The karting time sink

For the first time in ages, I had no plans for the weekend – no karting, no football, no work, just me, the family and some gardening. Then I was offered the chance to take the kart to one of the other Dad’s garage to check out the engine mount issue and get some kart maintenance tips. At this stage of my kart mechanic ‘career’ it was too good an offer to pass up on so the kart-free weekend went out of the window and on Sunday afternoon I took the kart off for some TLC.

We started off looking at the engine mount – the threads on the mount are very worn and there were standard nuts on the engine clamp bolts instead of nylocs. The conclusion we came to was that the engine vibration was causing the nut on the front clamp to loosen and the lack of thread on the mount was enabling the bolt to drop out. I can’t overstate how much I really hope that this problem is now a thing of the past!!!

Whilst the engine was off, I saw how much better petrol is for cleaning engines than my household degreaser – I’m still not a big fan of using petrol as a cleaning agent but I can now see it’s usefulness. I also found that my exhaust flex was in a pretty poor state, with several cracks so we replaced that with a new piece of flex – 65mm appears to be the consensus for Clay Pigeon.

With a nice, clean engine and an engine mount that hopefully won’t be shifting mid-session any more, we moved onto the mechanics lessons. Lesson #1 – rear axle removal. Attempting to spin the axle (with the spark plug removed, of course) showed that things weren’t exactly rolling smoothly (it rolls even less smoothly with the spark plug fitted!). I’d shied away from removing the axle until now and the it took some removing with the crud that had built up around the brake disc carrier and bearings. It was pretty clear that this was something that I should really be incorporating into my post-race cleaning procedure – not only does the axle spin much more freely now, it also gives you the opportunity to clean the chassis much more thoroughly. Another issue was the wear on the hub bolts – they were showing a fair amount of wear so I need to get into the habit of chucking bolts that have reached the point of no return.

We looked at the front and rear setups – measuring the rear width, to which I hadn’t really paid much attention previously and I came to understand the importance of axle keys, one of which seems to have been lost during the last outing. It was also nice to confirm that my axle was straight – the same could not be said for my spare, unfortunately. Moving onto the front end, we checked the toe and adjusted the Ackermann (moving down to the lower set of holes on the steering column).

Four hours later and with my wife calling to find out when I was coming home for dinner, we were just about done. I still need to learn how to clean out and adjust the brake system and also adjust the throttle cable (this should be pretty straightforward but I am reluctant to just play around) but it was invaluable to be able to do/watch (there was a fair amount of watching) this with expert guidance – cheers, Mark 🙂

I have also come to appreciate the value of the ‘bits and pieces’ box that was included with the kart package – if you are buying a retirement package and get the chance to include something like this, do it!

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