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  #1  
Old 10-17-2012, 10:00 PM
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Default Possible chain stretch? How do I tell?

Hi folks - my Wee, now with 26,000 miles or so on it, seems to have picked up an odd... pulse. When accelerating hard from a stop, I definitely feel and hear a weird sound from the drive train. I wish I could identify it, but it's part pulse, part "grunch" sound, and sometimes it's regular and sometimes it's choppy. It's almost always when I push hard.

Now, the reason I think it might be chain stretch or damage is that I was able to even out on a slow stretch of road, and felt a regular pulse that did NOT match the revolution of the rear wheel. It was slower. 1-1.5 revolutions of the rear tire and I'd get another 'pulse'.

I'm guessing my chain is on the way out or out of alignment or something.

What's the best way to start debugging this problem? I am mechanical, but I no experience on the 650, and most of my motorcycle work has been on engines, not on drivetrains. If the answer will be "Buy a new chain, remove the rear wheel, and change the chain out" I may ask for someone in the Boston area to come over and help supervise. "nonononono, don't tighten that like that, do it like this."

(If anyone wants to do this this weekend, I'd be up for it - ya'll can also listen to my engine and tell me if the motion / 'clacking' noise I'm hearing is normal for the VStroms. I've never heard one running, so I'm not sure if the engine noise I'm hearing is correct).

So, anyone wanna listen to my bike, help diagnose a possible drive train problem?
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2012, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shevett View Post
Hi folks - my Wee, now with 26,000 miles or so on it, seems to have picked up an odd... pulse. When accelerating hard from a stop, I definitely feel and hear a weird sound from the drive train. I wish I could identify it, but it's part pulse, part "grunch" sound, and sometimes it's regular and sometimes it's choppy. It's almost always when I push hard.

Now, the reason I think it might be chain stretch or damage is that I was able to even out on a slow stretch of road, and felt a regular pulse that did NOT match the revolution of the rear wheel. It was slower. 1-1.5 revolutions of the rear tire and I'd get another 'pulse'.

I'm guessing my chain is on the way out or out of alignment or something.

What's the best way to start debugging this problem? I am mechanical, but I no experience on the 650, and most of my motorcycle work has been on engines, not on drivetrains. If the answer will be "Buy a new chain, remove the rear wheel, and change the chain out" I may ask for someone in the Boston area to come over and help supervise. "nonononono, don't tighten that like that, do it like this."

(If anyone wants to do this this weekend, I'd be up for it - ya'll can also listen to my engine and tell me if the motion / 'clacking' noise I'm hearing is normal for the VStroms. I've never heard one running, so I'm not sure if the engine noise I'm hearing is correct).

So, anyone wanna listen to my bike, help diagnose a possible drive train problem?
I bought my '06 Wee used from a friend with 34,000 miles on the clock. He wasn't sure when he had last changed the chain/sprockets, but guessed it was about 16-20,000 miles ago. Not much after that than I began experiencing the symptoms you described. Part of the problem was a pretty severe misalignment that I solved with a laser alignment tool called Profi-Cat D type. After running the chain for another 5k miles I examined the chain and sprockets very closely and found them to be in poor condition. One giveaway is when the teeth of the sprockets show a 'hooked' condition on the drive(accel) side. Then, I see that the master link is missing two o-rings. Did no riding until I installed a new set and laser aligned....also replaced the rear sprocket drum rubber dampers(absorbers) which were cracked and brittle from dry-rot. It's like a new bike now. It's not a very difficult task but you WILL need the master link riveting tool. Since I went with RK, I bought their tool and it went like clockwork....good directions. A couple of hints to make things a little easier. Once you remove the wheel, use any kind of lever to separate the brake disc for when you reinstall the wheel. Also, if your bike has a centerstand, roll it up on two sections of 2"X8" by 4 feet long, put the bike such that the centerstand is on the front 4 foots section and then slide the rear board out from under the wheel giving you and extra 1.5" of room to work with. Don't put the two collars on until you have slipped the wheel mostly into place with the disc inbetween the pads or you will just keep knocking them off. Also...very importan!! Don't forget that you will have to rivet the master link ONLY after the wheel is installed and the chain is fed around the swingarm and front sprocket. Feed it around and rivet it with the link on top of the rear sprocket....makes it easy to work with. If you rivet the chain on a table, it is now a continuous circle and you'll be forced to cut the master link and get another one or remove the swingarm to install. Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Boit4852; 10-17-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:43 PM
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How many miles since the chain was adjusted? If it's the original chain, it's due for replacement anyway.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Golden Monkey View Post
How many miles since the chain was adjusted? If it's the original chain, it's due for replacement anyway.
Unfortunately, I don't know. I bought the bike used, and I've put another 600 miles on it. I'll check with the owner.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:22 AM
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Oh well. I tried.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:33 AM
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Per the Suzuki service manual: Count out 21 pins (20 pitches) on the chain and measure the distance between the two points. If the distance exceeds the
service limit, the chain must be replaced.
Service Limit: 319.4 mm (12.57 in)

I like this method because it takes the guess work out of it. If it's under 12.57" then you're good; if it's over then replace it. Trying to measure to the center of the pin can be a little subjective so I use the edge of the pin (along the circumference) or a side plate.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shevett View Post
Unfortunately, I don't know. I bought the bike used, and I've put another 600 miles on it. I'll check with the owner.
I love responding to myself.

So according to the previous owner, the chain and both sprockets were replaced at 15,000 miles. It's at 26,000-ish now.

I'll try and take a look at the sprockets tonight and see if they're showing wear.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boit4852 View Post
Oh well. I tried.
And succeeded! Your posting is excellent, but intimidates the heck out of me I understand everything you're describing, but there's no way I could start on this path unless I had someone watching over my shoulder to point to all the little details you said.

I still have to determine if I'm going to try and do the changes in my garage (which isn't all that great), a friends house, or at a shop. I still haven't found a shop I can trust in the Boston area, alas, so my options will be limited
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:30 PM
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A couple of things to look at--
--At the 3:00 position on the rear sprocket, can you pull the chain away from the sprocket? If so, it is worn and due for replacement.
--Are there any stiff links in the chain? All should (bend?, flex?, move?) equally easily.
--Are there any rollers that show o-rings missing or coming apart, or any rollers that show rust coming out from under the rollers?
--Look at both sprockets for signs of wear between the teeth.
--Sight down the rear sprocket and the chain running over the top. Is it straight? When the rear wheel is off the ground, transmission in neutral & engine off, and you turn the rear wheel, does the chain go to one side of the sprocket or does it pretty much center itself. If it isn't straight, align the rear wheel by eye after you tighten the chain according to the book. Do not trust the marks on the swing arm for alignment.
--If you correctly tighten the chain with the bike on the sidestand, how long does it stay at the correct tightness before it is too long?

Chains don't stretch (except perhaps a very slight amount when new). Chains and sprockets wear. That is what makes them longer. If it is regularly getting longer and longer, that chain is dying. 11,000 miles on a chain that wasn't properly lubed by the previous owner or adjusted too tight, or cheap junk in the first place, or put on badly worn sprockets might be the full life of that chain.

Another tip--when you are replacing the rear axle (with a light coat of grease on it), put it in from the right. All the parts are easier to hold in position when you do this. Put a small dab of antiseize paste on the axle threads and tighten the nut to about 56 lbs-ft.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
A couple of things to look at--
--At the 3:00 position on the rear sprocket, can you pull the chain away from the sprocket? If so, it is worn and due for replacement.
--Are there any stiff links in the chain? All should (bend?, flex?, move?) equally easily.
--Are there any rollers that show o-rings missing or coming apart, or any rollers that show rust coming out from under the rollers?
--Look at both sprockets for signs of wear between the teeth.
So I've done these few things, and here's what I've found.

I can pull the chain away from the rear sprocket at the 3pm position, but it's not flexing more than a link or two. Is it supposed to be completely snug up against the sprocket?

I didn't see any stiff links (I rolled the tire for a dozen turns while up on the center stand. Didn't notice anything). However, I saw red dust around one of the links. I touched it and it came away - Rust?

I couldn't see any wear on the sprockets - they seemed okay.

Here's a few pictures of the chain and sprocket:

Rear sprocket | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

and

Sighting along the chain | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

In the pictures, the chain looks rustier than it is. It's been oiled, but maybe it could use another coat, eh?
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