Let me start by saying this; go-karts aren’t; cheap. No matter which type of go-kart you want to build, they’ll cost you a considerable amount of money. Though you can decrease the cost by sourcing parts from different vehicles, the key parts like the engine remain a problem.

We all know go-karts have dedicated engines of their own, so how to make a go-kart with a lawnmower engine?

Well, with proper planning and modifications, you can easily build the go-kart of your dream with an engine from a lawnmower. The go-kart high-performance engine is arguably the most expensive part, and today, I’ll show you how you can eliminate that cost.

So, without wasting any time, let’s go through the step-by-step guide of building a go-kart from scratch using a lawnmower engine.

Can You Make a Go-Kart With a Lawnmower Engine?

can you make a go kart with a lawnmower engine

If you have some prior knowledge about custom go-karts, you probably know the answer already. Let me assure you again, of course; you can use a lawnmower engine in your go-kart. In fact, when it comes to custom go-karts built in backyards, lawnmower engines are one of the most popular alternatives to dedicated go-kart engines.

Lawnmower engines bring quite a few benefits to the table, including their availability price and the right amount of power needed for custom go-kart projects.

Can You Use a Vertical Shaft Engine on a Go-Kart?

Yes, you can, but there are some catches. Typically, go-karts engines have a horizontal mount, while the lawnmowers mostly come with a vertical shaft engine. Though most of the planning and design remain the same, mounting the lawnmower engine poses the key problem of this job.

Considering this mounting issue, you can still manage to put your lawnmower engine into the go-kart. In the later parts of this article, I’ll discuss the process in detail.

How to make a go-kart with a lawnmower engine

Here we are at the main concentration of this article. As you are here, it’s safe to assume you have done the research that brought you here. But, let me tell you, building a custom go-kart isn’t easy as it costs both money and time.

how to make a go kart with a lawn mower engine

But if you have the proper guidelines ad dedication, it’s only a matter of time before you successfully build your go-kart. So, if you have plans to build a go-kart and an old lawnmower lying around, let me show you how to make go-kart using a lawnmower engine

Step 1: Extracting the engine from a lawnmower

Removing the lawnmower’s engine is the first step of this whole process. Now, the process can be easy or a bit challenging, depending on what type of lawnmower you have. But, usually, it’s a fairly easy process that you can do with some basic tools within minutes.

At first, start by removing the spark plug of the lawnmower. Then remove the oil drain plug to drain all the oil stored inside into an oil pan or a suitable bowl. Now, this removal process can vary from model to model, but the fact that you have to remove these parts and drain the oil stays the same. For faster and clean drainage, try to drain the oil while the engine is slightly hot.

After you are done with engine oil, it’s time to drain the gas. To do that, you have to follow the fuel line that connects the engine and the fuel tank. Where the fuel line connects with the carburettor, disconnect the line clamp with pliers and tilt the mower sideways to drain the fuel.

After draining engine oil, find the throttle linkage of the mower. Typically it’s located below the carburettor. Use a socket and remove the screw to get rid of the throttle linkage.

Now the last thing you need to unplug from the engine is the mower starter, which is usually seen in lawnmowers with electric start. If you are having difficulty finding it, remember it looks like a small can with a red wire attached to it.

After everything, one final step remains, which is extracting the engine itself from the lawnmower. To do that, first, remove the blade and then the engine bolts that hold the engine with the lawnmower frame. Again, you can either use an impact driver or use sockets to do this job.

In this part, you” notice a drive pulley attached to the crankshaft. Remove that pulley to free the lawnmower’s engine finally.

Once you remove the engine, your work will be much easier in the next steps. To sum it up, you will be doing the following things to extract the engine from the lawnmower:

  • Removing the carburettor and oil drain plug to drain the engine oil
  • Remove the fuel line and drain the remaining gas in the engine
  • Remove the throttle linkage located below the carburettor
  • Unplug the battery wire from the starter
  • Remove the drive belt/ pulley
  • Extract the engine from the frame by unscrewing the blades and engine bolts

Step 2: Plan the engine mount

This part is pretty standard procedure for any go-kart build. The engine is the heart of any go-kart, and the frame plan should revolve around its size. So start by measuring the engine’s dimension, and you’ll get a clear idea about how big your frame needs to be.

Once you get the idea, make a draft of the frame plan and draw it on the floor or any flat surface where you’ll assemble the frame. Always remember that, at the back, the frame needs to have minimum space to accommodate the engine and the gearbox.

Step 3: Assembling the frame

After planning the frame, it’s time to execute the frame plan properly. First, use hollow metal tubes and weld them together to give the frame a shape. After the primary structure is complete, it’s time to install the axle to the frame.

First, cut a 1″ x1″ square hole and weld bolts at both ends of square tubing. The bolt will be a 4″ one for the passenger side, and for the driver side, get a 6″ bolt. Afterward, to attach the axle, weld it under the frame.

Once the axle is done, let’s move onto the floor of the go-kart. This part is fairly easier, and you’ll require only a metal or steel sheet to act as the base. Then you can drill holes and fasten the sheets with the frame with bolts and sockets. Some people also prefer to weld the sheets with the frame instead of securing them with screws. Both methods are totally fine as long as they are attached safely.

As long as the seat goes, there are no fixed guidelines about how you should install it. Some suggest installing a brace on which the seat will be installed. But if you plan to use different types of seats, for example, a bucket one, the mounting method will change.

Step 4: Steering column, spindle bracket and brake tabs installation

Start by cutting a 3/4″ x 11 gauge section and weld it to the steering tabs. After that, put a 1″ spacer onto the shaft going through the steering hoop. At the end of the shaft, drill three holes to maintain the same distance from the washer.

Finally, for the whoop, create cuts maintain an angle of 39 degrees. At this point, you should recheck all the measurements as it won’t be possible to change them going forward. Make sure the shaft and hoop stay at an angle of 90 degrees to each other, ensuring a full range of motion.

Next up, you need to install the resting tabs for the brake and throttle. Each of these tables will be 2″ long with a diameter of 3/8″. The first tab will sit 1/2″ from the frame, while the other one will sit 1 3/8″ away from the first one.

For the spindle bracket’s weld them to the front axle you installed in step 3. Make sure the spindle always stays at least 1″ away from the axle.

In the end, your brake band will need a pivot. To provide that, you can weld a 3/8″ round bar that sits just about 1 1/2″ from the axle.

go kart lawn mower

Step 5: Preparing and Installing engine mount

Engine mounts are basically just metal sheets like the floor of the go-kart I mentioned before. Instead of fixed round holes, make slotted holes so that you can move the engine slightly if needed. The size of this mounting plate will depend on your engine size.

Next, you’ll have to install a guide for the braking rod and the throttle cable. For these tabs, take a 3″ x1″ metal piece and bend them halfway at 45 degrees. Then, weld one side of the weld with the frame and make a hole on the other one, through which the brake road and throttle cable will go.

After you put the brae rod through the guide tab, make necessary adjustments by bending them so that the rod meets the brake pedal. Lastly, finish by installing a seat of your choice.

Step 6: Installing the engine and gearbox

Now you are at the last step of the process. Both engine and gearbox will be installed, but the proper alignment of the gearbox with the rear axle is more important. Align it perfectly and bolt it down.

Next, change whatever sprocket size you have and replace it with a 16-teeth sprocket. Then use the existing belt slip clutch from the lawnmower to connect the gearbox and engine. If you don’t have the lawnmower’s clutch, you can get a centrifugal force clutch from a local store.

After the engine and gearbox are installed perfectly in sync, finish by connecting the throttle cable to the linkage of the carburettor.

What should I do if I have a vertical rotational push mower engine?

It doesn’t matter whether you have a push mower or a riding mower; most of them have the same vertical mount. Previously, I mentioned you could install a vertical engine in your go-kart and showed how to do that in the guide.


Q: Can I use the engine from a riding lawnmower?

A: Yes, you can use the engine from a riding lawnmower too to build your go-kart. The process is pretty much the same whether the engine is from a riding and push mower. The extraction process may vary a bit for riding a lawnmower, as the engine is bigger, but everything else is pretty much the same. 

Q: How fast would my go-kart go if I use a lawnmower engine?

A: The answer depends on what type of lawnmower we are talking about. Typically, no matter what lawnmower it is, they should generate enough speed for a custom go-kart. Push mowers usually have engines with horsepower between 3 to 8; while riding mowers engine ranges from 13 to 30 horsepower.

As a more preferred choice for go-karts, the push mower’s engine can easily go up to a top speed of 25 mph. 

Q: What lawnmower should I use?

A: You can use any lawnmower as long as it runs on an engine. However, due to their convenient size, power, and easier extraction process, push lawnmowers are a more popular choice for these DIY go-karting projects. But if you require more horsepower and speed for a heavy-duty kart, you are also welcome to try the push lawnmower’s engine.

Wrap Up

Here we are at the end of my guide on how to make a go-kart with a lawnmower engine. I know it’ was a lot to digest in a single guide, by following the steps outlined in this article and using the best components, you can create a powerful and reliable go-kart.

But if you are looking for a high-performance engine, a shifter kart engine might be the way to go. And if you want to be environmentally conscious, you can opt for a gas-powered go-kart that uses clean-burning fuels.

Whatever your preferences, building a go-kart can provide hours of entertainment and excitement.

Apart from the engine extraction and mount, you can assemble other parts according to your plan if you feel confident.Successfully executing this project not only saves you a ton of money, but it’ll also be a great test for your mechanical skill.

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