Go kart toe angle is an alignment of the front wheels that faces the tire in, toward the center of the go kart, or toe out facing away from the center of the go kart.
This is an easy way to visualize go kart toe angle
Imagine your feet are the front tires on your go kart. Take your shoes and socks off. Stand up and look down at your feet. Point your feet toward each other so your toes are facing inward. That is toe in or positive toe angle
Do the same procedure but make your feet point away from one another. This is toe out or negative toe.
Toe will have its greatest effect on straight-line speed and corner entry.
On a primarily left turning road course or oval situation a slightly toed out LF and slightly toed in RF will assist turn into the corner without compromising straight-line speed and stability.
Go Kart Toe Angle – Questions Answered
- Does go kart toe angle even matter?
- What should my toe angle be?
- When should I adjust toe angle?
- How Do I adjust toe angle?
- What Tools Should I Use for toe angle adjustments?
- Do I have to adjust both tires evenly?
- Can the rear tires have toe angle?
All valid questions!
Hopefully, the answer you are looking for is here. If you have any other questions leave me a comment and I will answer them for you.
Go Kart Toe Angle Dynamics
Go karts are metal tubing with bolted on parts and pieces. As rigid as you may think these frames bend and flex. Spindles bend and so do the tires. Just as the heading explains, go karts are very dynamic beasts.
Go karts are rear wheel drive race cars. When you drive down the straightaway the forces of friction are acting on the front tires. The rolling resistance of the tire pushes the tire back. This causes a natural toe out setting. Even if your tire was set perfectly straight you will develop a negative to setting as you race down the straight.
Keep in mind everything is moving and racing is a fickle bitch.
Does go kart toe angle even matter?
Of course, it matters!
Would I take the time to write about it if it didn’t matter?
Toe Angle is an adjustment that is small but can gain you the extra couple tenths of a second you are seeking. Toe is a simple adjustment that has a huge effect on straight-line speed and corner entry.
Extreme toe angle settings, toe in or out, will cause handling issues and slow speeds down the straightaways
What should my go kart toe angle be?
There is no right or wrong answer. But what is more important is that you are setting toe with confidence.
For most go kart racing applications you will want your toe angle on the LF toed out 1/16″ – 1/8″ out and the RF at “0” or toed in a 1/32 – 1/16″
Adjust from there – as you race, feel the go kart out. If you feel like you need some more help on turning into the corner (left turn) toe out the LF some more (about 1/32 – 1/16″ increments). If you cannot keep the go kart straight down the straightaways bring both front tires closer to 0.
When should I adjust toe angle?
Toe should be adjusted at your shop before you get to the track. Adjusting toe angle will affect camber. Camber is explained in detail here. Since you are turning the wheel, this creates camber gain or fall. If you are adjusting toe, you are effectively turning the wheel. This is why the camber is changed when you adjust toe.
At your shop is the best place to adjust toe. This is because you usually adjust toe while the go kart is on the scales or flat level surface.
You want the go kart at race weight when adjusting toe. This means driver, helmet, fuel, body work, etc. The reason for this is the flexibility in the chassis and other components.
How Do I adjust toe angle?
Toe is a pretty easy adjustment. The jam nuts on the tie rods need to be loosened first. After that is done you can adjust toe by rotating the tie rods to extend or shorten the length. This will in turn…, no pun intended, change the toe angle of that tire.
The left and the right tie rods will have to be adjusted to obtain the proper amount of toe for each front tire.
What Tools Should I Use for toe angle adjustments?
There are some really useful tools out there that can set toe down to the 1/32 of an inch! Precision at its finest.
Freakin Laser Beams
If you don’t get the reference, shame on you. Setting toe would have been Dr Evil’s favorite job. Laser beams and mirrors are your most accurate way of setting toe.
The Sniper V2 INOX Laser Alignment System is one of the most accurate tools to set toe.
A great video on how to set toe is shown here
Other Tools used to Set Toe on your Go Kart
Do I have to adjust Toe on both tires evenly?
Toe does not have to be equally adjusted on the LF tire and RF Tire.
On a predominantly left turning track you will want to toe out the LF about 1/16″ – 1/8″ and leave the RF tire at 0 or toed in slightly to account for friction pulling the tire back to a toe out condition.
Can the rear tires have toe?
Yes, the rear tires or axle can have toe.
The rear axle toe setting is not always called toe. It is sometimes called axle lead. As you are leading one rear tire and trailing another when this adjustment is made.
The rear axle usually sits square in the frame. When axle lead is adjusted one rear bearing hanger has an adjustment to move the axle toward the front of the go kart and naturally the other side will move backwards.
For example, if the LR bearing hanger has an adjustment to move the axle forward the LR will be closer to the front of the go kart. Since the rear axle is solid the RR does not have a choice but to move to the rear or further away from the front of the go kart.
These adjustments are not always common, and some go karts do not even have this adjustment.
The handling difference you would see is assist on turning into the corner.
If the LR is moved forward the go kart will turn left easier.
If the RR is moved forward the go kart will turn right easier.
Go Kart Toe Angle – Why it Matters
Setting toe on your go kart is an important front-end adjustment that should not be overlooked. But it is one of many adjustments you can make to the front wheels. Go Kart Camber angle is just as or more important when setting up your go kart. The Caster angle on your go kart is also just as important.
Learn more about those adjustments here!