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Tkart magazine

The Expert Advices | How to tune a kart engine for increased performance

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04 April 2019

Usually, there is a considerable difference in terms of performance between a standard and a tuned engine. Obviously, achieving the best result requires a great deal of work by the tuner, who needs to be a professional and have considerable experience in the field. Gianfranco Galiffa, one of the most well-known and successful tuners in karting, explains which are the most crucial areas of the two-stroke engine and how they can be modified to increase performance.

1 A two-stroke kart engine is made up of many components: which ones can be worked on to improve performance?

There are many areas to work on. Starting with the two sides of the crankcase and the cylinder, which should be the parts on which most of the effort is concentrated. However, before beginning the discussion, you should note that engine tuning requires a fair amount of manual skill, especially manual milling, but above all the need for specific knowledge and experience. You could simply elect to have a go, but be aware that it might result in worsening performance rather than improving it, ending up with having to throw away a cylinder or a crankcase and the consequent costs, which should not be underestimated.


2 What work can be done on the crankcase?

Standard crankcases can undoubtedly be improved: the aim is to facilitate the flow of the air-fuel mixture. In fact, after CNC machining, certain areas of crankcases have imperfections, especially the intake: the tuner sands down the surface and removes any chips left over after fusion, thereby improving the fluid dynamics and, therefore, engine performance. Particular attention should also be paid to the coupling with the cylinder: the crankcase has a sort of "ramp" to channel the air-fuel mixture into the transfer ducts, which then create the combustion. This particular channel between the crankcase and the cylinder needs to be cleaned and connected to improve it.

3 What else can we do In addition to sanding down the intake duct?

Tuners do not simply clean the duct of aluminium residues, but, depending on their knowledge, they can mill the crankcase, thereby removing material and modifying its volume. If we succeed in increasing or decreasing the quantity of fuel inside the crankcase, surely performance changes. On crankcases, work is almost exclusively concentrated on the intakes, which is where a tuner can have the greatest impact. You also need to pay attention to the assembly of the crankcase, which is normally overlooked. It is essential for the two sides of the crankcase to fit together perfectly without using too much force. Therefore, we recommend not hurrying too much and taking great care when performing the reassembly.

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