Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Louis the Mechanic Presents: Frankie's Go-Kart Part One!

A few months ago I finally got the royalties check on my hit book, Shark Mazes.  Even though I'm six months behind on the rent, my plan had always been to buy a car with the proceeds, so I continued to dodge Mr. Parfenix and started shopping.  As it turned out, all I could afford with the check was an old go-kart that doesn't work.

Luckily, our STAR COMMENTER, Pecos Bill, is also a mechanic named Louis, and double-luckily he accepts interesting trades as payment for his services.  I have some plastic bottlecap triples I've been trying to get rid of, as well as some ideas for Greeting Cards I'd be willing to part with.  He can have my landlord (Mr. P) if he plays his cards right, and I think I can get Bill the Snowman to part with 5 minutes of free advice if I give him that snowball massage he keeps begging for.  Rubbish said he'd throw in one of his dance performances but he then he mentioned something about me being his indentured servant for 12 years, so I don't know about that.  Computer-Head said maybe Luis would like to play with his remote control skateboarding Bart Simpson and I said who wouldn't.

Anyhow, here's Louis (in his own words) and his (insanely) detailed coverage of what's going on.  I want to include that I am incredibly moved by all this and I think it's excellent stuff.  Please check it out.  In a personal aside to Pecos himself, I hope I can get some of these pictures at a larger size so I can use them for our final video.

NOTE: Please click on the photos to see them at a larger size.  And, the pics go clockwise.

1: Shows me (Louis) sitting on the kart contemplating how I am supposed to transform this contraption into something representative of the 6th boro steez.  In the background is the garage where I store my tools, projects, and tidbits.  the black and yellow device to my right is an automobile jack used to lift cars.  It was in the way so I just left it there.  to my left is a Yamaha dirtbike I am working on.  My son is outgrowing his ATV so I figure he should start riding a dirt bike soon.
2: shows the gokart from above.  The seat it had was none too comfortable.  It's just a pad with a sheet metal back.  That needs to be worked on.  The Steering wheel is cool, but not really supportive,  It looks ok, but it does not give a good feel when it is held.  It does not inspire control of the machine.  Will also be worked on.
3: is another view of the kart,  all the white twine you see on it is from transporting it.  After I picked it up from Georges place I took it home, and then trucked it to my shop in Long Island.  I then changed my mind and decided to leave it in Queens in my little garage, my atelier if you will.  I will work better there, I will not be disturbed, there will be no nosey people asking too many questions about it.

4: is a rear shot of the kart.  not much to see, but it is good to have reference points.  FYI the kart appears to have been modified at one point.  The frame itself looks like a vintage unit.  Probably originally had a small 2-stroke engine, and at one point it was modified to accept the 4 stroke industrial engine it now has.  The mounts to the engine were crudely welded on.  Not pretty but it worked.  Also it was only 1 wheel drive, meaning the left rear wheel was the only one that had power applied to it.  Notice the right rear wheel is just mounted and not powered.  I plan on making BOTH rear wheels powered,  it will provide more grip and a more balance look to the machine.  

5: Shows the right front wheel.  Most older karts had this type of wheel.  I will be going with something different.  Plus, these tires are dry rotten and extremely hard.
6: shows the clutch mounted on the engine and the chain that drives the left rear wheel.  This is a pretty basic setup that is great for light karts meant for kids.  But being that were building a heavier Kart meant to be driven by an adult (but still a kid at heart) I will replace this clutch and chain drivetrain for a variable speed automatic transmission.  Smooth power delivery is the name of the game here  Frank!
7: shows me holding a skinny tire which will be used for the front.  I chose a knobby tread so that the kart can be driven on and off road.  The increased diameter of the wheel and tire will also provide more ground clearance.
8: is another comparison shot of what the kart has now, and what it will have.  notice the width is MUCH bigger.  I chose this size for several reasons.  mainly for better traction, an aggressive look, and it will give the finished product a bit of cartoonish proportions.  The tires being so wide was also part of the reason we had to choose a solid axle driving both wheels.  A clutch and chain setup would burn out trying to spin those big tires.

9: is a closer look at the tire tread.
10: is a wheel/tire diameter comparison. There is a tiny trike peeking from the background. More on that project later.

11: same thing, just different angle.

12: is an look at how the engine mounting plate was fastened to the frame.  It was being held by a combination of bolts and welds.  That will be removed and a new plate will be welded in place. I will also use rubber grommets and mounts to reduce engine vibrations.

13: is me removing the engine from the kart.  Look how concentrated I am!
14: is the bottom floor of the kart.  It is a basic sheet metal pan that was held in by rivets.  It was pretty rotten in some areas so it had to be removed.  Structural integrity of the pan is pretty important.  We wouldn't want to have a Barney Rubble incident and have our feet   popping out the bottom!
15: shows two rivets that are about to be removed.  To remove rivets, the "heads" of the rivets need to be drilled out.  Hence the drill in the bottom of the pic awaiting orders.
16: is the drill doing its job.  Always wear eye protection.  That last thing you want is a tiny piece of hot metal embedding itself in your soft, moist eyeball.

17: is the drill bit with the rivet head cleanly drilled out.  You can see the head attached to the drill bit.  Just flick the old head off of the drill bit, use an edge or something, don't use your hands.  The drill bit and old rivet head are hot and very sharp.
18: shows the head drill off of the plate and steel tube underneath.
19: is a close look that shows clearly what was done.
20: shows a massacre.  Look at all those heads on the ground lying next to torn off metal bits and shavings.

21: shows how some rivets need to be convinced that it's time for them to go.  In this case the head was damaged and I couldn't drill it out so easily.  So I took a cut off wheel and well, Off with their heads!
22: is the same thing.  
23: shows the old floor being pulled and pried off of the frame.  Notice how torn and corroded it is.  
24: shows the completely removed floor.  You can't tell by this picture but the front of the floor pan was pretty stuck to the frame.  Years of oxidation had basically fused the two parts together.  It required some assistance from an air chisel to be removed.  More on that later.

25: is an upskirt of the kart.  Enjoy.
26: shows the front frame end where the floor pan was stuck.  Notice how there is NO blue paint, just brown rust covering the frame.
27: is a close up, if you notice those grey streaks, that is where the air chisel bit and hammered its way through the rust.
f28: is a poorly taken picture of the rear seat panel being removed.  This piece of sheet metal was not held on by rivets, instead it was spot welded in several spots.  I removed it the old fashion way, no power tools, just a chisel and a hammer.  I tried to match the hammer blows to the beat of the music.

29: shows the naked frame of the kart, no seat, no engine, no floor pan, no nuffin.
30: is a front shot of the kart, again with its sheet metal skin removed.  I like how it looks.
31: shows a mock up of a potential seat.  I swiped that seat from a riding lawn mower.  It's actually really comfortable.  I don't know if that will be the final seat or not.  I was just mocking up.
32: is another shot of the seat.  I should have cleaned it up a bit before I took the pic.

33: shows a small red chair as a seat.  That would just be unsafe.  I took the pic purely for shits and giggles.  The chair looks x-massy.
34:  shows the linkage from the steering wheel, the steering shaft, the tie rods, and the front kingpins.  All those parts are no good and will be removed.  Pic taken for reference.
35: is also for reference.  No engine, no clutch, no brakes, no seats, and the pedals have been removed!
36: is me cutting the front kingpins or spindles off.  (the spindles are what hold the front wheels on).  The bolts were all mismatched and pretty much fused together.  Nothing an angle grinder with a cut off wheel can't solve.  That is one of my favorite tools.  It took me a while to get the hang of it (the scars on my hands and fingers are proof of my "experience"), but now I can be surgical with that muh-fugga.

37: is same thing as 36.
38: is similar to the last two pictures, but instead of cutting the spindles, I am actually removing the steering shaft from the frame.
39: shows the kart with no spindles, and no front wheels.  It is almost bare bones now.
40: is the kart with no steering wheel or steering shaft.

41: is a look at the kart from the front with all its parts removed.  It looks weird with the two hoops opposing each other.

42: is the kart resting on a small milling machine.  It's time to call it a day.