SUSPENSION


If you are planning to take your go-kart off road you will need some type of suspension. Some people make go-karts with no suspension, and install large tires. The idea is that large tires will soften the ride, I have never driven one like this so I can not guaranty anything. If you are planning or trying to make a go-kart as simple  as possible, eliminating suspension will make your job and total cost of the go-kart much less. A lot of already pre-build go-karts that you can buy from many stores either have no suspension, or on more expensive ones include only one form of suspension. You have to know that suspension complicates go-kart tremendously. For that reason many people chose not to have one or to have only one on the front. Most important part of suspension is “travel” distance. It is distance that tire can travel (up/down). The larger the traveling distance is  the softer the ride is. Dune Buggies, use very long arm to achieve maximum travel. Also try to get you hands on some type of shocks, either from motor bikes or go-kart type. I used go-kart type since bikes are too expensive. Shocks can run you from $15 to $100 each. Everything depends on gas inside the shock. Some of the cheaper shocks ($15) have only one spring, this makes ride very bumpy.
This is a break down of shocks and weight that they can support. [picture]

Let me list few possibilities: (I am sure that there are many more, but this is what I can think of right now. If you know of any and have pictures email me):

Note: entire front end should be tiled 3 degrees back, to spread the forces of impact better. [picture]

Front:

No suspension – Very simple to build, but not for off road go-kart. [picture]
Trailing arm – Older cars used to use this system. Problem with this is traveling distance that tire can travel, based on available space. But they are very simple to setup [picture]
Single A-arms – They are simple to build, but they don’t ensure that all of tire threads will stay on ground. Also a lot of pressure if put on that single arm can be a problem [picture]
Double A-arms – All of todays cars have some type of double A-arms system. They ensure that tires grab dirt all the time. They are very complicated to setup, and you should make top one a little bit shorter. Read my plans section for more info. [picture]



Back:
This gets very complicated, since drive setup and power to tires needs to brought. Back suspension can be divided into solid and independent suspension.

Solid axle suspension:

No suspension – Very simple to build, but not for off road go-kart. [picture]
Axel setup – You can do this ether by mounting axel on square base that will hang on back of the go-kart. Problem with is that that you need a way to secure a chain so it does not fall off the axel or the engine when ever you go over a bump. [picture] This is very popular setup.
Engine setup – Simpler to build, since you don’t have to worry about the chain falling off. You mount the engine, clutch, and axel on square peace of metal, make if hang on the back of the go-kart. Problem with this is that engine gets shaken all the time. [picture] This is very popular setup, but most people decide to remove it after some time.

Problem: Problem with solid axle setups is making sure that axle does not get bended from all the forces on it. If it does, chain will keep falling off the axel sprocket. Other problem of solid axle is that when one back tire is in the air so is the other one. Almost all of new SUV’s are switching to independent axle.


Independent axle suspension (very complicated to setup):

Double A-arms – All of today cars have some type of double A-arms system. They ensure that tires grab dirt all the time. They are very complicated to setup, and you should make top one little bit shorter. For this you will need to use U-joints. [picture]
U-joints - some people use U-joint instead of chains. This is great setup but unfortunately expensive. I think that each u-joint is about $50, if you get them off an old car that is great You could even try using CV joints from the old cars.
Trailing arm – Older cars used to use this system. Problem with this is traveling distance that tire can go. But keeping chain from falling off is very complicated. This is what I am using [picture]

Problem: Problem with independent suspension is to make sure that chain stays on. This can get very complicated and though to build. You are twice as likely to have problems with this then the solid axel setup. If the chain falls off on every bump, it will drive you crazy. 


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