What to look for in a used chassis

I plan to start looking for a chassis for me and a Cadet chassis for my granddaughter.

I’m not concerned about engines, unless they are chassis specific. If the engine is used, I will be doing a complete rebuild. I will be using a KA100 for me and the respective 2 stroke for my granddaughter.

I just need to know what to look for in the chassis so I don’t get something that isn’t repairable. Obviously a chassis brand that can still provide parts if needed would be great.

Thanks, guys!

So most karts will work with most motors. Have you visited the track you will race at? What brands are most karter using?

Is there a brand that a local kart shop sells? If yes that would be an excelent place to start too.

Some things I would look at:
The bottom of the chassis, does it have frame protectors (good but not required)? Are there any flat spots? Some slight flat spots will happen, but that is your frame. Check the welds. The bearing carriers and seat struts seem to take the most abuse.
It will be tough to tell if the chassis is bent as even a slight tweak is a problem, but they can be bent back.

Spares or extras- if you are are new to karting any spares or extras a seller might have will be a benefit.

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Illegal Alien Racing on youtube got you covered:

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Great vid, James. Thanks for the link!

Assuming you are looking for a roller (chassis + everything but engine) I’d try to stay within the past 5years or so. Easier to find parts if it’s relatively recent and locally supported brand.

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Here is a relevant topic:

The basic stuff I look for:

  • Straight
  • Minimal rash on the bottom of the rails
  • No cracks at any of the welds
  • Check slop in any of the bearings, a little is to be expected but excessive might indicate the kart wasn’t cleaned and cared for very well

Finally make sure it’s a make and model you’ll be able to get parts for relatively easily. No fun buying something not supported in your area and having to ship parts in constantly, especially when you break something at the track.

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Thanks for all the input, guys. I think I have enough knowledge to begin the search. Let the fun begin.

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Cracks are sometimes hard to spot and at times not obvious (May look like paint lifting at the weld joint). I’ve found that small partial cracks at struts and seat posts can be re-welded with no effect on the chassis. Just have a good professional welder do the job, as you get one chance to get it right. Also, take it apart so the welder can get around the weld.

Check to see if the side pods frames are square and loose. You might need to loosen the side pod bolts.

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Things I would look for in a used chassis:
Check the front end with snipers to see how even left and right camber and toe are. Obviously, look underneath to see wear on frame rails. I would only buy a chassis that uses frame protectors with minimal wear. Also look for bearing slop. You can pull the steering towards you to see how much bearing wear is there. Over time the bearing at the bottom of the steering column will wear out. Same with rear axle bearings. While there, look to see if rear axle is not bent. If it has an engine on it, you can turn the rear wheels and check the chain tension to find how true the axle is. Next I would examine the brake system as thoroughly as possible. Looks for worn rotors, leaky seals and how much brake pads are left. Brake pads are like tires on OTK karts in that they only last a few days before replacing. Other karts not so frequently.


In no particular order:

  1. Make sure its not stolen
  2. Find a brand locally supported in your area
  3. Newer is better for the sake of parts
  4. No cracks in the frame
  5. Look for a frame/ roller from someone who used chassis protectors/ sliders to prevent road rash under the frame

I sugguest you go to your local track and ask around. Its a small world in karting, and someone is always looking to let something go (for better or worse). If that fails, FB Marketplace is the new Craigslist (with less scammers.) Notice I said less, not free of scammers. But people are less likely to sell stolen items from their personally (identifiable) accounts.

Make sure to round back and let us know what you come up with! :+1: