New to Karting, Implementing Standard Operating Procedures

Hey everyone, as the title states I am new to the world of Karting. I have been reading and absorbing as much information as I can to speed up my transition into the sport. I come from HPDE and road racing and have made the switch. While I will initially stick to just practice laps for some time, eventually I will plunge into club level stuff.

I have started with a KA 100 on a Birel Art I purchased from a buddy of mine who did some racing. I have been learning how to work on and maintain the kart and since then have added another chassis with a spare KA I will prep for my brother. Due to my OCD and detail oriented nature, I started a document to outline some procedures that will aid in memorizing a work flow. I will do the majority of the work myself except for engine building (maybe in the future). A lot of the missing information is secret and there is clearly a ton of gatekeeping (makes sense). However, I wanted to get some feedback on the procedures I have outlined to ensure I am not practicing based on bad information. Feedback would be greatly appreciated and if this document can be useful to anyone feel free to make a copy of it. I plan to print it out and keep it handy while out on track or working on the kart. Link attached below

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Good news, your attention to detail will serve you well, as well-prepared equipment is a MUST in order to go fast, and stay on track (literally). That said, don’t be discourage when you miss something, mess something up, and have to learn the hard way…it happens to all of us. Depending on your goals, your attention to detail will also help you learn and develop quicker than the average newbie.

The KA is a nice package to start with, and won’t have too much complexity. @Christian_Fox kindly offers some engine setup notes on his website HERE. Here are a few practical notes I would add to what you have laid out in your document:

Maintenance Checklist:

  • Charge battery-> charge batteries (usually includes data logger)

  • Check carb settings → one tip here would be to scribe your baseline on the carb using a mark on each needle and a corresponding mark on the carb body. That way you’re not having to memorize settings and turn needles in/out in order to verify.

  • Clutch etc…-> most important is keeping the needle bearing greased, and while you have it apart thoroughly clean the clutch drum with brake clean and a rag. Blue loctite on the nut.

  • Spark plug-> keep a few extras on hand. I prefer the solid type so you don’t have to dick around with the top bit coming unscrewed. They’re inexpensive direct from NGK.

  • Nut/bolt check-> if you’re like 99% of karters, a full nut & bolt check before every single day will be unlikely. So here are the ones I would make sure to check every time:

    • Wheel nuts
    • Hub bolts
    • Engine mount butterflies
  • Some things like chain alignment, if done properly the first time, will not need to be checked until you are moving the sprocket carrier and/or rear axle, or changing engines/motor mounts, etc.

Before Each Session:

  • ADD → check to ensure you’re getting full throttle

After Each Session:

  • Carb settings → same as above
  • Spark plug → usually you can first use EGT to tune, and then use spark plug to verify if needed. Make sure to avoid idling on the in lap and instead complete you in lap at race pace to get a better plug read.
  • KA carb tuning → 1/8 turn increments on the H needle might be a bit much. I’d personally keep changes to 5min adjustments, provided you’re already fairly close to your target EGT’s.

I would also pay extra attention to the condition of the throttle cable, especially if you’re going to be taking things apart often. Additionally, I would regularly check the throttle pedal stop bolts to confirm they’re tight and in the correct positions.

I’m sure others will have plenty of great tips to add to your list. Sometimes trial and error is the best recipe :grin:

Have fun!

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Thanks for the feedback! I did mark up the carb with a sharpie but scribing seems like a better move. I totally forgot about the Aim batteries, good thinking. I have followed Fox’s notes which are extremely helpful and many of his notes I added to mine. I plan to have a new box of spark plugs handy with me at all times.

How often are people actually checking plug gap? In a lot of the videos I have watched I see the mechanic just pop it out the box and straight into the head. Unless they are checking gap on a set to have ready for race day. As for the needle bearing grease, any recommendations? I used to race dirt bikes and have some Maxima Synthetic waterproof grease handy if that works. Thanks again!

I’d suggest checking your gap with each plug. Theoretically it shouldn’t change after setting. Every engine builder likely has a different gap in mind, but I’d suggest just trying to keep the gap consistent. I have used the same little gap tool in my toolbox for a while.

Regarding the grease, a lot of people like Motul high temp grease, but Maxima waterproof grease is great. I’d recommend re greasing the needle bearing once a day. It’s very small and therefore loses a lot of the grease rapidly.

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Welcome Eric. If you haven’t had a chance to check already, there’s some good resources here that are worth reviewing

Search results for 'Checklist' - KartPulse: Karting’s Community Hub

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Perfect. I will use the Maxima until its out and switch over to Motul, thanks.

Welcome! Practice is good and all, but go ahead and jump in the deep end and start racing! I came from the HPDE world too so I caught on a lot quicker than I was anticipating.

Side note, “Implementing Standard Operating Procedures” ? You a Production Engineer or something? Those are the type of words I use at work haha

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Hmm about that lol. My preference is a direct power cable, removes the AIM battery completely :grin:

If you want to copy my toolbox, here’s a link to how I’ve got it set up. One hand lift and didn’t have to borrow any at the SuperNationals. My toolbox

Haha yup! I am a product development engineer at Apex Wheels.

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Thanks! I might have to get a tool box like that. Here is what I currently carry.

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Hey while we are talking tools…

What sort of tool should I get for tightening nuts from below with relatively limited space?

On my rig, my pedal plate has about 8 inches clearance to floor. I have to use an allen key on the top “screw” but need a way to hold the nut from 90degree below angle. I don’t have clearance from side, so a wrench won’t work.

Need a picture to visualize :thinking:

It’s hard to photograph but sorta like this

It’s awkward to photograph but the slider has a bunch of bolts pointing down towards the floor with only 6 or so inches clearance.

Welcome @EHP_Racing!

I’ll add that you should add SMKA to your list of tracks to check out. Let me know if you want to come down and I can get you in for a practice day.

Got it. Yeah that’s awkward.

Probably the best you can do unfortunately is use an open end wrench and then an Allen key on a rachet….might be one of those to get someone else to help.

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That would be awesome! Left that one off the list due to distance(3hr drive for me). Looking to get comfortable with the local tracks before I begin to venture out. I’m headed to Buttonwillow as we speak!

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Nice, enjoy it! I mean, we’re just a hair south of Buttonwillow :slightly_smiling_face: