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It is in your owners manual, and we also need to know what Strom you have.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Loosen the axle nut. Turn the adjuster screws in the back of the swingarm equally until the chain at its tightest point (chain wear may be uneven) has an up and down free play in the center of the bottom run of 0.8-1.2 inches measured with the bike on the sidestand. Then the book says to tighten the nut to 72.5lb-ft. There have been reports of problems with the axle and nut galling together. Therefore, I prefer taking off the nut and coating the joint with anti-seize compound and torquing to 80% of the book value, 58lb-ft, to account for the lubrication effect. If neither of the two cross drillings in the axle line up with the castellations on the nut, back off to the nearest one rather than increasing the torque to allow cotter pin entry.
 

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Loosen the axle nut. Turn the adjuster screws in the back of the swingarm equally until the chain at its tightest point (chain wear may be uneven) has an up and down free play in the center of the bottom run of 0.8-1.2 inches measured with the bike on the sidestand. Then the book says to tighten the nut to 72.5lb-ft. There have been reports of problems with the axle and nut galling together. Therefore, I prefer taking off the nut and coating the joint with anti-seize compound and torquing to 80% of the book value, 58lb-ft, to account for the lubrication effect. If neither of the two cross drillings in the axle line up with the castellations on the nut, back off to the nearest one rather than increasing the torque to allow cotter pin entry.
Poetry. Reads like a Betty Crocker cookbook...

:rolleyes:
 

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It's pretty straightforward:


Loosen the axle nut. Some have a split-pin, some don't, either way, loosen it till there's a few threads open between the nut and the swingarm.

Back off the nuts that are threaded onto the bolts that "push" against the axle. Leave about 3/4' or so of clearance for adjustment. At this point I usually push the axle forward a bit so there's a distinct sag in the chain.

With the bike upright, and WITH A TYPICAL LOAD ON BOARD, turn the adjuster bolts until there is 1" of free play in the middle of the chain at the bottom. If you adjust the bike without a load, the chain will be too tight. If you can't get a load on the bike, you'll need to add 1/4' or so additional slack, depending on how much you weigh. Hold a ruler up to the chain, and move it up and down to see what the slack is. Look at the axle markers on each side of the swingarm; make sure the marks line up with the washer edges the same on both sides to get the rear wheel straight.

Once you have the slack set, snug, but don't tighten the axle bolt. Roll the bike backwards or forward a full turn of the wheel. Check the slack along the way, about every 1/4 turn. The reason you're doing this is because the tension on the chain can change as the wheel rotates. If you find a tight spot, stop and re-adjust the axle so you're back to 1" of slack.

Tighten the stop-nuts against the adjuster bolts so they won't loosen. Tighten the axle nut. The factory spec is 76 lbs; some of the guys go 50-60 lbs and use anti-sieze on the axle threads. If you don't have a torque wrench but you have an "educated" arm, you can get close enough. I managed to adjust bike chains for decades without a torque wrench, so it's not impossible.

Ride around the block and check it one more time. Remember, a over-tight chain can damage the bike a lot faster than a slightly loose one. Too much tension will ruin the oil seal at the primary sprocket, and wear out the chain and sprockets in a big hurry.
 

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Look at the axle markers on each side of the swingarm; make sure the marks line up with the washer edges the same on both sides to get the rear wheel straight.
Do not blindly believe that the axle markers are accurate.
When the chain is tightened so it's within spec lift the rear wheel off the ground using a works stand, centre stand or propping it against the side stand then get behind the wheel and spin it while looking along the chain. You want to make sure that the chain is not kinking side to side as it rotates which will indicate that the back sprocket is not lined up with the front one.
 

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Excellant thread. Thank-you to both Greywolf, and Kenneth Moore for good info!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am new to this whole maint. thing even though I put well over 50k on my bike in 3 1/2 seasons. So far this year Greywolf and others have helped me change plugs, air filter, tighten chain + numerous other tutorials. This May I got bilked for last time from a stealership. The help is much appreciated.



Art
 

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For those of us who don't blindly trust rules of thumb, until they know where the info was derived...
The "free-play" (distance of travel up and down totaled, measured at the centre of a span of drive chain) is derived from "engineering best practices", and is 1% to 3% of the distance between sprocket centres when the sprockets are at their furthest point of travel from each other. Most motorcycles carry the rear sprocket on a swing arm that travels about a fixed point inside the diameter of the sprockets. This means that unless the sprockets and the swing arm pivot are in line, (horizontally so to speak) the sprockets are not as far apart as they can be, and the free-play can't accurately be measured. The only way to measure then is to line the sprockets up with the pivot point, if you are going to use the EBP. So the kind people at Suzuki did that, either by loading the bike till the sprockets align or disconnecting the rear shock and pivoting the swing arm up to align everything. Then they set the free-play, set the bike back up on it's side stand, and measured the "on the side stand loaded free-play" (so to speak) and came up with a rule of thumb for us to use that is much easier. And yes it comes out to about 20-30mm or 3/4" to 1&1/8" . I imagine they used a stock (weight) bike for this. They measure on the lower span because the upper span is usually laying on the swing arm guide/protector. Honest, Bob...
 
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