Why the Predator Swap is a Bad Idea for Buggies, Golf Carts and UTVs

Lots of people go by Harbor Freight and see the Predator engine 212 engine for $99.  And get the idea, "I will replace my GY6 with a $99 Predator engine and have more horsepower for only $99."  Well it is not quite that simple.  And the following are the reasons why:  

  • It will cost you $1000 to $1500 or more by the time you are done.  Sure the engine is cheap but look at the entire swap before you get started.
  • The Predator lawnmower engine is not designed to run over 3000 RPMs.  You'll have to spend a lot of money to modify the engine to run at 7,000 to 10,000 RPM for a go-kart
  • The GY6 engine uses modern CVT transmission technology.  All of the high end ATV's, side-by-sides use CVT transmission technology because transfers the power from the engine to the wheels much more efficiently.  The Predator engine uses 1980 torque converter technology.  
  • You'll be replacing belts each month.  Your belt operates as a clutch continually slipping while at idle.  Again old technology.
  • It is a dangerous engine.  With a go-kart you run the risk of ripping the hair/scalp off of some little girl or, anyone with long hair, as has happened to hundreds of people - see photos.
  • The torque converter is jerky on acceleration and the engine and loud and clunky.  With the Predator engine you have 1940 engine technology and 1980 transmission technology.  If you don't mind antique technology then go for it.  And since you are going backwards why not consider a steam engine.  And now since you have a fast lawnmower why not put some blades on it and you can cut the grass while riding your go-kart
  • You will not have reverse with the Predator engine.

The bottom line is that the GY6 engine is the latest engine technology and is a superior engine and cc for cc a higher performing engine.