What Does a Go Kart Torque Converter Do?

A torque converter for a go-kart is the foundation upon which any improvement may be built. You must first understand how your torque converter operates to get the most excellent performance.

The torque converter employs a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) mechanism, like those seen in scooters. But it’s not quite the same as a scooter’s CVT. There are two pulleys and a belt involved. The engine’s crankshaft turns a driver pulley while another pulley and a v-belt transmit motion between them.

The driven pulley and the driver pulley have one stationary and one movable component. The ” driven ” pulley has a larger diameter than the pulley that is driven when the belt is first installed.

Increases in engine speed cause the belt to travel in opposite directions: up the driver pulley as its movable half slides inward (toward the engine) and down the driven pulley as its moveable half slides outward.

What Does a Go Kart Torque Converter Do?

A torque converter is a widespread transmission found in go-karts. Attached to the side of the motor, the torque converter converts mechanical energy into mechanical motion. There are two pulleys for its operation, as seen in the figure. The smaller pulley is connected to the engine’s crankshaft and is known as the driver pulley. The largest of the two pulleys is called the “driven” pulley.

The go-kart torque converter features include an engagement of about 1,500 revolutions per minute (RPM). It has a dual-pulley system, a variable transmission, and an idling feature while disengaged.

A drive belt runs from the driver pulley to the driven pulley. In conventional designs, a chain and sprocket transfer rotation from the crankshaft to the back wheels. In contrast, a torque converter system utilizes a jackshaft to link the driven pulley to the axle at the back.

The torque converters of modern vehicles are completely disengaged while at a stoplight or idle. It signifies that the go-kart won’t move, despite the engine’s start. At engine speeds of 1,500 RPM or above, the driver pulley begins to clamp down on the belt, causing the driven pulley to become engaged. Your go-kart moves because the rotary force is transmitted to the jackshaft and rear axle.

Gear Ratios

As a result of the torque converter, you may achieve any desired gear ratio. As the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) rise, the ratio will fall from its initial high point. It implies that it will generate greater torque at lower speeds and less as the vehicle gains speed, making it suitable for most uses.

Calculating the gear ratio:

Between 2.7:1 and 0.9:1 is the range of the Comet 30 Series for the gear ratio between the two pulleys.

Knowing the number of teeth on the Torque converter sprocket, wheel axle sprocket, and jackshaft sprocket will allow you to calculate the gear ratio (if any). Imagine a Torque convertor with a 12T sprocket, a wheel axle sprocket of 60T, and no jackshaft.

The ratio of the two sprockets is 5:1, and by multiplying all the ratios, we can get the ratio between the input and output shaft, which in this instance is 13.5:1.

Spring Adjustments

Adjusting the springs and weight is the way to go if you want a better launch. Stiffer springs will need more revolutions to engage, and lighter weights will have the same effect. You may also adjust the hole in the driven pulley that your spring fits into or replace the spring entirely.

What are The Differences Between Go Kart Torque Converters and Clutch

In contrast to a clutch, a torque converter has a fundamentally distinct mode of operation. The primary distinction is that torque converters need an idle speed of roughly 1,700 RPM to activate. Once in motion, the variable gear ratio reduces wear, even in stop-and-go conditions. Sadly, clutches don’t enjoy the same level of reliability.

Clutches slide between 1,400 and 1,600 RPM, allowing them to engage sooner. Heat and wear on the components might be exacerbated by slipping. When the clutch is completely engaged, the vehicle has a significantly more brisk sensation.

For this reason, clutches are better suited to applications that frequently use higher- torque speeds. Compared to conventional transmissions, torque converters are superior in low-torque situations because of their changeable gear ratio and ease of disengagement at lower RPMs.


  • Without slippage, torque converters engage at speeds of around 1,700 RPM. On the other hand, clutch engagement occurs at 1,800 RPM, with a slip speed of 1,400 to 1,600 RPM. 
  • Torque converters have a comparatively higher price than the clutch, which can cause failure if slipped too much.
  • Low to moderate torque levels are when torque converters shine. On the other hand, clutches perform optimally for medium to high levels of torque.

Which Is Better for a Go Kart: a Torque Converter or a Clutch?

The answer hinges on its intended function, directly tied to how you typically drive. Due to the superior handling of low torque ranges by torque converters, these devices are almost always seen in off-road go-karts. They function best in slow-moving traffic and are suitable for stop-and-go activities. It is because off-road go-karts need to be able to ascend rough terrain at reduced speeds.

On the other hand, clutches are more responsive and efficient at high speeds. They are built to be actively involved, making them great for go-kart racing. Even high-performance go-karts include a multi-disc clutch to handle a wide range of torque. Thus, while deciding between a torque converter and a clutch for your go-kart, you should consider its intended use.


It’s easy to see why the Torque Converter/CVT has become so popular; its variety of gear ratios gives significant mechanical benefits over the centrifugal clutch.

If you have the money and plan on driving your go-kart off-road and aren’t too concerned with peak speed, a clone engine like the predator 212 and a torque converter are the best way to go.