Frustration levels will skyrocket if you have to spend time mending your go-kart instead of racing or spending time with loved ones at the track. Go-kart drivers often face the problem of a chain coming loose and sliding off their vehicle. This is not only an inconvenience, but also a potential safety hazard for the driver and the other races.
The kart’s gearbox (or crankshaft) is linked to the rear axle, which in turn links to the wheels, through a chain. The chain glides effortlessly through a set of sprockets when everything is working properly.
If you see a chain lying on the ground next to your kart, you may be wondering what went wrong and what you can do about it. Well, let us handle things from there. Now, to make things easier for you, and to maintain a friendly atmosphere, so that you can easily understand even if you are newbie, I will start writing this piece in a casual rather than formal way. So, without further ado, let’s fix your go-kart chain that keeps falling off!
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why your go-kart chain might be falling off and easy ways to fix them.
1. Wrongly Sized Drive Chain
Having a chain that is too small for your sprockets is one potential problem that is causing the chain to fall off. If you’re changing an old go-kart chain, or installing a new one, double-check the fit. A little tweaking may be in need to make sure it fits like a glove. It is possible for your go-chain kart’s to totally detach from the vehicle if it is not set properly and the chain jumps off the sprocket teeth.
The process of adjusting the chain is not a difficult one, and it can be accomplished using simple and affordable equipment. If you have a tool that can remove chain links, then this will be much simpler for you to do. Since they are so affordable and might end up saving you a significant amount of time in the long term, I would advise you to get one as soon as possible. I am writing a separate article on how to adjust a go-kart chain, but I’ve included a summary of the most important aspects here for your convenience. Here are some of the tools required for the task.
It’s time to begin cutting the chain shorter now that you’ve gotten your equipment and workspace organized. For your convenience, I’ve included a brief summary of the key elements below. If you need to study the whole thing in depth, then study the lengthy article that is specifically focused on adjusting the go-kart chain.
- Find the master link on a go-kart chain and disconnect it.
- After that, calculate how many links should be removed. Pull up the slack till ¼ inch to 3/8 inch of the slack remains. Gently unwind and remove the chain from the sprockets.
- Once that is done, pick up a chain link removal tool or take out a hammer and a small pin to take out the individual links from the chain.
- Once the chain is calculated perfectly, and looks fit according to measurements, reconnect it again by hammering the pin inside those links.
- Place the chain on the go-kart and connect the master link.
2. Go-Kart Chain Is Worn Out
Because of the consistent stress placed on it, a go-chain kart’s parts are destined to wear down and break at some point. The most obvious sign that a chain needs to be replaced is when it begins to stretch and no longer fits your go-kart properly, putting it at danger of coming loose from the sprockets. The slack that has been building up in the chain can be noticed easily when a person looks at it, or measure it.
To begin, the chain on a go-kart will inevitably wear down because of over usage and believe me this is a natural part of the ownership experience. Everyone has been through it at one point in their lives with their go-kart. Since fixing and mending the broken old chain is not a recommended course of action, the only solution to this problem is to get a new chain and replace the old one that you were using.
Worn chains are a safety hazard since they have lost their structural integrity and might break at any moment. You need to steer clear of using worn out chains on your karts! Just get a new chain and you’ll be good to go. This go-kart chain size chart can help you choose which chain is appropriate for your build.
3. Misaligned Sprockets
The sprockets of a go-kart really need to be aligned in order for it to run smoothly. In the event that one of the sprockets is not correctly aligned with the other, it is possible that the teeth of the chain will not completely engage with the sprocket. A substantial misalignment may cause the chain to fly off the sprockets, resulting in the loss of your whole go-kart chain.
It is essential that the sprockets of your go-kart be aligned correctly in order to ensure that the chain will wear evenly. The sprockets on your crankshaft and clutch, in addition to the ones on your rear axle, are what I have in mind while I am typing this.
I’ll explain the most frequent way to fixing this problem. Read my comprehensive explanatory guide on sprocket alignment for your go-kart. Here are some fast tips for getting the two go-kart sprockets lined up:
- To check the alignment of the two sprockets, make use of a long pole. (Take out the sprocket key and push down on the outside edges of both gears.)
- The sprockets can be brought into alignment by turning the axle or wheel and allowing the chain pull them into place. Moving back and forth will suffice.
- Use an alignment tool designed for alignment maintenance for maximum precision. It is recommended to use a laser alignment device.
4. Worn Out Sprockets
Throughout the life of your kart, you will need to keep a close look out for any signs of wear on the sprockets and repair them as necessary. Sprockets that have been used for a long time cannot be repaired, but new ones may be simply obtained and installed in their place. In essence, all that will be required of you is to take out the worn-out sprocket and install the new one in its place.
You need to check that the replacement sprocket has the same number of teeth as the one that is being replaced in order to keep the same gear ratio. Let’s have a look at the necessary steps to replacing a sprocket.
- Take out the go-kart chain by removing it from the sprockets.
- Take out the key that is keeping the whole sprocket in its place.
- Unscrew the sprocket screws.
- Pull out the sprocket from the shaft.
- Pick up the new sprocket and place it inside the shaft.
- Reverse the whole process by placing the key and tightening the sprocket screws.
5. Bent Go-Kart Frame
Compared to the others on this list, this one may come as a surprise to some. Most racers may experience frame bending at some point due to contact with other competitors or obstacles throughout the course of a race.
The go-sprocket kart’s is attached to the axle, which is attached to the frame. If the frame is bent, the axle will be crooked and the sprocket will not drive the wheels properly. When this occurs, the chain might fall off because it has jumped the sprocket.
Due to the difficulty and inconvenience of mending a bent frame, this may be an uphill struggle. Repairing a damaged frame needs particular care and accuracy in the metal shop because of the frame’s importance to the kart’s performance and safety.
It is imperative that you check the damaged region if the frame is bent. You can straighten bent go-kart frames, but you’ll need some experience. It’s possible that the tube’s sections might need to be replaced individually.
However, you should be cautious not to change the flex qualities of the frame. If your go-kart seems crooked, have a professional look at it and maybe straighten up the frame.
6. Deformed Axle
A broken axle in the heat of a race after a collision may have the same effect on the chain as a bent frame, throwing the sprockets out of alignment and causing the chain to break free. This is due to the fact that a bent go-kart axle might alter the angle of your rear sprocket, which would eventually lead to the whole assembly not being aligned properly.
One may easily change out one axle without having to rebuild the whole frame. It may also be corrected, albeit doing so requires the right equipment. If you’re a hard-core racer or have borrowed a kart from one, you know all about the war scars that racing can leave on your axles.
Here are some instructions that will help you replace your axle.
- Take the axle apart and take off the wheel hubs, bearings, brake disk, and sprocket.
- Easily swap out the damaged axle with a brand new one that meets all of your needs.
- Next, put the wheel hubs, bearings, brake disk, and sprocket back on.
While you are turning the wheel, use a tape measure to check the distance between the axle and drive sprocket; ideally, it should be about one inch. If the measurement is larger than 1 inch and if you can slide more than two fingers between them, then your chain needs to be tightened. If the measurement is smaller than 1 inch and you cannot slide more than one finger between them, then your chain needs to be loosened.
If the above method did not work for you, then make sure that your axle is straight and not bent in any way. If this happens to you, then use a hammer in order to gently bend the axle into place. Make sure that you are not hitting it too hard as this could cause damage.
How To Shorten And Tighten A Go-Kart Chain?
It’s not uncommon for a go-kart to develop a chain problem, with the links becoming too loose or too tight. Luckily, you don’t need any special tools to fix this issue and there are certain steps that can be taken in order to ensure the tension is right. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step guide on how to shorten and tighten a go-kart chain.
1. Ensure That You Have the Required Tools
To perform the work in order to lengthen or tighten your chain, you will first need to ensure that all of the necessary tools are present. These tools include:
- 1 x Chain link removal tool
- 1 x Hammer
- 2 x Nuts
- 1 x Nail (smaller than pin)
2. Disconnect The Go-Kart Chain
In order to lengthen or shorten the chain, you first need to disconnect it from the go-kart. This can be done by simply loosening the axle nut and removing it from the axle.
If you cannot remove the nut from the axle, then you will need to remove other parts of your kart in order to do so. While you are removing these parts, make sure that you do not cut them as this will cause damage and unnecessary wear.
3. Measure How Many Links To Remove
Once the chain has been removed from the go-kart, you should measure how many links will need to be removed in order to lengthen or shorten the chain. As a rule of thumb, if you wish to shorten your chain by two links, then remove a total of three links. You can accomplish this by using your link removal tool which will allow you to release an internal pin from the connecting links. Once you have identified which link you wish to remove in order to adjust the length of your chain, then you can proceed with this step.
4. Shorten Chain By Removing Link
With the link removal tool, you can now release the pin from one of the links that you wish to remove. When removing this pin, make sure you are wearing safety glasses and gloves as they may be sharp. Once you have removed the pin, continue to use your tool to remove the damaged part of your chain and release the two connected links.
You will then need to insert a new link into where you removed a damaged one. This can be accomplished by using your link insertion tool which will allow you to do so without any issues. Once done, reinsert the cut links into where they connect with each other while ensuring they are in place.
5. Place Chain Back On The Sprockets And Reconnect The Master Link
Once you have inserted the new links into the chain and reattached them to the sprocket, then you should reconnect all of the links back together. In order for this to occur, you need to use your master link attachment tool which will allow you to do so without any issues. Once done, reattach all of the wheels and perform a test drive.
If you wish to make further adjustments in order to adjust the tension on your chain as well as make sure that it will not come loose again, then you can use a master link screwdriver that will allow you to do so in order to avoid any issues.
6. Tighten The Chain Using Chain Link Pliers
You can repeat this process if you intend to adjust the length of your chain. You will need to tighten the chain again by using a master link screwdriver which will be of great help in accomplishing this task.
A very important note is that you need to make sure that you do not over-tighten your new links as this will cause them to break and leave you with a broken chain.
7. Check The Length Of Your Chain
Once you have completed all of these steps, then it is vital that you check the length of your chain in order to ensure that it is at exactly the right length.
How To Clean And Maintain A Go Kart Chain?
Go kart chains are like everything else, they require regular cleaning and maintenance. Disregard this advice, and you run the risk of ruining your chain, which is a costly problem to fix.
Setting aside time to clean your chain is an important part of owning a kart, especially if you are using it regularly. It will take some time before you get into the habit of cleaning your chain on a regular basis; however, once you do so the process will only take a matter of minutes.
Cleaning Your Chain With WD40 Or A Lube
Start by spraying WD40 onto your chain and leave it for several minutes before starting to wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel. Be careful not to spray liquid into your carburetor as this could cause serious problems for your engine. You can also use brake fluid in place of WD40 if you prefer.
You can also buy products specifically designed to clean your chain, though WD40 and other forms of similar liquids work just as well. It is always recommended to avoid using petrol or anything that contains it. Ensure to lubricate the chain thoroughly afterwards.
The above are some of the most common go-kart chain problems. If you notice that your chain is either too loose or too tight and you cannot fix it yourself, then take it to a mechanic in order to have it repaired. Happy Fixing!