Posts Tagged ‘pedal go kart’

To have reached this point has been pretty gratifying. Now that we have the paint all on, the number in place, I felt we could start putting it all back together. The front wheels went on quite easily and we also put our louvers back on. We also finally removed the last of the blue painters tape from the steering column and put the steering wheel all back in place. Now we’re cookin’ with gas as one might say.

Cutting off the end of our exhaust pipe.

Before I put the exhaust back into place I went ahead and trimmed the end that mounts into the engine compartment. If you remember back in “Chapter 13: Does an engine without an exhaust still make a noise?”, we ended up with the exhaust pipe hitting our crank pedal.
Before we had removed it I marked the spot where it would need to be trimmed with a Sharpie so all we had to do here simply was cut it. I went ahead and held it in place in a miter box (which worked surprisingly well) and cut it on the line we had drawn.

Because our exhaust is nothing but a kitchen drain pipe made of chrome plated brass it cut pretty easily. I wasn’t terribly concerned with it being a perfectly straight cut since it will be on the inside of the kart and not visible, but I tried best I could. Once the cut was through I then was sure to sand the now razor sharp edge to dull it up. Last thing I needed to do was have one of the boys slice their leg open while pedaling down the road. My wife would kill me. Once we were all done with this step it was just a matter of screwing it back onto the side of the body.

Our drive wheel mounted, showing the block that the wheel mounts to.

Onto the rear wheels. I’ve been thinking a bit about the mounting of the rear wheels. I think I’m going to go ahead and rebuild some new mounting blocks. I never had painted the original ones we had created and after putting the wheels back on I just don’t feel that they’d be strong enough or at least last very long so I don’t want to go to the effort of painting them only to have them break soon thereafter.
The alignment of blocks is also bit off, but more than that is the sheer strength. What I’ll do is rather than build a mounting block out of 1×6 as we had before, I’ll pick up a piece of 4×4 and cut it in a wedge shape to align the wheels straight, while also mounting flush to the frame. Am I really looking to rebuild these mounts to insure they’re strong enough, or am I not wanting to finish this project? Good question. I’m not sure I can answer that but probably both.

With the rear wheels now mounted, albeit temporarily, we have a rolling kart again. The kids are really excited to see it all back together. I went ahead and pulled it off the stand to get some shots when one of the boys enthusiastically asked if he could take a ride. Sure, why not. I said “It’s not ready to pedal, but I could push you around a bit.” He sat in it and wrapped his hands around the wheel and just grinned ear to ear.

All rev'd up and ready to roll.

He turned the wheel back and forth a bit and off we went down the street. It really was fun to see. I pushed him down the sidewalk and told him to go ahead and turn up the neighbor’s driveway where we would turn around and head back home. I thought I may have even heard him making some engine noises, but then I quickly realized what I heard in fact was the spokes on the front wheels scraping against the lower control arms. Ahh! Abort! Abort!

We limped ‘er back to the garage and I realized that in the haste to get some pictures of it all back together I neglected to put the spacer on the front wheels that moved them towards the outside to clear the arms. I removed the wheels, put our spacers into place, and put it them back on. And also took a mental note to not to make that mistake again.

You can see where our spokes grazed our control arm.

On closer inspection I think I can repair it aesthetically, but I’m worried that a crack may have been introduced. Even if there is I think that the strength of the upper will be strong enough to support it, but I’ll just keep my eye on it. Luckily I can remove it and replace it relatively easily from the bottom of the kart. Yet another loose end that could have me working on this a bit longer.

All in all we’re looking pretty good. The louvers, the grill, the steering wheel, the exhaust, each add that bit of detail to make this a pretty cool vintage go kart. In addition to resolving our rear wheel mounts and this new wonderfulness with the front wheel I’m looking to get a seat of some sort added. Oh, and maybe some headlights. I did a bit of looking around hoping to find a discarded bar stool with a back that I could take the upholstery off of. I thought a seat like that would be perfect but no such luck finding one (still glancing at the occasional yard sale though). As a last resort I could just head over to the local fabric store and pick up some foam and pleather I suppose.

Our seat, in desperate need for some upholstery.

For the next few steps I’m going to get going on getting the rear wheels mounted permanently with new blocks and get our chain back on and in business. I may have to make it longer with our remounted rear wheels.  If I can insure the front is solid (no cracks) then heck at that point we’d have a fully functional go kart and that would just be great.

If you happen to have any leads on some reproduction Schwinn bike headlights (chrome type) drop me a line.

Until next time…

To this point we’ve made some great progress with our steering assembly, the body, and even the steering wheel itself. With regards to the pedal and crank components, after assembly it didn’t really seem that it would work. The thing is it’s that original idea, of making a simple pedal car, that got me started on this project to begin with. And it’s that thought that really made me revisit the pedal crank just one more time. There is just something really great with the idea that this go kart could sit for twenty years and it could still be a neat toy right out of storage, whereas with an electric motor or even gas it may not stand the test of time would have issues with speed and power, etc.

Our two donated Power Wheels motors with 6v/4amp batteries. With plastic sprockets it's amazing these things last as they do.

Over the past couple of weeks I had two Power Wheels cars donated to the cause and after digging into them and removing the motors I realized that I would have to do a serious amount of retrofitting (drilling, cutting, etc) of our already assembled body to make them work. And even still, the power would in all likelihood not be enough, or at least not make for a very exciting ride, since they were single speed motors with a 6 volt 4 amp. battery source. There are some great resources online (such as ModifiedPowerWheels.com) with tons of docs on hacking these things, but I think going this route would really make this project drag on more than I’d prefer. And I’m not totally convinced it would even work in the end.

I remember catching a commercial on television for the Dyson vacuum cleaner. It was noted that the inventor had gone through a hundred prototypes (maybe it was a million, I don’t remember) before settling on it’s current form.  I’m sure the Wright Brothers didn’t get off the ground on their first attempt either, so with all this in mind I don’t feel too bad for spinning my wheels for a few weeks while trying to figure this all out.

My trusty assistant working diligently as usual.

After raiding the boys’ Halloween candy for some inspiration I thought long and hard about my dilemma. I really have a few issues to address if I want to use the crank; first is the mounting of the sprocket, second is the general alignment of the crank to the rear sprocket and of course the leg room issue for my oldest son. After a couple of bite size Snickers, a Tootsie Roll and some Candy Corn I think I finally came up with a solution for all three problems…not to mention a stomach ache.

First problem to contend with was the sprocket mount. Remember as handy as JB Weld is, it didn’t really cut it when we tried to mount the sprocket with it. The force when it turned the the chain was just a bit too much. To solve this problem I realized I could mount the sprocket onto the crank using a pipe floor flange…the very same thing we used to mount the rear wheels as well as the crank in the frame. This galvanized pipe is really handy stuff, I’ve used it in a variety of places in our project and heck for all I know it may even be a cure for the common cold.

Our sprocket mounted to the pipe flange.

I realized that if I drilled four holes in the sprocket I could mount that to the pipe flange. The flange and sprocket could then slide over the crank where once the ideal position was found I could secure it with nuts on each side plus a cotter pin through the crank to prevent it from spinning when the crank was turned. Genius I tell you! Sheer genius! OK, maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but I did think it was a good idea… then again I also thought JB Weld was a good idea.

To put this plan into action I first bribed my assistant and we drilled the holes. I realized that having four mounting points for the sprocket would also give some flexibility with the alignment issue as well. I could shim one or more of the bolts with washers to get it to lean one way or another.

We spent a bit of time drilling our holes we then mounted it up to the flange. It actually didn’t look half bad. Next I placed it onto the crank… so far so good.

Our sprocket and pipe flange unit mounted to the crank, with a cotter pin drilled through the crank. Second time's a charm right?

Now for our leg room issue. When my older son sat in our kart, and pedaled, he hit his knees on the steering wheel. I realized that as much as raising the height of the wheel helped, I also needed to bring the wheel further away from the dash and closer to the rider. The solution here was simply to add another 2″ spacer into our steering column. It’s not as though this kart will fit them forever, but at least for a bit of time they should all fit right?

If you look at a typical recumbent bicycle the rider is somewhat laid back, with their feet in front, and the steering is either via a crazy “hands at your side” or via a system that is higher than where your knees will be while pedaling. All these measurements and considerations are definitely easier said than done.

I had my son sit down for yet more measurements (at this point I think he’s getting tired of me asking him) and I realized that unlike what I did in Chapter Seven it’s not so much that the steering wheel needs to be higher, but that it should be farther from where his knees will end up. In other words I need to make it closer to the dash, not farther. I also realized that I could make a bit more room for his knees by carving yet another (third one I might add since the I cracked two earlier versions) dash up.

Third pass at a dash with a revised shape to the bottom for more leg room.

I proceeded with this step by removing the steering column and removing our longer 3″ extension and replacing it with 2″, and carving the bottom of our dash with an “S” shape as seen in the shot.

To this point we’ve resolved our leg room issue as well as the sprocket alignment and mounting challenge. Woohoo!

Finally, I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel with some finishing work in the not too distant future. Let’s just hope the light isn’t a train.