Step 1: Tear Down
Tear down usually goes pretty quick on a project like this and helps motivation, because it’s such as you got such a lot done. It was really only an hour or two of taking of parts and sorting them into two piles: metal-recycle and maybe-useful. I want this thing low and rodded out. the first plan was to chop it in half, flip the rear axle, and stretch it within the middle of the frame. After trying to find replacement drive belts, I found i might need to install a jackshaft or idle pulley set because they only don’t make belts long enough for what I wanted to try to to . Lowering it an excessive amount of also would hinder my wife’s ability to drive it round the farm and truly use the thing. As cool as slammed to the bottom would be, it just wasn’t practical. Plan B… I hamper the sheet deck that wont to support the seat and battery. I could a minimum of lower the seat as far as possible and lengthen and drop it ahead of the motor. “Raked” may be a close second to “slammed”.
Step 2: Wheel Barrow Seat and Cutting the Frame
One main goal of this project was to use an old wheel barrow because the seat/body of the kart. To do it, I knew I wanted to chop the wheel barrow in such how that I can use the deep end of it as a seat with a high back, and therefore the shallow end because the dashboard. When done right, i feel it really seems like an old T-Bucket hot rod. The seat was mounted using the old seat hinge with new holes drilled in it. I grabbed some scrap 1/8″ sheet to bend up little spring pads. I welded them on to the frame and bolted the springs under the seat for a touch cushion while driving. At now , I “knew” that I wanted to create a touch floor behind the barrow to form it appear as if a T-bucket pickup. But, the simplest laid plans of mice and men often go awry. due to the hinged barrow seat and therefore the way the bed would cover the tow hitch, I had to form some new plans. So I picked up an old mailbox from my parents, who had recently replaced theirs. My wife may be a rural mailman , therefore the mail box certainly fits an emerging theme for the build. More thereon later… Using a Dewalt saber saw , I cut the frame just ahead of the motor mounts. The steering would need to be lengthened or changed, but lengthening the frame here would have almost no other effects on major components of the kart. I also stop the frame pieces that stuck out past the front axle; they were just there to carry the cowling and exhaust, and that we don’t need those where we’re going. Plus, rat rod axles are alleged to be within the very front. After cutting the frame apart, I had to mock it up with a few tire sizes and frame lengths to ascertain how it looked best. I really wanted to use the smaller tires, but, again, not very practical. Bigger tires roll over objects better and may eat up any imperfections within the steering setup.
Step 3: Welding It Back Together
Originally i assumed i might bend some pipe that we had leftover from a project at work to urge the right angle for the front axle. However, with the carburetor and large air cleaner on the engine, there just wasn’t room for a bent pipe thereon side. Instead, I had to compromise again and flip the frame section that houses the axle and install it the wrong way up with a straight pipe. It actually figured out much simpler. I extended the frame 12″. This was the minimum I needed to elongate it for the tire to clear the air cleaner at full turn. I cut my pipe (1″ sch40) frame extensions at 20″. I’d have 2.75″ of weld area on the front section with the axle (as very much like my design would allow), and 5.25″ on the engine-side. I bent the frame round the pipe the maximum amount as possible and welded in as many spots as I could get the stinger into. The tire at full turn would just clear the air cleaner . The filter isn’t within the best spot for keeping clean, but sometimes fashion trumps function. To make the steering fit, I had to lower the front another inch and flip the steering arm to bias towards the rear of the mower.
Step 4: “Body” Panels
The dashboard is formed from the stop section of the barrow. The supports for it are made up of some 1/4″ stainless round bar we had tons of scraps of at work. It sits above the first plan, because it allows access to the engine and flywheel. The supports are welded on to the frame of the mower. it isn’t ideal if i want to tug the engine for a rebuild or replacement within the future, but they’re surprisingly flexible just in case they have to be bent out of the way. The grill is formed from an old pitchfork. I marked and notched where the tines touched the front steering support and welded each tine in situ . I originally planned to chop the pitchfork down, but, frankly, i feel it’s pretty cool long, so I left it. you cannot return if it doesn’t look good hamper , after all.
Step 5: Fuel Tank
One of the staples of a rat rod is that the fuel tank. I knew I wanted to try to to something unique. A mini keg? Stainless beer growler? Hide it during a mailbox? i actually wanted an old situation gallon gas or oil can. seems one among those was surprisingly hard to seek out . I compromised with a dented and rusty paint thinner am i able to had. It had an excellent patina, and that i think it matched the rust and chipped paint of the barrow rather well . Installing the valve is as simple as drilling the proper sized hole within the bottom of the can and bolting the valve into place. There are two vital parts of properly executing this task: 1) employing a Nylock nut because you are doing not want that nut backing itself off and spilling gas everywhere; 2) place the opening during a location you’ll access with a deep socket and long extension through the filler hole. And in my case, there’s actually a 3rd lesson learned: don’t use a can with a hole in it. As it seems , the rusted gallon jug with a dent in it also had a leak right within the middle of the dent.
Step 6: Steering
I used a track rod to tie the steering arms together behind the front axle. i actually wanted to put in a steering box and drag link, but it’s just not very cost-efficient. Instead, I used the first geared steering hub. during this design, the wheel turns a geared shaft, which turns a hub with two rod ends thereon . It had independent drag links for every side, and that they were really loose therefore the wheels didn’t track together alright . Independent drag links also can cause unintended steering problems if the front axle articulates. Installing a top quality track rod definitely helped to stay the tires parallel and more easily adjustable for toe in/out. The downside of using the old steering arms for the track rod is that it left me no place to connect the new drag link. I achieved the spindle and welded on a replacement steering arm made up of some scrap 3/16″ stainless that was laying round the shop. It took a touch of trial and error and grinding to seek out a shape that wouldn’t interfere with the axle or tire at full turn / full articulation. The new drag link was getting to be made up of some square stainless tubing I had, but I noticed the old drag link threads looked really almost like the threads on one among the rod arms I had gotten from my mower-racing friend. surely , it had been an ideal fit, so my new drag link was as simple as threading an old drag link onto an old tie rod! You may notice within the photos that each one the bolts/nuts on the steering look the wrong way up . one among the tricks of industry is to put in important bolts the wrong way up so you’ll more easily monitor them – If a nut loosens or falls off completely, you will not notice it if the bolt remains in place; but if the bolt loosens, you’ll notice the exposed nut threads immediately. I didn’t just like the near-vertical steering shaft. So I welded in some bracing (leftover from the old gasoline tank mount), and hack a C-clamp to form an adjustable angled steering shaft. The articulating joint may be a 3/8″ universal socket joint that I welded into the steering shaft. there is a bit of slop from the C-clamp’s pad, but it isn’t noticeable when you’re driving it.
Step 7: Seat Cushion
I made a template for her with heavy paper, and we discussed material/print options. She chose some outdoor upholstery material. She sewed it in a couple stages so I could test fit the seat without bringing the mower to her. There are some Neodymium magnets from Amazon taped to the inside of the cushion. They work surprisingly well to keep the seat in place.
Step 8: Custom Touches
Any good rat rod has a comically tall shifter. So, I’ve extended the shift arm by 24 inches with 3/8″ rod and added a custom 3D printed mailbox shift knob. It features a paperclip hinge and fully functional door. I also 3d-printed a switch box to mount on the dash in lieu of using the keyed switch. There wasn’t anything wrong with the switch, but it had too many mower safeties that didn’t apply to a go kart, and it really didn’t match the feng shui of the build.
Step 9: Battery Box and Trunk
I reused the old battery box and mounted it behind the barrow body. There wasn’t much room for it between the kart frame and where I wanted to place the mailbox. I also wanted to stay it up high enough that I could use the first tow hitch for a future matching trailer project. I welded the old battery box on to the frame of the mower. It wasn’t designed to support the load of the battery the way that I mounted it, but I braced it with the mail box mount supports, so it should not be a drag . I used more of the leftover 1″ sch40 pipe to make bracing for the battery box and therefore the main support for the mailbox mount. I had to chop a comparatively complicated double-miter on the round pipe, which may be a true pain. I used an Evolution miter saw. This saw can cut most materials, and therefore the miter function made it very easy to form a cut that might rather be a nightmare. I left the pipe sections long so I could cut them to suit the mailbox mount once they were in situ . Sometimes it’s with great care hard to see how long a bit must be to urge the right “look.” The mailbox mount is formed from 1/8″ plate , and bent the brake press with a 60 degree die. I braced the hack sheet that wont to be the frame of the mower with some 3/16″ stainless. It’s overkill, but I work on a stainless shop, so it is the most plentiful scrap I’ve got access to.
Step 10: Test Running