“We can’t keep them in stock,” said Andrea Leary, co-owner of Rad Rydz Golf Carts.
It’s becoming more and more of a common sight in neighborhoods. Instead of blinged-out cars roaming and strutting their stuff up and down residential streets, it’s now becoming the turf of another mode of transportation: the golf cart.
With the onset of the covid pandemic in 2020, the market has seen a dramatic boost. At least the demand has grown, making it difficult for companies to secure the materials in time.
How to build a golf cart for your clients, who are clambering for an epic, 14-seater, street and backroad cruising machine? Break open that toolbox, it’s time you dominated the golf cart market again with these golf cart building tips.
But before you even think of touching any of those tools in your toolkit, you need to put pen to paper.
How to Build A Golf Cart Design
Nothing grand ever came to fruition without a little planning. This step is vital, especially if you’re building a golf cart for clients.
Do they want rugged and tough? Or refined and sophisticated, much like this custom Club Car Precedent?
After all, when you start to build a golf cart, there will be a vast ocean of parts stretched out before you. Tying all of those into a cohesive vision will require some planning on your part.
By starting with the broader idea of what you’re trying to accomplish and working your way down to narrow the specifics, you can create a singular focus. Why’s that important?
So that you aren’t wasting resources on a part that doesn’t serve the function and purpose of your design.
Funnel Your Design
So, how do you use this method to visualize your design process? This software could help! It’ll turn this conceptual process into an intuitive dream, where you see your cart come together as you plan.
If you don’t have that, then break out your tattered notebook.
It’s time for a goal.
1. Identify the Vision for Your Cart
Each golf cart serves a specific function, whether aesthetically or performance-wise. If you’re looking to wow your neighbors, then you might be focused on exaggerating the features of your cart: bigger wheels, more seating, etc.
Try playing around with this Yamaha Drive 2 cart, to get some ideas.
Do you have to go for a 14-seated behemoth? Keep in mind that the more seats you add, then that’s going to factor into the suspension and stability of your cart. That’s why it’s so important to visualize what you’re trying to make before jumping into a shallow pool headfirst.
So, you’ve defined your overall goal.
2: Work Your Way Down the Funnel
Now that your idea is perfectly conceptualized into a beautiful image, you need to start working your way down into the specifics.
By breaking down your idea into some key design components, then you can start moving down those pillars into even more specifics.
How will you handle the shock absorbers, not only for the weight of the cart, but also how the people riding in it will affect the overall burden on the frame? Keep on reading to find out how you can lift your cart!
If your idea is building it for speed, then how will you handle the overall frame of the cart so that it doesn’t spill your valued clients out onto the green?
How will the weight and aerodynamics of your cart affect how stable it is for your clients? You don’t want the weight distribution to throw the riders out, or be the leading cause of any accidents.
Once you have the main pillars of your design planned out, it’s time to start scouring for the parts needs to assemble it. Let’s begin with the one thing that is the lifeblood of any moving object.
Finding an Engine for Your Golf Cart
Before you even think of hunting for something to juice your cart up and down the block, fairway, or rugged off-road paths, you’ll have to plan around the “housing” that your motor will sit in. After all, you want the thing to fit into your cart.
So, get some measurements of the motor’s housing base. That’s the first thing.
Now that you know how big or small the power source of your motor will be, now you need to pick it out.
Choosing Your Motor
This is perhaps the most vital step in the whole construction or assembly of your cart. Thankfully, there are some rather simple fixes, as you don’t have to go about slapping together a whole new engine.
Sometimes all it takes is a little adaption. In this case, simply steal a motor from another vehicle. No, you shouldn’t be sneaking around Pink Panther style and snatching motors with your dirty little paws.
All you have to do is look to some of these simple, common, motor-driven utilities.
- Water pump
Whichever one that you settle on, there are two very vital factors that you should take into account.
If you want to explore and impress, then an off-road golf cart provides just that. But, you can’t explore the steep, jagged terrain without having the power to do it.
After all, the words “I think I can” never gifted power to engines.
Due to this, you’ll want to aim, for the bare minimum, for at least 10 HP. If you want to boost that even further, then you might have to shell out a little more and purchase a golf cart engine, especially if your cart has grand visions of being a dozen-person party transport.
Yet, most times, less is more. Play with how you can turn this classic EZGO TXT cart into one that screams modernity, with the power of our cart-planning software.
No matter the reason for your motor hunt, you have two options to consider when you’re looking to decide which source of power to install:
- Is it more for torque?
- Is it more for speed?
Let’s take the 12-person party train golf cart example. As ridiculous as the idea sounds, they do exist. For example, you could customize this 6 passenger custom Club Car Onward! Now, imagine which kind of engine would be best for such a monstrosity?
Would you want a light, slim, sprinter of a motor, or would you want a plodding, but strong and reliable motor? Unfortunately, it might be difficult to have the best of both worlds. So, if you had to choose the engine, which one would you install into your cart?
That’s right! No way that your party machine is going to hold up on a motor that’s built just for speed — unless your car is the incarnation of Bruce Lee.
In that case, you want your engine to be specially built to dish out ample amounts of torque so that your cart doesn’t stall when it’s going up a minor hill.
As a result, you can see the limitations of your golf cart’s design if you’re looking to repurpose a lawnmower engine for golf cart greatness. You might have to opt for a lower seating capacity and a lighter frame so that your cart can manage off-road driving.
There’s another factor that plays into torque, and it lies in the very foundation of your cart: the tires.
Choosing The Right Tires
If you’re customers seek to live out their Hummer-obsessed childhood dreams through your golf carts, then a word of warning if you’re out shopping for the tallest, most magnificent tires that you can find.
Tall tires put more stress on the engine, as it pulls in more amps under the stress of having to move those big babies. Unless you want to be yelling in pure Star Trek fashion, “I’m givin’ ‘er all she’s go’ Cap’n,” then you might want to shop for tires on the smaller, more convenient side.
The engine will thank you, and you’ll be able to use those amps for something else, such as climbing steep hills or racing along the fairway. It’s embarrassing to have your clients overheat on the open fairway, given all of their mates snickering behind their back.
If you want to jack up the height, then 22” tires will do just fine. If you decide to go any higher, then keep your tires fully pumped with PSI — at least 25+.
Deflated tires under pressure won’t be able to handle the load, whereas inflated tires might still spin while climbing inclines, but at least they’ll be able to handle the load.
The lesson of this story?
Base your tires choice on the size and weight of your cart. Again, this is something that you should’ve worked out in the conceptual process, as one of your main pillars.
Here’s a rundown of the generally accepted tires sizes, depending on the girth of your swanky cart.
Low Profile: 8”, 10”, 12”, or 14”. These tires are going to be thinner, which is more suitable to the fit frame that you’ve slapped on your cart.
High profile: 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”. These are going to be thicker than the low profile tires because they are going to be lifted.
That bears the question, is it worth it to even lift your cart? It depends on your overall budget, because not only do the lift kits come with their price tag, but just the mere decision to lift your cart changes the whole cost of it, as we saw with the high-profile carts requiring the use of thicker wheels.
Try experimenting with this Yamaha Drive 1.
Lift Kits – “They See Me Rollin'”
If the dreams for your client’s golf cart extend to the backwoods of their hometown, then suspension works better when you don’t have the frame of your cart striking the wheels.
For that, you’ll need to invest in one of these lift kits.
Spindle Lift Kit
This is the lift kit that you’ll most likely see other carts sporting. Why would this be?
It’s by far the easiest to install, which is great for those looking to streamline the assembly process or for the beginner cart aficionado. Not only it is easier to slap together, but it will also take less money from your wallet.
What’s the method behind the spindle lift kit? It does a very simple thing: all it does is replace the factory spindles on the cart, which results in the cart lifting.
A simple solution, for an elegant dream. Now, for only $250 – $300, you can lift your cart and start building on your offroading monster!
Drop Axle Kit
This is where we’re getting into the more pricier options, and for good reason. The drop axle kit requires a little bit more bodywork than the spindle kit in that it replaces the entire axle that you have on your cart. This method is a little bit dicier for our first-time cart grease monkeys, as it may require a professionals touch.
That means that there are going to be some labor costs factored in on top of the cost of the kit. But, in the end, it’ll be worth it. Especially if you want to follow through on your back-roads roaming goals.
A drop axle kit is much more stable and durable than the spindle kit option, allowing your clients to take to the dirt paths with peace of mind — for them, and also for their guests.
But there’s one more kit that’s floating around on the market.
Long Travel Kit
This is the most pricey kit on the market and for good reason.
With the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, people were searching for more alternatives to the tried and true methods of cars, trucks, and vans.
When the orders for customer carts began to explode, an emerging market began to develop. The Long Travel Kit is just the option for those looking to swap in their cars for the joys of golf cart shenanigans.
The reasoning is behind the name itself.
Boasting a reliable, independent front suspension, you are gifted with the ability to adjust the height of the kit. Should your customers want to impress their social circles or just rub dirt in their neighbors’ faces, then this kit grants them more stability as they zoom past their houses at high speeds.
You can expect a mighty price tag if you want to equip your cart with this beast of a kit. But just how much?
Easily more than three times the cost of the drop axle. Just keep that famous phrase in the back of your mind…
“You get what you pay for.”
If you want to get the beneficial features of the long travel kit, then you’ll have to shovel out more to make your clients’ golf cart dreams a reality. As with all things in life, you’ll have to run a cost-benefit analysis, which will tie into the vision that you set out in your conceptual design.
Do you want to only tackle the flat fairway or neighborhood streets? Perhaps take your clients offroad? Or, do you want to provide the ultimate carting experience, where the limits of your cart are only matched by your customers’ crazed ambitions?
Then a lift kit is a great way to increase the height of your cart’s frame, allow for bigger tires, faster speeds, and just more fun.
Best Steering Wheels for Your Cart
And yet, you can’t plow ahead at blistering speeds without having a way to control it, can you? So, what are the best steering wheels for your clients’ carts?
#1. 10L0L Golf Cart Steering Wheel
The sleek design of this ergonomic steering wheel should fit in nicely with any design that you have planned.
But it’s not just for looks. It also feels great to the touch, granting your hands supreme comfort as they grip the quality, PVC material. Its soft feel ensures that your hands don’t blister on long drives where bumps and jolts put stress on the skin.
It needs to be installed with an adapter, which also needs to be purchased separately. But for comfort and design, this steering wheel gifts you all of the safe, secure control that you need to enhance your carting escapades.
#2: Golf Cart Steering Wheel (MONSAI)
If you want to evoke a racing facade with your golf cart, then you need a couple of things:
- Speed to back it up
- This steering wheel
The black aluminum paint job on the spoke of the wheel evokes this racing vibe, and the ergonomic D shape of the wheel ensures that your clients are given the comfort that they need to win those backwoods racing circuits with their buddies.
It might fit well with the sleek design of this custom ICON EV i20 Cart.
It also boasts a very convenient fit, as it can be installed in virtually any kind of cart, from Club Car to EZ-GO to Yamaha.
Much like the other entry on this list, you’ll have to shell out for the adapter separately to be able to install it.
Pro Tip: Be sure that you install the right adapter, as different carts require different types of adapters. You’re already shelling out enough money to make your clients’ dreams a reality. Don’t go wasting your cash unnecessarily.
#3: LEAPGO Golf Cart Steering Wheel
Much like the BONSAI offering, this steering wheel holds many of the same features.
- Comfort with the D shape of the wheel
- Good grip on the PVC materials
- The ease of adaptability to many major golf cart brands
It also just looks good, much like this custom EZGO RXV cart, which you can tinker with even further.
The only difference is that here, the spokes are brushed over with silver, which grants it a different look than the BONSAI wheel.
Once again, you must purchase the adapter separately, so take care to choose the right one for your cart.
There are a host of different models and brands for you to choose from, each coming in different colors, looks, and feels. Some even have horns on them — you know, the beeping sort (this isn’t a Mad Max movie)!
Hopefully, by now, you have a style chosen for your cart. But, if your clients look to muddy the backroads, then you certainly don’t want mud flicking up into their eyes.
Let’s crack open how to install a windshield on your cart — just don’t crack your windshield, please!
How To Install a Windshield
Windshields are kind of a foreign subject when it comes to the traditional golf carts that roam across misty fairways. After all, they aren’t meant to be driven out extensively, much less on muddy back roads.
Regardless, for those looking to modify their cart, or build a new one, a windshield is one of the more common modifications.
The good news? It’s easy enough to do in your garage!
First things first.
You will want to make sure that you have all of the required tools: strut brackets, wrench, and 10 mm screws. Your next task is to locate the holes for the screws, which come on most golf carts.
To ensure that the lower ends of the windshield rests are supported, place the rubber grommets around the neck of the screws, after which you’ll install the strut brackets — located on both sides of the windshield — by simply snapping them on.
The time has now arrived!
Your windshield is now ready to be placed on your cart! Simply snap it on the front of the cart. It should rest on the rubber grommets that you had screwed in on the lower side.
To secure the top part of the windshield, fasten it with two plastic clamps.
To inaugurate your slick new windshield, take off the covering to reduce the chance of any unsightly scratches. Then take a step back, and take a moment to admire your work!
You’ve crafted a functioning golf cart that’s ready to play out your clients’ fantasies.
Still Stuck at the Planning Phase?
Let us help you solve the puzzle of “how to build a golf cart.”
After all, the market for custom golf carts is taking off. Don’t be stuck in the mud as your competition soars off to new heights. To avoid being left behind, it helps to have a secret weapon in your corner.
Our one-of-a-kind software takes your planning phase to new levels, granting you the power to slap your cart together in real-time. You can even quote your design!
Get started today to plan faster, build more efficiently, and sell like hotcakes. Your clients are waiting…