How to Build a 5 Horsepower Briggs Racing Engine


Trackside is where boys and girls who are involved with motor sports get their first introduction to a performance engine. Participation in age appropriate events includes equipment that is better suited to the younger competitor. These Jr. race cars must follow their own set of specifications in order to compete. The Briggs and Stratton 5 horsepower vertical engine is a standard in go-karting and drag racing for kids. As with their adult counterparts, the goal is to build a 5 horsepower Briggs racing motor out of what they have to work with. Learning how to pull the engine apart and put it back together again is the best way for a young racer to learn about how to build a better engine using performance assembly and tuning techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Briggs & Stratton 5 horsepower engine Valve spring compressor Pliers (needle nose) Ratchet wrench Sockets Crescent wrench Gaskets Torque wrench
  • Place the engine with the top deck facing down so that the camshaft can be inserted into the engine. Line up the timing indicators on the engine block and slide the cam shaft into the engine without hitting the camshaft on internal parts or the at the entrance opening. The camshaft must be seated without any defect. Any internal blemish can result in a poor performing engine which is vulnerable to engine failure during competition.

  • Secure the side plate cover that protects the internal cam shaft and crankshaft openings. Use a gasket and fastener bolts to secure it back in place. Line up the holes in the gasket so that you can see all the openings through the cover plate at the same time. Start all the bolts and tighten evenly in a cross over pattern that will insure the gasket is set evenly. Having a good seal here will make the engine internals safe from outside debris. Use silicon gel to make a better seal when using a gasket to join two metal parts together.

  • Turn the engine so that the cylinder head and valve covers are easy to install. Attach the cylinder head to the engine block using the cylinder head bolts and fasteners. Use a high quality gasket to help seat the head onto the engine. Be sure to use a torque wrench for the appropriate tightness to prevent over tightening these important engine fasteners. Use a thin film of liquid silicon on both engine and cylinder head before matching the two together and securing the bolts. This improves the durability of the gasket that is in between the engine and the cylinder heads.

  • Insert the valves and valve springs. Racing valve springs will require a spring compressor for removal and installation. Fasten the compressed spring around the valve and release the spring to seat properly in place. Check for valve alignment and proper seating to get the highest performance from a 5 horsepower Briggs racing motor valve spring. Line up the valve cover gasket and valve cover and secure to the cylinder head with fastener bolts. Tighten all the engine fasteners correctly to prevent stress fractures and worn threads on important engine components. Recheck these fasteners after testing the engine at temperature (warmed up).

  • Attach the clutch and clutch guard, the carburetor and gas tank using the mounting hardware that matches to the parts on the racing motor. Factory or performance parts will have bracket mounts or fasten directly to anchor points on the engine block. Tighten these parts tight enough not to become loose. Connect fuel lines from the tank to the carburetor using hose clamps or metal tubing with fittings instead of hose. Insert a spark plug, blower housing and exhaust to learn how to properly build a 5 horsepower Briggs racing motor from camshaft up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use break cleaner to remove engine build-up during the break down and assembly of a Briggs 5 horsepower racing engine. Only install clean parts for the best results.
  • Damaged lobes will make the valves run out of alignment. This results in broken valves, too rich or too lean fuel conditions, and eventually will send broken metal parts down into the cylinders. Do not let this happen to you. Install with CARE!

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  • Photo Credit jaimeyoung
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