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​Holiday Gift Guide for Golf Cart Gearheads

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holiday-gift-guide-golf-cart-gearheads

The holiday season is approaching and, this year—like every year, you are faced with the challenge of finding the perfect gift for relatives and friends. It can be a difficult task to sort through the endless gift options available, and if you have a golf cart gearhead on your list the mission can be even more daunting.

Here are a few gift suggestions for your golf cart gearhead enthusiast that anyone can buy. Before you begin your search, however, you will need to know some basic golf cart characteristics. Is it an electric cart or a gas-powered cart? What company is the original manufacturer, and what is the golf cart model number and year of manufacture?

MANUALS

If your gearhead is serious about do-it-yourself maintenance and upgrades, a service manual is an absolute must. Manuals are specific to each golf cart manufacturer and are available in the following three formats, each with different information.

golf cart loaded clubs course

An Owner's Manual is included with the purchase of new golf cart. It provides fundamental information, including recommendations for golf cart safety, general maintenance requirements, and some tips for easy repair problems. However, it contains no troubleshooting information, part number listings, diagrams, exploded views of the various systems, or procedures.

An owner's manual may be found online at no charge for most golf cart models.

A Service Repair Manual provides comprehensive troubleshooting and repair procedures for all golf cart mechanical and electrical systems. It contains wiring diagrams, schematics, and detailed troubleshooting procedures. For the gearhead who plans to work on a golf cart, this manual is essential. They range in price from $50 - $150, and more than pay for themselves in lower maintenance service expenses.

A Parts Manual shows exploded views of the various golf cart systems, component parts, and respective part numbers. With no troubleshooting information, repair procedures, diagrams, or schematics, the manual is useful only for finding part numbers.

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PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

While protective clothing may not be the most elegant holiday gift, it may be one of the most important and appreciated. Working on golf carts requires some knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems, battery sulfuric acid, and hydrogen gases, which are produced when batteries are charging. Severe injuries can occur if the proper safety precautions are not taken.

The manufacturer’s recommendations should always be followed. Before starting any work on the golf cart, the do-it-yourself mechanic should put on safety eyeglasses, gloves, and protective clothing (coveralls).

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AUTO MECHANICS TOOL SET

Most maintenance, repair, and performance upgrades to a golf cart can be implemented using a standard set of automobile tools.

The best kit contains a selected assortment of the most useful hand tools and sockets suitable for automotive, mechanical, industrial and consumer applications and repairs. For the gearhead, the ideal set is portable and has everything required for golf cart maintenance. It includes a professional 3/8" quick-release ratchet handle with 72 teeth, most frequently used SAE sockets, and home and garage hand tools set in a durable storage case.

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NEW BATTERY PACK

Motor speed is related to RPM, which is a function of voltage. An increase in voltage by changing the battery pack will result in a high RPM. A 6v change can augment the cart speed by 1 to 3 mph.

battery-voltage-quote

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NEW GEAR PACK

Changing the gearing of the vehicle is another method to get more speed. However, golf carts do not have shiftable gears but use a fixed gear set configuration (the differential). The selection of a performance gear set must be made wisely with consideration for the load and terrain.

A typical golf cart’s factory-installed gear sets (gas and electric) have a 12.5:1 ratio. This moderate gear ratio produces a reasonable speed of about 14 mph for golf course use and adequate torque to pull up steep hills with 800 lbs. of people and golf bags.

If an 8:1 gear ratio gear set is installed in a cart that previously had a 12.5:1 ratio, the top end speed would surge to approximately 20 mph. A 6:1 ratio gear set upgrade would result in a top-end speed of 27 mph.

Of course, the trade-off to adding speed is a loss of low-end start-up torque, making it more difficult to get the cart moving. If the cart will be used in a hilly area or haul heavy loads, the driver may be dissatisfied with the hill-climbing performance.

If the golf cart performance objective is more torque, gears with 13:1 or 15:1 are recommended. These gear sets will increase the torque significantly but not without a loss of maximum speed.

Performance gear sets are available for most golf cart models with a 15:1 gear ratio that provides low-end torque, an 8:1 gear ratio resulting in a medium speed, and a 6:1 gear ratio for high speed.

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LARGER TIRES

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As much as 3 mph can be added to cart speed by changing from 18" tires to 22" tires.

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HIGH-SPEED MOTOR

Installing a high-speed motor can dramatically increase the speed of a vehicle. Consult the motor manufacturer for speed increase specifics.

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UPGRADED CONTROLLER

A change in gear set is not the only method for increasing the torque.

Torque is basically the pulling power of the motor and is a function of current. The higher the current, the more torque. As an example, going from the ALLTRAX 275A controller to a 400A controller will nearly double the stall torque (the torque load that causes the output rotational speed of a device to become zero).

The controller current rating is dependent on the application of the vehicle:

Light Loads: Flat-land driving, with one or two passengers or just for a couple of rounds of golf—use a 300A controller.

Medium Loads: Hauling loads, moving equipment, or hill climbing with two passengers—use a 400A controller.

Heavy Loads: For 3 or more passengers, large loads, or steep hill climbing—use a 500A, 600A, 650A, or 700A controller.

Remember, whatever controller you buy, it must be rated for the battery voltage. In the case of a change in battery voltage, use a charger and solenoid with the appropriate rating.

Upgrade the cart wiring from #6 to a minimum #4 gauge cable with controllers 400A and above.

Verify the golf cart mechanical brakes are designed to handle braking speeds more than 15-18 mph.

A higher-rated controller will generate as much as five times the amount of heat that a stock controller generates. Verify the motor can handle the increased temperature.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE KIT

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The ideal gift for the gearhead who wants to upgrade the golf cart is a kit containing all the necessary compatible components for maximum performance, including:

  • ALLTRAX High-performance controller.
  • Suitable battery bus fuses.
  • Upgraded motor rated for the application, either speed or towing.
  • Upgraded battery capacity or voltage.
  • Wire and cable gauge upgrades.
  • Change in tire size.
  • Upgraded differential gear set to match motor torque and speed to the axle gear upgrades.
  • Upgraded braking system, seat belts, fuses, and other parts that augment the cart safety features.

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DISC BRAKE SYSTEM

Disc brakes offer a significant improvement in stopping power and reduced maintenance over the traditional manufacturer’s rear drum system. A substantial improvement for hilly terrains and multiple passengers, they are an essential upgrade for high-performance carts. Installation of most systems is straightforward, with no modifications required, and they can be used with the existing cables.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE ENGINE

For the gearhead who owns a gas-powered golf cart, an upgraded engine will provide the boost in the performance that distinguishes it from the other carts on the golf course. Great for hilly terrains and heavier loads, the conversion can transform the cart into a utility vehicle by doubling the horsepower and torque of a standard OEM gas engine. The larger engine often requires other modifications like a lift kit and an engine conversion kit.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE PARTS

If a complete engine change is unnecessary, other parts upgrades to the OEM engine will help maximize performance. Air filters, traction control systems, clutch timing kits, valve spring upgrades, tuned exhaust kits, and gear sets will help maximize engine efficiency.

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SPINDLE LIFT KIT

A lift kit boosts the golf cart off the ground, creating additional clearance for driving over rough terrain, rocks, brush, and water. A lift kit adds stability to the golf cart for a safer ride, and it just looks cool!

This spindle lift kit with an easy bolt-on feature is made of high-quality steel and requires no welding or drilling for installation. It requires 10” or larger offset wheels. Mounting hardware is included.

lift-kit-quote

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WHEEL COVERS

If a complete change in tires and wheels is not an option, the addition of wheel covers can enhance the appearance of any golf cart. Several styles are available, including spoked chrome covers that fit Club Car, EZGO, and Yamaha golf carts with 10" wheels.

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BATTERY CHARGE METER

Never again get stranded by a dead battery on the golf course.

A battery charge indicator functions like a voltmeter, measuring how the voltage falls and rises, depending on the state of battery discharge. Similar to an automobile gas gauge, the visual readout indicates the remaining power available, so you always know if there is enough power to get back to the clubhouse. Golf cart battery charge indicators are available in analog needle style, digital, and LED versions.

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ALLTRAX DIGITAL DASHBOARD SPEEDOMETER

Drive in complete control with a new speedometer and odometer. You can know exactly how fast you are going and keep your cart safely under the speed limit—a requirement for those who want to make their golf cart street legal.

The simple to install digital speedometer system for electric and gas golf carts with universal mounting brackets attach to the steering column. It provides current, average, and max speed, battery voltage readout for 12, 24, 36, and 48V electric carts, or alternator battery health on gas carts, programmable maintenance reminders, ride time, and total accumulated ride time. It also provides LED warning lights, air and motor temperature displays, a non-resettable odometer, lap timer, clock, and high-intensity backlight, and waterproof connections.

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UNIVERSAL 5 PANEL INTERIOR REARVIEW MIRROR KIT

Made with high-strength composite plastic, the 5 Panel Universal Interior Rearview Mirror Kit provides excellent visibility and virtually eliminates blind spots. Metal mounting hardware is included for quick and easy installation. Measuring 35" long X 2.75" tall, the mirror is compatible with Club Car, EZGO, and Yamaha Golf Carts.

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GOLF CART CARGO BOX

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A cargo box is an indispensable addition to a golf cart when hauling soil, gravel, limbs, mulch, or yard tools. These durable cargo boxes are constructed to hold up to punishment. Transporting loose material is made even easier by installing a motorized dump kit that will empty out the cargo bed with ease.

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REAR LEAF SPRING KIT

The heavy-duty twin action rear spring kit contains two bushing and two leaf springs kits. The innovative leaf spring design is ideal for carts with a seat kit, cargo box, or other heavy attachments. The leaf system features a standard-duty leaf that provides a comfortable ride with two passengers and a heavy-duty helper leaf that takes effect when needed to support cargo or extra passengers.

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WEB FORUM SUBSCRIPTION

Many forums charge a fee. Annual subscriptions to their favorite forums will be appreciated all year long!

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DRIVING SCHOOL

Participating in a driving school course is an ideal gift for any gearhead. If your gearhead tricked out his or her golf cart as a utility vehicle, purchase an off-roading course and give an experience that won’t be forgotten.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Selecting a gift for a golf cart gearhead may seem overwhelming, at first, but, with some basic manufacturer and model information and this list of options, the task is easy. No matter how a golf cart is used—for transporting golfers and golf clubs on green fairways, cruising about the resort, a trip to the local grocery store, or for any number of utility purposes—there are always maintenance duties to be completed or performance enhancements to be implemented. While these suggestions make up a partial list of the many golf-cart-related gifts, any one of them should make a gearhead happy.

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