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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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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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How many miles since the chain was adjusted? If it's the original chain, it's due for replacement anyway.
 

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Oh well. I tried.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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I can pull the chain away from the rear sprocket at the 3pm position,
I saw red dust around one of the links
Start budgeting for new chain & sprockets. By the way, the sighting along the chain needs to be straight off the rear sprocket to the front to check that the rear is aligned so the chain comes off as straight as you can get it. Don't trust the marks on the swingarm for alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Start budgeting for new chain & sprockets. By the way, the sighting along the chain needs to be straight off the rear sprocket to the front to check that the rear is aligned so the chain comes off as straight as you can get it. Don't trust the marks on the swingarm for alignment.
So since I had time today, I sat the bike up on it's centerstand, sat down behind it, and spun the rear wheel for a while, lookin gover the top of the rear sprocket, and sighting all the way along the top of the chain (under the chainguard). I coudln't see any angle different or oddity there, even after a few dozen turns. The chain does slacken slightly if I go forward or back, but i don't think enough play to have chatter.

I think the answer right now is to try a new chain, and perhaps a new front sprocket (since I can't see the front sprocket, and the rear one isn't showing any wear).

Also, I need to ride more :)
 

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So since I had time today, I sat the bike up on it's centerstand, sat down behind it, and spun the rear wheel for a while, lookin gover the top of the rear sprocket, and sighting all the way along the top of the chain (under the chainguard). I coudln't see any angle different or oddity there, even after a few dozen turns. The chain does slacken slightly if I go forward or back, but i don't think enough play to have chatter.

I think the answer right now is to try a new chain, and perhaps a new front sprocket (since I can't see the front sprocket, and the rear one isn't showing any wear).

Also, I need to ride more :)
A little advice; if you install a new chain on OLD sprockets, you're asking for accelerated chain wear. Also, since your Wee is an '04, it's probably due for a replacement of the rubber dampers that are located inside the rear sprocket drum. These absorb the shock generated from shifting gears and from on/off throttle applications. There are 5 dampers and can be bought online at about $8 each. They are very easy to swap out with a wide blade screwdriver and should make a huge improvement in quietness/smoothness in the driveline. Hint; if you decide to change these dampers, spray them down with a rubber lube such as Protectant 2000 or equivalent and they'll pop in easy and help with keeping them protected from dry rot.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A little advice; if you install a new chain on OLD sprockets, you're asking for accelerated chain wear..
This is excellent advice, thank you! What's a good source for parts? I'm seeing some stuff on amazon (just because the search was handy).

Also, I've never removed my rear wheel. How much of a nightmare am i in for? (I've done plenty of work on my old 850, so mechanically I'm not scared, but this is a very different bike :)
 

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This is excellent advice, thank you! What's a good source for parts? I'm seeing some stuff on amazon (just because the search was handy).

Also, I've never removed my rear wheel. How much of a nightmare am i in for? (I've done plenty of work on my old 850, so mechanically I'm not scared, but this is a very different bike :)
It's not so difficult if you have a centerstand. If you don't have access to the factory dhop manual, you might want to take pics as you go with a decent digital camera. You'll need a either a helper to lift the wheel when installing the axle or you can do it with a small degree of difficulty using a pry bar or even a 1X2 piece of wood to leverage the wheel up. The vendor, SV Racings Parts is a great source for quality RK chains and sprocket deals. You can even get the RK tool in the same deal. I have the tool and it works perfectly. Also, pry the brake pads apart before reassembly to make sliding the disc in easy or you'll be fighting it. And, put the outer collars on ONLY after you have the wheel under the fender and ready to lift into place or you'll keep knocking them off.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's not so difficult if you have a centerstand. If you don't have access to the factory dhop manual, you might want to take pics as you go with a decent digital camera. You'll need a either a helper to lift the wheel when installing the axle or you can do it with a small degree of difficulty using a pry bar or even a 1X2 piece of wood to leverage the wheel up. The vendor, SV Racings Parts is a great source for quality RK chains and sprocket deals. You can even get the RK tool in the same deal. I have the tool and it works perfectly. Also, pry the brake pads apart before reassembly to make sliding the disc in easy or you'll be fighting it. And, put the outer collars on ONLY after you have the wheel under the fender and ready to lift into place or you'll keep knocking them off.
I don't have the shop manual, but I do have a centerstand. Okay, this sounds relatively straightforward. Squeezing calipers to get them around a disk is old hat (the joys of working pit crew :).

Okay, next step is to order the parts, then make sure I pick a weekend where I have time and space and warmth (my garage is unheated) and I'll get to work. Thank you!
 

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drive line PM

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? :)
from the picture, your rear sprocket appears to be showing signs of wear

the valley's between the points should be symmetrical & they look like they are more slanted on 1 side than the other

the other recommendations about doing the service as a complete pkg are sound advise

the worst case scenario, IMHO, is when you have a drive line failrue that results in chain breakage & that chain ends up crashing into the engine/transmission cases

the results are $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

been there, dunn that

gots way too many t-shirts...........

just an old man's 2¢ worth

sw
 

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sprockets

from the picture, your rear sprocket appears to be showing signs of wear

the valley's between the points should be symmetrical & they look like they are more slanted on 1 side than the other

the other recommendations about doing the service as a complete pkg are sound advise

the worst case scenario, IMHO, is when you have a drive line failrue that results in chain breakage & that chain ends up crashing into the engine/transmission cases

the results are $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

been there, dunn that

gots way too many t-shirts...........

just an old man's 2¢ worth

sw
From the photos ... the rear sprocket is definitely worn. The chain should match up well i.e. "nest" securely in the sprocket. Get a new sprocket and compare it with the old ... When the teeth in the sprocket get pointy and the area between the teeth get elongated it's time for a new sprocket and chain. When there is wear ... the chain can skip ... you can hear it and feel it. Definitely not a good thing! IMHO replace the chain and both the front and rear sprockets. Then keep them adjusted and lubricated ... And please keep us posted. Good luck with the maintenance and ride safe!
 

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Just did mine

What you describe sound-wise and wear wise is just where mine was....there's a thread from early Sept with pictures etc. I replaced both sprockets and chain. Went with a 520 chain with a master link. I know many will howl at that, but I've never had one break on me yet, nor do I stress the hell out of my chain with wheelies etc.

The 520 is so quiet, I feel like I'm riding a brand new motorcycle. No surging, no awful sound next to concrete or cars, just the awful sounds of the Wee Engine....what could be better. I did it myself after reading some of the posts here. Unfortunately, the guy who installed my tires had the spacers reversed, so it took me a while to figure out why it was so hard to get back together....once I got em right, it was a pain but not insurmountable. You'll need an oversized 30mm? socket and bar to break the countershaft nut....there are some good posts on all this in the forums as well. Good luck.
 

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Mine had that grind noise too.
Cleaned, oiled, had it on the centre stand a few times and couldn't find anything.

Replaced both sprockets and chain, got them from Blair at SVRacing parts He's always good to us Aussie's.

After I took the old ones off, I found that the clip type joining link I used last time was broken on one side and the OEM front sprocket had cracks between the rubber silencers and the centre.Couldn't see any off this until removed.
 
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