DIY go-kart

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  #1  
Old 07-31-14, 09:55 PM
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DIY go-kart

I finally found an engine at a reasonable price to make a diesel go-kart out of. First of all, would the engine work? Second of all, if I keep the engine governed at 1800rpm (I plan on spinning a 60hz generator head) would there be an inexpensive way to make a clutch/speed control? I plan on modifying an old riding mower, and installing a bed on it (Which the engine will be under) to make it like a mini pick-up truck.
Mercedes 190 2.2L 4 Cyl. Diesel Engine Non-Turbo

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-01-14, 02:48 AM
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Think about how you will transfer horizontal front to back energy to horizontal side to side. The lawn mower differential (if it had one) won't take the torque of that engine.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 05:48 AM
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Do you think I would be better off starting from scratch then? And just to make sure, is the engine going to be able to be made to work?
 
  #4  
Old 08-01-14, 06:59 AM
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I am confused. You say you are going to turn a generator head but then say you want a clutch/speed control? Are you doing a mechanical drive train or electric?

A 2.2 liter diesel is huge and about triple the size used in something like a John Deere Gator. That's a car engine and will take something of about that size to support the engine's weight and a car or medium sized real tractor (not lawn mower) drive train to handle the torque. I don't think anything from a riding lawn mower will be suitable for use with that engine except maybe the seat.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 07:46 AM
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I am having flashbacks to some of the works of Carl Casper and Geroge Barris in the '60's and early '70's; big block, supercharged V-8's nestled into ultra lightweight fiberglass bodies on VW chassis, and things like that. Interesting conversation pieces, and fun to look at, but short on the practical side. I could see mating an engine like that to a properly sized generator, but not marrying it to a lawn tractor frame, suspension, and other components.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 12:17 PM
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I am confused. You say you are going to turn a generator head but then say you want a clutch/speed control? Are you doing a mechanical drive train or electric?

A 2.2 liter diesel is huge and about triple the size used in something like a John Deere Gator. That's a car engine and will take something of about that size to support the engine's weight and a car or medium sized real tractor (not lawn mower) drive train to handle the torque. I don't think anything from a riding lawn mower will be suitable for use with that engine except maybe the seat.
I want the engine to run at 1800RPM running the generator head. Perhaps clutch wasn't the right word to use. Of course, if I can't do it this way I can use an ambulance alternator or two from a junk yard and get an inverter and 120V quartz lights instead of 240V

The ideal drive train is electric, but I fear it's going to be way too expensive. I'd be fine with something mechanical if I have to. If it's mechanical, I want to be able to push a pedal to go, as well as have a fast/slow/reverse speed switch somewhere.

Since it seems I'll have to, I'll just build my own frame/suspension out of welded steel.

I am having flashbacks to some of the works of Carl Casper and Geroge Barris in the '60's and early '70's; big block, supercharged V-8's nestled into ultra lightweight fiberglass bodies on VW chassis, and things like that. Interesting conversation pieces, and fun to look at, but short on the practical side. I could see mating an engine like that to a properly sized generator, but not marrying it to a lawn tractor frame, suspension, and other components.
Yeah, I guess lawn mower parts aren't the best to use. Maybe the "If it's free it's for me" thinking won't work this time.

What is all your opinions on hydraulic drive? I'm imagining that can work, that's what they're using on carnival rides. (I'm volunteering at the fair after work this week, that's how I got this crazy idea of building this thing)
 
  #7  
Old 08-01-14, 12:43 PM
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Hydraulic would be relatively simple but when done with used parts they have a nasty habit of being leakers. How about finding a Mercedes 190 transmission from a junk yard. Bolt that to the engine and a lot of the hard work would be done. Heck, while you're at the junk yard look for an old Toyota pickup for the frame & body.

Even old and tired that engine still probably puts out more than 50hp so I would not be thinking "go cart". Whatever you come up with will probably be more like "full size farm vehicle".
 
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Old 08-01-14, 01:59 PM
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Depending on your final drive ratio your governing the engine may not work, either. At 1800 RPM, my Cummins will be running at 60 MPH in 5th gear.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 03:52 PM
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Hydraulic would be relatively simple but when done with used parts they have a nasty habit of being leakers. How about finding a Mercedes 190 transmission from a junk yard. Bolt that to the engine and a lot of the hard work would be done. Heck, while you're at the junk yard look for an old Toyota pickup for the frame & body.

Even old and tired that engine still probably puts out more than 50hp so I would not be thinking "go cart". Whatever you come up with will probably be more like "full size farm vehicle".
If the deal goes through and once I have the engine I'll take a walk through the junkyard and see what I can find, maybe I'll get lucky. As long as I have something I can drive around and haul firewood or a few friends I'll be pretty much happy. I'll try and snap a picture of what gave me the idea before I go, if I remember. (And this darn rain stops)

Depending on your final drive ratio your governing the engine may not work, either. At 1800 RPM, my Cummins will be running at 60 MPH in 5th gear.
I'm most likely going to be running a 3600RPM generator head anyway, if I have to go faster or slower I can change the pulley size on the generator head.
 
  #10  
Old 08-01-14, 10:09 PM
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Here's the pictures I said I'd post of what gave me the idea. I have the guy's business info blacked out in case you were wondering. I will explain more tomorrow. Off to bed now, I have to be at the fair at 8:30.
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  #11  
Old 08-02-14, 06:23 AM
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Yea, I get it that you're trying to re-create a Gator. The big diesel would be cool but that's an awfully huge engine for a vehicle that size. Especially since the methods you're talking about will only get you a small portion of the engine's power.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 11:00 AM
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I guess it's time to think of other ways I can do this. I'm still going to get the engine, if I can't use it to build a go kart/ gator I'll put it in the garage until I can find a nice size generator to put on it and get it to run biodiesel for my Christmas lights.

Do you think it would be possible to use an old riding mower with the engine in the rear to build a gator? It has a 10hp Tecumseh engine.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 12:26 PM
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Just buy an old Gator and fix it up or would that not be enough creative fun?

Depending on how much you want to hack you could make something from a front engine riding lawnmower. Most of the cheaper models use a vertical shaft engine driving the transaxle via a belt. With the proper coupling you could put the engine directly above the tranny or change the belt length for what you need. Most of those transaxles are not designed to carry too heavy a load so that might be limiting.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 04:02 PM
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Doing a quick search on Craigslist tells me even an old gator is out of my price range...plus I'm a Case guy.
 
  #15  
Old 08-02-14, 06:07 PM
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Then big honk'n diesel on a homemade frame it is.

With that sized engine I'd really look for a auto transmission you can mate it to... Sorry, I can't get past imaging how it would sound? Maybe open the exhaust up to 4" for a nice low note. Then I think I've never heard a diesel with individual straight pipes.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 10:01 PM
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Alright, I'll see what I can scavenge. I'll need to get a sound system in there and find a seat big enough to fit 2 girls plus me, too.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 02:05 PM
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With that sized engine I'd really look for a auto transmission you can mate it to... Sorry, I can't get past imaging how it would sound? Maybe open the exhaust up to 4" for a nice low note. Then I think I've never heard a diesel with individual straight pipes.
I'm thinking a manual transmission from an old VW beetle or something small would be best on here.

I didn't think about what to do with exhaust yet. Would anything be wrong with welding a pipe right onto the exhaust manifold that's on the engine now? As long as the engine doesn't smoke bad I can probably just run the exhaust out the side or back. Do you think it would be too loud if I straight pipe it?

I am going to aim for about 4 feet wide, with a bench style seat. (Like on a golf cart) Does this sound possible or is that too small? I think the engine would be best under the box, with the batteries, inverter, and audio amplifier under the seat. The radiator, diesel, and biodiesel tank in front. I'll make a dump box so we can get to the engine.

Considering what a decent sized generator head costs, I am going to put on 2 heavy duty alternators from the junkyard and put in a deep cycle battery separate from the starting battery. This wil also let me govern the engine a lot slower when I'm not driving. Then I can also use 12V headlights and tail lights which are much cheaper.

What about brakes? Should I use automotive-style brakes?


Considering what a decent sized generator head costs, I am going to put on 2 heavy duty alternators from the junkyard and put in a deep cycle battery separate from the starting battery. This wil also let me govern the engine a lot slower when I'm not driving. Then I can also use 12V headlights and tail lights which are much cheaper.

What about brakes? Should I use automotive-style brakes?
 
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Old 08-03-14, 06:29 PM
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I don't know if it's going to look more like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or that magical boat from Williy Wonka?

I'm still confused why you talk about a VW transmission and inverter and batteries? You mention that an old Gator is too expensive to rehab but everything you've been describing is rather complex. Multiple alternators, batteries, transmission, big diesel... you're not talking about a small, nimble, fun machine. It's a junk yard locomotive. The 4' width you mentioned was the rail gauge... right?
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:30 PM
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Hmmm... IDK but I would do a PTO and tow it... I would forget the diesel... Just me though..

Find an old tractor and low rpm gen... ( This is example only)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaoaeG16ldw
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:32 PM
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See if you were doing a 3600 rpm gen then its like this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w9aeHNAHGk
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:24 PM
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I'm still confused why you talk about a VW transmission and inverter and batteries? You mention that an old Gator is too expensive to rehab but everything you've been describing is rather complex. Multiple alternators, batteries, transmission, big diesel... you're not talking about a small, nimble, fun machine. It's a junk yard locomotive. The 4' width you mentioned was the rail gauge... right?
I was just tossing ideas around on how I can make it work. As of right now, I still have no clue how I'm going to get the power from the engine to the wheels. As for the alternator, batteries, and inverter, I can get them for $20-30 depending on which junkyard I go to, and I may even have one already laying around. I already have a deep cycle battery and inverter, so nothing there to buy vs. 400+ for a generator head.

I can't find a used gator or anything similar for under a grand within 100 miles of here. Cheapest thing was a Kawasaki for $2,400.

What do you mean by rail guage?

Mike, I'm not trying to build a generator. I just need some way to get 120V power so I don't have to drag a generator with me.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:38 PM
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I found this on youtube, which looks like it can work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msk5ajgku9M
 
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Old 08-03-14, 11:10 PM
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Mike, I'm not trying to build a generator. I just need some way to get 120V power so I don't have to drag a generator with me.

(I plan on spinning a 60hz generator head)
Huh????..........................
 
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Old 08-04-14, 03:33 AM
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Mike, Justin has found the engine for a price he is willing to pay, now he is looking for a use for that engine. He wants to built a utility vehicle to use on private property AND have a generator driven by the engine of that vehicle.


Justin, I have stated this before, you remind me of myself when your age. I had an engine and transmission from an old (1950s probably) Fiat 1100 that I got for free. (My older brother and his friends swiped it from a junkyard.) I thought of many different uses for that engine and cut the bell housing from the transmission along with taking the input gear. This allowed me to have a shaft out the back of the engine to drive...whatever. I was going to make a DC arc welder with an aircraft generator and then I was going to use it to power an air compressor from a Greyhound bus. I thought about making a hydraulic vehicle similar to one built by a guy named Bankey(sp?) as detailed in an old Mechanix Illustrated magazine from the fifties. But the plain simple truth of the matter was I never had the money to achieve any of these dreams. I had a lot of fun with that old engine but after I got married it was nothing but an anchor so I broke it up and sold it for scrap metal.

I DID get the air compressor going, though. It was one of the "projects" I had that was a real success. I just wish I had been able to keep it after my mother died but I had no place to store it.

I once had a chance to get an old Lister diesel-driven generator but it was in Alaska and I didn't feel like signing on to a fishing boat just to get it, especially since I didn't even know if it would run.

Bottom line, do your experimentation and have fun while you can. Most likely later in life you won't have the funds or the time. I wish you the best on your projects.
 

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Old 08-04-14, 07:55 AM
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Mike, Justin has found the engine for a price he is willing to pay, now he is looking for a use for that engine. He wants to built a utility vehicle to use on private property AND have a generator driven by the engine of that vehicle.
Yeah I guess that's how you learn. I been there done that when I was younger.

I guess because as I get older I think "work smarter not harder".

Plus I always like to offer alternatives.
 
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Old 08-04-14, 05:35 PM
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Mike, Justin has found the engine for a price he is willing to pay, now he is looking for a use for that engine. He wants to built a utility vehicle to use on private property AND have a generator driven by the engine of that vehicle.

Furd, you hit the nail on the head. Although I am really thinking of just using heavy duty alternators and my inverter, it seems like it would make things easier, plus I won't need the engine running to have power.

Yeah I guess that's how you learn. I been there done that when I was younger.

I guess because as I get older I think "work smarter not harder".

Plus I always like to offer alternatives.

Pretty much. So that's why I came here, to learn from what you all did.

I find it funny you mentioned the PTO generators, too. I was thinking of getting one of them and a rusty old tractor when I ended up finding the 7550EXL on Craigslist. My friend's dad has a 30KW one, and man does that thing light stuff up.

Justin, I have stated this before, you remind me of myself when your age. I had an engine and transmission from an old (1950s probably) Fiat 1100 that I got for free. (My older brother and his friends swiped it from a junkyard.) I thought of many different uses for that engine and cut the bell housing from the transmission along with taking the input gear. This allowed me to have a shaft out the back of the engine to drive...whatever. I was going to make a DC arc welder with an aircraft generator and then I was going to use it to power an air compressor from a Greyhound bus. I thought about making a hydraulic vehicle similar to one built by a guy named Bankey(sp?) as detailed in an old Mechanix Illustrated magazine from the fifties. But the plain simple truth of the matter was I never had the money to achieve any of these dreams. I had a lot of fun with that old engine but after I got married it was nothing but an anchor so I broke it up and sold it for scrap metal.

I DID get the air compressor going, though. It was one of the "projects" I had that was a real success. I just wish I had been able to keep it after my mother died but I had no place to store it.

I once had a chance to get an old Lister diesel-driven generator but it was in Alaska and I didn't feel like signing on to a fishing boat just to get it, especially since I didn't even know if it would run.

Bottom line, do your experimentation and have fun while you can. Most likely later in life you won't have the funds or the time. I wish you the best on your projects.
That sounds like some fun projects there, too bad you didn't get very far with them, although I have a lot of ideas that never get past the daydream state because of lack of funds and I'd need a warehouse to keep most of them. It's a shame you couldn't get the generator either, those old Lister's are really neat.

Hopefully when I get older, I'll still have my experiments stashed away somewhere, although they will probably end up in the scrapyard after a few years. Thanks for the good wishes!

And in case anyone is wondering why I insist on using such a huge diesel instead of a small gas v-twin:
It'll be awesome.
Lots of torque.
I have a seemingly unlimited supply of waste frying oil.
I don't like the smell of gasoline, or the fact that it gums up.
It's different.
I can say "I did it myself"
And more I'm probably not thinking about.

Thanks to all who've tried to help so far.
 
  #27  
Old 08-04-14, 06:27 PM
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You saw my product. I started at age 13 with a shopmade "motorbike" and welded another bike beside it with 4' rebar. Had a barrel of fun with that. Had a 3.5 hp Briggs.

Built lots of things over the years and finally built a "cats meow" (for me) of a backyard cart. I have two of them and they see quite a bit of use.
See one @ ; http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ge...ml#post2281556

My sons and I have done go-karts and right now my 16 year old grandson is building a 'pulling pickup'.
Each project you do increases your knowledge base. Charge up the expenses to "education" and go for it.

I agree with the extra alternator and battery with inverter for your sound system. Would lean toward 12V lights as they are quite available and especially the LED's.
FWIW, I am fast approaching 70 years old and still having fun. Just the last two weeks I have gotten my car lift from the fence-row (7 years there) and resurrected it for my personal use. (old man can't wallow around under vehicles any more, so will use the lift again). Waiting for new cables I ordered today and then it will be functional again.
Please excuse the rambling.

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Old 08-04-14, 08:07 PM
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You saw my product. I started at age 13 with a shopmade "motorbike" and welded another bike beside it with 4' rebar. Had a barrel of fun with that. Had a 3.5 hp Briggs.

Built lots of things over the years and finally built a "cats meow" (for me) of a backyard cart. I have two of them and they see quite a bit of use.
See one @ ; http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ge...ml#post2281556
That cart that you built is pretty much what I want to do, just with a bigger engine.

I agree with the extra alternator and battery with inverter for your sound system. Would lean toward 12V lights as they are quite available and especially the LED's.

After seeing the price of 12V automotive LED's, 12V it is.

FWIW, I am fast approaching 70 years old and still having fun. Just the last two weeks I have gotten my car lift from the fence-row (7 years there) and resurrected it for my personal use. (old man can't wallow around under vehicles any more, so will use the lift again). Waiting for new cables I ordered today and then it will be functional again.

Why can't you be my neighbour?
My sons and I have done go-karts and right now my 16 year old grandson is building a 'pulling pickup'.
Each project you do increases your knowledge base. Charge up the expenses to "education" and go for it.

What truck are you guys using? Truck pulls are big around here.
 
  #29  
Old 08-05-14, 08:31 AM
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Mini tractor pulls are something to watch. I've got a buddy with a tractor powered by a Harley engine on nitromethane. Somewhere way back in it's past it started as an ordinary lawn tractor.
 
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Old 08-05-14, 08:57 PM
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Mini tractor pulls are something to watch. I've got a buddy with a tractor powered by a Harley engine on nitromethane. Somewhere way back in it's past it started as an ordinary lawn tractor.

Now THAT sounds fun. Does he have any videos online?
 
  #31  
Old 08-06-14, 07:03 AM
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What truck are you guys using? Truck pulls are big around here.
'87 GMC 3/4T 4X4 with 454 (out of a motorhome) and 4 speed.

Why can't you be my neighbour?
You will need to move to Texas as I won't move to PA.

For real fun you need to see a "Pedal pull". Little guys less than 6 yrs pull with their pedal tractors. A nearby town is hosting one (along with other festivities) this Saturday. They can be as hilarious as 'Tee Ball'!

RR
 
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Old 08-06-14, 08:15 AM
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I've seen those kiddie pedal tractor pulls on TV, some of the facial expressions on those kids is hilarious .... and they all appear to be having a good time!
 
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Old 08-06-14, 10:41 AM
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'87 GMC 3/4T 4X4 with 454 (out of a motorhome) and 4 speed.
OOPS!

It is a '77. I had wrong year. Haven't seen it yet. He is working on it ten miles away. Hopes to try it this weekend????

RR
 
  #34  
Old 08-07-14, 11:46 PM
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I've seen those kiddie pedal tractor pulls on TV, some of the facial expressions on those kids is hilarious .... and they all appear to be having a good time!
They do that at the fair on kids day. I'm amazed at how much they get into it.

You will need to move to Texas as I won't move to PA.

Don't you like our two seasons? Winter and Roadwork.

'87 GMC 3/4T 4X4 with 454 (out of a motorhome) and 4 speed.

OOPS!

It is a '77. I had wrong year. Haven't seen it yet. He is working on it ten miles away. Hopes to try it this weekend????

After Googling the 454 (I'm a Ford guy) I'd say that thing has quite some power. What's the fuel mileage?
 
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Old 08-08-14, 04:14 AM
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(I'm a Ford guy)
Justin, I knew there was something I liked about you - I'm also a ford guy

A friend of mine used to have a drag car [chevelle wagon] with a built 454. I don't know how many horses it had and I'm sure he never checked the mpg although he might know how much fuel it took on an 1/8 mile run. That thing was bad fast, I remember he had to fix the frame where it twisted it when it launched off of the line.
 
  #36  
Old 08-08-14, 07:37 AM
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Don't you like our two seasons? Winter and Roadwork.
Nearly lost my big rig in a pothole north of Harrisburg. I voted PA to have the worst roads in US in 1990. AK ran a close second and LA was a close third. Burned my Eastside passport last time I got on west side of Mississippi River. Had a heck of time getting out of Sharon in a big snowstorm. Too many toll roads.

After Googling the 454 (I'm a Ford guy) I'd say that thing has quite some power. What's the fuel mileage?
In his application, about 5 gallons to the mile.

Really, PA has some very beautiful country on the west side. Don't care for the big cities on east side. To each his own. I scorched here in Central Texas with 108* yesterday. Sunup temp this AM was 79. Got out and dropped gas tank off my '85 Ford LTD while it was "cool". That thing has been dying on a left turn and running like a scalded cat after a right turn. Go figure. All I have found so far is the pickup screen stayed in tank when I removed pump and it will not snap back on. Guess I will drill through it and intake pipe and pin it.
What fun it is to chase 'Gremlins' in an old car. At least I have the lift working now.

RR
 
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Old 08-08-14, 07:47 AM
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Well I have bad news, the engine sold before I could get there to pick it up. So it looks like I'm back to the drawing board.

A friend of mine used to have a drag car [chevelle wagon] with a built 454. I don't know how many horses it had and I'm sure he never checked the mpg although he might know how much fuel it took on an 1/8 mile run. That thing was bad fast, I remember he had to fix the frame where it twisted it when it launched off of the line.

Now that sounds like fun.

Nearly lost my big rig in a pothole north of Harrisburg. I voted PA to have the worst roads in US in 1990. AK ran a close second and LA was a close third. Burned my Eastside passport last time I got on west side of Mississippi River. Had a heck of time getting out of Sharon in a big snowstorm. Too many toll roads.

I can believe it. I usually have to take the back roads because the highways are backed up with road "Work". 10 guys there. 1 is supervising, 1 is working, 2 are holding a sign, 4 are holding a shovel, and 2 are nowhere to be found.

In his application, about 5 gallons to the mile.

Gallons to the mile.


Really, PA has some very beautiful country on the west side. Don't care for the big cities on east side. To each his own. I scorched here in Central Texas with 108* yesterday. Sunup temp this AM was 79. Got out and dropped gas tank off my '85 Ford LTD while it was "cool". That thing has been dying on a left turn and running like a scalded cat after a right turn. Go figure. All I have found so far is the pickup screen stayed in tank when I removed pump and it will not snap back on. Guess I will drill through it and intake pipe and pin it.
What fun it is to chase 'Gremlins' in an old car. At least I have the lift working now.

Even here in Schuylkill county, the country is beautiful, which is why I wouldn't be able to leave. I agree about not liking the cities, too liberal for my tastes.

The only thing I can think of that's worse than an old car is an old house. More stuff to be screwed up by a previous owner. And then there's the ghosts...

Although I'll admit, I have yet to dig into the '86 F250 my grandpa gave me. I want to get that thing running on propane.
 
  #38  
Old 08-08-14, 09:30 AM
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The only thing I can think of that's worse than an old car is an old house. More stuff to be screwed up by a previous owner. And then there's the ghosts...
I've always enjoyed working on old cars although if it's your only transportation and you have to fix it before you can go to work - that will take the joy out of it. Same thing with working on an old house as long as it doesn't require money you don't have ...never seen any ghosts

It's probably been 40 yrs since I've been thru PA and it seems like there was a lot of road construction back then. My oldest son is a truck driver and he claims PA has the worst roads even though they are constantly working on them. As for me, I like where I live
 
  #39  
Old 08-23-14, 10:37 PM
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Something dawned on me earlier today - How about 2 farm duty motors direct driving the rear wheels? I can probably get 1hp ones for free.
 
  #40  
Old 08-24-14, 10:24 AM
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I guess that you are referring to electric motors. If they are both inboard from the wheels, they will have to rotate in opposite directions, but I guess you knew that and have a plan.
 
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