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How To | Getting your kart back in good working condition after a long break

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GETTING YOUR KART BACK IN SHAPE AFTER A LONG BREAK

05 March 2018
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INTRODUCTION

TKART’s most attentive readers will remember that, a while back, there appeared a short guide
explaining what to do when you decide to leave your kart in the garage for a while during winter. Now, to bring things full circle, it’s time to look at the most important things to do when you decide to do the opposite: take the kart out and get ready (and get it ready) to get back on the track. Whether you’re focused on the first spring races or simply want to take it out for a day on the track, it’s fundamental to carefully verify the kart’s principal features, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises once you’re out on the track and then be forced to postpone your seasonal debut.

1 BRAKES

Let’s being with one of the most delicate areas: the brakes. Less for their mechanical parts as such than to determine a general bill of “health.” The oil contained in the brake system, for one thing, can corrode the washers and gaskets present in the master cylinder and callipers: after months without use, it’s necessary to take a look at it. All you have to do is use your hand to push down on the brake pedal and make sure that, at the slightest pressure, there’s a corresponding movement of the callipers. If there isn’t, it means that the washers are corroded and the effectiveness of the brakes is compromised. In this case you have to drain all the oil out of the system, open it, and replace the washers. After which you put in new oil and bleed the brakes. It isn’t a complicated operation (although, in order to facilitate the work, you need to remove the chassis components), but it does require some time and knowledge.

2 TYRES

What to do concerning the tyres depends on how the kart is going to be used. If the objective is to drive at an amateur level for enjoyment, you might even choose to use the tyres from the collection boxes at the track paddock: it’s by no means rare to find four tyres that aren’t yet “finished” and can fit the bill.
But if the tyres have stayed on your kart since you put it in storage, it’s necessary to verify that they’ve been properly conserved. The best way of preserving them is to put them in a vacuum or, if nothing else, at least keep them away from humidity. But independently of how carefully they’ve been conserved, tyres that haven’t been used in a while require a brief period of settling on the track: for the first two laps it’s best to go slowly, then gradually increase your pace to warm the tyres up. After five laps with warm tyres, stop and let them cool off before continuing.

3 HIGH SPEEDS

If the kart and, consequently, its components have been out of use for some time, it’s good to dedicate some attention to the engine as well. Again, the real difference depends on what was done before the break: if the gas and water weren’t removed from the fuel and cooling systems, they need to be refreshed; especially the fuel system, which will likely be corroded by the gas.
The radiator shouldn’t present particular problems, apart from micro-blockages caused by mineral deposits. Even a float-type carburettor doesn’t require any particular inspection, but, if any gas remained inside, you need to empty it and replace the internal components.
You certainly need to inspect the fuel pump and replaces the filters and membranes: the operation is very simple; all you need is a screwdriver and a few minutes.
But if your engine has a membrane carburettor, you also need to replace the membranes which may have been damaged by the corrosiveness of the gas.
The gas lines will probably have yellowed, but it isn’t a problem: they lose transparency, but not their ability to transport fuel. You do need to check, however, that they haven’t been crushed or deformed.
These operations are not fundamental to the kart’s basic functioning, but they certainly matter if you want it to perform at its best.

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