Go Kart Torque Converter vs. Clutch: Which Allows More Speed?

A kid drives a go kart.

There’s an ongoing debate between a go kart torque converter and a centrifugal clutch when it comes to speed. A go kart is a motor vehicle with four wheels and a small and low open framework. This vehicle is normally used for racing and when it comes to racing, the need for speed comes to mind. The question is “which allows for more speed?” To determine the answer to this question, let us learn more about the two mechanisms.

Gears and Terrain

A go kart race.

A go kart torque converter is an automatic transmission that gives you great power from your engine which makes it perfect for off-road settings. A torque converter can be driven in a low gear which is ideal for going uphill and going slowly, as you pass through ditches. Snowmobiles and ATV’s with “automatic transmission” use a torque converter because it can automatically detect what gear its supposed to use based on the amount of gas that is being given to the engine and the terrain upon which the vehicle is being driven on. This mechanism allows smooth shifting action and automatic infinite variation. The go kart torque converter is made up of belts and two pulleys that perform simultaneously, and as the go-kart speed varies, the relation of each component changes.

Changes in gear ratio correspond to the change in size. When the go kart is in low gear and is in low speed, more torque and power are transmitted. When in high speed, pulleys change to produce a lower gear ratio. Lower gear ratio means your go kart can move quicker and can climb uphill. A centrifugal clutch, on the other hand, is a simple mechanism with a single gear-ratio drive system. Unlike the torque converter, which has a low and high gear, the clutch is always in high-gear; this results in the weak take-off power of clutch karts. A clutch kart needs to be driven at 5 to 6 mph, or faster to prevent the clutch from burning out. Drive it at a low speed for 2 minutes and you will definitely break your clutch. Usually, a basic go kart has a centrifugal clutch, but because of its manageability, efficiency, and durability in off-road situations, the torque converter is preferred by many.

Live Axle

A kid in a go kart.

Go karts being driven on dirt have a torque converter because it allows for the go kart to have “live axle.” Live axle is when both rear wheels of the go kart are pulling. This is desirable when driving on a dirt road. A clutch should not be used in a live axle because it will have a negative impact on the clutch and the clutch will easily be worn out.

Go Kart Torque Converter vs. Clutch

In summary, a go kart torque converter is ideal for rough and off-road terrain where there are obstacles to be avoided or crossed and uphill driving may be required. But if your goal is to achieve the maximum speed to race in the pavement, a clutch is the better choice. The key is to know where you plan to drive your go kart and what it’s for to be able to know what system to use.