Front sprocket: how much is too much? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 19 Old 07-03-2013, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Front sprocket: how much is too much?

This one has 12,800 miles on it, plus whatever the PO put on before me:



The chain measures OK, and the rear sprocket is fine.

Based on everything I've read, I'm figuring it has a bit of life left.

But I wanted a quick poll. If it were yours, how much longer would you keep riding it?
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-03-2013, 09:07 PM
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I'd ride it down to the store to get a new set. I say that because I can see some heavy contact with the sprocket shoulder and the chain links.

There are three things to look for. Chain stretch, roller on the pin fit, and sprocket condition.

Check the rollers to see how they are fitting on the pins. With a pair of tweezers, grab one of the rollers and see how much it wiggles back and forth. If it is a fair bit, the pins are badly worn.

Measure a section of the chain from pin to pin, about a foot of chain or so, with tension on it. Compare that to what a new chain would be. Reasonable wear limit is about 10%; this checks the wear between the pin and the plate.

If a check of several of the rollers shows no excessive wear and the sprocket is not hooked, and the chain is not worn (stretched) more than 10%, it has some life in it.

I think a reasonable expectation for a chain that's been lubed with spray is about 20K miles or so. Depends on how often you lube and what conditions you run through, of course.

Here is a picture showing extreme wear on the roller pins. This chain was not overly worn out from 'stretch':


The pins, which are .200" in the un-worn section, were. 198" in the wear area. The roller pins, which were .282" in the un-worn area, were .254" in the wear area. The wear on the plates is about .005" deep.

While the o-rings looked pretty good, there was no evidence of any factory lube left. It should be noted that the o-rings in a chain are meant to contain lube in the area of the chain where the long pins ride on the links. They do nothing to retain lube between the roller and the roller pin, which is what killed this chain.



T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 07-03-2013 at 09:15 PM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-03-2013, 10:55 PM
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What Tom said. I would be changing it.

I should be checking my own. Thanks for the reminder.

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post #4 of 19 Old 07-04-2013, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I actually already have another set to put on. I bought it as a deal before I'd read a number of places that I should avoid such "deals". But we'll see how long it lasts. Next time I'd probably just spring for the OEM sprockets unless someone has a better suggestion.

The DID chain that's on there hasn't stretched appreciably (actually measured) the entire time I've had it, but I'll check the links with tweezers tomorrow to see how they look.

The aftermarket studebaker sprocket also came with a beefy washer that's about 4.3 cm on the outside, 2.5 cm on the inside, and 4 mm thick. Is this something that's used on a '95 as a spacer?
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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It's all changed out. Ran out of daylight and will have to adjust and lube the chain tomorrow.

Tom: what you said about the rollers being loose was right on. They were clinking around real good. The new chain had zero motion, from what I could tell, by comparison.

Hanging around the house, I have a bottle of Liquid Wrench Chain Lube (O-ring safe). I was about to give that a try to spare myself the 90W oil detailing, but then I read about people having problems with it flinging everywhere and being hard to clean, as well.

Too many opinions on the lube front. Maybe I will just stick with the oil.
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beejjorgensen View Post
It's all changed out. Ran out of daylight and will have to adjust and lube the chain tomorrow.

Tom: what you said about the rollers being loose was right on. They were clinking around real good. The new chain had zero motion, from what I could tell, by comparison.

Hanging around the house, I have a bottle of Liquid Wrench Chain Lube (O-ring safe). I was about to give that a try to spare myself the 90W oil detailing, but then I read about people having problems with it flinging everywhere and being hard to clean, as well.

Too many opinions on the lube front. Maybe I will just stick with the oil.

Don't mean to hijack this thread, but that last statement raises a question that has lingered on my mind for a while. In my younger days riding dirt bikes we rode with "dry" chains- that is, with no oil or lubricants, just cleaned and dried with the idea that lubing would attract dirt , debris etc. causing excessive wear. What is the general opinion with nearly 100% highway use on KLR?
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshopper green View Post
Don't mean to hijack this thread, but that last statement raises a question that has lingered on my mind for a while. In my younger days riding dirt bikes we rode with "dry" chains- that is, with no oil or lubricants, just cleaned and dried with the idea that lubing would attract dirt , debris etc. causing excessive wear. What is the general opinion with nearly 100% highway use on KLR?
By all means, hijack. I'm dying of curiosity, myself, but I'm afraid to start a chain lube thread.

My riding pattern is usually 150-200 miles of pavement, followed by as many miles of dirt as I can do, followed by 150-200 miles of pavement. (I don't do this all in one day, for the record. ) By the time I've done the dirt, everything is coated with oildirt, which I can only presume is a Bad Lubricant, and is exactly what you're talking about avoiding.

But what can I do? I'm in the middle of nowhere. So I clean the chain with oil, and lube it with oil, and keep going. When I get home, I clean it properly (words carefully chosen to keep this from turning into a chain cleaning thread).

So I would very much like to know the One True Dual Sport Lube, but as far as I can tell, there are huge numbers die-hard fans of every single brand on the market.

Instead of asking what lube people use, let me share what I *think* I've gleaned from my reading. I won't name names, with two exceptions.

O-ring chains are lubricated inside each link, with the grease being held in place by the o-rings. (I don't know what the grease is... lithium?)

People say that "in theory" lube isn't necessary, since the grease in the links is what matters. In practice, few people never lube their chains. (Or, at least, most people feel they *should* lube their chains.)

If the interior of the chain is already lubed, that leaves the contact with the sprockets and the o-rings as things to lube.

I've read that keeping the o-rings oiled is important to keep them from breaking down, presumably due to drying out or oxidization.

I can't find a chain lube that claims to keep the o-rings moist. There must be one, but I haven't found it on a bullet list yet. Many claim to be o-ring safe.

Having a bike with dirt applications, it seems like it would be important to get a lube that doesn't attract dirt. Some lubes claim to do this, with various reported results of effectiveness.

The MOM and other sources say to use gear oil. This certainly lubricates the o-rings. It also makes a god-awful mess, and it has no trouble attracting dirt.

An additional factor to be considered is rust protection. WD-40 and oil certainly do this, as do most chain lubes, apparently. An epic war is being waged on whether or not the sole use of WD-40 on a chain is effective. Anecdotal and experimental evidence points to "yes", or at least that it is not harmful.

People agree that a too-tight chain renders ineffective all other methods of maximizing the life of the chain.

Virtually everyone has a strong opinion on chain lubes, and believes it is very likely the correct one.

Here are my conclusions so far, up for revision, as pertain to o-ring-safe lubes:

Virtually all lubes:
  • Protect against rust
  • Lubricate where the chain meets the sprockets

Most lubes:
  • Repel water
  • Attract dirt

Some lubes:
  • Repel dirt

Virtually no lubes:
  • Actually repel dirt

[Edit: I've added this last bullet list]

I'm guessing that most of them probably, but I don't know for sure:
  • Oils/treats the o-rings

So... no lube on the chain? You're giving up the o-ring lubrication and the sprocket lubrication (and the rust protection, but this can be mitigated, I think). Do these matter? If so, how much do they matter? Does the loss there outweigh the gain of not having your chain coated in tarsand? Everyone has an opinion, but I'm unaware of any experiments that test this conclusively.

Last edited by beejjorgensen; 07-05-2013 at 04:39 PM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 04:10 PM
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Thank you for a well writen and informed opinion. Having digested all that I am inclined to continue my mo of cleaning and spritzing W/W-D 40. However, since I rarely accumulate any sustained dust/dirt I may go with a little light lubing as well.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 07:07 PM
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Here's my take on chain stuff.

An o-ring chain has o-rings so that the factory-applied lube won't get out. All well and good, but the factory applied lube is placed such that the pins that hold the outer plates together and the links that conect to them are lubed.

What that leaves unlubed is the short pins that the rollers ride on. The rollers are what is in contact with the sprockets. That means the motive force comes from the sprockets and is transmitted to the rollers, then to the pins, and finally to the pivot pins. And the rollers and the pins they ride on are unlubed.

In my mind that means that whatever lube is put on the chin ought to be focused on the rollers and the pins they ride on. Screw everything else; that o-rings are supposed to take care of that and, if they are intact, no aftermarket lube can do any good because it can't get past them.

I like gear oil because it is substantial, flows readily, and is rather tenacious. Yes, it also loves to have dirt sticking to it.

Whattya do with a dirty chain? Ride home and clean it and re-lube it, I guess. I figure that the chain and sprockets are expendables and clean them when I can and lube them frequently. I hope they last 20K miles, but if they don't I replace them and move on, figuring that they wore out prematurely because I was having a lot of fun.

T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 07-05-2013 at 07:10 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 11:46 PM
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For what it's worth, I "clean" mine with some WD-40 and a Grunge Brush and I lube it with plain old grease that comes in a tube. I apply a light coat with my bare hand. It's cheap, sticks well and doesn't fly off all over the back wheel.



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