How to Build a Gixxer Cartby John Willis
A Gixxer cart follows in the tradition of the Shelby Cobra, with an enormous engine in a very small car. With Gixxer carts, however, the car is a shifter cart -- a race-only go-cart designed for high speeds and multi-gear engines. While typical carts may have a 125 or 250 cc two-stroke motor, the Gixxer cart uses a powerplant from a 1,000 or 1,100 cc Suzuki GSXR motorcycle. Older, air-cooled Gixxer engines achieve well over 100 horsepower, with newer ones over 150.
Position the engine on the cart's frame. Consider your weight and seat position and the kind of track you'll be driving. The weight should be close to neutral in its forward/aft balance, including the weight of the driver. Gixxer cart engines are often positioned behind the driver, but staggered to one side to balance the driver's weight. Hold the engine in place with an engine crane to evaluate the engine position.
Extend the frame if your cart can't accomodate the room. Don't just cut the frame and butt-weld extension tubes to lengthen the frame. Weld gussets to reinforce the joints. You may need to add some bracing to carry the weight of the larger than usual engine.
Measure the distance from the motor mounts to the nearest frame tubes. Fabricate four tubular mounts. Use an angle grinder, then a flap sanding wheel to cope the radius in the end of the motor mounts so they can be welded to the frame.
Bolt the engine to the motor mounts using the stock mounting bolts.
Position the rear sprocket spindle on the rear axle so it is perfectly aligned with the engine's primary drive sprocket. Retighten the spindle and fasten the final drive sprocket.
Remove a section of the chain using a chain-breaker such that it connects the primary and secondary drive sprockets with about 1/2 inch of play or sag in the chain, then reattach the chain links and replace the master-link.
Plumb the fuel line from the fuel tank to the bank of four carburetors. You will likely need a new section of fuel line to fit the line properly. Attach it lightly with zip ties so it stays in place.
Wire the Gixxer's ignition system to the cart's onboard battery. Gixxer ignition and wiring has varied over the years, but you can use the Gixxer wiring harness. Looking at the schematic diagram. You can carefully simplify the harness removing circuits you don't need -- such as turn signals -- and seal the ends in a urethane coating.
Connect the Gixxer's clutch and throttle cables to the cart's mounting brackets near the foot controls.
Ensure the cart's steering and breaking are functioning properly before operation.
- You can use any motorcycle engine, though using older air-cooled engines has an advantage. Without the cowlings of the motorcycle, they cool easily and you don't need the added complexity of a radiator.
Things You'll Need
- GSXR engine
- Metric wrenches
- MIG welder
- Angle grinder
- These are incredibly fast machines that should not be driven by anyone who has not had race training and experience on a race track. They should only be driven on a closed circuit track.
John Willis founded a publishing company in 1993, co-writing and publishing guidebooks in Portland, OR. His articles have appeared in national publications, including the "Wall Street Journal." With expertise in marketing, publishing, advertising and public relations, John has founded four writing-related ventures. He studied economics, art and writing at Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.