Golf carts offer a convenient way of touring the neighborhood and moving on the golf course.
However, replacing them every time they break down may be impractical, especially when low on budget.
That is why we advocate the idea of making your golf cart by refurbishing and assembling the parts from old-battered golf carts that you can pick up at scrapyards.
While the process might require someone adept at golf cart construction, we have broken it into simpler sections to let you flow smoothly.
Keep reading to learn how.
Things To Consider When Building A Golf Cart
Before moving into the main section, let’s look at various crucial factors in constructing a reliable golf cart.
The Golf Cart Design
The golf cart design encompasses the general shape, the number of passengers, the method of propulsion, wheel size, etc.
You have to imitate the design of the available buggy frame/s so that the parts can give you a hassle-free time during assembly.
For instance, let’s say you have two old frames of a 4-seater E-Z-G-O golf cart. In that case, we advocate going for the same design because the parts from the two golf carts can marry well to make a strong new buggy.
If you don’t have the frames, you should choose your cart design and assemble the parts specifically tailored for that cart design.
Otherwise, it would be useless to collect golf cart parts that are not compatible.
When it comes to DIY golf carts, most people prefer cheap motor options like the ones for lawnmowers, chainsaws, and water pumps, among others.
While going for these cheap golf cart motors is not a crime, some motors may not be powerful enough to tackle tough terrain.
We recommend a golf cart motor, with a horsepower rating of 10 (gas-powered motor) or 3 to 5 hp (electric motor), to be able to eat up mountainous and rough terrain with ease.
💡 Golfible Tip: Make sure the total voltage of your batteries matches the voltage of your golf cart motor to ensure proper power transmission and avoid undervoltage or overvoltage.
Want to work smart? Get hold of the right assembling tools for your golf cart. Perfect examples of these tools include tape measures, lugnuts, screws, power converters, screwdrivers, power wrenches, keys, etc.
📢 Need To Know: Some of these tools may vary from one golf cart to another. It pays to assess the requirements of your specific golf cart to collect them before you indulge in the building process.
You need to identify your golf cart design and work on all the necessary parts to construct your golf cart.
This will include seat cushions, brakes, transaxles, batteries, electrical cables, suspensions, drive trains, and other essential parts.
Collecting all the required parts will rid the possible delays that are likely to happen as you go to find missing accessories.
You can write a checklist with all vital requirements to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
When assembling a golf cart, the chances are high that sharp objects may scatter in your working area.
You need a secluded space to ensure that these objects don’t threaten animals and members of your household.
How To Build Your Own Golf Cart-The Process
Building a golf cart does not have to be complex.
Below is a step-by-step guide to take you through the process.
Step 1: Find And Prepare The Golf Cart Frame
You can either
- buy a brand-new frame or
- work with one of your compound’s old golf cart frames.
More importantly, you need a frame whose body parts are readily available.
Once you have found your frame, the next step is to prepare it for installation.
While a new frame might not involve much preparation, an old frame may take you through the following steps:
Use an oil-based soap to remove all the dust and grime which might have accumulated on the surface.
Repairs And Painting
After cleaning, inspect the frame for dents and other damage for repair. Paint the structure after the repair.
Installing The Motor Mount
A motor mount is a small device that holds the cart motor in position while preventing it from coming into contact with the chassis. In other words, it prevents friction between the chassis and the motor.
Ensure that the mount is aligned correctly.
Otherwise, you will have trouble aligning the bolt holes or experience excessive vibration during your rides.
Do The Wiring
Most golf carts use wiring to pass current from the motor to their electrical components. And the amount of wiring harness you can install in your golf cart depends on the type of your golf cart.
Ensure you install wires running from all electrical components to the mount, where you’ll install the motor.
📋 Keep in mind: Do not forget the minor electrical elements in your ride, like the lights and radio.
Step 2: Fit the Rear Axle and The Suspension
The rear axle of a golf cart plays a vital role in rotating its wheels. In other words, it transmits power from the differential to the wheel axis to turn the wheels.
On the other hand, the suspension system absorbs the shock and impact from the wheels to allow for efficient handling and smooth rides. It also balances your ride so that it doesn’t fall when passing on uneven terrain.
To install the axle:
- Lift the cart off the ground on both the front and rear ends using a jack.
- Hold the axle correctly, and then screw it up using a wrench (You may need the help of two friends to help you keep the axle in position before you screw it up).
- After installing the axle, you can proceed to fit the suspension kit.
- It’s important to note that the suspension kit differs from one model to another, and so are their installation methods. You need to get the right kit for your model and then follow the installation manual to put them in place.
📢 Need To Know: A suspension kit is actively involved in balancing the golf cart on all terrain, and it can pay to add new equipment instead of using an old one.
Step 3: Install the Motor
Now that you have fitted the motor mount, the wiring harness, the axle, and the suspension kit in position, the next step is to install the motor, which powers the axle to move the golf cart.
The motor should be powerful enough to facilitate efficient movement in rough and sloppy terrain.
- Place the motor onto the right attachment area on the mount, ensuring that the bolt holes are correctly aligned.
- Bolt the motor tightly on the mount to leave enough working space between the motor and the transaxle.
Remember, we drew the wire harness towards the motor mount, during wiring, but left it suspended since we had not installed the motor.
Now that we have the motor in place, it’s time to connect all the wire harnesses to the motor to put the golf cart in its operative order.
This is also the right time to connect the motor to the transaxle, using belts attached to the axle kit.
📋 Keep in mind: The axle belt helps to transfer power from the motor to the axle, which rotates the wheels.
Step 4: Check the Steering
Most golf cart frames come with their steering wheels installed, relieving you from the burden of installing the entire compartment on your own.
However, you need to inspect the bushings, ball joints, sway bar links, CV joints, center links, and other steering system components to check for damage and correct any errors.
💡 Golfible Tip: We recommend you call a steering repair expert to handle the damage if you are not adept enough to handle the task efficiently.
Step 5: Install the Front Axle
After checking that the steering is in good condition, you can proceed with installing the front axle.
The installation process is similar to installing the rear axle.
Ensure you connect the steering system to the front axle at the CV joint to facilitate smooth turns.
Step 6: Fit in The Brakes and The Wheels
Golf cart brakes give you the confidence to speed up, knowing that your ride can stop or slow efficiently in an emergency.
The installation process is pretty simple.
Unbolt your wheels at the axles to access the current brakes. Inspect the brakes to replace them if they are not in good condition.
📋 Keep in mind: If you opt to use an old golf cart frame, we recommend replacing the brakes, regardless of their status to ensure they have the perfect grip.
After installing the brakes, you need to install the wheels so that your ride stands on all fours.
You will need a jack, wheel wrench, and a locking wheel-nut adapter for this installation process.
Use the recommended tires to avoid overloading the motor and ensure great traction. Also, ensure that the wheels are tightly fixed to the axles to prevent accidents.
Step 7: Attach the Body to The Chassis
You are almost done building your golf cart. Install the body of the chassis to finish installing the main parts.
Step 8: Fit the Fixtures
Before you set out for a road test, ensure all the electrical elements, including the stoplights, headlights, and on-off keylock are in their respective spots.
Also, ensure that the battery pack is appropriately bolted to stay put as you ride through rough terrain.
Inspect all the parts of your golf cart to ensure that every component is well secured in its respective place, and then proceed to the next step.
Step 9: Personalize Your Golf Cart
If everything is in its place, you need to give your golf cart a touch of personality before setting out for a road test.
This may include painting your favorite color, cart decals, bumper stickers, stencils, and other decorations that show your interests.
You can also make custom cart enclosures, wheel covers, windshields, and other additions that make your golf cart stand out.
Done personalizing your ride? It’s time to set out for a road test.
Step 10: Set Out for A Practice Run
You want to test your golf cart to see if your project was successful. Begin by starting the motor, then try the brakes in a safe place with no traffic.
If the brakes are ok, you can move on to test the suspension system. Is there any noise from the suspension system? Are the horns working?
📢 Need To Know: We highly recommend you use a qualified mechanic to test your golf cart before use.
Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Golf Carts
How Long Do Golf Cart Motors Last?
A golf cart motor can last between 20 to 30 years if properly taken care of.
How Fast Do Electric Golf Carts Go?
An average golf cart can cover up to 14 miles per hour. However, with the invention of street-legal golf carts, the chances of having a 30mph golf cart are high.
How Many Hp Is A Golf Cart Motor?
Most gas-powered golf cart motors feature a rating of 10 to 12 hp, which translates to 3-4 times more power than their (3-5hp) electric cousins.