Pardon my ignorance. Is the rear axle cotter pin made of unobtainium or something exotic, or is there anything special about it? Can I just get one at my hardware store instead of making the trek to the dealer?
As an aside to this question - why is it only Canadian models that have the cotter pin fitted? I'm assuming it's legislated? For what it's worth, I wish mine had the pin; I'm paranoid about the axle nut coming loose (saw a Beemer lose a wheel once - scary!) and check it at least every week.
How is the cotter pin removed and re-installed? Also what size should I get from the hardware store?
I assume it is like this on most but one leg of my pin is wrapped back up over the nut. I imagine the pin has to be bent down then the pin can be pulled up and out? Thank you this is my first time working with adjusting the chain and want to learn to do more on my own with the bike.
You are assuming correctly. I assume you also are using new cotter pins, never reuse one unless you really really have to. The bending procedure weakens the material and it will break, just like that. When you tighten the axle nut you may not get the little hole in the axe to line up with the nut so you can't install the pin, tighten a little more til they line up. Do not back off the nut to align the hole with the nut, your rear wheel could actually shift out of alignment. You are better off being a bit tight for the few times you do this during regular maintenance. If that advice is wrong then I will surely be corrected very soon but it has worked for me in the past. Still does for that matter.
Before I forget, after the one leg of the pin is wrapped up and over the nut you can snip off a piece of the other leg to make it shorter so it will bend down and under to snug up to the bottom side of the nut. Looks neat tidy and professional
Assuming you are not going to re-use the pin (which you shouldn't unless you're in a bind), just use some diagonal cutters and snip off the bent leg of the pin. NOTE: this can launch the cut off piece right at your eyes, so wear safety glasses or at least use you other hand to deflect it. Then you can use the same "dikes" to grab the pin by its loop and pull it out.
In the "Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices" book used by aviation mechanics (I'm not one), the recommended method for the slots in the nut (castellations) not lining up with the hole for the cotter pin is to "change washers and try again." To me that means put a thinner or thicker washer on which hopefully will lead to the proper alignment of the castellations and the hole at the specified torque. An alternative, from the School of Word of Mouth, is to tighten to spec, then back off until you achieve alignment. That said, these are motorcycles, not airplanes, but mechanical issues can still have unhealthy effects. My gut feeling is that an awful lot of people don't have a torque wrench and tighten these nuts using the grunt-and-a-half method. It's probably not that big a deal, but I'd ask a mechanic if there was any doubt.
BTW, I went to my local dealer to get one and he didn't have any, so it's on order. :shock: When I get it, I plan to go directly to the hardware store next door and find some the same size. I'll let you know what I come up with, unless someone else comes up with an answer sooner.
If you don't bend the "legs" of the new cotter pin all the way around the nut but only bent it into a "Y" you can use the pin over and over and over with NO problems.
I would bet anyone here a beer that my cotter-pin being used this way will last longer than 2 chains, will NEVER fall out (it may get lost when I have the bike apart). There is no ill effect (mechanically) of using this method.
It is a LOT easier to remove too... Just use a pair of needle nose pliers to squeeze flat, and the tip of the pliers will fit in the hole of the pin end for easy removal. Or a little tap tap tap with the side of the pliers on the end of the pin to help after straightening for removal.
The issue of not wrapping the legs around the nut tightly is to sell more cotter pins and for some safety (not cutting yourself or from snagging on something) Could also be in the event you take it off road and crash it as it may lesson the chance of it being damaged or broken while being dragged through the gravel.
The hitch pin works well too, but I would not feel 100% comfortable with it inserted in the open end up position. I don't install a cotter-pin open end up either.
A hitch pin would come out more easily than a cotter-pin bent into a "Y" so I would never have it upside down so to speak.
I install the Y pointing back to the 8:00 position if possible. In the event of some brush, tall grass, this would prevent it from snagging.
If the wrap around method is how you do it keep in mind the leg is more apt to break if snagged than the way I just described since it would catch then bend quickly all the way back.
All of the above is nonsensical anyway. 99.99999 % of the times I have looked at the pin it's exactly the way I left it in the "Y" position with no sign of movement of contact.
The only time I have broken a leg has been when it was wrapped around the nut previously.
The times I don't use this method is in an application like a propeller, but with a big assed pin on the rear axle of my Strom, just bending the legs of the pin to a "Y" works for me. It's a lot easier to adjust my chain this way. I am more apt to do it more often since the pin need not be replaced and comes out easy too.
I guess it's like boxers vs briefs and is more a personal preference than anything else.
Some people may even argue that at the torque the rear axle nut is at why even bother? Has your axle nut ever come off easy?
I cannot visualize how a Hitch Pin (also called a Hair Pin??) would work in this situation?? Wouldn't the loop portion of the pin have to go "over" the nut (since the cotter pin hole in the axle lines up INSIDE the confines of the castle nut)?????? Or, is the hitch pin installed at an angle where the loop only envelopes the axle diameter?? :headbang:
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