Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oiling up Your Motorcycle Drive Chain.

This same information applies to bicycle, go-cart, mopeds, scooters, mini bikes, golf carts ATV's and most all chain driven applications.

The drive chain on your motorcycle takes a lot of abuse and is a very reliable link in the drive train. It is also one of the most overlooked pieces of the drive system until failure has occurred. To prolong the life of your chain it needs a good cleaning and lube to get the most reliability from them. Just putting oil on it or giving it a shot of WD-40 won't do the trick for long. In-between lubing or in service lubing should be done with a product such as Gunk chain lube pn# ML-25N for example. This product is specially formulated for chains and won't sling off like regular oil will.

Take the chain off of the bike and clean it with Bar sol or an equally equivalent cleaner. You can obtain Bar sol - or another heavy duty cleaner such as Gunk carburetor and small parts cleaner pn# CC- 3K -- from auto parts stores. I like to use Gunk because it comes in a three quart size can that makes it easy to put the chain into, seal up the can, and leave it overnight. There is less waste of the product and being able to seal the can lessons evaporation. Gunk also makes a heavy duty engine degreaser in aerosol form to get rid of caked on grime but don't spray it on the chain with it on the bike ; this stuff eats away at rubber components too if allowed to sit long. Using an bristle brush (not a wire brush) for cleaning engine parts to get most road grit and old grease off before soaking the chain in the solvent. Remove the chain after it has soaked for either several hours or overnight and hang it to drip dry.
Once dry, wipe it off with a rag and check the chain for damaged rollers, loose pins, rusted plates, kinked or bent plates or any abnormal looking wear. When laid on it's side and picked up from a midpoint, the chain should have very little side flop. If you know what the chains new length should be (your dealer can tell you) now is the time to measure it for stretch. A chain that has stretched an inch or more should be discarded and a new chain obtained.
After inspection, put the chain in one of those small cheap roasting pans containing a mixture of 5 ounces of petroleum jelly and 1 pint of 10w-40 engine oil. Heat the pan to 150 degrees to 250 degrees for about ten minutes or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully agitate it around with a screw driver to get the lubricant into all the bushings. Set the pan aside with the chain still soaking until it cools. After cooling, hang the chain above the pan and let it drain off the extra lube. When the chain has quit draining wipe it off with a clean lint free cloth (those blue throw away shop towels work great) and re-install the chain. When installing the master link clip make sure the closed end faces forward.

Next: Adjusting the Drive Chain.

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