • approximately 6 feet of 1/4″ steel round bar
  • approximately 7 inches of 3/8″ steel round bar
  • approximetly 2 square inches of 3/16″ steel plate
go kart brake setup

Brake Band Retaining Stud Fabrication

brake band stud fabrication

Cut a 2 1/4″ section of the 3/8″ round bar. This will serve as the stud that the go kart brake band will pivot on as you step on the brake pedal. The retaining stud placement is important.  Any small variance in position could make the brake band rub on the brake drum when driving. When I installed the retaining stud, I clamped the 4 inch go kart brake band over the drum, then tacked the stud into place with the drive wheel assembly installed and the stud over the brake band. The spot where the retaining stud ended up is pictured below:

The edge of the dead axle tubing measures 1 1/2″ from the center line of the retaining stud. The stud lines up exactly parallel to the axle, being flush with the inside edge of the frame. I drilled a 5/32″ hole where the brake band should go for the cotter pin to go through.

go kart brake pedal

Go Kart Brake Pedal Assembly

The go kart brake pedal assembly process includes involves cutting out the pedal stops. The pedal stops hold the brake rod in its ‘off’ position, as well as preventing the pedal from contacting the tie rods when depressed. You will need the associated nuts, bolts, go kart brake pedal, and return spring when assembling the pedal.

go kart brake pedal stops

First, cut two 2″ sections of 3/8″ round bar, then weld them onto the kart frame. The first bar measures 1/2″ from the outside edge of the front axle to the outside edge of the round bar. The distance between the two round bars is exactly 1 3/8″. Ignore the discrepancy in the plans vs the picture. I already welded something else on it, only to realize the 3/8″ round bar was much easier to use and would fit the return spring much better.

go kart brake rod

Brake Rod Fabrication

Now that you have the brake band pivot stud and the brake pedal installed, you can fabricate the go kart brake rod. Here are the steps:

  • Tack weld the brake rod guide tab onto the kart. This is needed to keep the brake band from rubbing on the brake drum when the pedal is in the resting position, as well as keep the band from moving left or right when the pedal is depressed.
  • Drill a 3/8″ hole in the 3/16″ plate. This will fit onto the cotter pin and join the go kart brake rod to the brake band. Grind off any excess steel, and weld it to the end of your 1/4″ round bar.
  • Insert the clevis pin into the other end of the go kart brake band, including the end of the brake rod in the center. Secure the clevis pin and brake rod with the 1/8″ cotter pin, but don’t bend it into place yet, this will be done after the kart is painted.
go kart brake rod fabrication
  • Hammer the 1/4″ round bar used as the brake rod material. Use a vise to hold the bar as you shape it to conform with the go kart frame. Then slide the round bar through the guide tab.
  • Drill a 1/4″ hole in the 3/16″ plate and grind off any excess steel. This will be used as the other end of the brake rod that attaches to the pedal.
  • Adjust the brake rod so that the band is close to the brake drum when the pedal is in its resting position. Use a clamp to hold the brake rod to the plate, and operate the pedal to make sure everything lines up.
  • Weld the brake rod to the plate. Make the final welds to secure the brake rod guide tab as well.

Now that you have the go kart brake assembly and setup complete, its time to focus on the throttle assembly.

Plans | Materials | Cut | Frame | Axle | Floor | Engine | Seat | Steering | Brakes | Throttle | Extras | Paint | Final Assembly |

23 thoughts on “4 Inch Go Kart Brake Band Assembly & Install”

  1. Bought the live axle kit with disk brake. What is the correct set up of the floating caliper and bracket?
    It just doesn’t seem correct to the plans and brake-rod.

    Please advise at your earliest.

    1. live axle plans with disc brake has a mechanical disc. Connect the rod to the hole on the very end of the caliper lever. Keep in mind that the caliper lever is UNIVERSAL meaning it can run BACKWARDS or FORWARDS. The pin that holds the lever can be punched out and you can REVERSE the lever if needed so you can flip the caliper 180 degrees. That make sense now?

  2. I’ve almost got the brake line done but I didn’t like the idea of a 1/4 inch rod so I made mine out of 3/8 inch rod and didn’t like the idea of adjustment by bending so I split the rod halfway and welded in a store bought turnbuckle after removing the eye and hook. That gives me 1 inch of adjustment either way for setup and wear. Hope this helps others. I am enjoying the build. Thanks.

    1. Is there anyway one of you can tell me where I can order one of theses brake lines? Or I will buy one from one of you all if you will make it.

  3. i noticed one of the differences between the standard and deluxe live axle plans is the use of brake band on the standard and disc on the deluxe. Can you use the disc brake on the standard?

      1. i cant seem to find it in the standard plans. at the beginning it says that to use the disc brake and torque converter you need to use the deluxe plans. I have a fiberglass body i am putting on the lart and want a level wheelbase which is why i wanted to stick with the standard frame design but use the disc brake and torque converter.

  4. Where can I get the brake pedal return spring? I have the band and other parts I got from BMI karts, but I can’t find that spring on there web site. By the way, your videos and this site are Great!! I wish I would have found it before my son and I started this project.

    1. not a very good idea because of the ground clearance. The brake band is strong enough to lock the wheels if you stomp on the brakes at full speed, so its not inferior by any means for the tire size. If you really want to go disc, there is nothing stopping you, except a rock or bump that the disc may hit instead of the tires.

  5. Hey good plans finishing 1st. one and having trouble with back wheel it seems 4″ bolt on axle isn.t quite long enough to get nut all the way on.Did I screw up maybe was it suppose to be 5”long Have to make 1 more kart for other grandson.We are using 145×70-6 wheels.Any thoughts tHANKS

    1. Hmm, I haven’t had anybody else run into this issue. However, what you can do is put thread-locker on the bolt and it will hold it in place, even if it is just a couple of threads on. Also, can you do me a favor and measure the length of the rim from bearing to bearing? I would like to know if that part has changed in length. Every once in a while, the go kart parts store gets new supplies that are not the same as the rest (e.g. steering wheel changed from original).

      1. Hey from bearing to bearing is 2 -7/8” I got a smaller nut to go on almost flush with axle.I also have machine washer inside & out of wheel .The nut I was using is 3/4″ wide nylon lock which is to wide I guess.Well the next one i will weld on 5″ bolt so I can use nylon lock nuts Thanks again.

    2. Go to Ace and get all-metal locknuts. they’re thinner than the plastic “nylock” nuts. The metal locknuts have the threads on the end swaged so they lock without the plastic insert

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