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Written by Vic R   

Many important and easy handling adjustments can be made to the front end of the kart. Most handling problems that occur during the entrance of the corner are probably results of improper front end adjustment. Turn in, front end bite, and steering response can all be corrected by simple adjustments to the front of the kart. Small changes can make a significant impact on handling and performance.

Toe Adjustment

The toe settings on a kart can effect weight distribution, top speed, and cornering response. The more the kart is toed in or out, the slower the top speed becomes due to excessive drag by the tires. Increasing toe out will increase initial cornering response. If the kart feels touchy and the back end gets loose at the entrance of the corner then you probably have too much toe out. One millimeter toe adjustment is recommended for most chassis. The toe should only be changed as a last resort. Look to other adjustments first to correct handling problems before changing your toe settings.

IMPORTANT: When making an adjustment to toe, make sure that the toe is equal on each side. Twist the tie rods until they are completely in or out, and mark them. Turn them back in from there, measuring toe and counting turns until the desired point is reached.

Castor

Castor effects the bite of the front and rear end and also changes the apparent weight of the steering. It does this by transferring weight to the opposite rear wheel during cornering. The less castor in a kart, the less road-feel the driver will receive. Castor adds feel and bite to the front end.

For most applications, use neutral castor. Too much castor slows the cornering speed of the kart due to unnecessary grip. However, on cold days, or when the use of harder compound tires are required, adding castor can help prevent understeer and make the kart more drivable. Although the use of up to 12 degrees caster is uncommon, it may be necessary under sticky track conditions to free up the kart.

Spindle Height

By rearranging the two spindle spacers, the spindle height of each side of the kart may be changed. Keep both sides the same height. By moving both spindle spacers to the top of the spindle, you are raising the front end of the chassis. Raising the chassis height creates more leverage in which to transfer side weight to the opposing tire and thus results in more front-end bite at the entrance of the corner. Lowering the chassis, or moving both spindle spacers to the bottom of the spindle, has the opposite effect and creates less front-end bite at the entrance of the corner.

Wheel Spacers

The most common and easiest adjustment to make to the front end of the kart is to change the front track, or front end width. Widening the front track will create more flex in the front end of the kart and result in more front end grip and quicker turn in. Narrowing the front track will have the opposite effect and result in slower turn in and less front-end bite.

Ackermann

Ackerman affects the rate at which the directional angle of each wheel changes in relation to each other when the steering wheel is moved.  Zero Ackermann means that the wheels change the angle at the same rate.  Karts usually have some positive Ackermann so that the inside wheel changes angle faster than the outside wheel.  Ackermann can be changed by fastening the steering tie rods to different positions on the spindle arms.  For example on some karts, steering spindles have up to three positions.   The outside holes are for less Ackerman, inside for more.  Increased Ackermann might help for tight twisty tracks or when more steering is required.

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