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Lawn Mower Go Kart – Can I use a transmission from a lawn tractor in a Go Cart?

The problem with a vertical motor is routing the power from the motor to the horizontal wheels of the go kart. Typically, the standard method of transferring power in vehicles involves a gearbox. For example, on a lawn tractor, the gearbox is designed with a pulley on top of the gearbox. Also, since the primary purpose of a ride-on mower is to mow grass, the vertical arrangement of the engine works very well when driving a mower deck.

There is a temptation to use the gearbox on the gokart and keep the drive simple that way. Unfortunately, it’s not really simpler, just more complex, not to mention unreliable.

In addition, I would strongly advise against using a ride-on mower gearbox for the following reasons:

– The width of the rear axle system is too narrow
– Gearboxes are not designed for high speed like 20+ Mph.
– Gearbox coupling requires belt tensioning devices.
– Shifting gears on the fly is not possible without a good understanding of the engine/gearbox.

The width of the rear axle system is too narrow. The width of a gokart’s drive wheel arrangement should be relatively wide: 36″+. Mounted lawnmowers are below that width and will pose a difficulty in driving the rear wheels. Gearbox mounting is another problem that requires a special support that would have to be manufactured and mounted on the frame.

Gearboxes are not designed for high speed like 20+ mph. This is a serious consideration, especially with gearboxes that do not require lubrication and do not have roller bearings.

Gearbox engagement requires belt tensioning devices. Normally, the gearbox is activated by tensioning the belt.

Shifting gears on the fly is not possible without a good understanding of the engine/gearbox. The gearbox on a ride-on mower does not have synchronizers, so the gearbox must be completely idle or still for gears to change.

Actually, for the gears to mesh properly, both mating gears must be in the same position. This can be achieved by running the gears at the same speed, but this requires some understanding of how a gearbox works. Unskilled drivers will have extreme difficulty operating the gearbox. The gearbox will most likely be destroyed in a relatively short period of time, if shifting on the fly is considered.

Conclusion…

The bottom line is that the transaxle is designed for tractor use and has some limitations. There are some better options that are lighter and easier to use.

Next time other vertical motor drive systems.