18 Aug 2014 5:12
Last week in the middle of an afternoon-turned-evening of tearing up the pavement in their go cart, we look from the front porch to see David coming up the road uncharacteristically slowly. From this distance, it sounds like it’s running OK but he’s barely putting along close to the road’s edge. Something isn’t right.
Jack and I start walking down the road towards him, and as we all begin to meet each other half-way, David is pointing repeatedly at the carts rear drive wheel, communicating to us through his signaling that he knows what’s wrong. He cuts the engine and tells us, “There was a loud bang and the whole thing pulled hard left! It was all I could do to keep it straight!” He just experienced his first blow-out at speed and handled it like the champ he is.
Taking up half of the road, the three of us stared disappointedly at that flat tire for a few seconds, indicative of the end of our day, before pushing the cart back to the garage. Spending some of the next few evenings working on the ’36, I find myself looking at it repeatedly; reminded of how they’re getting bigger, looking for ditches, taking jumps, etc. and are already more durable and capable than the poor little cart that once provided so much excitement. The blowout itself, was simply the result of those all-too-fun burnouts. What to do? What to do?
Well, we have this dirt-bike with a crummy front end that nobody rides. It has 4 speeds, is clutch driven, and has gobs more power than the original gocart engine. Once committed with welder and sawzall in hand, I was originally going to leave the clutch lever on the shifter handle for an easy grab-and-go, until David tells me they’ve have to let go of the steering wheel to disengage the clutch every time they hit the brakes. Neither one of us thought that would be the best idea in a panic situation, so I changed the brake pedal to a clutch and added a middle pedal for brakes. We all know real hot rods have three pedals afterall, this one just happens to have 3 wheels as well.
I’ve included some quick video we took while doing initial testing. It doesn’t include everything since we were having so much fun with it, but it does show it working. We’ll post more later as we fine-tune things and kick up more rooster tails in the dirt.