Go-karting is an exhilarating sport to compete in or to be a part of. The proximity of the tarmac to the driver makes everything feel that much faster. It’s an adrenaline rush when the kart is running smoothly, a nightmare when it’s not. In normal circumstances, it’s quite easy to fix engine problems. Usually, it has to do with the carburetor, burnt valves, faulty spark plugs, or lack of compression.
Here’s why your go-kart dies when you turn. An engine needs three things to run a) fuel, b) spark c) compression. Usually, it’s the carburetor with a float problem, not providing enough petrol to the engine. Always start by checking the carburetor, spark plugs, and compression of the engine first.
When your go-kart’s engine dies on you when taking a corner or just dying on you without any warning, you will have to look for the problem. This is normally a daunting task because there are numerous areas where the problem could lie. From the engine itself to the kart’s electronics, the best thing to do is not to panic. Start by inspecting the usual suspects, and you will hopefully find the problem soon.
Why Does A Go-Kart Die While Driving?
There could be many reasons as to why your go-kart keeps on cutting out whilst driving. It could be something small like a pinched fuel line, for example, or a spark plug that is not providing a spark. Usually, the main culprits are either the carburetor or the fuel pump.
Many elements could be at fault, and hopefully, it’s a small problem that you can rectify by yourself. If you can’t seem to fix the kart, then rope in a mechanic to help.
When you find that your kart is acting funny and starts dying on you while on the track, and you are capable of fixing it yourself, the following suggestions could save you time and money:
Check to see if the kart has fuel in the tank
Driving with an empty fuel tank has happened to us all. This is also the easiest and quickest problem to solve.
Check the oil level and filter
Most go-karts have a Low Oil Cutoff Sensor, and when the oil is low, it will automatically cut off the engine. When performing hard turns or racing over bumpy patches, the oil will get sloshed around, and it may be that the sensor thinks that the oil is too low.
Check the fuel pump and filter
If something is blocking the fuel from getting through, it can also make the kart die on you.
Check the spark plugs
They should be in working order; they should provide a spark when starting the engine. If they show any wear and tear, failing to provide a spark, then you need to replace them.
Check the compression
Take a spark plug out and insert your finger into its place; start the engine up. If your finger is not being forced outward by air coming through, then your compression is too low.
Check the carburetor
Make sure it’s in working order by inspecting and cleaning it. Test to see if it is receiving fuel. You can adjust the fuel flow on the carburetor itself. Clockwise will reduce the flow, while counterclockwise will increase the flow. This problem is often caused by the carburetor being overflowed.
Check the carburetor float
The float is in charge of regulating proper fuel flow to the carburetor, which fuels the rest of the engine. If the float is not properly set, the fuel will leak out of the carburetor, and the kart will run out of fuel in a much shorter time than usual.
Check the exhaust and intake valves
Normally, the exhaust valve has gone bad, which could lead to power loss.
Check all the fuel lines
Especially the fuel pickup hose, it could be corroded and cause problems.
Check the pistons
If they are scratched (too little oil), replace the pistons and rings; this will help with any compression issue.
Check the ignition switch
Sometimes it is something as small as the ignition switch that is causing the mayhem. When your kart keeps on stalling, the best advice is to get an auto-electrician to give your kart a once over. To give you peace of mind that the problem is not electrical but indeed mechanical.
Check the air cleaner and exhaust manifold
Air needs to flow freely in the engine and if the air cleaner is dirty, proceed to clean it with a compressor. Also, check the manifold in the exhaust as it could also be clogged with carbon and baffles coming loose.
Check what happens when you use starting fluid
Try spraying some starting fluid into the carburetor. If it starts but dies when the starting fluid is finished, then you know that the carburetor is not getting any fuel to the engine. Make sure that the carburetor functions at a hundred percent.
Check the alternator
If the alternator is packing up, it will not charge the kart’s electrical system (especially the battery). If this is the case, then the kart will not start at all, never mind cutting out while driving.
Check the kill switch
The kill switch (normally situated on the steering wheel or close by) can sometimes be faulty due to cabling being exposed or faulty. This could lead to the cutoff switch killing the engine as you drive.
By checking the above elements, you should technically have come across why your kart is dying on you and hopefully be able to fix it. If you have done all the checks mentioned and your kart still performs the same, getting another mechanic involved is your best bet.
How To Ensure That The Air And Fuel Mixture Is Correct?
This is a tricky element to fix or adjust perfectly. Even if you are mechanically inclined, it’s best to approach a professional to help with this. There are just too many variables to consider in this instance.
Can You Use Any Size Carburetor On Your Engine?
Ensure that you have the right size carburetor for your engine. If you are using a too-small carburetor, its reserve bowl might be too small to supply the engine with enough fuel. When the engine is working hard, this might lead to running out of fuel.
There is nothing as frustrating as a go-kart dying on you. It’s a daunting task trying to find the fault, as it could be anywhere in your kart’s engine or electronics. Luckily a go-kart’s engine is not a massive structure and easy to dissect. If you have checked all the engine mechanics and still could not solve the problem, you at least know that it could be the electrical side of the kart that is causing the problem.
Hiring an auto electrician to have a look is probably your best option. Should you not know much about electrics, they are also relatively cheap.
Working through the usual suspects step by step should eventually bring you the root of the problem. Start by checking the fuel supply to the engine (carburetor, carburetor float, fuel pump and filter, fuel lines, fuel pickup), the lubrication elements (oil level, oil filter, low oil cutoff sensors, pistons, and rings), and the air components (air cleaner, compression, exhaust manifold).
Then work your way through the electric section (ignition switch, kill switch, and alternator). Work through all electronic wiring and sensors and switches, ensuring they are all in a working state and secure. Ask for help when struggling with a certain element. This will save you money and time and ensure that you are racing and not spending too much time in the garage.