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Shocking everyone in my family, I bought the kids a go kart

Not kidding when I say my family’s name for me is “No Fun Dad”, or if they are being nice “Safety Steve”. I work in the oil and gas industry, so safety is constantly hammered into everyone, even though I have been in an office for over 15 years. So yes, I tend towards safety and sometimes that means I’m labeled as no fun. (Regardless of how much unsafe and stupid stuff I did as a kid, or maybe because of it.)

I posted a week or so ago about wanting to get a go kart and waffling between building and buying. Apparently I procrastinated enough that the market caught me - all of the sub $1500 karts that I thought were suitable were sold out. There were some “mini” ones, but I wanted to at least be able to fit on it as well.

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So instead I ended up find a local guy that builds karts mostly modeled after the kartfab.com instructions with some modifications. It doesn’t have a suspension (which I would prefer to have), but it does have a hydraulic disc brake.

Illustration for article titled Shocking everyone in my family, I bought the kids a go kart
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With the Harbor Freight Predator 6.5 HP engine (212 cc) it is more than enough for my kids right now. I even have the governor screw pretty well in giving them maybe half the throttle.

Illustration for article titled Shocking everyone in my family, I bought the kids a go kart

UPDATE: based on suggestions I just ordered some grab handles ( like you would see on Jeeps) and two full face helmets. /UPDATE

The kids had a blast with it in just the first day. We have an empty lot next door (Harris County Flood District lot bought by the county after Allison), so they have a pretty safe place to run. My parents also have a large parking lot for an Episcopal grade school that will be empty all summer right across the street from their house.

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A couple of things that got us at the end of the day. We probably went through 2 tanks of gas (1 gallon tank), and I had to stop it with the torque converter belt smoking.

Also near the end it just flat out died on us a few times. The first time I thought it was out of gas, so I filled it up. The next few times was just after we refueled. Not sure if it might be the kill switch (he added one below the steering wheel in addition to the one on the motor itself), or possible the oil sensor.

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These engines have an oil sensor and if it does not sense oil it kills the engine. At least a couple of the times it died it had gone around a corner, but my kids aren’t that confident driving it that I think it would trip the oil sensor.

I changed the torque converter belt, but it is raining this afternoon so not sure if we will get it back out. I talked to the guy who built it, and his thought on the belt was that maybe the kids were actually riding the throttle too easy, so it really wore on the side of the belt.

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Yes, I am making my kids wear the seat belt (just a lap belt, but looking at installing a shoulder belt) and their bike helmets when they ride. No Fun Dad didn’t completely disappear.

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