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TKART magazine Must Have | 4 tools (and 4 modes) for perfect alignment between the kart's sprocket and pinion gear (the fourth one you don't expect!)
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Giacomo Mantovani
30 June 2024 • 6 min. read

In adjusting the kart transmission (read more about it in, Tech talk | The transmission of a kart), finding the correct (and precise!) alignment between the sprocket and pinion is a technical aspect that is too often underestimated, which, however, directly affects both the efficiency of the transmission itself and the longevity of its mechanical components (namely, chain, sprocket and pinion). In this sense, it is not uncommon to see karters looking for the correct alignment "by eye" and finding them crouching with their eyes in the trajectory between the sprocket and pinion, as if they were about to take aim before throwing a dart at the target! This approach, however, is almost always bound to produce sloppy results. In fact, even just a few millimeters of deviation from the optimal condition (in which the chain links are perfectly centered between the teeth of the sprocket and pinion) can cause uneven wear of the components, major power losses, and possible malfunctions and/or breakage while the kart is in use. For this very reason, there are several tools available on the market specifically designed to facilitate sprocket and pinion alignment, offering precise results. These differ in nature (from simple aluminum rods to laser pointers), in cost (ranging from 20 to over 80 euros in expense) and, finally, by methodology of use and accuracy offered. To give you an overview of these tools, let us look at four types of aligners. Of the first three you've undoubtedly heard of them, or seen them employed during your track days. the fourth, on the other hand, will amaze you!

Editor's Note
Checking the correct alignment between sprocket and pinion is only one of the crucial aspects in kart transmission installation. What are the others? You can learn more about it in the following articles:

N.B. Do you think there are other products that can be added to this selection? Don't hesitate to share them with other TKART users in the "Contributions" section at the end of the article. The community will be grateful to you!


Alignment rod

Among the aligners we present, the alignment rod is the product that is certainly the simplest in design. The item we propose is made of anodized aluminum and is easily transportable because it is space-saving. It can be easily stored, in fact, either in your toolbox or in the special compartment of the kart trolley, so that it can be used in any situation: under the awning, or in more hectic moments, such as when operating in park fermè. To use it, this rod should be placed at the flattened side of the gear, parallel to the gearing (as shown in the image on this slide). Taking this reference, move the sprocket carrier on the axle until the other end of the rod touches the side of the pinion on the same side. At that point-assured that there is proper alignment between the gears-you can tighten the sprocket carrier onto the axle. Although the use of the rod may seem intuitive enough, we highlight how there are some critical issues to overcome in order to avoid running into incorrect alignment. Specifically, during the operation the rod must be constantly resting "correctly" on the flattened side of the sprocket. "Correct" means that the rod must remain in contact along its entire length to avoid tilting and then correspond a false reference for the sprocket. In addition, regardless of the type of kart you own (whether Shifter or Direct Drive) the advice is to repeat this procedure by taking multiple points on the sprocket as a reference, rotating it, so as to make sure that the sprocket itself does not have any deformations that could generate a correct alignment in one point, but wrong in another, precisely because of a sprocket that is not perfectly straight. This is especially important if you have a direct drive kart, which has sprockets that are larger in size and more susceptible to knocks with the ground and therefore more prone to accidental damage.

Indicative price

About 16,96 euro

To buy:
Photo credit Mondokart Racing

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