Do you really need karting tools?
Uh, yeah. You, Do.
These are not your common hand tools like wrenches, ratchets, pliers, etc. These are the karting tools that make a difference. The tools that help you understand what the kart is doing on the track so you can make the correct adjustments.
You may be able to make it by and wing it for a while but if you want to run with the big dogs and be confident in your adjustments, you need to right tools for the job.
Now, let’s be clear. Just because you have the right tools doesn’t mean you’re going to instantly be faster. You need to know how to use them and why.
Let’s check them out!
This may seem very daunting if you are a beginner into the sport of kart racing. If you want to be a Better Karter learning how to utilize these tools will take you to the next level!
A Caster/Camber Gauge sets both the Caster and Camber of the front wheels.
Why do you need a caster camber gauge for go karting?
Setting your caster and camber angles are two of the most important adjustments you can make to the front end of a go kart.
Optimizing the front grip of a go kart is key.
For detailed information about what these angles are and how to adjust them click the links below.
For Caster angle speed secrets click here.
For reasons why Camber angle is important click here.
Laser Toe Alignment
There are a couple different ways of setting toe on your go kart.
The best way is with a laser toe alignment tool such as the Sniper System.
This system allows you to quickly and easily set your toe angle.
Cool thing about this system is toe is NOT the only front-end geometry adjustment you can make. Camber can also be adjusted using this tool.
I recommended only setting camber while the go kart is on the ground. Not only that but with the driver in the seat as well. Go karts tend to flex. As in the chassis, spindles and tires. This will all effect your camber angle.
Setting your camber angle while the go kart is simulating race conditions will give you the most accurate camber setting.
Here is a quick overview of how to utilize the sniper system for setting the toe angle on your go kart.
It is important to look at the weight of each tire. Or the weight of each corner of the go kart. A scale will break down the weight of the go kart into 4 parts. LF, RF, LR and RR. These are your individual wheel weights.
These weights combined will create Cross weight, Left Side, Right Side, Nose and rear weights. These each have an optimal setting to give your go kart the maximum amount of speed as possible.
An example of a set of scales looks like this.
Each scale pad goes under each tire. These four weights combined are the total weight of the go kart.
Cross Weight – (LR + RF) / Total Weight = Cross %
Left Side – (LR + LF) / Total Weight = Left Side %
Right Side – (RR + RR) / Total Weight = Right Side %
Nose – (LF + RF) / Total Weight = Nose %
Rear – (LR + RR) / Total Weight = Rear %
Something to remember is there is no perfect or magic number for each weight. Go kart chassis will be different, driver style, driver weight, track temp and many more factors.
The best advice is to talk to your chassis builder.
Don’t know what that means?
It means KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!
Your chassis manufacturer will be able to give you a great baseline starting point. When starting out do not deviate too much from these scale readings for your go kart. As you learn and grow you can start to make small changes.
Making an adjustment to your go-kart is great. It is even better when the adjustment makes you faster.
This does you no good if you do not learn what adjustment had what change to the go kart’s performance.
You have to know how the changes will affect the go kart and how much. This will make you a Better Karter.
Being positive everything turns smoothly on your go kart is key. You do not want to waste any power from the engine.
For an example. If the chain has an increased amount of friction due to a misaligned chain, more horsepower will be required to overcome that friction.
Racing is a matter of thousandths of seconds. Every little bit of horsepower helps!
Thankfully there are tools that allow us to properly align the chain to help increase speed!
These tools can be as simple as the one shown above or as expensive as this laser chain alignment tool below!
Adjusting the chain alignment is pretty simple.
On a racing go kart the rear sprocket is keyed to the axle. Usually, a split collar locks the sprocket to the axle.
These are the steps
- Loosen the split collar holding the rea sprocket secure to the axle
- Install the chain alignment tool of choice
- Align the center of the rear sprocket with the center of the front driver
*You may have to remove chain guards or clutch guards to view properly
A pyrometer is an instrument that measures temperatures. In racing knowing the temperature of something could means seconds on the track.
This karting tool allows you to measure the go karts tire temperature.
Yea? So, what.
This is very important!
A tire is rubber. The temperature of the rubber creates a chemical reaction in the tire changing its characteristics on the track.
Meaning as the tire gets hotter you may increase the grip of the tire or decrease the grip of the tire.
How to measure your go kart tire temperatures
- Have your pyrometer ready
- As soon as the go kart comes to a stop after a practice or race start measuring the tire
- Probe the go kart tread surface with the tool
- Record three readings from the tire (inside edge, center, and outer edge)
- Document the readings so you can reference how your adjustments affect tire temperatures
Staying on the topic of tires, the tire pressure gauge is one of the most important tools you can own while racing go karts.
This tool is simple, inexpensive, easy to use, and worth its weight in gold.
Tires are a flexible tube mounted to a metal rim. The air in the tire helps keep the tires shape.
Therefore, the amount of air in the tire is directly related to the following.
- Flexibility of the tire (sidewall and contact patch)
- Friction or rolling resistance
- Grip Levels
- Buildup of heat
- Weight distribution
- Overall Handling and performance
- Life of the tire
As you can see the amount of air you put in a tire has a huge effect on many factors!
Knowing how much air to put in a tire is key!
Your probably thinking, ok brainiac you are saying how important this is, so how much air do I put in the dang thing.
Well, It Depends.
A go kart tire for recreational use should be inflated per the manufactures recommendation and not exceeded.
In a racing application tire pressures can go as low as 5 psi! The different racing applications require different pressures.
Dirt racing may take you below the 10-psi range while oval and road course will be around 15 psi to start.
Fun Fact – NASCAR teams will drop air pressure in a tire a quarter of a pund to create a change to the racecar.
Think about that!
A quarter of a pound!
Stop Kicking the tires and buy a tire pressure gauge.
The digital level. This one is pretty simple but very important.
In a world of preceision and speed its best to level some things out so you are accurate.
No more messing around with the bubbles and sutch.
Main uses of a Digital level for Karting
- Leveling scale pad stand
- Checking caster
These are the two most important reasons a digital level should be in your toolbox.
Leveling Scale Pads
Leveling out the scales is very important. When you scale a go kart a corner of the kart cannot be lower or higher than any other corner.
This will create a false reading of an increase or decrease in weight in that affected corner.
Using a digital level will take any guess work out.
You can quickly and easily check caster angle with a digital level. On the flat spot of the spindle yoke is a spot to put the digital level.
This flat spot matches the angle of the kingpin bolt giving you the truest caster angle out there.
Tips – in a pinch most smart phone are a digital level. There are apps that allow you to use your smart phone. Be sure that a phone case, buttons, or anything else on your phone does not affect the reading.
AIM Technologies allows data collection like never before.
Are you a data geek? You crave all the information!
MyChron data loggers allow you to collect the information the driver may not pick up on the track.
For more detailed information visit aimtechnologies to learn more.