Suddenly chain way to tight? WTF?? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Suddenly chain way to tight? WTF??

This is on my 2009 650 KLR.
It's got less than 1600 miles.
'Bout once a week it get's washed and the chain lubed, inspected, (at work- free washing!!)
So it's not a rusty lump of sheet, nor forgotten about, I do P.M. on all my bikes WAY more than the average rider, (anal bike mechanic)!
I get home from work yesterday and as I'm backing it into the shed, I hear a noise???? WTF??
I hop off the bike and with no weight on the bike the chain is SUPER tight????
(Last Friday it had like 7/8" slack and was lubed up nice)???
"Sheet, I mush have bent something? (now I don't take this off road at all, hasn't been dropped, hit, kicked, nothing, ride to work and home).
I put it on the bike lift, seems free now?? slack. Nothing wrong with the chain, all the links move free??????
I check everything out, looks OK? Nothing bent, twisted, beat up???
"Might as well replace the stock chain with a better one that I've been holding til the tire wears out".
Install the new chain, (the old one was still good, but what the hell, I'm here)
Ride it up to the shed, back it in, looks good. Nice slack.
Fast forward to this morning.........
I pull out to go to work-there's the noise agian, same thing the chain is SUPER tight????
I pull it back into the shed and grab the rear sproket. The only thing I feel is a good amount of slop in the rubber dampner on the sproket hub??????
I'm not a bike beater, so this is the first time I ever had those rubber cushions wear in 45 years of riding???
Jesus! the bike is still new! Has anyone ever had these go in their new KLR's???
I haven't ripped it apart yet to confirm it, but what else could it be??
The swing arm bushing are tight, the sprokets good, chain aligment good??
Joe
F***ing Baffled in Pa.
This KLR has been a headache since I bought it!
Nothing aftermarket just "bolts up", the gas cap has it's own key, It wouldn't work with the keys that came with it). it had 5 miles when it fell over in the yard, (twice! once on the left, once on the right in a matter of minutes. Picked it up, turned and it fell-again! Cracked the fairing and scratched the graphics on the other side), til I shortened the kick stand.
I MUST have gotten the bike made on Monday A.M. !!!
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post #2 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 12:43 PM
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Don't know if it's related to, or caused the problem or not, but 7/8" chain slack with the KLR unloaded and on the side stand is WAY too tight. It should be more like 2 to 2.5 inches or so: don't have the manual handy right now for absolute specifics.



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post #3 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 12:59 PM
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Nothing wrong with the stock chain! I got 24,000 on my stock chain on my 08. Did you jack it up and slowly turn the back wheel and look for kinks? You say you clean and lube your chain once a week; with what? I'm just asking, because some think WD40 is chain lube. My stock chain and sprockets looked almost new at 24K.

If it gets randomly tight and there is no kinks, it's the bolts on the back wheel. The stealer-ship is the one that puts them on. Torque to 72lbs (Auto Zone will lend you the tools for free) also check chain slop and alignment. The little owners manual states a measurement that is too tight; add a 1/4"-1/2" to that. For those who think that Kawasaki wouldn't make a mistake in the manual, just look at what speed they say to shift into 6th gear (for the slow, we don't have a 6th gear).

The slop you feel in the rubber in the back is just how it comes. Take off the back wheel and look for wear, probably none.

If ya want new plastic at a fraction of the dealer, I'll hook ya up to an online place. All real Kawasaki parts and the stickers come on them for no extra charge. Sounds like you could use some protection from drops, try Happy Trails, SW Motech, or Givi.

FYI: If ya find out the back wheel is not at 72lbs, you may want to get some breakable lock-tight and re-torque all your screws and bolts. Most of us have. The KLR is a good bike, but they can be put together by monkeys!

-Good luck

Last edited by Snakeshack; 04-27-2011 at 01:33 PM.
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post #4 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 01:10 PM
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I think planalp is on to something here....a KLR drive chain should have about 2-2.5 inches of play while on the side stand. Maybe you could fill us in on where you are measuring the slack. I may be misunderstanding your reference to 3/4" of slack, and where you are determining it.

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post #5 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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The chain slack measurement from the factory isn't the issue here.
I went from what I set it up at to TIGHT, like gee-tar tight.
I've never had a problem like this before, on any of the hundreds of bikes I've owned ovee they many years I've been a 2 wheel addict.
I use good quality chain lube that I use on all my off road bikes, my other road bikes with chains, so it's well proven stuff.
I've been cleaning my bikes the same way for a LONG tiome, and never had a problem with how I've done it.
I've set ALL my previos KLR chain slack up pretty much the same way, so I can eyeball it and be petty close to the correct setting.
This is my 4th KLR650 , so I kinda know these bikes.
I had the wheel loose when I replaced the chain, but not off.
As for the slop in the dampner rubbers, there is WAY more back and forth than it should have.
I bet there was 1"-2" back and forth play way much more than it should.
I first noticed it on the way home, but thought I had "lazy fingers and was just reving it before the clutch grabed.
If I had to bet the farm, I'd say the rubber cushions are screwed up inside and moving the rear sproket enough to tighten the chain.
I'll pull it apart tonight and see what happened.
Joe
I got the bike and before it had 100 miles on it I did, the Doo, Thermo Bob's kit, Happy Trails nerf bars, Nexx muffler, the .22 mod, (I just did the KLX needle and larger pilot and main, repacked all the bearings, serviced the shock and forks, shortened the kick stand 1".
Like I said I've had a few of this model before and know how they are put together, (Sad, Kawi used to be know for thier quality and workmanship),as well as I've been racing off road for over 40 years. Bike maintenance is second nature to me.
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post #6 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe28 View Post
The chain slack measurement from the factory isn't the issue here.
I went from what I set it up at to TIGHT, like gee-tar tight.
I've never had a problem like this before, on any of the hundreds of bikes I've owned ovee they many years I've been a 2 wheel addict.
I use good quality chain lube that I use on all my off road bikes, my other road bikes with chains, so it's well proven stuff.
I've been cleaning my bikes the same way for a LONG tiome, and never had a problem with how I've done it.
I've set ALL my previos KLR chain slack up pretty much the same way, so I can eyeball it and be petty close to the correct setting.
This is my 4th KLR650 , so I kinda know these bikes.
I had the wheel loose when I replaced the chain, but not off.
As for the slop in the dampner rubbers, there is WAY more back and forth than it should have.
I bet there was 1"-2" back and forth play way much more than it should.
I first noticed it on the way home, but thought I had "lazy fingers and was just reving it before the clutch grabed.
If I had to bet the farm, I'd say the rubber cushions are screwed up inside and moving the rear sproket enough to tighten the chain.
I'll pull it apart tonight and see what happened.
Joe
I got the bike and before it had 100 miles on it I did, the Doo, Thermo Bob's kit, Happy Trails nerf bars, Nexx muffler, the .22 mod, (I just did the KLX needle and larger pilot and main, repacked all the bearings, serviced the shock and forks, shortened the kick stand 1".
Like I said I've had a few of this model before and know how they are put together, (Sad, Kawi used to be know for thier quality and workmanship),as well as I've been racing off road for over 40 years. Bike maintenance is second nature to me.
HUNDREDS of bikes! WOW you must be a dealer or you get like 10+ bikes a year, or...

With all your years of experience, what have you found to be the cleaning agent and lube of your choice for chains? How do you do the rear tires alignment? Do you eyeball it, use the factory slash marks, or do you measure from the center of the rear axle bolt to the swing arm pivot bolts? As for the slop in the dampener rubbers, I have never herd anything about a problem with them, but as you know, Kawasaki has/had a problem with their rubber parts. If you are in neutral and your chain is good, then the dampeners wouldn't have anything to do with the chain tension....but I'm sure you already know that. I hope you find the problem dude! Good luck.

Last edited by Snakeshack; 04-27-2011 at 02:02 PM.
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post #7 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe28 View Post

The chain slack measurement from the factory isn't the issue here...

As for the slop in the dampner rubbers, there is WAY more back and forth than it should have.
I bet there was 1"-2" back and forth play way much more than it should.
I first noticed it on the way home, but thought I had "lazy fingers and was just reving it before the clutch grabed.
If I had to bet the farm, I'd say the rubber cushions are screwed up inside and moving the rear sproket enough to tighten the chain.
I'll pull it apart tonight and see what happened.
Joe

There's your problem!

No way the sprocket should move that much. The rubber fingers must be missing or rotted. Normal is about 1/4" of play.

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 #8 of 40 Old 04-27-2011, 11:45 PM
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i had my wheel off ~20 times in the last year. your rubber bushing must be screwed if you have that much fore/aft lash. And make sure when you replace it you get the torque right, i have found that to be a huge source of problems.

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post #9 of 40 Old 04-28-2011, 06:32 AM
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Interesting problem and responses. I don't see how the cush drive rubbers could cause the chain to become tight / loose either even if they were worn out or even missing. My minds eye is looking toward the sprockets, are they stock? Teeth OK and not bent? Lateral runout?

Keep us posted on what you find.

Gray-haired riders donít get that way from pure luck.

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Last edited by flash; 04-28-2011 at 06:36 AM.
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-28-2011, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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No not a dealer but a true bike addict.
I buy old bikes, depending on how bad they are, or how "cool" they are depends on how I end up "fixing" them up.
None were ever "show" perfect, but mechanicaly sound and on the road, (er off road)
I also race(ed), retired mostly) from MX and off road racing, so there was my /SX bike and my "Enduro/Hare Scramble" bike, as well as my trials bike, (modern and vintage), assorted road machines.
my 2 sons also race so they had a bike(s) each.
As of today, (it changes weekly!) I have 6 bikes in the shed- My trials bike, my sons Sherpa, my KLR, my '90 Harley, a '98 KTM 125 exc, and my current project- '74 BMW R/90/6.
As for chain lube, I use Bell Ray "Clean Lube" and use Simple Green with my high pressure washer.
As for the chain tenion. If you look at the shop book, the slack is 1.4"-1.8" slack, measuered from the TOP of the chain to the BOTTOM of the chain.
I don't do it that way, but measure the highest top of the chain to the lowest part of the top of the chain, and with 1.5" of slock, it comes out to 7/8", or the tip of thumb almost the first joint.
I took the back wheel off last night. There was 3/8" slop in the rubber cushion, (never had one go bad???).
I wrapped this thick rubber tape @ the hub bosses and forced it back on.
Noise gone!!
Went and ordered the bushing, the parts guy said it's the first he's ordered!
I've noticed on my '07 KLR and this the rubber parts does suck.
Joe
So many bikes, so few $$!
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