Truck Engine Starter Motor Go Cart

Project Status
In Progress
Comment Count

Materials needed As of Now:

Truck engine starter motor (24V)
Metal Pipeing
Pipe Bender
24V batteries
Old chairs
Rubber Wheels (size tbd)
Gears (size tbd)
Skills Overview

Here are some of the skills you'll need to complete this project:

The Challenge


The goal of this project is to develop a way to create an electric go cart using old 12V motors from truck engines and a large 24Vgenerator one. Therefore, 12V batteries will be used to start and run the motor. Also, the motors will continuously run to propel the go cart as opposed to short startup periods. Most go carts use gas engines, but the challenge of this is to use electric motors, and see if this method yields better results. (faster acceleration, speed, durability, energy usage, cost, maintenance,etc) This project is still in the beginning stages, and I will post more as I learn more.


Thank you for creating this project, alex.mcelroy. Let me know if you need help promoting it.

Tested motors today, turns out they are 12V, so we used a 12V battery instead. We figured out how to test them by using jumper cables to connect the battery to the motor, and then used the metal part of a screw driver to connect the last to parts of the current. The motors worked and we can continue to figure out a way to make a gear system to transfer to the axel of a go cart.


That's a very cool and definitely energy efficient idea--there are a lot of car companies that are trying to reduce waste by switching into electricity-powered systems.  What's the duration that this battery can last on the go cart?  Since it's electricity powered, how is that going to be faster than the gas-powered ones?  

Great idea, I'd love to hear more about it!

In reply to by emilywang914

Hi Emily!

Thanks for taking interest in my project! I am not sure yet of the exact battery life, but it will depend on the speed and amount of batteries on the go kart. I have three 12V batteries, and I plan to put them in parallel to maximize the amount of driving time. I'll going to do some more testing and researching to figure out how to do that. I am a little limited on materials, so I am going to try to make the best out of what I have. Since it will electric powered, I predict that it will have a faster acceleration than gas powered go karts, but I am not sure it will reach the same speed. However, if I were to use the 24V generator starter it will most likely exceed the speed and acceleration of most gas powered go karts. I just purchased a sprocket, and I hope to work more on it tomorrow.

Thank you!


In reply to by alex.mcelroy

Thanks for getting back to me, Alex!  Keep updating us about your project, and if you need any help we can contact one of our mentors for you!



Today I purchased a sprocket and a .5 in hub to attach to the truck starter. I decided to first build a go kart with just the  12V truck starter instead of the 24V generator starter. This is because I want to first figure out how to build one, then apply what I learned to make a newer model with the more powerful 24V. 

I decided to use #40 chain, so I bought a sprocket with a small radius to match it. I then used a cut wheel to cut off the motor housing and any other parts that would be in the way. After this, I had a working 12V motor with a "rod" sticking out that i could attach a sprocket to. I then welded the sprocket to the hub which was screwed onto the motor (see images). After testing, it worked fine and now i can move onto designing an axel.

In reply to by alex.mcelroy

My dad's company recently purchased a pipe bender, so I will use that to build the frame

If I can make time this week, I hope to design an axel for the go kart.

Another problem I realized is that truck starters are only in action for a few seconds per use. Using it over an extended period of time in a go kart may cause it to overheat. Therefore, I may install a heat sink to prevent this.

Also, I was able to obtain a voltage controller and steering joystick from an old electric wheel chair. I still plan to install a steering wheel, but these may be used to just control the speed.

Good to hear from your progress, Alex!  Great work :)) I really like how you're taking supplies from available materials instead of buying new ones, that's very resourceful!  Excited to see how the kart will turn out, feel free to share with us!


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