What kind of chain lube? - 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 33 Old 08-11-2010, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of chain lube?

Just bought a new-to-me KLR 650 and was wondering if there is a consensus on what kind of chain lube to use. I have some that we use on ag equipment that's really good lube. Only problem is, it's really tacky and strings out a lot, making a mess. Not such a big deal on farm equipment, but would rather not sling it all over my bike. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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post #2 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 12:25 AM
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I use Belray. Good stuff. Spray on let dry, it dries like a powder. I used to use Maxima Chain Wax. Both good. Cheapo lube is fine too if you do it right and often. I choose the non-cheapo when I can cause it doesn't slop off.




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post #3 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 07:11 AM
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+1 on the Belray. I've used some cheap Castrol stuff from a big chain store and while I think it lubes ok it makes a huge mess of the bike, even if you wipe off the excess it flings everywhere! The Belray is a little more money but I think it's well worth it.

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post #4 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 08:22 AM
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More important than lubrication, to me anyway, is cleaning the chain. Any grit, dirt, mud on the chain mixed with any type of chain lube becomes a grinding compound. Would you throw a hand full of sand in the engine the next time you change oil?



I clean the chain and sprockets with diesel fuel. It is easier to find, has detergents in it, conditioners for o-rings and seals. A gallon lasts a long, long time.

Chain Lube. It's kinda like engine oil. More important than what oil you put in the crankcase, is how recently you did it. I think the same is true for the chain.

I lube my chains with ATF. Automatic transmission fluid. If I spot a quart of synthetic ATF on sale somewhere, I'll grab it. Otherwise, plain 'ol ATF. ATF is loaded with detergents, helping keep the chain clean. ATF has conditioners for rubber rings. I use "X" ring chains usually. At about $40.00 a foot, I put some effort into getting as much life out of them as I can. Last year I put 26,000 miles on a KLR 650. Changing sprockets and chain every six months or so offends me greatly. Many of the people I ride with are as anal as I am about their chain maintenance. One rider uses nothing but chain bar oil for chain saws. Another uses a mix of ATF and chain saw bar oil. Another buys 90w gear lube at Tractor Supply. Currently, one rider has 38,000 miles on a DL 1000 chain and sprockets, with nothing indicating a replacement needed anytime soon. He primarily uses the drainings of oil bottles.

The biggest draw back I have found using ATF has to do with an unintended consequence....it leaves the chain kind of a flowery pink. With a nice floral aroma. The sport bike guys with their gold chains suspect those who choose to create a pink chain may have less than heterosexual leanings. So I usually park over by the Buick or some where where it isn't so noticeable.

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post #5 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 08:51 AM
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I've heard about using ATF before, do you find it flings all over or do you just use it very sparingly? Totally agree with keeping your chain clean as well, doesn't take long either if you keep on top of it. My bike lift gets a lot of use these days!

Cheers,
Stew
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post #6 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 650Stew View Post
I've heard about using ATF before, do you find it flings all over or do you just use it very sparingly? Totally agree with keeping your chain clean as well, doesn't take long either if you keep on top of it. My bike lift gets a lot of use these days!

Cheers,
Stew
The ATF will fling all over the place if you don't use a rag to absorb the excess. Every few months, I pull the counter sprocket cover off and do a good job of cleaning the entire chain circuit. Some may object to that much effort to maintain the chain. With as many moving parts as there are to a chain, I find it a little reassuring to inspect the chain in this manner. I give the chain a fairly liberal dosage of ATF when I lube it, usually about every 250 miles. I lay cardboard under the chain to catch drippage. Typically, I lube the chain when I park the bike for the day, and allow it to "drip dry". I'll spin the rear wheel while holding a rag or cotton glove around the chain to wick up anything excess before taking off again. My swing arm has a continuous light oil film. Kinda like pancake syrup....some people like a little pancake with their syrup, others like a little syrup with their pancakes. I still have over half a liter left in a bottle of ATF I picked up early last fall, if that is any indicator.

It may be malarkey, but I think the chain runs quieter while damp with ATF. That allows me to obsess about and tune into all the other squeaks and rattles the KLR is famous for.

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post #7 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 09:56 AM
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I'm on my Blackberry as I write this, so can't easily link to another post, but take a look at my recent post in this sub-forum about a 'noise, possibly clutch related'.

The noise wound up being a crapped out chain. Look at the pictures.

This was a stock o-ring chain. At almost 14K miles, the lube on the pins, behind the o-rings, was gone, but the pins were barely worn. The sleeves that the rollers run on, however, were completely toasted. The effect was that the chain, though it showed no outward signs of wear(nor did the sprockets), could not properly locate itself on the sprockets and made all sorts of ugly noises. The chain was close to a point of total failure.
It is my opinion that the lubing of the sleeves and rollers is critically important - a point I missed through ignorance.
When people talk of lubing chains, they obsess over 'keeping the o-rings supple' with a proper lube, yet miss lubing the part of the chain that carries the load and does the work. At least I did.
I am now in vatrader's camp, having become anal about chain lube. I was always a cleanliness freak, but didn't recognize where the chain really needs to have lube. Get lube into the rollers. My chain, judging by the pin wear, was about half gone. Attention to the rollers could have taken that chain to 20K and beyond.
I'm now using 90wt gear oil, applied frequently and carefully.
Hopefully, I'll report back in 25k miles that it worked...

Tom

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post #8 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
I'm on my Blackberry as I write this, so can't easily link to another post, but take a look at my recent post in this sub-forum about a 'noise, possibly clutch related'.

The noise wound up being a crapped out chain. Look at the pictures.

This was a stock o-ring chain. At almost 14K miles, the lube on the pins, behind the o-rings, was gone, but the pins were barely worn. The sleeves that the rollers run on, however, were completely toasted. The effect was that the chain, though it showed no outward signs of wear(nor did the sprockets), could not properly locate itself on the sprockets and made all sorts of ugly noises. The chain was close to a point of total failure.
It is my opinion that the lubing of the sleeves and rollers is critically important - a point I missed through ignorance.
When people talk of lubing chains, they obsess over 'keeping the o-rings supple' with a proper lube, yet miss lubing the part of the chain that carries the load and does the work. At least I did.
I am now in vatrader's camp, having become anal about chain lube. I was always a cleanliness freak, but didn't recognize where the chain really needs to have lube. Get lube into the rollers. My chain, judging by the pin wear, was about half gone. Attention to the rollers could have taken that chain to 20K and beyond.
I'm now using 90wt gear oil, applied frequently and carefully.
Hopefully, I'll report back in 25k miles that it worked...

Tom

The truth about motorcycle chains

I think this guy is mostly right about chains. Chains wear at the pins/plates and that what the lube is for. Lube on the rollers is gone pretty fast and I would guess that the rollers are harder than the sprockets anyway. I haven't seen rollers wear myself and would think that something else wasn't right if they are wearing.

I don't want chain lube mess all over the back wheel so no motor oil/ATF/etc for me. I've used the Dupont teflon stuff for the last several years and my chains seem to wear normally.

I did just put a non-oring chain on my KLR to see how it does. It's what I run on dirt bikes here in the desert.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #9 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
The truth about motorcycle chains

I think this guy is mostly right about chains. Chains wear at the pins/plates and that what the lube is for...
That site was one that I ran across in my research on chain lubrication.

In my experience, people who put up web sites with 'statements of fact' in bold letters, mutliple colors, and such are selling some sort of snake oil. Usually their own, or at the very least the products they have chosen to sell.

Quote:
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...Lube on the rollers is gone pretty fast and I would guess that the rollers are harder than the sprockets anyway. I haven't seen rollers wear myself and would think that something else wasn't right if they are wearing....
From the site you cite: 'The chain “rollers need very little lubrication.' sic.

I will judge my needs based upon my experiences.



The roller sleeves are at the center of the photo. The pins, above and below the sleeves, showed barely .002" of wear.

In my case, the 'something else wasn't right if they are wearing' was that the Worlds Best Chain Lube......PJ1 Blue Label chain lube!!! didn't provide enough lubrication to the roller sleeves, at least not at the frequency or intensity that I applied it (which was pretty much in accordance with the directions and common recommendations).

Tom

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 08-12-2010 at 01:07 PM.
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post #10 of 33 Old 08-12-2010, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post

In my experience, people who put up web sites with 'statements of fact' in bold letters, mutliple colors, and such are selling some sort of snake oil. Usually their own, or at the very least the products they have chosen to sell.



I will judge my needs based upon my experiences.



The roller sleeves are at the center of the photo. The pins, above and below the sleeves, showed barely .002" of wear.

In my case, the 'something else wasn't right if they are wearing' was that the Worlds Best Chain Lube......PJ1 Blue Label chain lube!!! didn't provide enough lubrication to the roller sleeves, at least not at the frequency or intensity that I applied it (which was pretty much in accordance with the directions and common recommendations).

Tom

I'm not disputing you Tom and I'm not endorsing the Chain guys site like I said what he says makes sense to me even if he's selling stuff. It's not like the Sidewinder chain and sprockets junk that Krause sells now there's some hype.

Logically lube will not stay on the rollers very long, metal to metal contact and all that. I don't know why your chain wore like that but it's not normal in my experience. So take that for what it's worth (not much ha...)

Humor me a bit... looks to me that the wear is too narrow on the rollers like one of the sprockets is not machined right. Looking at my chain the sprocket rides about 1/2 way into each side of where yours doesn't show wear (less clearance between the plates and chain, make sense?)

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