chain adjustment question - 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 14 Old 04-11-2015, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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chain adjustment question

Doing my first chain adjustment. The chain appears straight to the best I can tell. Am I being too paranoid about it or would you really notice if it went far to the left or right to be an issue?


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post #2 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Best I can determine is there may be a 2 millimeter difference from left to right swing arm. Gota think that can't make any diff.


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post #3 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 03:48 PM
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Crash -

As you look down the chain, getting your eye down level with it at the rear sprocket, it should look like a perfectly straight line. If it is not, loosen the axle nut and jog the nut side of the axle until the chain looks straight, the re-tighten. Check to make sure the sprocket side has not moved, which would affect the chain tension.

If it looks straight to the eye, it's straight enough. If you can see misalignment, fix it.

Tom

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 04:55 PM
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I go like this
1, find the tight spot
2, loosen the nut
3, adjust
4, back off on the adjusters
5, tighten the axle nut
6, tighten the adjusters
I still check it like Tom says and always get a good result.
By backing off on the adjuster, the arm and axle can clamp together straight and unencumbered.
Good tip from a friend, former racer and shop owner to this day.
Hope it helps some
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Good directions ty.

seems straight as far as I can eye ball it. Nothing is catching, the brake is free. No wobble when I ride at speed and when I let go of the handle bars it runs straight and well. Best as I can tell it should be good.

Also to note, I have 50 000km on this chain. Put in an order for a new one next week.


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Last edited by Crashoverride; 04-11-2015 at 06:44 PM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 10:21 PM
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No one uses the index and witness marks, left and right? If not, why not?

Slack may be more important than alignment. I let 'er go, 'till the chain is just about almost touching the plastic thingy; YMMV.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-11-2015, 10:29 PM
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If you trammel the marks from the center of the swing-arm pivot you'll find the witness marks are off. They may not be on all bikes, but both my '08 and '09 were off.

This may be a 'Gen 2' thing due to the welded construction of the swing arm.

Tom

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Sting like a butterfly.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-12-2015, 09:53 PM
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Great info!

What about slack? I hear touching the swingarm with chain is ok for most,but Im not of normal heft (300 lbs) So lets say Im sitting on the bike what would be a good amount of slack? feet on pegs, suspension compressed as far as I can lets say.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-12-2015, 10:20 PM
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Jeepflambe -

The perfect slack is when the center line of the countershaft, swing arm pivot, and rear axle are in a perfect line and the chain can be moved up and down a total of about half an inch. More slack than that is unnecessary. When aligned this way the chain is pulled to the maximum length, so if you have just a wee bit of slack, you're good.

Coincidentally, if the bike is sitting, unloaded, on the side stand and you can lift the chain up to just touch the underside of the swing arm, that's the same amount of slack.

Tom

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“On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver-Wig, and I never saw her again.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 12:42 AM
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Someone recently mentioned having broken an engine/transmission case because of a too tight chain. I don't think that can be repeated often enough. A friend is a 35+ year motorcycle technician whose favorite face palm subject is customers who bring in their bike for work and he finds that the chain is too tight. He adjusts it correctly, shows them, explains the need for slack and how to measure. Then, when the bike is back for the next work.....guess how the chain is adjusted? More than two or three times in some cases.

Words simply fail......

If anyone has not done so, I strongly recommend using some ratchet straps to pull the rear suspension down until the swing arm is horizontal. The see how much slack is in the chain. Release the swing arm and recheck the slack. If one provides the 1/2 inch of slack when the swing arm is horizontal (as Tom recommended) one will see the amount of slack which results when the bike is unloaded and on the side stand.

I know that I'm simply repeating but there is such value in actually seeing this for oneself that it is well worth the time. It's also much better to see the change and how much the correctly adjusted chain lifts, on one's own bike.

If you do the pull down and measure/adjust, the amount seen while sitting on the bike, if that's your preference, will be both correct and obvious to your own perception.
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