Help me! Vertical engine. Go-kart


Old 02-13-06, 04:20 PM
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Help me! Vertical engine. Go-kart

I have acces to a 15 hp b&s motor from a craftsman lawnmower and a welder. I used to have a 3hp go-kart a few years ago but i sold it because it was underpowered. i need to build a new go-kart and was wondering if anyone knew the best way to drive the kart(belt, gearbox, etc.). im only 14 so i cant spend hundreds of dollars on the thing. my budjet would be $600 and down. I am interested in building a 2-seater offroad kart and i need some free plans. dont waste your time telling me about my goal is to at least get in the 20mph range, although 30+ would be nice.

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Last edited by majakdragon; 02-13-06 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 02-13-06, 06:44 PM
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Sorry dude you are much better off getting a horizontal shaft engine. Too much work to a veritcal to work right. even better, sell your engine and get motorcylce or atv motor. As for free 'plans'. That is next to impossbile. Alot of people have posted what they have done but no real plans or dimensions. But a a couple of sites i liked were

It would be better though to just spend the $50 and get a good set. like the set on

Hope you get it going and post pics to show us your progress
Old 02-13-06, 10:48 PM
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You would probablly be better off, if your not dead set on the go-cart, but making the mower into one... use the drive train, but swap the pulleys, remove the deck, and probablly make the front axle wider, if it has the stamped steel one, not cast iron, for better stability. But if your deadset on the go-cart, find a old tiller or something with a horizontal shaft engine, in good shape, or better running condition, and use it. And i'm sure you know you can't turn that vertical into a horizontal....?
Old 02-14-06, 04:37 AM
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I like messing with old Karts myself, Besides having a part time job at our local putt-putt/ go-kart track, maintaining the concession type Karts, Ive had a small engine repair business in my shop out back for quite sometime,which has pretty much turned into motorcycle repair now.Ive found that word of mouth advertising has proven itself time and time again.If im needing a kart frame or an old roto-tiller engine to (prefer 5hp briggs dual bearing blocks) I simply begin to ask around. I have one frame I need to pick up thats on top of a guys shed and theres a pile of old briggs stuff an old fella was throwing out(2 of which were single bearing blocks. I often run ads in our local shopper for old motorcycles, Karts, Mowers and parts. Most folks cant wait to have somebody come by and get there junk and just give it away. Someone I dont even know called my wife the other nite and would like an old Honda 350 removed from his garage, just come and get it. I got er hittin on all 4 but needs work. So you see good things come to those that wait, simply by telling folks what your looking for. If your from the Atlanta area, Ill give you a frame, just come on over and pick one out.Got lots of engines and parts, Too. Have fun and dont red line.
Old 02-14-06, 07:55 PM
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Hi, You are in for some creative work using a vertical engine. First you will need to get pullies and shafts with bearings. One pulley will go on the engine and the other will be mounted on a shaft with another pulley with it. A belt will fit loose between the engine pulley and one of the two pullies on the shaft. Another small pulley on a bearing will have to be mounted on the outside of the belt with a pivot arm and a return spring and a engage lever. This small pulley when engaged will put pressure on the loose belt so it will drive the second pulley.

You will need a live axle, axle bearings, another larger pulley, and if you want both wheels to get power a live axle diff.

On the shaft that has the two pullies a belt will go from that pulley with a figure 8 type bend to a pulley on the axle.

This sounds a little hard to understand but

if you can find some old riding mowers you will see this set-up alot.

Scroll down the forum page and look for one of my posts{Good Sites for Go Kart Parts. You can get axles, bearings, bearing mounts,and a diff.

I'm building a mini bike with a 13hp engine. Nothing fits. I had to build everything. New swing arm, motor plate, disk brake mounts, new fork neck, enlarged the frame,move exhaust and air cleaner & build a new exhaust header.
But that's half the fun. Sometimes I have more fun building them than driving them.

Ask for help anytime, Best regards, Jeff Z.

Last edited by Jeff Z; 02-15-06 at 10:20 AM.
Old 02-14-06, 08:48 PM
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I was wondering if this setup would work. (I would post a picture but i dont know how.) Mount a centrifugal clutch on the vertical drive shaft. Then replace the sprockets with a pulley. (i have an ARC welder and i know how to weld.) Then mount a pulley on a live axle. Have a belt turn thru 90 degrees from the vertical shaft to the horizontal live axle, or vis versa. This is about as simple as i can think of. By the way i live in the sacramento, california area.
Old 02-15-06, 10:02 AM
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Go Kart

You'll never know unless you try it. Sounds likes it's worth a shot. Go to they have clutches rated for 15hp. Search Google for V Belt Cluctches, they are out there. You just need to make sure there rated for 15hp. You should also search Go Kart Frames, you won't have any trouble finding one you like.
Best regards, Jeff Z.

Last edited by Jeff Z; 02-15-06 at 10:16 AM.
Old 02-15-06, 04:29 PM
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Thanks for all your help. if you have more tips and advice please keep it commin'! I have talked my friend down the street to build a go-kart too. So the advice is for both of us! Again, thanks!
Old 04-09-06, 11:40 AM
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yeah, vert shaft is a pain . u "could" sell it, get a horizontal shaft engine, and build off of that. and since ur budget is kind of low (i would now, im 14 too), try ebay. my friend got a 16 hp honda for $150. this site has free plans, made by the company, u could check it out www . kartbuilding . net good luck!

Last edited by majakdragon; 04-09-06 at 12:09 PM.
Old 04-13-06, 12:21 PM
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If the 15hp Briggs is in good shape, take it by a local small engine place and see if they will trade you something in horizontal shaft. If they wont trade ask about use engine they might have got in on a trade. My local give is always trying
to get rid of engines, big and small
Old 05-17-06, 05:06 PM
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to start with whoever said you can't convert vertical to hoziontal is wrong,sorry"V8Driver" but that's the truth! I am building a small fourwheeler that runs on a converted Briggs lawn mower motor,it does about 40mph,and I converted it myself.
Now, how? carb mount,oil dipper on one of the connecting rod bolts,new motor mounts,re arrange the recoil and dip stick.
Now, if your engine is in good shape and can be sold or swapped,obviously that would be a better option. but they can be converted.
Your idea may work, I have heard of it being done but have never tried it.
You could also try using bevel gears like from a small differential off a car ,but hey! if you have the motor don't you have access to the tranny and stuff?? check out
good luck!
Old 07-08-09, 04:01 PM
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need help any ideas

need help making my go kart work need ideas on how to make vertical engine work no money 134 so try to keep it simple plz
Old 09-22-09, 01:39 PM
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Don't let any negative responses dissuade or discourage you. It can be, and has been done. Try looking on youtube and type in "Homemade Go Cart". One hit showed a go-cart with a 6.5HP vertical-shaft belt-driving a snowblower drive axle. Also, I just looked at the website, posted by Tornerito. LOTS of good pics, and good ideas. I have Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor with a B&S 19.5hp I/C Twin-II and a Spicer 6-speed transaxle. I'm upgrading the weak dual circuit stator to a hefiter 16A unit to charge that battery and run some lights.

After I get a suitable frame built, I would like to take the engine/transaxle combo and incorporating it into the drivetrain set-up. I plan on shortening the transaxle's output shafts and mounting CV joints or U-joints and short half-shafts for a truly independent rear-drive suspension. That project is at least two years off, but planning now will eliminate headaches later.

Best of luck!


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