Replacing your golf cart engine is a lengthy process, and it’s something that will require a lot of careful steps to ensure that you get it right.
This complexity is greatly increased if you attempt to install a motorcycle engine in your golf cart instead of a standard golf cart engine.
There are a few reasons that you may want to use a motorcycle engine instead of a standard golf cart option, including creating a more powerful golf cart.
For example, people who want to create a low-speed vehicle out of a standard golf cart need to add a motor that will allow it to reach the proper speeds.
Often, golf cart owners choose motorcycle engines because they have the type of compact power needed to reach these speeds but are also appropriately sized for your cart.
If you’re interested in this process, you need to read below to learn what steps need to be taken and what tools you’ll need to create a new and more powerful golf cart.
Make sure that you feel truly comfortable with these steps before you attempt them, as they can be tough for some people to do properly and may challenge you in ways that are unexpected and hard to understand.
How To Put A Motorcycle Engine In A Golf Cart
The steps involved with putting a motorcycle engine in a golf cart are fairly simple and include removing parts around the area where the engine is located, carefully removing the engine, and replacing it with a new one.
All of these steps are things that have to be handled carefully and should only be done if you feel confident working with engines in this way.
You also need to make sure that you fully understand how to hook up all of the elements of the engine and know how to sync it up to the vehicle smoothly and efficiently.
You’re going to need a handful of different tools that will help to make this process easier to handle and a few extra safety steps that you’ll perform before you start the engine replacement.
Taking these extra steps helps to ensure that you are protected and will eliminate the potential risk of damaging the cart, the engine, or yourself.
In the next section, we’ll discuss some of these tools and how you can use them to upgrade your engine in a way that makes sense.
Most of the tools that you’ll be using are quite easy to find at a car shop or even a carting dealer, where they may rent some tools to you as needed.
If you find this process to be too much to handle, or you don’t feel comfortable with any part of it, it is important to contact a professional to get help.
Doing so will help to cut back on the challenges that may occur otherwise and will provide you with the long-term help necessary to ensure your cart is in great shape.
Remember, too, that you need to identify a motorcycle engine that is the proper size for your cart, including the full CC rating of the engine and other elements.
We’ll give you some suggestions on how to approach this step and different ways that you can give yourself a little boost in this process to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible for your needs.
Tools You’ll Need For This Process
The tools that you’ll need to add a motorcycle engine to your golf cart are fairly simple in design, inexpensive in most cases, and easy to find in most areas.
You’ll probably need to seek out some of these items before you start because you may not have them in your garage already.
However, there are others that the average cart owner probably has to perform simple maintenance steps, such as removing or replacing panels from your cart.
The following items are things that you need to seek out and identify for your needs and should be quite simple for you to find if you know where to seek them out in your neighborhood or online.
- Jack stands that are compatible with your cart and strong enough to lift it
- A socket set and screwdrivers that are compatible with your golf cart design
- Mounting brackets that make it easier to install your engine in the cart’s engine compartment
- A wrench set with several connectors that can be adjusted to meet your needs
- Battery tester or jumper that you can use to gauge the power level of your new battery
- Screws, nuts, and bolts that are compatible with your new engine and your cart
- Small plastic containers where you can store various small items with ease
- Optional welding kit (may be necessary on some cart models or if you need to cut any metal)
- Motorcycle engine removed from an old vehicle or purchased for installation
- Cables that you can use to test your motorcycle engine and its simple operation
All of these tools should be fairly easy for most people to find and may even already be in your garage.
Few of the tools or items that you need to collect are specialized for this process and can be used in many different mechanical projects.
However, there are a handful of items that you’ll need to seek out to get the best results, specifically screws, nuts, and bolts.
Often, these may be included with the motorcycle engine that you purchase to replace your current engine.
However, many engines may have generalized connectors and don’t need this kind of specialized attention.
Make sure that you check with your dealer to see what you need to buy and to ensure that you don’t purchase anything you don’t need.
Doing so will help to prevent you from spending too much money on this process and will also help streamline everything to ensure you get it done properly.
Step One: Remove Parts To Get To Your Engine
There are a handful of different parts around your cart engine that must be carefully removed to get access to the interior of the cart.
These parts are pretty standard on most golf cart models but may vary in small ways, such as their exact location and their potential impact on your engine.
Take the time to examine where your engine is located, as some may be located more towards the front of the cart.
This location is quite rare, though, as most golf carts place their engine at the rear for more power and easier control.
Typically, you’ll see a front-mounted engine in older carts or those that haven’t been upgraded since they were initially purchased.
The steps that you’ll need to take in order to perform this removal and replacement include the following simple ideas:
- Jack up your golf cart on the proper stand after parking it in a sealed area, like a garage.
- Carefully remove the cables from your battery using your socket set and screwdrivers.
- Use your tools to remove the rear body panels, the seat, and the roof of the cart for easier access.
- Identify your rear axle and carefully remove the suspension (skip this step in gas-powered carts).
- Find your cart engine in a gas-powered cart and check the screws and bolts holding it down.
- Measure the inside of your golf cart engine compartment to ensure it is the right size for your engine.
If you removed the rear axle from your cart (which you’ll do in electric carts), then you’ve already removed the engine and the battery.
However, an engine in a gas-powered golf cart is more complex and larger, and it’s typically a bit more difficult to remove.
You should know pretty quickly if you have an electric or gas-powered cart, so make sure that you pay attention to this facet before you begin this process.
You also need to make sure that you choose the proper-sized tools and that everything is carefully measured out and prepared for your needs.
Just as importantly, it is critical to take the time to prepare for this process by laying down a blanket or a sheet that you can lie on while you work.
This sheet will not only help provide you with some extra support, but it will also collect any grease or parts that fall off as you work.
In this way, it should be simpler to carefully remove your engine without losing parts and spending half of the day looking for them before you finish.
Remove the golf cart’s old engine.
If the golf cart is electric, the engine will most likely be integrated into the rear axle.
In these cases, you will remove the rear axle and engine as a unit.
Step Two: Remove The Old Engine
At this point, you should be ready to take out your old engine and replace it with your new motorcycle engine, giving your cart more power.
That said, the steps here aren’t something that you should rush through or think that you understand without a little research.
Though we do believe most golf cart owners should be able to handle this process without much difficulty, we also don’t want people to do things that make them uncomfortable.
Make sure that you fully understand this process and that you know how to operate your tools, as you’ll need a moderate level of skill with them to perform the following steps properly.
- Use your screwdrivers and socket set to carefully remove all of the connectors holding your engine in place.
- Place these small items in plastic containers and label them with a marker if you need to use them again.
- Grab the engine (using a second person if necessary) and carefully lift it from the cart.
- If the engine is too heavy to lift, use a mechanical hoist that is simple to operate.
- Put your engine to the side on a sheet to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged.
- Find a recycling center where you can take your engine and turn it in for parts and a little cash.
Remember that if you are removing the engine from your electric golf cart, you don’t need to take these steps because the rear axle is usually where your electric engine is located.
By removing the rear axle before you take any more steps, you have already removed your electric engine.
Remember that some electric golf carts may not be capable of this type of upgrade because you’ll likely be replacing that engine with a gas-powered motorcycle engine.
Though there are some electric motorcycle engines, they are fairly rare and don’t provide the same type of power as a gas-powered option.
Therefore, you might want to contact a golf cart mechanic or the manufacturer of your model before you attempt to replace an electric engine with a gas-powered one on your cart.
Step Three: Add The New Engine
At this point, you’ll be ready to add your new engine to your golf cart and get it operating as smoothly as possible.
Remember, though, that you’re adding an entirely new engine to your cart and that you’ll need to adjust its operation to ensure it runs properly.
The 17-step process outlined below will do the trick.
- Carefully place your new engine into the compartment to test-fit it for further installation.
- Measure how much room you’ll need for the rear axle and the suspension.
- Try to position the engine as near the middle of the frame as possible for better weight distribution.
- Adjust the position of the engine to make room for your cart bench seat on the top.
- Consider replacing the rear axle if it won’t fit properly with your new engine.
- Find rear axles from a single-seat ATV or side-by-side and put the proper-sized option in your cart.
- Use heavy-gauge square stock ribbing to create mounting brackets for the engine.
- Position the brackets to keep the engine low to the ground and balanced in the engine space.
- Carefully place the new engine into place with a secondary helper or with your mechanical hoist.
- Make sure that the mounting brackets line up perfectly with the engine, moving them if they don’t.
- Tighten all of the fittings on your engine to hold it in place on your cart.
- Test the new battery using your electrical gauge and the cables included with it.
- Connect the fuel line to the engine’s carburetor and the drive belt or chain.
- Take the throttle linkage to the carburetor and install a motorcycle gearshift onto the floor.
- Add a clutch near your hands so that you can shift with relative ease when riding your cart.
- Place the shifter on the opposite side of the wheel from your clutch for easier control.
- Connect your battery to your engine and attempt to turn on your new cart.
Do all of those parts and terms make sense to you, or do you feel confused reading any of them and aren’t sure what they mean?
If so, then you should hire somebody to install your new cart engine for you to ensure that it goes smoothly.