Chapter 13: Does an exhaust without an engine still make noise?

Posted: December 30, 2009 in bugatti go kart, Go Karts
Tags: , ,

Our exhaust won’t be making a sound, but the added detail to our kart will be loud and clear. The custom exhaust we’re installing with this step will really finish off that vintage racer look we’ve been striving for.

Our plans called for using the chrome drainpipe from a sink. I thought that was a really clever solution and after considering alternatives such as PVC and the like I thought that I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some chrome on this thing.

Our chrome exhaust components, or rather...a brass drain for a kitchen sink.

I poked around a bit and found the correct pieces at my local Lowe’s. Our exhaust kit will consist of 1 1/2″ brass kitchen sink garbage disposal pipe. We picked up a 6″ connector, two additional 6″ extensions, and a coupling to connect the extensions to one another.

All of these pieces for your average kitchen sink are chrome plated brass. The grand total was about $30. Much more than our louvers cost, but in the grand scheme of things not too bad. The first thing I needed to do was determine which side to put our exhaust on.

It really would be fine on either side, but I figured it may help to keep fingers and hands from straying too close to our chain so I opted for the “drivers” side. I use the term drivers side here loosely since clearly we only have a drivers side.

Our rough cut hole where the exhaust will mount.

I looked at the space we left beneath the louvers we installed in Chapter 12 and it was just about perfect. First thing I did was draw a circle where I will cut out a hole where our exhaust pipe will go through the body. I then drilled a number of holes around the circle to get a good start. As I was drilling the last hole in the circle I was wondering if I would hit the crank. Too late to worry about it now… so I just carried on. Luckily we had plenty of room on the backside of the body.

After drilling 5 or 6 holes I the took the jigsaw which at this point simply amounted to connecting the dots. Here I also removed the sprocket to have easier access to cut out the circle.

I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to simply be a “cut and go” situation since after I cut the circle (or what somewhat resembled a circle) I realized we had at least another 1/16″ to go before I could slide our first piece into the body. A rough file should do the trick to get us just a smidgen more room. To get this hole finished I again recruited an assistant.

Ready to work until the job is done, or until he get's bored, whichever comes first.

Luke came over ready to conquer the world. He was really enthusiastic to dive in and help get our chrome exhaust all in place. “Dad, this is gonna look great!” he said.

I handed him a 1″ file that was rounded on one side, perfect to finish off our hole. He looked at the file with excitement and went to work. After a feverish 45 seconds or so he said “I don’t want to do this anymore.” and off he went. Well… it’s the thought that counts.

I continued on with his work for another 15 minutes or so until we had the hole just large enough to be able to slide the exhaust in. Finally I slid the curved portion of our exhaust into place to confirm our fit. It was perfect.

I wanted next to get an idea of the rest of the length, but before I could I removed the rear wheel for easier access to the body side. Next I slid our remaining exhaust pieces together and set the whole assembly into place. The length was perfect, with the flared end of our exhaust extending about 4″ beyond the point where our body tail begins to narrow.

With the pipe assembled and sitting in place, next I looked down the length of the body to determine where (and how) I was going to mount the rest of it. One thought was to
drill a hole right on through, and bolt it directly to the body. Sure, that would do the trick but the idea of drilling through that chrome, likely wrecking it in the process, almost seemed like blasphemy.

A better approach was to use some pipe clamps that were large enough to go around the pipe and screw those directly into the body. Clearly not something that would likely be done in the real world with a functional exhaust but remember we’re just going for aesthetics here.

New exaust and ready to roll.

New exhaust and ready to roll.

With the wheel removed I carefully positioned the exhaust in what would be it’s final position. I held a pipe clamp in place, marked the spot carefully with a pencil, and drilled pilot holes to mount the clamp. I then screwed the clamp firmly in place.

I repeated this process, starting from the end, and working my way towards the front of the kart, installing 4 pipe clamps along the length to c0mpletely fasten our exhaust to the body.

Next I then reattached our rear wheel and called on another volunteer for a full shot. It really looked good but as my trusty assistant quickly pointed out, our exhaust going through the body was too close to our crank and now ever so slightly hit the crank as it is turned.

Look closely at the crank and you can see the exhaust pipe where it will hit inside.

The real cause for the hit is that the exhaust is pushed too closely to the body, and the 90 degree bend (what would traditionally connect to your sink) goes towards the center too far. I think simply positioning some spacer behind the exhaust, between it and the body, would give enough room.

Alternatively I could also just remove the large nut that adds about a quarter inch on the interior length and that may be enough. Since the exhaust is primarily being held in place by the pipe brackets screwed into the body side removing that nut may be just enough.

To this point to have something shiny on what is otherwise rough lumber and wood screws is a great bit of progress. With the holes and placement of our exhaust now complete, I’ll go ahead and remove it in preparation for hitting the entire kart with a coat of primer. Then once we get our final paint coat in place we’ll put our exhaust back into place using the holes we set today.

Before I can consider painting though I’ll need to shop around for some aluminum sheeting that we’ll wrap across the top as well as the tail section.

Next step, aluminum sheeting for the body top and tail.

The profile of our kart is looking good and getting our aluminum in place will get us that much closer to prepping for paint which should be pretty much our last step.

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