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Crazy Chain....?

2689 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  SittingDuck
Sorry fans of Ozzy :0)

I have a '09 Wee with 12000 miles on it.

For the first 3000 miles I had the chain too tight. I kept it in what I thought was "spec" at the the 20-30mm of play but apparently I was pulling too hard on it when I measured it. Some more experienced folks looked at it and said it was too tight. So I loosened it and I"ve kept it in normal spec ever since.

I was on a ride last month from Spokane WA to Prince George BC and I stopped in Kettle Falls and checked the chain on the side stand, it was tight like a guitar string, yet is had been loose at the last stop. So I rode a bit and stopped and checked it and it was loose again.

I was on a ride last Sunday and checked it again on the side stand before the ride and it was a bit over spec a bit so I tighten it up a smiggen. I rode it to the meeting place, and checked it again on the side stand and it was guitar string tight. So I took it off the side stand, put it on the center stand, and put it back on the side stand again and it was loose again!

What the heck is going on.....?

Should I just ride it and not worry....?
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The chain will have spots that are tighter than others. Adjust the chain so the tightest spot is in spec, if the loosest spot is close to being able to jump the sprockets then it's time for a new chain and sprocket set.
 

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
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In spite of what the owner's manual says, if the bike is equipped with a centerstand, always check chain tension with the bike up on the centerstand. This will allow you to spin the rear wheel, (with the transmission in neutral), and check for different tensions, at different places, and also inspect for any abnormalities.
 

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Just to add to the confushion, if the bike is being ridden heavily laden (2 up/lots of luggage/combination of the two/ etc...) adjust chain like mentioned above and also check while sitting on it off stand (you can do this pretty easy with your left foot). When the swingarm is completely level the wheelbase is at its longest and therefor chain will be at it's greatest tension.

Having the chain too taut can cause the countershaft bearing to fail, not to mention undo wear and tear on the chain and sprockets.
 

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Make sure the bike is in neutral, if it's in gear the chain slack can be taken up making it seem too tight.
What he said, for sure. If not the case, then put it up on the center stand in neutral and loosen the tension until you can check for links that are stiff. If you see any red powder (rust) where the rollers meet the links the chain is near finished. If not, oil the chain and check it again for kinks again. If you can't easily work a kink out the chain is probably finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmm interesting feedback, thanks for all the advice folks. I hate being such a newb :headbang:

I clean and lube the chain frequently (use WD40 and a wire brush to clean and have a Loobman oiler installed).

I'll put it up on the center stand and move the chain link by link to see if I can find a problem.

I'll also start checking my chain when the bike's in neutral versus in gear like I normally do.

Ride well.
 

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
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I clean and lube the chain frequently (use WD40 and a wire brush to clean and have a Loobman oiler installed).
My personal opinion would be, not to use a wire brush for cleaning your chain. I believe that the stiffness, and sharpness of wire bristles may cause premature o-ring failure on the links of the chain.

All of the chain cleaning brushes that I have seen are of a synthetic type, (nylon), and not wire/metal.
 

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I am with BlackLab, toss the wire brush. I bought a grunge brush which I no longer use. The chain lube I use is quite runny when it first goes on. I feel that it is washing away a lot of the dirt which runs onto the newspaper I put on a piece of cardboard on my barn floor. Then I give the chain a wipe with a rag and call it good. Every 500 miles + or - should do it. It goes a lot quicker with a centerstand. I also put a plastic twist tie through a link where I start and work around the chain as I spin the rear tire by hand back to the twist tie. Never do this with the motor running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good point I'll start using the nylon brush I have.

I checked all the links and I did not find any that were "kinked" nor did I feel the chain get tighter or looser in certain spots, hmmmmm.....
 

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In spite of what the owner's manual says, if the bike is equipped with a centerstand, always check chain tension with the bike up on the centerstand. This will allow you to spin the rear wheel, (with the transmission in neutral), and check for different tensions, at different places, and also inspect for any abnormalities.
New to the wee, so I'm not sure about the geometry, but my understanding was that being unloaded on the centerstand changes the sprocket to sprocket length. I'd think you'd need to have more slack on the centerstand than on the side stand.
 

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
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New to the wee, so I'm not sure about the geometry, but my understanding was that being unloaded on the centerstand changes the sprocket to sprocket length. I'd think you'd need to have more slack on the centerstand than on the side stand.
Yes, you are correct, and that is how I adjust my chain; with more slack on the centerstand.

I tend to adjust my chain with more slack in it anyway. It gives the swingarm a little more movement on some of the rough roads I ride.

Thanks for pointing this out.

B.L.
 

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My personal opinion would be, not to use a wire brush for cleaning your chain. I believe that the stiffness, and sharpness of wire bristles may cause premature o-ring failure on the links of the chain.

All of the chain cleaning brushes that I have seen are of a synthetic type, (nylon), and not wire/metal.
Agreed. A stiff or stiffer 'toothbrush' or a little bigger. If I have the rear tire off I give it a good bath in kerosene by letting it lie down off the front sprocket in a long dish of it and moving in about six inches at a time. My lube is Dupont in a small bottle something.
 

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Be careful with the WD-40. It can get past the "o"rings and clean the rollers, but no oil can get back in.
The danger is greatly exaggerated. I wouldn't have a problem with using it as a cleaner. It's a poor lubricant for high pressure applications like chains though.
 

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Agreed. A stiff or stiffer 'toothbrush' or a little bigger. If I have the rear tire off I give it a good bath in kerosene by letting it lie down off the front sprocket in a long dish of it and moving in about six inches at a time. My lube is Dupont in a small bottle something.
I used to do this as well to my chain; gave it a bath in kerosene. Doing so seemed okay because it reminded me of cleaning bicycle chains when I was a kid.

But, a bicycle chain, 40 years ago, is not the same as today's motorcycle chain.

I have stopped cleaning my motorcycle chain with kerosene; particularly giving them a "bath", (I would pass mine through a bread pan with the bottom 1/3rd of the pan filled with kerosene.). I had two chains go "bad" on me within a 1,000 miles after their kerosene baths. I stopped this process after that.

Now, I don't clean my chain at all. The only lubricant I will use is, chainsaw bar oil. If the chain is really caked with grime, I wipe the chain down with a rag, (Up on the centerstand, engine off, transmission in neutral.)

I started this thread in the "How To" section last night. It includes a video.

http://www.stromtrooper.com/mainten...arry-extra-motor-oil-lube-my-chain-video.html
 
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