Home Forums Tech Talk Why don't we string karts?

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    • #56524

      I’ve only started karting this year, but I have plenty of experience working at a local FF2000 prep shop doing alignments. We always used the string method to set toe, so I am confused why more people don’t do this in the karting world. The options I am seeing are lasers, which probably work well but are expensive, and toe plates, which I don’t really like because you can only set total toe. Stringing the kart on the ground has the added advantage of the driver sitting in the kart to get more useful readings.

      Is there something I’m missing?

    • #56525
      Jim White

      I’ve been using the string method for years. It’s cheap and accurate when done properly. I’m amazed that more people don’t do it that way.

    • #56533
      tony zambos

      I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most people don’t align their karts by using a string is because they never seen it done and have no idea as to how to do it. That simple.

      LAD Specialties customer / tony kart / rotax / kt100

    • #56629
      Mike Clark

      I have seen the string method advocated by some on rare occasions. Same for verifying other aspects of the chassis such as squareness.

      I think a lot of people love gadgets and trust anything hi tech as being superior.

      That said I have no intention of ever again attempting to drive a kart I have not verified the chassis on. I am tired of being the guy with the yellow karting shoes!

      I am currently trying to set up our shop to be able to do some chassis checks on a regular a basis.


    • #56635
      Patrick Roth

      I haven’t seen anyone use anything other than the laser Snipers to set front geometry.  I’ve seen the ads for toe plates and other lower cost methods but I have literally never seen them used at the track.  The point of this is the price point for the lasers seems acceptable for most and those that don’t own their own set, borrow from others.

      I personally like the Snipers and would never consider using anything else because I don’t have to turn on my brain due to their ease of use.  I’m not saying stringing is rocket science but it does require more expertise to use and I can’t imagine it being nearly as fast as the Snipers.

      I do like your thought on stringing on the ground but getting everything level would be a bear and making sure you take out the variables associated with wheels, tires, etc.


    • #56682
      John Mulvihill

      As an alternative to stringing…….  Consider a short Craftsmen laser level tightened to the back wheels (spacer off of the wheel required along with a threaded rod through the axle) shining forward along the length of the kart on each side.  Check toe on the wheel using a ruler fore and aft coming off of the wheel with the ruler held at 90 degrees.

      Doing that you create a line running down the length of the kart similar to the string set up but quicker to do.



    • #56715
      Sanford Mitz

      Those of us who knew Carol Smith or followed his “Prepare to…..” books wouldn’t hesitate to use the string method. It’s a bit slower, but if you have any questions about your chassis, it’s a great way to go. Not many people verify that they are starting with the front wheels aligned with the rear before setting toe and verifying ackerman.

    • #56720
      Jim Howe

      I think Sanford hit the nail on the head. Stringing a kart first to make sure everything is square, then using lasers to set the frontend is the way to go.

      Typically, I try to string a kart early in the season then use the lasers to keep the frontend in place. If we have a major crash, do what you gotta do at the track to race/finish. Then, re-string it before the next race.

      I’ve talked to others about stringing a kart and they just look at me. Especially the younger ones!

    • #58502
      Greg Lindahl

      And then there’s the matter of air motion not causing issues and the patience it takes to string a kart.

      I like using a laser level for much of the setup including chassis level.

    • #58723
      Matt Dixon

      Its a lot more work when most karts run 55 inch rear and say 47 inch front track width.

      Edit- Scratch that post. It makes no difference the track width. Carry on 8-)


      • #58964
        Steve O’Hara


        Stringing a race car chassis is an effective way to align all four corners. With a kart there is no camber or toe adjustment at the rear so stringing would only be useful for the front end and there are simpler ways to set toe on a kart. To be honest all you really need is tape measure to set total toe and an angle finder to check the camber.

        When I string my Formula Ford or Atlantic car I use a set of stringing bars that are built specifically for each chassis. The bars are configured to set the strings on each side parallel to and equal distant from the CL of the chassis just wide enough to clear the outside of the tires at the wider end of the car. The track widths on the race cars are much closer to equal than your typical kart so the measurements from the strings to the wheels are similar at both ends of the cars. On a kart the rear is usually much wider than the front so the string setup leaves more room for measuring error on the front end. Yes, it is a method that can be used but for general upkeep and tuning it is not practical.

        Steve O’Hara

    • #58965
      David Cole

      I’d love to see a video of it done on a kart. We could feature it on site.

      David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

      • #59089

        @ Steve

        Agreed on camber. To me, even the number isn’t important because most (all?) karts use discrete adjustments for camber. Who cares what the number is? Just find the hole that works.

        But just using total toe doesn’t sit well with me. At the very least you will be wearing your tires unevenly. Also, as mentioned above, when you string a kart on the ground you can account for driver weight. I could see a combination of stringing and toe plates-Strings to set up toe evenly in the shop and then toe plates for tuning at the track. As long as you’re careful you should be able to keep your toe even side to side.

    • #61854
      Jordon Musser

      The most important thing is consistency.    I dont care if its measured on the ground or in the air, I want to know I removed or added “X” camber, caster, toe etc.

      Stringing takes too long, period.  Often times we have well under an hour b/w sessions/races to decide on a change, change parts, then align. Lasers take only a couple minutes from start to finish, and fit in a small compartment in my tool box.


      Even with carefully engineered stringing system for our race cars, it takes longer than that just to get the strings setup and aligned, not to mention the space.

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