Kart Cleaning

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    Sheldon Potter

    Howdy – I’ve reviewed a number of postings on ekartingnews forum on the subject of what best to use/best methods for routine cleaning of your kart, and as always, a divergence of opinions prevails.

    So what does the Colorado contingent think?

    I’m good for light cleaning of components that don’t get that dirty, e.g. the bodywork, most surfaces of nerf bars, seat, and so on – Diluted simple green, followed w/ a light coat of wd40 for a tad of shine.

    OK w/ cleaning/lubing the chain – brake cleaner, dry overnight, lube w/ chain lube, etc.

    What about chassis, especially underneath that gets *really* dirty w/ rubber, grease, etc., engine block, axles, sprocket, nerf bars, bearings (btw, do you also clean and lube[lube w/ white lithium grease spray] bearings in the front?), etc. What about chain guard, underneath, where it gets coated with throw off stuff from the chain?

    Any preferred cleaning tools for certain components, espec. hard to reach?


    Sheldon Potter

    Kirk Deason

    I prefer a small child. Mine keeps complaining of getting burned on the exhaust. I tell her it will toughen her up and to get back to work. Dunk the child’s hands in Catrol Super Clean to and tell them to make sure not to miss the spots between the sprocket and frame rails. It will take the top layer of dermis off, but, again–toughens them up.

    Tony LaPorta

    Nice Kirk, real Nice!!!

    No wonder you try to get your daughter to come with you to all the races, extra help. 😯 😯

    Shocking really

    Tony LaPorta


    I am litteraly addicted to Brake Cleaner, on any given night I can go through about 3 cans of Brake cleaner. And I’m only spraying 2 cans on the kart 😉 :oOo :oOo .

    Super Tech also sells a Engine degreaser I like a lot.
    For me its,
    1. Brake Cleaner
    2.Simple Green (Not dilute)
    3.Super Tech Engine Degreaser
    4.WD 40 for bearings and stuff like that

    Hope that helps 🙂

    Joe Hawley

    I’m very bad (anal in fact) about cleaning mine after every race. I remove the rear axel then spray it all down with “Grease Lighten” and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes then hose it down. I then soak the chain in a degreaser and following that let it soak in oil overnight. I clean all the bearings with a degreaser and re-lube. It’s a little much I have to admit, but it give me the opportunity to look the kart over and find problems before they happen at the track.

    Troy Smith


    I agree w/ the others’ posts and will my $.02…

    Careful w/ the brake cleaner…can dry out your chain and dull your bodywork and paint if left on or used repeatedly. Either way, chains are a disposable product and if they appear ‘blue’ at the pins or move left/right excessively (loose at the joints) when held between two hands, best to replace or it will cause early failure of sprockets and rob you of HP and speed! If you go off on a good chain and need to clean it, use a chain de-greaser (they actually make the stuff and you can find it online or at many local kart shops) and follow the same methods you outlined w/ respect to drying and re-lubricating.

    Build up under the chain guard…I typically clean w/ brake cleaner and a straight edge if ‘built up’ too much. Then, lube generously w/ WD40 (the underside of the chain guard) and you should not have too much build up going forward. If you do, it should wipe off fairly easily. Typically, I spray the underside of my chain guard w/ WD40 right before I lube the chain and any buildup seems to wipe right off.

    In general, add lighter fluid to your cleaning supplies…it will help to get rubber off of kart, bodywork, etc. and won’t damage stickers.

    Yes, remove that axle and clean it. I go w/ the method Greg Welch taught us at the seminar…I take mine out and use a scotch brite pad to it followed by 0000 steel wool to finish it up.

    Bearings…you can soak them in cleaning solvent (available at McDougal’s (I think that’s the name of the place) Petroleum Products on Santa Fe just south of Iliff I think…West side just off of Santa Fe…PM me if you’d like to go there, I’ll look it up for you) or race gas and/or spray w/ WD40 or Tri FLow. When you are done and they are DRY, yes, lube them with either White Lithium or Tri Flow (Kart Shops or On-line…won’t find this at a Napa).

    Rick Schmidt turned me on to a nifty little engine cleaning tool which you can buy at Harbor Freight for $9.99 (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=3953). Anyway, I have one and I drilled a hole in the top of a plastic bottle which I fill w/ the Cleaning Solvent from McDougals. You then hook this up to your handy little compressor and you are a cleaning machine!!!! It creates a venturi vacuum and you can control the flow of whatever cleaning solvent you have in your bottle w/ a knob on the handle. Whole kart, top to bottom…motor, chassis, bearings, plastic, you name it…10 minutes to spray and 10 minutes to dry. Blow out the crannies w/ compressed air, then hit it w/ your WD40, appropriate lubes, etc…and you are back in action!

    Word of caution…no matter what you’re using, keep in mind the bearing right next to your brake rotor…or rather, keep in mind your brake rotor is right next to a bearing and be very careful not to get anything other than brake cleaner on that rotor. I’ve made it a habit to spray my brake rotor w/ cleaner last just in case!

    Otherwise, I’m w/ Kirk…small little hands can get into many more places to clean!!!! 😀

    Sheldon Potter

    Super duper, guys!

    As always, great info. for the novice.

    The thing about small children, though I’m troubled by – isn’t there something in the rules about that in terms of race event tech constraints? Seems I read they take away points for the season if they see you using the kiddies to work on the machine…?

    OTOH, it’s getting more and more clear you need to spend more time pampering the damn things (the karts) than actually running them. Maybe a wee one or two to help out might not be such a bad idea…
    Thanks –


    Sheldon Potter

    Just realized – what about front wheel bearings clean/lube? Same as rear, I assume? Frequency?

    (I have no clue how my Shockwave bearings might be similar or different than others, I think these are “sealed”? So, I infer you don’t need to be that concerned about internal cleaning? Duh…)



    Joe Rosse

    I’m wondering about front bearings, too. I assumed they were sealed and should be replaced when they feel “rough.” But at IMI we had an outside wheel bearing fail (on a hub) and of course lost the wheel. Same thing happened at a race at TTAC last year. I’ve now replaced the bearings in all our hubs, and in the future plan to do so at the beginning of each season. But I wonder what the frequency of replacement really should be?

    Rodney Ebersole

    As an experienced dirt pilot I would suggest spraying cleaners and then lubes into booth front and rear sealed bearings. If not your replacement time line will decrease.
    The companies name is Duggans Petroleum that I buy the McCleaner for the Mckart wash. They sell the solvent from a regular gas station pump so take an empty fiver to buy some.

    Troy Smith


    Yes, Duggans!!!! Thanks!!!! I know how to get there but forgot the name. :bang


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