If you have a go-kart with a clutch as its operating system, you might run into some clutch problems and want to fix them.
Clutch problems are not very uncommon and can happen for quite a few reasons and would leave you wondering how to rectify the fault at hand; sometimes they can be quite annoying and exhausting experience, but most of them can be avoided if you take preventive measures or can be fixed if you can carefully inspect the fault and diagnose the underlying issue.
How to tell if a centrifugal clutch is terrible?
Before making any decisions, we need to know some indicators to tell whether the clutch is working correctly.
A clutch might not disengage when damage has occurred, and the go-kart will start to move on once the engine is on. The visual representation of the damage can be analyzed by looking at the clutch drum. The metal turns from black to blue color.
Another phenomenon to observe if the clutch has gone wrong is that it starts to slip during driving, this might be due to lubrication that got inside the holes in the clutch drum, which lets the hot air out, and the clutch won’t function normally.
Before making any fixes or rectifications, you will need to understand the problem and have knowledge about clutch functionality fully; you will need to familiarize yourself with the internal components of a go-kart clutch before making any changes.
Related: How Does Go Kart Clutch Work
Illustration has been provided in this guide to make sure you are familiar with clutches, which is as follows.
- Tension Spring
- Frictional Material
The most common clutch problems faced
The most common clutch problems are:
- Problems during the adjusting of the Centrifugal Clutch
- Overheating of clutch
- The Clutch stuck to the crankshaft
- Clutch not engaging
- Clutch engages early
Any go-kart clutch that is not optimally running can drastically reduce performance and cause wear and tear; hence, follow this guide for a complete walkthrough to fix these issues.
Problems faced during the adjusting of a centrifugal clutch
During the adjusting of the go-kart clutch, if the driver wants the engine to engage at higher RPM, you will have to shorten your clutch spring, which can be done by cutting the 2-3 loops from the open end.
On a circular spring clutch of the go-kart, this is done as when you shorten the spring, the centrifugal force at which the engine engages increases making your go-kart go at a higher RPM.
The problem arises when the spring is cut too short, and the engine is not modified, preventing the clutch from never engaging. So, it would be best to be mindful of that, as 2-3 loops are enough for the engine to contend.
Rectify the problem
If you cut the spring too short during adjusting, the spring must be replaced. The first process would be selecting a new spring, as there are a wide variety of springs available in the market with higher stiffness and much better quality, so you need to decide which spring to choose depending on your need, then comes the process of replacing which is as follows.
- Remove the clutch from your go-kart.
- With the help of the snap, the plier removes the snap ring. The snap ring will be the one that holds the drum of the clutch to the other half of the grip.
- A washer/spacer will be between the drum and the cover of the other half of the clutch. Please keep it safe.
- Remove any other snap ring you find.
- After the cover has been taken off, you will see the old spring. Please remove it.
- Now you put the newly purchased spring back.
- Now you are all set to go.
Overheating of Go-kart Clutch
An Overheating of the clutch needs to be assessed and rectified as quickly as possible. One of the most common indicators is a burnt smell when the clutch starts to overheat.
There can be several various reasons for overheating of the clutch, which are as follows:
- Lack of Lubrication
- Rear tires too large for gear ratio
- Driving a go-kart at a constant low speed for a long time
Rectify the Problems
Resolving on Lubrication Problem
Of all the problems stated above, lack of lubrication is the most common. If the clutch is not lubricated correctly, there will be no fluid to reduce friction, dissipating heat. The hub areas below the brass bushing require a good amount of lubrication as if these parts are not lubricated well enough. It will cause overheating and, over time, will cause damage to the clutch.
Be extra careful when lubricating, as you do not want to lubricate the internal part of the clutch, which consists of the frictional part and drum, causing the clutch to slip.
Rear Tires too large for the gear ratio
An ideal gear-to-tire ratio for a 13′ tire is 1:6 (Gear ratio: Teeth in axle sprocket ratio); hence any tire size large size compared to this gear ratio can cause a lot of heating.
So, if you want to increase the tire size of your go-kart, a compatible gear ratio reduction should be made accordingly.
Driving a go-kart at a constant low speed for a long time
An astonishing feat, but to my surprise, driving a go-kart at low speeds for a very long time can cause overheating of the clutch, the reason being the clutch is fully engaged for a long time.
Clutch Stuck to Crankshaft
This problem arises when removing the go-kart clutch from the crankshaft because of the vital tapping during installation. One of the most obvious reasons is that overheating for a prolonged period or being exposed to excessive wear causes the clutch to get stuck.
Heat is transferred from external to internal components when the clutch is overheating regularly and doesn’t get the required lubrication.
Rectify the Problem
If you feel that clutch is stuck to the crankshaft, firstly spray some oil on frozen material to loosen them up and let them soak in. but if it still doesn’t come out, you need to use a 3-jaw gear puller to pull the clutch out.
When pulling the clutch out with a gear puller, ensure that you do not damage the clutch as sometimes the clutch is stuck tight with the crankshaft, and using force can cause severe damage to the clutch.
Oil your clutch several times and try it before going to the gear puller solution, and apply some anti-seize onto the crankshaft. This will make the disassembling process easier for the next time.
Clutch not engaging
The manufacturers of the clutch have set 1800 RPM when a clutch engages fully. When this set point is obtained, a contact point between the clutch drum and frictional material through centrifugal force.
Hence, it is crucial to keep your clutch fully engaged in running at optimal conditions. If this clutch is not engaging correctly, you will feel a bump and jerk when stepping on the pedal.
The potential reasons this problem can arise is due to the following,
- Worn-out frictional material
- Lubricating the wrong areas
- The tension springs are too tight
The most common reason is worn-out frictional material that must be replaced.
Occasionally, it can also happen that during lubrication of the clutch, a wrong step may lead to Oil entering the internal parts of the grip and reducing friction between the drum and flyweights. The least common reason is tensions springs being too tight and not letting flyweights and drums make contact.
Rectify the Problems
Worn-out frictional material
If you are dealing with a frictional material that is worn out, you will need to replace the flyweights or the entire clutch.
Wear and tear are typical, and the clutch can significantly be controlled with proper care and maintenance.
Lubricating wrong areas
It would help if you never lubricate the clutch’s inside, including frictional material, flyweights, and drums. Incorrect lubrication will cause you to disassemble the clutch entirely and remove the excessive Oil.
Tensions Spring are too tight
If the tension springs are too tight, replace them with standard springs.
Go-Kart Clutch Engaging Early
During your go-kart journeys, you might have noticed go-karting accelerating once the engine has been started. This is a phenomenon of the clutch engaging too early, this could happen for various reasons, and you need to scrutinize the engine and clutch.
Potential issues for a go-kart that engages early are,
- Engine Idle Speed set too high
- Clutch Components are stuck
- Tension Springs are too loose
Engine idle speed set too high is one of the most common problems causing the clutch to engage. The clutch problem is not directly related to the grip but rather the engine’s idle speed.
You can also come across a clutch that is stuck. This means flyweights are constantly engaged, regardless of the engine’s RPM.
Flyweights can be engaged prematurely due to excessive wear over time and the tensions spring being too loose.
Rectify the Problems
Engine Idle Speed set too high
A configuration of an engine should be done by adjusting idle engine screws. This method can be practiced when the engine idle speed is set too high; furthermore, the Go-kart manual can obtain information to reduce the idle speed.
Clutch Components Stuck
As you start the engine, the clutch engages instantly; this happens as flyweights are stuck to the drum, and hence depending on the structural condition, you will need to either replace the flyweight or the entire clutch.
The tension springs are Too loose
As the passage time when you drive the go-kart, the tension screws can lose tension over time, indicating that the clutch will engage too early. You can replace the loose tension spring and reinstall the clutch.
How to oil a centrifugal clutch/bushing
Oil the bushing in the sprocket every 2 hours of driving.
Keeping your clutch lubricated properly can prevent overheating and the damage it can cause. If heat damage happens, the clutch might never disengage, and the machine will start moving on its own the moment the engine is started.
We will guide you about a step-by-step process for oiling your clutch, which is as follows,
- You will find an internal bronze bushing behind the snap ring next to the sprocket teeth. This bushing requires oil lubrication from time to time.
- Turn the engine off and sprinkle Oil behind the snap ring while the bushing is warm.
- Also, Oil the clutch before you take the go-kart for a ride
- Give a few minutes before driving so the Oil can settle down.
- Don’t put Oil inside the clutch. The holes inside the drum are to let hot air out of the clutch, Don’t Put Oil in those Holes, and it will cause slipping of the grip.
The above-mentioned is an excellent guide where you can find ideal solutions to most of the daily clutch problems most drivers encounter. Consider the rectifying section to ensure that you take precautions as to whether these problems don’t occur in the first place.
Hello Folks, my name is Mesha Macauley, your neighborhood go-karting enthusiast, I just love motor racing and motorsports which especially includes go-karting, the thrill of enjoying, and driving the go-kart with winds brushing against your face gives me butterflies. Usually, you will find me on go-kart tracks either driving or tuning my go-kart.