Plans for a Lawnmower Powered Go-Kart – Finished

The plans for the wooden go-kart powered by a lawnmower engine are finally finished. Below is a collage showing thumbnail images of the 21 drawings in the set of comprehensive plans for this go-kart. Full parts lists (shopping lists) and Tools required for this kart have all been documented. There still is no costing / overall price for each part done yet, but when it is it will be included. Head on over to the main kartbuilding website to see the completed set of plans.

Full Set of Plans for a Lawnmower Powered Go-Kart ->

6 Responses to “Plans for a Lawnmower Powered Go-Kart – Finished”

  1. 1 Drew


    I started building this kart back in October. I have the entire wooden frame built, but I’m having some problems finding bicycle wheels with hubs that are wide enough to fit the thickness of the axles required to support the heavy frame. I have considered buying wheels/axles/tires for the kart online, but I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose of specifically finding plans that use bicycle wheels. Please email with any additional relevant information! I’d also be happy to send photos of my progress (the wooden frame is totally finished, all with free lumber from my neighbor). Thanks for your time!

    -Drew Dillen

  2. 2 Stephen Burke 

    Hi Drew,

    Thanks for your comment on the kartbuilding blog. Its good to hear that
    you got the wooden frame all made.

    Yes! Finding wheels and axles can be a bit of a problem.
    What I done, was to use a diameter 13mm steel bar for the axle, and I
    filed/ground down the ends of the axle to 10mm. I found that the inside of
    a small bicycle wheel would *just* fit a 10mm diameter bar. It wasn’t the
    strongest and did break once on me, but it worked. What I suggest is that
    you get a small axle and if need be file the ends of the axle down to 10mm
    so the wheel will fit on. You might have to get a 10mm drill bit and
    enlarge the hole in the bicycle wheel. Make sure not to weaken the wheel
    too much.

    As the axle is supported inside the Wooden holder (
    it would be possible to use a small size axle (10mm or 13mm).

    What is the size of the hole in the bicycle wheels you have at the moment?
    What size metal bars do you have for the axles? You should be able to get
    it working.

    I do agree. I wouldn’t go buying wheels either as it does defeat the
    purpose a little.
    Yes! Please do email on some photos of your progress and the wooden frame.
    I made these type of karts years ago, and alas I didn’t think to take any
    photos myself at the time. I can put the images up into the kartbuilding
    gallery to help others. See:

    Best of luck,

  3. 3 Jason

    Great writeup! This gives me some great ideas on applying a small engine to my wooden project. I’ve built mine for small kids and have opted to use bicycle wheels, a crank, while allowing me to retain the coaster brake assembly. You can see the crank I’ve set up at:

    Thanks for taking the time share your work here. It’s great.


  4. 4 Stephen Burke 

    Hi Jason,

    Wow, thanks for the comment and link to your website. A lot of people do be asking me how to setup a simple chain drive rather than using an engine. The crank design you have and on are an excellent way for the drive for a pedal kart.

    Kudos to you too for setting up your website and sharing some information. Even the information you have on creating the steering wheel is very useful.
    Its amazing how many websites are out there on go-karts. Even the cycle-gallery has a lot of cool photos. Everything a person needs to get some ideas.

    Best of luck with the engine. If you put up some details on your site, I’d be very interested. Feel free to drop a reminder here also 🙂

  5. 5 Jonny


    Just looked at your plans for a wooden gokart with a lawnmower engine. It looks great but I think you should mention that most lawnmower engines, of the push along variety, need the weight of a mower blade connected directly to the drive shaft acting as a flywheel. They are built with lighter flywheels, which are obviously cheaper! Without the blade, or at least some form of weight greater than an average pulley, the engine will be almost impossible to start and snatch the pull cord out of your hand.
    Also, your setup does not have a slack belt clutch system, which would never work with a twist of 90deg in the drive. How do you engage/disengage drive?
    Lastly, the machine is shown with a fixed rear axle. Without a differential and using a centre pivot steering system, the machine will, at best, be difficult to steer, at worst, just plough straight ahead!
    Sorry if I sound negative, I just think people who are going to spend a lot of time building should be aware of these things before they get to that stage.
    Good to see people putting stuff like this on the net though. You have done more than me!

  6. 6 Stephen Burke 

    Hi Jonny,

    Thanks for your comment. Its good to get some discussion and debate going 🙂

    I too experienced the issues with starting the lawnmower engine without the blade acting as a counter balance. A fellow kartbuilder also had the same issue as outlined in
    For me, it was not a show stopper. Once I had the engine secured, and in place, I was able to start the engine with the pull start. Yes at first it did have a lot of kickback.

    Doing a quick google led me to which outlines similar issues with people starting the lawnmower without the blade. It seems to be specific to certain makes of lawnmower engines than others.
    Also, at the time I built these karts with lawnmower engines, the engines were pretty old (1997).

    Indeed, modern lawnmower engines may be more difficult to start without the blade acting as a counterbalance. I will add this note to the plans and reference this post.

    Regarding the “slack belt clutch system”, I do have the details for it included in these plans.
    As for it working, I have tested and used this method of transmission perfectly!
    It does work, and the belt does stay in place. The drive is engaged/disengaged by the lever arm outlined in the above webpage.

    Onto your query regarding the solid live rear axle. Again, I’ve been there and done that and tested.
    Because the steering on the wooden go-kart is quite crude, and possible to overturn the kart on sudden movements, there can be issues. Here is what I found:
    I simply modified the rear axle, to have only 1 wheel rear axle (making 1 rear wheel free to spin). With this setup, any small change to the steering caused the kart to very quickly turn left or right. This would be great if you wanted to take sharp corners quickly.
    With both rear wheels attached to the live rear axle, steering is more difficult, yes, but I found it was much more stable going forwards, especially at 25 mph. Conclusion: I found it was safer to have the live rear axle with no differential.

    As for the negative comments, no worries. I welcome all comments good and bad. Again I have tested all designs and setups I mention on the kartbuilding website.
    Thanks for your great feedback and discussion.

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