How to Replace Your Golf Cart Motor

row of golf carts
  • Intermediate
What You'll Need
Ruler (to take the dimensions of the motor housing on the cart)
Motor (motorcycle, lawnmower, leaf-blower, water pump, moped, chainsaw, etc. )
Centrifugal clutch or power converter (to transmit the power from the motor to the wheels)

Replacing your golf cart motor may be advantageous in many ways. You get the satisfaction of building something yourself, and save some money while doing that. It is not a hard thing to do, but you have to take some factors into consideration.

Step 1 - Measure

Using the ruler, take the exact dimensions on the motor housing on the cart. Getting the wrong dimensions and ending up with a motor that doesn’t fit is not a good idea.

Step 2 - Choose the Motor

man mowing with a riding lawn mower

Once you know the size of the motor you need, try to find one that will fit from a lawnmower, water pump, chainsaw, or other motor-driven utilities. There are two main things you should take into consideration when searching for a motor:

  1. The power – you should choose one that can produce ~ 10 HP, because you wouldn’t want your cart to stop even at the slightest hill, would you?
  2. The cooling system – by air (very simple, recommended for a cart), which cools when air passes through it, and by water, where cooling is provided by fluid that runs through a radiator. Although the second type is more heavy-duty, if the cooling is not set up right, the motor won’t stand a chance against overheating.

Step 3 - Transmit Power to the Wheels

You got the motor and the motor’s got the power, but what about the wheels? Transmitting power from the motor to the wheels is done using either a centrifugal clutch or a power converter. Power converters are recommended, since they have an automatic gearbox, which will automatically switch to a lower gear when running at low speed, giving you increased power and torque. Get your power converter from the store, and install it by following the steps described in the manual that comes with it. The only tools you’re going to need are a screwdriver and probably a wrench.

Step 4 - Finish Up

There are two options for a cart: you only have a one-wheel drive or a two-wheel drive. One-wheel drive makes things far easier, because there are one-wheel drive assemblies in many cart supply stores. The rear wheel, sprocket, and brakes are sold as one piece and usually installed together. This makes their installation very easy. You can also opt for two-wheel drive, which will require the use of a live axle or differential. A differential will do the job better as it will send each wheel the required power, and won’t bother you while steering. Yet again, installing a differential is quite easy and will be done with a screwdriver and a wrench, according to the mounting instructions in the manual.