6 Tips to Get the Most Power Out of Your Go Kart Engine

small engine for go kart
  • 2-25 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-2,000

Go kart racing is a great hobby and pastime for people of all ages, but you're only as good as the go kart engine you're running. There are several techniques that can be used to increase the power of a go kart engine. Here are several tips to help you get the most out of your go kart engine.

1. Remove the Governor

Engines that are used for go karts are usually stripped from riding lawn mowers or golf carts. While this is a great way to give new life to an old engine, it also comes with some limitations.

The government has set up safety measures that prevent lawn mowers and golf carts from hitting high speeds. They do this by installing what they call a "governor." Adjusting or removing the governor will increase the speed and power of the go kart engine.

2. Increase the Engine Size

person working on a go kart

The obvious solution to making an engine go faster is to increase the size of the engine. Many go kart engines only yield about five horsepower. Even upgrading to a 5.5 horsepower go kart engine can increase the speed more than you might think.

3. Fix up the Carburetor

The name of the game is fuel injection. The carburetor is the workhorse of the go kart engine. There are jets within the carburetor that can cause the go kart engine to go slower. Changing these jets will increase the power of the go kart engine. You can also mill the head of the engine and bore the cylinders.

4. Replace the Engine Pulley

A go kart engine has a motor pulley that is attached to the crankshaft of the motor. A small motor pulley decreases the speed and increases power of the engine. Measure the size of the motor pulley on your go kart engine and replace it with one that is larger. You will see a marked improvement in speed, but some loss in power.

5. Switch out the Transmission Pulley

go kart on a track

Like the engine pulley, if you replace the transmission pulley, you can increase the speed of the go kart. The transmission pulley is attached behind the motor pulley and is held in place by a bolt. By removing this bolt, you are able to remove the transmission pulley. To get an improvement in speed and power, it needs to be replaced with one that is smaller than the old one by at least two inches.

6. Adjust the Air Filter

Many people feel running a go kart without an air filter increases its speed and power. This is not the case, as doing so will damage the engine. You can, however, make two adjustments to the air filter that will result in improved speed and power to the go kart engine.

The first is to drill several holes through the air filter box without damaging the air filter. The second is to use a high performance air filter. More air flow means more combustion, which means more power. Combining these will further increase the speed and power of the go kart engine.