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 Off Season 
Vice President

Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:19 pm
Posts: 540
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Class: Jr. Clone
Chassis: Bandit
Engine: 4 cycle Clone
Post Off Season
OK, Racers, it's only 59 days till spring and the beginning of racing season.

Before we go out and start racing, there are a few things we need to do to get our machines in shape for the up coming season. I do this twice a season but some do it once a year and some don't do it at all. After a long winter off season, we are all chomping at the bit and ready to race, and shake off the cabin fever. So, we want our machines in top notch shape so there is some maintenance to be done.

Here is what I do:

I remove all body work and check for any bad cracks or damage. If it's too bad to repair, I'll replace it with new, or some nice used pieces.

Remove the nerf bars and bumpers, inspecting them for any bends or cracks, or if too badly damaged, replace them or have a new set built. (I build nerfs and bumpers by the way)

remove all wheels and tires and break down all tires to at least clean the inside of the rims if you're not mounting new tires. Check for any bent wheels.

Remove the rear axle. Check the bearing cassettes for any play. If excessive, replace them. Clean and check axle bearings. Some have a rubber shield that can be removed and a good cleaner(BrakeKleen) can be sprayed in the bearing to remove any dirt or debris. After cleaning, lube with a good oil and replace the seal.

Check the brake rotor for bent or cracks. Remove brake pads and either clean them with brakeKleen or replace them. Clean caliper and check for any leaks or cracks.

Check the sprocket hub and sprockets. If sprockets are "fish hooked" or bent.. or worn into a taper...replace them.

Check the rear wheel hubs for bent or loose studs. Also check the area around where the pinch bolt is to make sure of no cracks. If lug nuts are worn or rounded....replace them. Same with the studs. Check the rear axle for being bent. One easy way is to take the bare axle and roll it on a flat surface, or if you're picky like me, I set it up with a dial indicator to check.

Now the front end. Remove the front hubs and check the same as the rear. Check the bearings. If they are hard to turn or have rough spots in them....replace them.
Check the wheel spacers for worn or cracks. Try to have the same size and amount on each side. This makes it easy to tune the front end.
Remove the spindles. Count how many washers you have on the top and bottom so you can put them back the same on re-assembly. Clean all of these parts(wheel spacers, washers, spindles).

Remove the fuel tank and lines. Empty old fuel out of the tank and clean well. Check fuel shut off for leaks or not operating. Replace all fuel line on re-assembly. I suggest using Tygon fuel line. It doesn't get hard and brittle.

Remove the floor pan. If it is bent or has cracks, replace it or have one made.( I make these also)

Remove the steering assembly. Check for bent tie rods, loose heim ends. Inspect the spindles for cracks or bent. If spindles are not bent too bad, they can be straightened.(I have tools to do this) Check steering shaft for bends or cracks. remove steering wheel and check the threads on end as not to be striped along with the nut that holds the wheel on for rounded edges.

Remove the seat. Check for cracks or any holes that are starting to crack. You can repair these with a fiberglass kit from your auto parts store. Check the seat struts for cracks breaks or being bent, or any oblonged hole that might be.

Remove the brake master cylinder and brake lines. If you haven't replaced the lines in a while, now is a good time to do so.

Now that we have the frame striped of all the parts, it's time to inspect the chassis for any defects. Start at the front where the front bumper mounts. Check where the steering shaft mounts, and if it has a bearing , check it for smoothness or being loose. Check the spindle saddles and king pin holes for cracks or the holes being worn out. Check the steering shaft uprights where they are welded to the frame for breaks or cracks or bends. Check the front seat mounts. are they tight and not cracked. Check the floor pan tabs for being broken or cracked. Check the cross bar where the seat mounts mount. especially where it is welded to the outside frame rails. This is a likely place for cracks in the welds or the frame itself. Check the rear seat bar where it welds to the frame rails. This is a major place for cracks in the chassis, usually around the motor mount area. Check the rear bearing hangers for being bent or any weld cracks. check the holes that mount the bearing cassettes for any wear or cracks.
Check all attachment points for nerfs and bumpers for any cracks.
If you wanted to re-paint your chassis, now is a good time to do it, but repair all the defects first. Clean or paint your chassis.

When you go to re-assemble your kart, check all bolts for being bent or bad threads, if so ...replace them.Lube all nuts and bolts when re-assembly. Torque to correct specs. If you suspect that your chassis might be bent, you can contact me and I can straighten it for you or re-weld any cracks you might discover.

One other point that I always do is to clean my brake system. How I do this is to drain the brake fluid and fill the master cylinder with Isopropol (rubbing alcohol) alcohol. I do this with the lines attached and cycle the alcohol thru the master cylinder and brake caliper. after a few times and it runs clean, I re-fill with DOT 5 brake fluid and bleed the system.

Re-assemble and lube everything. Make sure that all steering and brake components are cotter pinned or safety wired. Re-paint any weights white and put your kart number on them. Any 5lb weight should have at least a 5/16" bolt woth double nut or safety wired as not to fall off. Any weight over 5 lbs must have two 5/16" bolts to hold them on, also double nutted or safety wired.

So, there you have it. A fresh chassis and components for the start of the race season. I will post some 4 cycle engine and clutch maintenance procedures along with carb and valve spring maintenance. ....GET BUSY!!

Butch McCall

"It's not in my nature to spend money sparingly when I'm having a good time"

Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:15 pm

 Off Season 

Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:25 am
Posts: 277
Chassis: Kosmic
Engine: Allison
Post Re: Off Season
I would also say to rebuild your brakes. Put new seals in the master cylinder and caliper. Do this right before the season starts.

Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:10 pm
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