Why I'm hesistant to do any wrenching... - 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 07-27-2008, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
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Why I'm hesistant to do any wrenching...

This is something that veteran wrenchers probably know, but for someone like me... well, let's just say if it can happen it will happen to me.

Few weeks ago I had to replace a rear tube and swapped the tire out as well. After getting everything back together I had this metal woosh woosh woosh kind of sound coming from what sounded like the front sprocket area. It would, of course, speed up and slow down with the bike and I tried like hell to really nail down where the sound was coming from and what exactly it was. I would turn the bike off and roll down long hills and hear it, but still couldn't determine exactly what it was. I put another 1,000 miles on the bike all the while having this sound come and go, but getting more consistent as time went on. During that time I also had it up on the jack many different times while running it in gear and listening for the woosh and could never hear it. It only happened while riding the damn thing. I finally came to the assumption that I must need a new chain, but it's still quite a coincidence to happen right after the tire swap.

Anyway, I was up at my parents house and was explaining the situation to my dad and we went out to look at it. I went to show him it has normal slack and low and behold.... WTF... the bottom part of the chain was ultratight, but the top had plenty of slack. That was the first time I had seen such a drastic difference and I was completely baffled. I started to think about what the hell could have happened and what was going on and then it hit me like a ton of bricks....

When I put the tire back on I could have easily placed the chain on the rear sprocket one notch different then where it should have been. I figured this could definitely create the exact situation I was looking at here. Well, sure enough, when I got the bike back home I adjusted everything one notch on the rear sprocket and paid close attention to how the top and bottom of the chain tightened up when I pulled the axle all the way back. I made sure both top and bottom were the same tightness. I then pushed the tire forward and finished adjusting everything to the proper slack.

Got on the bike and so far... no woosh!!! wooohoooo.

As I said, if it can happen it will happen to me. I hate all the unknown crap that can happen while wrenching around on stuff. I guess it's a learning curve, but I'm always afraid the learning curve could cost me some pain one of these days when I'm out riding.

I'll put some miles on it tomorrow to verify all this for sure, but I'm pretty positive the problem is solved because the woosh was quite easily heard and I did not hear it on the test ride at all.

Anyone else have an experience like this?


EDIT: I couldn't take it... went out and rode around town and did a lot of the same things I did when I heard the woosh the most and absolutely no woosh to be heard now. I coasted down hill and put a low speed load on it going up hill and still nothing. Problem has been solved. I can't believe the bike ran worth a piss at all with a chain off by one notch. I'm amazed the possibility of this happening isn't mentioned on any chain related discussions.

Last edited by TheWanderer; 07-27-2008 at 12:44 AM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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I changed a couple rear tires yesterday and while installing one on my bike, I had a situation where the axle was tough to get through the swingarm, and once I got things where they should be, the wheel was very difficult to move.
I tore it back apart and found the brake pad on the inside of the caliper wasn't exactly in the right place. I put it where it should have been, and the whole assembly went together as it should have..

This is the second time I've had this happen on a KLR, and I've changed a lot of rear tires for myself and others..

Now for me to remember this for the next time it happens.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 10:19 AM
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What frustrates me is my failing vision - I'm a little better than average wrench, but the inability to see detail and find dropped stuff is so frustrating. An assembly that would take the average guy a couple of minutes might take me 15. But at least I can still do it.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 10:48 AM
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I don't know what you did to fix it, but I don't think the problem was as you described here.

you see the back wheel and the motor are only connected by the chain, so when if you put the chain on one notch wrong would the thing just roll to a neutral position? Unless you tightened the chain with the wheel on the ground with it rolled against the slack so that when you tightened it you snugged the bottom of the chain, and left a lot of slack in the top, or vice versa.

Makes no sense to me, But as long as your problem is gone, and you feel good about it is all that matters.

did your Doo come in yet? If it has, weren't you expecting it to be a bit bigger? LOL
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 01:24 PM
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Paper, I had *exactly* the same thing happen to me last time I changed my rear tire. SIlly me took a while to figure it out....

Wanderer, I think doing your own wrenching adds to the pride of riding. Admittedly for me, the feeling comes not *just* from being self-reliant, but also from somehow skirting disaster. After every time I do something to the bike, my first ride has that little extra adrenaline. For those of us who are not trained professionals, and can afford (sometimes) to take the bike to those that are, it's maybe not the smartest thing to do your own work...but it definitely makes life brighter.

Am I a little off in my opinion?

Of course, for those of us who venture a ways off the beaten track, you simply HAVE to be able to fix the bike when something goes wrong. It truly could become a matter of survival.

2003 KLR farkled with a fishing seat for tank panniers, a milk crate for a tail box, and bailing wire and duct tape just for looks
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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It took me a minute also to really think about why it could happen, but it definitely happened. I don't recall putting much focus on the chain, I just put it on the rear sprocket without much thought assuming the same thing you are that it would find it's own position. If you really picture two sprockets side by side with a chain around it, if you bring the sprockets closer the chain will have enough slack to where you can easily shift it by one notch on one sprocket and have the top looser and the bottom a little tighter or vice versa.

When I went to fine tune the tension everything appeared normal, but I can't imagine the craziness that must happen while on the bike with a chain offset by one notch like this, but while off the bike and on the kickstand or jack everything had enough slack to appear normal. At least until the time I finally saw it really snug.

Last edited by TheWanderer; 07-27-2008 at 04:18 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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You aren't off gottagetagoat, I don't mind wrenching, it's just always on my mind that there may be undocumented steps that I might not perform. Just like something as simple as this chain incident. It just makes me hesitant and even though I try to be extra cautious I still manage to overlook stuff. I always try to double and triple check everything, but in the case of this chain everything looked normal every time I checked until finally the problem revealed itself yesterday. I'll get better, just hope I survive through these issues.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 03:46 PM
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I still don't see why it wouldn't just roll the tire to compensate. and when the bike is in forward motion the chain would be pulling on the top of the spocket forcing the slack to the bottom side of the chain.

I figure the problem my have been chain slack, But still see no reason any slack would be confined to top or bottom for anymore than a brief period of time before being self corrected.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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It cannot compensate for being one link/tooth off. The sprocket teeth are in sync so if you mount the socket one link off then it will always remain one link off. I don't know the count, but for example if you are supposed to have 10 links from sprocket to sprocket on top and 10 links from sprocket to sprocket on bottom, if you mount it wrong, you end up with 9 links on top and 11 links on bottom. This cannot correct itself. I'm sure it will try which is why I was getting that metal wooshing sound.

I'm don't even recall for sure now, but guess I put the chain on the sprocket and then lifted the rear in to place. This would easily explain how it happened.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-27-2008, 10:15 PM
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Now you all got me wondering. I have never thought of the chain being out of sync with the sprockets. We just always put the wheel on pushed forward and then rolled the chain on like you would a bicycle chain and adjusted its tension back to the correct marks on the swingarm. Never had a problem as far as I know, but now I am not sure, LOL.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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