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Technical how-to's: Finding the clutch stall-speed
If you just bought a kart, used or new, and you are a beginner in karting,
do you know the stall speed of your clutch? If you have a clutch manual
you will probably know by now that turning the adjustment screws of the
clutch for a certain amount in a certain direction will change your stall
speed by a certain number of RPMs. But what is the current setting?
Experienced drivers will be able to tell easily, just from driving around
the track. Even more importantly, they will not so much care about a
specific RPM, but rather about how to set the clutch in such a manner that
the kart accelerates most quickly out of the corners.
As a beginner, though, you will not have this seat-of-the-pants feeling
about the right clutch setting, yet. You will have to follow the advice of
others and set a 'recommended stall speed setting' on your clutch, which
will depend mostly on the class you are racing in and of course the
So someone will tell you to try a stall speed of for example 8200 RPMs.
This now leaves you with the question we asked at the beginning: How
do you find out the current stall speed of your clutch?
There are probably many different ways to go about it, but what we
are describing below is something we found works really nicely, and
is done quickly and safely on top of it.
- Set the kart down on the floor. You need a couple of feet for
the kart to roll, so this can be your drive-way, the pits,
the track, whatever.
- Get into the kart, assume driving position.
- Switch on your RPM gauge, set the carb needles so the engine can
- Put your foot on the brake and keep it there firmly until we tell
- Start the engine, keep it idling.
- Watch the tachometer, the RPM gauge, closely, don't let it out of
- Now let go of your brake and floor the gas pedal.
- Still watch the RPM!
- The engine will rev up and the kart will begin to accelerate.
- Then, for just a second or two, you will notice that the RPMs
don't increase, even though your kart is still accelerating.
The RPMs seem to be stalling, staying at one value for a
while, before they begin to increase again. Remember that RPM
value, for this is your stall speed!
- Now stop the kart, before you drive off your drive-way, or into
That was easy, wasn't it? The nice thing is, you can do this every time
you go out on the track for a practice session, if you want to. So you
don't even have to perform an extra start of the engine just for the
purpose of checking the stall speed.
Once you are a little bit more experienced with the kart, you may find
some time to look at the tachometer as you are exiting a slow corner
on your track. You will notice the very same behavior, i.e. stalling
RPMs as the engine revs up while you accelerate out of the corner. So
you can see that there will be many opportunities for you to check the
stall speed, once you have had more seat-time. As a beginner, however,
you may have your hands full just driving, so the method outlined above
will work nicely for you, since you don't have to worry about other
things that could be happening while driving on the track.
For comments or suggestions,
please contact J. Brendel
Photos courtesy and copyright of:
Nelson Merlo -
Stephen Hutchinson -
Jeff Deskin -
Jayne Kamin-Oncea -
Sean Buur -
Bill Kistler -
Blair Hartsfield -
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