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TKART magazine How To | First time on the track with a kart? 8 things you absolutely have to know
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Gianluca Covini
03 August 2021
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If you are a practicing kart driver, you can safely move on to another article right away because this one will not be of much help to you. If, on the other hand, you have just purchased a kart (or you are in the process of doing so), our advice is to carefully read everything we have included in this short guide dedicated to kart beginners. There are different types of karts, which you can discover by reading our "Dossier - The definitive guide: how to start with go-karts": in this article we refer to so-called "Racing" karts, a kind of kart that differs greatly from the vehicles we deal with every day: cars, scooters, motorcycles ... Racing karts are real extreme racing vehicles that need much more attention than the classic annual servicing that you get a mechanic to do once a year to your car. Even their use requires precautions that are not taken everyday cars and motorcycles, which only need you to slot in the key, turn it and ... you're away. Racing karts, but in general all types of karts excluding "Rental" karts (those which are "Rented"), require very precise management and rules of use, to be put into practice without exception, to avoid mistakes that could cost in terms of time, money and safety.
As much as a car driven on public roads can be sporty, it will never give the problems or have the management and needs use that, by its nature, a racing kart has.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you get on a track for the first time relates to preparing the fuel mixture. Racing karts have two-stroke engines, which need a so-called "mixture", i.e. a mix of gasoline and lubrication oil, to work. The oil enters the engine and is burned together with the fuel, acting as a lubricant for parts subject to sliding, such as bearings and elastic bands, that is, the rings placed on the piston that come into contact with the cylinder. A mixture composed of a percentage of oil that is too low or even absent, that is, supply the engine fuel only, causes a very high wear of the mechanical components and rapid overheating, arriving in a short time to the seizure of the piston inside the cylinder. To know the correct mixture value, you have to check the technical data sheet of the engine installed on your kart or directly contact the dealer/manufacturer. When preparing the mixture for amateur kart use, it is better to add excess oil, rather than the opposite. In fact, a mixture richer in oil than the ideal value can lead to more smoke from the exhaust and to soil the ducts more quickly, giving less serious consequences than having less oil than is necessary. The oil must be the specific one for high-performance two-stroke (2T) kart engines, preferably of the brand and type indicated by the manufacturer.

How should the mixture be prepared by calculating the correct oil intake?

  • Check the actual litres delivered by the petrol pump, for example 5 litres.

  • Beware of the calculation! It is not just necessary to calculate the percentage on the volume of fuel to obtain the requried volume of oil. In fact, a 3% mixture means 97 parts of fuel to 3 parts of oil and not 100 parts of fuel and 3 of oil. So the most correct and accurate calculation is as follows:

Volume of oil = (Volume of fuel) / (1 - (% oil/100)) - Volume of fuel

For example, a 3% mixture per 5 litres of fuel:

Volume of oil = 5 / (1 - (3/100)) - 5 = 5 / 0,97 - 5 = 0,154 liters = 154 ml

For the correct dosage it is better to use a graduated measuring vessel.

  • Put the oil into the tank and shake it for a perfect emulsion of the oil inside the fuel.

  • Add the mixture into the kart tank.

At the end of a day on the track, it is important to empty the tank.  The mixture can be stored in a cool, dry place for no more than two months, after which it must be disposed of. Otherwise, you can reuse it to clean some parts of your kart, for example the transmission chain-gear wheel-sprocket.
The kit of essential tools to prepare, pour into the kart tank and store a fuel-oil mixture: [1] a graduated measuring vessel for oil (indicative price, 3 Euros), [2] a graduated jug for fuel (about 15 Euros), [3] a funnel (about 10 Euros), [4] a 20 litre fuel tank (about 45 Euros) and a 10 litre tank for the unused mixture at the end of the day (about 10 Euros). The material in the photo does not refer to the prices indicated, which are purely indicative and start from the product class indicated.
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