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Top 5 Golf Cart Engine Upgrades

This article explores the Top 5 upgrades for a gas golf cart engine. The only way to increase the power and top speed of a gas cart is by modifying its engine. Some of the simplest modifications can be undertaken by the amateur mechanic at home, but for the more radical custom engine speed upgrades a qualified mechanic is the only option.

To get the most performance and speed from your ride, read the Top 5 performance modifications for gas cart engines.

5. Service the cart with a tune-up kit.

One of the easiest ways to improve the performance of your cart’s engine is to give it a good service. Tune up kits are available for most models of gas carts from all of the main manufacturers. These engine kits come with an air filter, oil filter, oil filter and spark plug and should be the first maintenance item on your list after buying a used gas cart.

Just like in a normal road car, a gas golf car engine needs regular servicing to keep it operating at peak performance. Neglecting the servicing schedule will result in reduced HP and fuel efficiency, dulling the all round performance of the gas motor.

4. Engine rebuild kit.

If a tune up kit doesn’t get you the performance results you need from your cart’s engine then the next step is a rebuild kit. Old tired engines that are high mileage will need a complete rebuild to bring it back to peak performance. This is probably not a job for the hobbyist owner, but a qualified mechanic should have not trouble rebuilding the engine.

Most engine rebuild kits include the cylinder with piston/rings/wrist pin assembly, crankshaft & connecting rod, all the bearings, two crank seals and gaskets. This gives you everything needed to rebuild your engine back to as good as new condition.

3. Fit a performance exhaust system.

Upgrading you gas cart exhaust is one of the easiest ways to get an immediate performance gain from gas powered engines. Performance exhausts will give a more efficient air flow of the exhaust gasses than the stock exhaust will allow. The standard exhaust on most gas golf cart engines is very restrictive, due to environmental noise concerns, and also robs available power. By installing this new performance exhaust, it boosts top end horsepower and low end torque without replacing the entire stock exhaust.

2. Reduce the gear ratio with high speed gears.

Gas Golf Car Harley Engine Swap

A gas cart with a Harley V-Twin engine

Not strictly a gas cart engine upgrade but can be used in combination with other performance parts to increase its top speed. If yours is not quite fast enough for you, high speed gears are one of the things you can install to help overcome that problem. Most high speed gear sets include the intermediate gear and input shaft, and are available for most models of carts from the main manufacturers.

Most gear sets on the market alters the gear ratio in the trans-axle from around 12.5:1 down to 8:1. On most carts with stock tires, motor, and controller, it will increase the top speed from approximately 12-13 mph, up to about 20-21 mph. That should have your passengers trembling in their golf spikes!!

1. Complete engine swap.

The most radical engine modification is to completely replace your stock motor with another one. This is a major undertaking and should only be attempted by those owners who know what they’re doing, or find a mechanic specializing in cart engines.

Most modern gas cart engines are around 10-12HP and are more than adequate for trolling around a course on a Sunday afternoon. If you have an older cart you may not have quite that power anymore, so replacing your current one with a more modern power plant with greater CC capacity will give you big HP gains. You will also get the benefits of quieter operation and greater fuel efficiency with a more modern engine.

For the greatest increases in power, replacing a stock engine with a snowmobile or ATV engine is the way to go. This will be a huge undertaking and is only for the most extreme of golf car customizers. Large amounts of power are available with these engine swaps, up to 100HP, but due to the high speeds the gas cart will achieve it will make it unstable to drive.

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