Home Forums Chassis & Handling Steering Wheel Physically Hard to Turn

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    • #91853
      Dan Ashapa

      ***Steering very difficult to turn when kart is on ground, even without weight in it. Everything turns buttery smooth when on the stand from lock to lock***

      I have a 2014 CRG Road Rebel with a Stock 125 shifter on it. Everything in great condition.

      On a corner exit, I touched the plastic barrier wall on the right side of the kart causing me to rumble along the wall, moving the barriers out a good few feet for about 15-20 feet before it came to a stop.

      Bent rear axle, front bumper bars, and tie rods looked like wavy noodles. Slight bend in steering shaft.

      I replaced all those parts with brand new parts. Front bumper, front bumper bars, new tie rods, new tie rod ends, new kingpin bolts (to be safe, though they were fine), rear axle, and new steering shaft/rod/bearing.

      Upon putting kart back on ground, it was very noticeable that the steering was physically hard to move left or right, with or without me sitting in it.  Physically hard to turn. When on the stand all steering linkages are butter smooth from lock to lock though like night and day. I even tried test laps at speed and same thing, extremely hard to turn the steering wheel left or right making it feel undrivable. It didn’t feel anything like this before and I felt like I could also turn the steering wheel lock to lock even when in the kart on the ground before.

      I feel like I’ve replaced everything that there is to replace for the steering except for the spindles, but they look fine and are the beefy CRG 25mm ones.

      Any ideas what can be causing this?

      *Something binding in steering geometry when kart on ground?
      *Geometry not set-up right (caster, camber, toe, etc)?
      *Frame bent? (It looks ok at a close glance though)?
      *The frame not flexing, making it feel like the steering isn’t working?

      I’m running out of ideas. The people at my track don’t seem to know what to do and there is little help out here in Northern CA when it comes to chassis stuff. I can’t find anything online on this specific issue either.



    • #91854

      Dan, there is a big possibility you may have installed the spindle/king pin spacers backwards, or upside down, also big chance you may have accidentally installed your caster pills wrong, giving the chassis too much positive caster, or your steering shaft installed wrong at the inner tie rod ends, from the wrong setting holes.

      It is very important to double check how it used to be before

      I hope you snipped your camber and tow?

      Otherwise you may have a bent chassis, I would send it to a table for adjustments and to make sure it’s straight, but check all that other stuff I mentioned first. Any chance you can post pictures?

    • #91859
      Dan Ashapa

      Kingpin bolts were simply taken out without removing any of the spacers, lockers, washers, etc from the spindle setup. Therefore there is no way those are installed incorrectly. The old kingpin bolts I took out weren’t even bent. The problem was there after I rebuilt the kart with new axle, tie rods, and front end stuff. I just did it recently to check it off the box to make sure it wasn’t bent kingpin bolts causing this weird problem.

      Tie rods and tie rod ends were exact same size replacements as I had before the issue. They were set into the exact same holes as before on steering shaft and spindles. Even if they weren’t, it would effect Ackerman, but wouldn’t be causing a problem like this to this degree.

      Steering shaft was installed exactly the same as prior. I don’t think anyone could mess that up if they tried, unless they had some sort of mental problems I would think. The problem existed with old shaft anyways. I just recently replaced it thinking maybe it was the problem. No change to problem.

      Pictures of kart or setup won’t show anything you haven’t seen already as it looks just like a brand new CRG Road Rebel and associated setup. No different than prior pics I have of my setup, etc. Nothing weird or off or out of the ordinary. Looks the same as before, only difference being the steering is extremely hard to move left or right now, but only when I place it on the ground. It’s buttery smooth lock to lock when on the stand.

      I used Sniper to align steering, toe, camber, and caster to factory CRG defaults. I can try again, but even if it was off a little, it shouldn’t have this kind of drastic effect just turning the wheel left to right on the ground.

      Frame looks just fine at a glance, nothing seems off symmetry or bent, but I haven’t had it officially checked out or put on a jig, so it is a possibility I guess, but I would think a faint one. I have a feeling it’s something else. Something simple I’m just not getting.

      I appreciate the reply.

      Still stumped about it…


    • #91860
      Matt Martin

      when you think about what gets loaded on the ground vs on the stand, the things that will have an effect on steering effort are spindle bearings and/or kingpin.  Whether or not that’s the bearing itself, the spindle hanger, the kingpin, or any combination of spacer arrangement.  are  you certain nothing fell out/shifted upon kingpin removal?


      Have you tried loosening the kingpin and setting the kart down to steer?

      I would definitely check the spindle hangers to make sure they’re not askew.  Think about it like this: if the kingpin or spindle wasn’t bent, that load is transferred into the tie rods, spindle hangers, and frame.

      good luck, i would try to get the chassis on a frame table to double check how square it is.


      edit: also look for cracks.  that seems a likely cause of binding which may only show up when the frame is partially loaded – on the ground.

    • #91865
      Dan Ashapa

      Not the kingpin bolts. It was doing this before I even messed with installing new kingpin bolts. 100% sure I put them in correctly. I just did that in the case they were bent, but they were perfectly straight when I took them out and I put brand new ones in just for peace of mind to rule that out.

      Only things I haven’t thoroughly checked are the frame (as I would have to outsource that because I have no idea who has a jig or frame table around here or what I’m looking for other than obvious geometry being off to my eye), and the spindles I didn’t really check as I’m not really sure what I’m looking for there.

      What do you mean by spindle hanger? The bracket on the frame that the kingpin goes through to hold all the spindle stuff together? The flat part almost parallel to the ground that the tie rod ends connect to on the spindle itself? The part on spindle the brake caliper connects to? Something else? And what am I specifically looking for? Am I just looking for the stub axle part of the spindle to be bent or other parts of it as well? What degree of out of whack am I looking for?

      I can check for cracks but I don’t think there are any.  These CRG Road Rebel chassis are super robust and the incident I had wasn’t too bad. I’ll double check though.


    • #91868

      Well, using the logic

      It wasn’t binding before the wreck

      You hit the barriers and they moved 15 to 20 feet ( that’s a good impact )

      I have kissed/brushed barriers in the past and bent a bunch of crap

      If you said that the king pin bolts are good, and it was already doing this with the old king pins, but you only replaced them to be safe, then there’s no need to check for over tightened king pin nuts ( although I would ) It’s always a good idea to loosen up king pin bolts and re tighten them again, but very important not to over tighten or else you’ll choke it and will make it hard to steer, plus will develop premature wear of spindle bearings.

      Also another thing to consider, when you set it down on the ground and trying to steer, now you are pushing and pulling on whatever cracks or bends there could be on the frame, think of it as the wheels are trying to separate from side to side as you try to steer. So if you have that much confidence in what you see to the naked eye, and people’s advise may not be good enough to what already looks obvious to you, then it may be a good time to send it in to a shop and let the professionals deal with it.


      Here in Central Cali, and Southern Cali we have plenty of people who can do frame work, not to mention, they do bring their awesome set up to every race.

      Good luck to you.

      • #91888
        William Martin

        Is it equally hard to turn in both right & left direction with weight in the kart? One thing you might try is taking Sniper readings with the kart on the ground & you in the seat. There should be “small changes” from the readings taken on the stand, but nothing major. If you see a major change, something is likely broken, under the powder coat so you can’t find it…without magnaflux inspection. The usual suspects are cracked welds, which may be findable with a good eye & weight in the seat to make them move around a bit. Good luck!


        ps: when you drove it, what did the front tires look like afterward?

    • #91876
      tony zambos

      With the chassis on the ground amd you out of it, turn the wheel completely to the right and note how high the front wheel lifts. Crank the fully the other direction and note how high the other front wheel lifts. If the lift heights are different, the chassis is bent.

      LAD Specialties customer / tony kart / rotax / kt100

    • #91890
      Dan Ashapa

      Good advice.

      Jason at Swedetech apparently knows of a shop around here with a jig who can do work on it (if it is the frame). I’m in Sacramento area.

      I can’t see anything with my eye, but I can try a couple of those ideas mentioned to see if the geometry is skewed once on the ground. I have it set to 2mm each side for toe-in and 2mm negative camber when on stand. The caster is same level when I do a steering sweep to a center point.

      Wheels and tires looked fine after the crash. Front bumper bars were slightly bent, front bumper had a dent in the plastic, and both tie rods looked like wavy noodles. I purposefully buy round aluminum ones so they take the hit since they are cheap to replace. Rear axle was bent right by the rear wheel where it touched/went off.  All that stuff was replaced with new components and installed correctly.

    • #91898
      tony zambos

      I can’t fault any one’s suggestions and you seem to have done all the right stuff, yet you still have a problem. You might want to put the kart on the ground and start loosening all the nuts and bolts in the steering, starting with the upper steering shaft support and work you way down. Please don’t offended, but I’m going to ask the dumbest question ever. Are the tires aired all the way up?

      Hope you find the answer soon.

      LAD Specialties customer / tony kart / rotax / kt100

    • #91905
      Matt Martin

      What do you mean by spindle hanger? The bracket on the frame that the kingpin goes through to hold all the spindle stuff together? The flat part almost parallel to the ground that the tie rod ends connect to on the spindle itself? The part on spindle the brake caliper connects to? Something else? And what am I specifically looking for?


      yes, I specifically meant where the kingpin goes through the frame, and how square that is with the frame, and if there’s any difference left to right.


      I think the suggestions thus far cover most of what i’m saying, too – cracks, bends, etc.


      As for checking the spindle bearings, I would remove the spindle and check the bearings through which the kingpin passes.  Make sure they aren’t binding, or knocked out of whack somehow.

    • #91932
      Rod Balding


      If it has locking collars on the upper steering shaft support , try loosening them up and backing them off a bit then sit it on the ground and then try it . If you have them snugged up tight to the support when get in the kart it will flex enough the steering up-rights will bind on the lock collars and makes it VERY hard to turn which explains when it’s on the stand the chassis is relaxed and it turns free .

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