What Would Be The Weight Of A 12 Year Old High Speed Golf Carts: Choosing Your Options

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High Speed Golf Carts: Choosing Your Options

Electric low-speed vehicles (LSVs) are becoming very popular today for a number of reasons. They’re quiet, fun, and relatively comfortable to drive, but more importantly, they don’t use fossil fuels. New LSVs like GEM and others can be very expensive, but not practical for those who only use them occasionally or on weekends. Golf course fleet vehicles (golf carts) that are “leased and turned in” and out of warranty are welcome to come to the rescue. Three-year-old Club Cars, EZ-Gos, and other cars turn up in the thousands at auctions across the United States each year. Some end up in neighborhood classifieds or used car lots after a quick facelift. Many of them head to the “logging shop,” where they’re stripped of their original golf equipment, jacked up and outfitted with fancy wheels, carbon fiber dashboards, luxury interiors and satellite radios. They draw on subjects ranging from your favorite adult drink to your alma mater’s team and more. For some lucky shoppers, a $1,400 golf cart has magically turned into a $6,000 “pride ride.”

The one thing these vehicles often have in common after their amazing makeovers are old batteries and components. Another thing is; they are usually set to run at very slow speeds (12mph or so). Anyone who has rented a golf cart at a local course knows why they do it. To operate on public roads and be classified as an LSV, many municipalities require vehicles to go 20 mph and must be equipped with lights, seat belts and a horn. Lights and seat belts are easy to deal with, but keeping your cart going at 20 mph is another story. Even if you don’t want to make it street legal, most users will want the extra speed capability just to add more utility and fun. 12 mph is too slow for most users. If you think 12 mph is fast enough, give it a few weeks.

Ok, so you’re ready to do whatever it takes to make your baby fly. Well, maybe 20 mph doesn’t quite fly, but if you’re thrown off at that speed, you’ll definitely feel like you’re flying. Seat belts are a good idea at any speed. The first thing to determine is how fast do you really want to go and how are you going to use the vehicle? Is the terrain flat or hilly? Do you haul cargo of any weight (no, I don’t mean your mother-in-law)? For hills and/or heavy loads, you’ll also need to increase the torque of the cart. That means more powerful motors and possibly upgraded motor controllers to handle the motor’s extra current demands. There are several suppliers that offer such upgrades, but they can get expensive. Be sure to do your homework and do your research. If you just have a standard cart and use it on mostly flat ground, you have some more options:

taller tires – Increasing the diameter of the drive tires will increase the distance they roll per revolution of the axle, increasing the speed of your cart. You first need to know how fast you can go with standard 18.5-inch-tall tires. Most portable GPS units can be used as a speedometer to find it. If you don’t want to do the math, there are several free online calculators that can help you determine how much faster you can get with new, taller tires. A very good one is on the Digital Overdrive Systems website. While increasing tire size increases speed, torque decreases somewhat. This means you may have to leave your mother-in-law’s house! Tire size is also limited by the wheel opening. Most large tires require the cart to be “lifted”, which may not always be desirable and can be costly. Relatively small speed gain (increase of a few mph)

high speed gear set – In the differential case or in the rear axle, a gear reduction system is installed. The motor has a small gear that drives a large gear on the shaft. Typically, the motor rotates about 12 times for each revolution of the shaft. This is how a relatively low powered motor gains the mechanical advantage of pushing the cart. Like the gears on a bicycle, it’s easier to pedal when the drive sprocket is on a smaller diameter sprocket. To go faster, you need to use a larger drive sprocket. The bike goes faster but is harder to pedal. In a golf cart speed gear set, the ratios are similarly changed by increasing the drive gear diameter, and the car goes faster. Just like a bicycle, the motor has to provide greater force “torque” to the axle. This type of mod is great for speed, but sacrifices low speed torque (again your mother-in-law) and is not recommended for hilly areas. Installation can be messy due to gear lubricants and requires some skill and knowledge.

Increase motor speed – Increasing the revolutions per minute or RPM of the motor is one of the most popular techniques for increasing the speed of a golf cart. This type of modification doesn’t sacrifice low-end torque like the two aforementioned ones. Golf cart motors are designed to run at a certain maximum RPM (typically around 3600 RPM) at 36 or 48 volts and provide a good balance between speed and torque for the end product. The field and armature windings of aftermarket motors have been redesigned to allow higher speeds than normal motors. A 12 mph cart can reach 24 mph if the motor spins at twice the original RPM. The motor is safe and reliable, but may require the addition of a high current controller to reach its full potential. Aftermarket “speed motors” are available from many suppliers, but can be quite expensive due to all the copper wire in the windings. There is a supplier that offers a really easy to use upgrade for Club Car IQ carts called SpeedyLink that increases the speed of the original motor by about 50% without any additional modifications.

No matter which method you use to increase the speed of your golf cart, be sure to use good judgment and use proper safety equipment. Carting is fun and useful for everyone and has many applications. Enjoy your fast golf cart safely. Watch more articles on golf cart upgrades and maintenance.

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