Invariably it comes down to finding the parts you need for your go kart in a timely manner, and tearing apart a tractor is sometimes just not worth the time, especially when time is limited.
So the temptation is to buy parts for your go kart all in one shot. That can be problematic if you are not careful.
What I first do is look for the specials and see if I can get a good deal on the part I am looking for. Free shipping is usually top on the priority.
Second, I look do a lot of comparison shopping. And with computers that is not too tough. The best way to do it is to make a Bill of Material (BOM) on an excel spreadsheet (go to the following download link for a free BOM listing spreadsheet http://gokartguru.com/downloads.php )
In that spreadsheet I put various prices. In fact I will make three to four different spread sheets for different vendors and then compare the final price. It is easy enough to copy the spreadsheets by copying the whole page. Just name the pages by the vendor name.
The key to shopping is to not make the assumption that you can do a one stop shop. That typically doesn’t work. I use for example the Surplus Center a lot for simple bearings, couplers, chains, sprockets and clutches. They have good pricing and typically the shipping isn’t too bad.
Very often a vendor will say that they have free shipping, but they sock you with a high price to accommodate the shipping. They also will encourage over 100 dollar purchases to get free shipping.
I have been finding that the companies that have expertise in go kart parts want to get rid of these parts and will cut you some good deals. Go kart axles in particular can be found at varying rates and material types. Be picky about the material type on the gokart axle, because often the cheaper axle will be a lower grade material, versus higher grade stress proof material.
When you shop for parts, shop for categories, for example drive system parts which would include: axles, bearings, sprockets and clutches. If you can get one vendor to supply you those parts then you might get a good deal.
Next shop around for rims, tires and wheel bearings. Some go kart suppliers have packages with tires, bearings and hubs included. Be very careful that you do not forget that most rims are not axle friendly and require hubs to bolt onto.
For a decent go kart, I have been finding that buying outright all the parts is going to cost around $500 with all the shipping and handling.
Reputable go kart suppliers are the following (and no I do not get kick backs for doing this…just letting you know…)
Smart Kart Parts
And one final note when shopping for parts don’t forget the small stuff like keystock, bolts and nuts. Don’t be surprised that bolts and nuts alone can cost close to $25 if bought outright. Be sure to use those coupons to their best use. For example Ace Hardware has $5 off coupons, where basically you can get $5 worth of hardware for free. Take advantage of these coupons to extend your budget.