How to Determine the Chain Size for a Go-Kart At Home (DIY)

To maintain a good acceleration of your go-kart, you need to have an efficient chain. But often, we face the problem of chains getting loose and coming off from the sprockets, resulting in serious accidents.

To determine the chain size for your go-kart, you will need to measure the distance between two consecutive teeth on a sprocket with a wrench or a vernier caliper. This distance is known as the pitch. Now, use the following table to tally the pitch with its relevant chain size.

Chain SizePitch (distance between two consecutive teeth)
353/8″
401/2″
411/2″
4101/2″
4151/2″
4201/2″
4251/2″
4281/2″
505/8″
5205/8″
5255/8″
5305/8″

How to Determine Chain Size From a Sprocket?

A sprocket or a sprocket wheel is a wheel having a certain number of teeth that help it mesh with a roller chain. In a go-kart, you will find two sprockets: a rear and a front one, which are attached to a chain. This mechanism transfers the energy from the go-kart engine to the wheels.

If you want a chain for your go-kart without having any idea about its size, you can use the sprocket. To determine the chain size from sprockets, all you need is the right-sized wrench or an adjustable one. Pick up the sprocket and place the wrench against the tips of its teeth. Measure the distance between its two teeth and select the go-kart chain having the same pitch length. 

Here’s a video that goes over a similar process:

Go-Kart Chain Parts and Measurements

Before you start learning the various chain sizes, you must know their parts and understand their measurements. A go-kart chain or a roller chain has five main parts. These are roller, bushes, bearing pins, and inner and outer plates on both sides. 

On the other hand, for determining the chain size, there are mainly four measurements. These include: 

  • Pitch: It refers to the distance between two pins in the go-kart chain.
  • Roller Width: The distance between two inner plates.
  • Roller Diameter: Denotes the length between one side of the roller to the other.
  • Pin Diameter: The distance between two opposite ends of a bearing pin.

Apart from the pin diameter, you can measure all these easily using a wrench. However, to understand them properly, you can refer to the image. 

In addition to these measurements, there is also a metric for gauging the strength of the chain. It is referred to as the average strength or tensile of the chain and it is measured in pounds (lbs). 

How to Replace Your Go Kart Chain?

When a go-kart is in regular use, its chain gets loosened up and might get dislodged from the sprockets. This can affect the sprockets as well as the engine too. That’s why shortening the chain’s length and replacing it every once in a while is necessary. 

For this purpose, you can use a chain removing tool. Firstly, remove the clip of the master chain link with pliers and keep it on the sprockets. Then draw both chains ends together while maintaining the flex of ¼” to ⅜”. Figure out how much it needs to be shortened and count the extra links.

Next, remove the chain from sprockets and prepare to disconnect the extra links. Pick up the tool and place the chain on it so that the tool’s pointer is on the link. Then start twisting the key on the side to take it off and remove all the links with the same procedure.

Lastly, place the chain back on the sprockets without the master link. Once it’s adjusted, reattach the master link and apply lubricant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tight should the go-kart chain be?

A too loose chain can easily get dislodged. While a too-tight one will exert too much force on the engine and sprockets that might damage them. That’s why a go-kart chain should neither be too tight nor too loose. Ideally, you should maintain its flexibility between ¼” to ⅜”

How to measure go kart chain length?

For measuring the roller chain length, you have to count all the links on it, other than the master link. Then multiply this number with the pitch of the chain to get its length. 

Can you use a bike chain on a go-kart?

If the chain can bear the load of a go-kart engine and it fits well on the sprockets, you can use a bike chain on a go-kart.

Conclusion

The size of the go-kart chain matters the most for maintaining its speed. Also, as the chain gets dislodged from the sprockets by loosening up, it’s crucial to measure its size correctly.

For this reason, you must know the different parts of a roller chain and understand its different measurements. The pitch, roller width, roller diameter, and pin diameter are the most crucial for this. By referring to the go-kart chain size chart above and by determining the chain size from the sprocket, you can easily figure out which chain would be appropriate for your go-kart.

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