Chain - fused links after 7k miles

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by duffs, May 11, 2013.

  1. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    After giving my bike (and chain) a good cleaning I ran it in 1st gear on the centre stand to observe the chain (fingers far away) and noticed it hopping slightly in two spots. This isn't noticeable/audible under load when riding the bike, by the way...

    I went through the chain link by link and discovered two fully fused links and one stiff link. No doubt due to a considerable number of miles on dusty/muddy trails/byways the grit has taken its toll on the chain but many others get far more mileage out of a chain with similar usage. The rest of the chain seems in very good condition and it has only gone out of spec (requiring tension adjustment) twice during this time.

    I lubricate the chain with Castrol Racing Lube regularly and clean it when it starts to look rough (I'm not obsessive about it but certainly not neglectful), but can't help wondering if others have had this occur after so few miles?

    Annoyed with upcoming £250 bill for a new chain/sprockets as I am about to undertake a 4,000+ mile journey and won't risk it with the current chain. I'm considering changing lubrication tactics with the new one and using a dry/teflon based lubricant to stop the dirt sticking...

    --George
    #1
  2. casperghst42

    casperghst42 Been here awhile

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    I don't know where you get the £250 from, I just got a new chain set from a local non-BMW dealer and I paid ~150€ (I do get som discount), but you can find a good chain in the UK (ukgser) for a lot less, and and the front sprocket from TT for ~20€. Don't know what the rear sprocket will set you back.

    But it's not £250, except if you decide to goto a BMW dealer.

    You don't mention how old the bike is, but if it's brand new then I would start going to the dealer and have a small chat with them, as the chain should last at least 25.000km if you look after it.

    Casper
    #2
  3. SOP Dirt-Rider

    SOP Dirt-Rider Been here awhile

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    Speaks volumes for routine chain maintenance. Which reminds me, I did 220 miles yesterday, over half was in the dirt.

    Lets see, where did I put that new can of WD40?? Gotta go:D
    #3
  4. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Cheers Casper - Yes this is BMW dealer pricing... however - OEM BMW chain is ~£150 (£/€ are practically worth the same these days), sprockets £20/30 F/R, labour £50 which totals £250. So yes I could save £50 of labour but then spend half a day swearing and grumbling in the underground car park of my building with rear half of the bike in pieces trying to remove and re-fit an endless chain (I wouldn't mind if I had access to suitable facilities). My local tyre shop is about £50 less using mid-range aftermarket parts, so the BMW dealer is not out of line. But I wasn't debating the economics behind it...

    The bike is under warranty, 14 months old - I agree the chain should last at least 15,000 miles/25,000km - and despite considerable time in the dirt, the bike is not abused or run beyond its design specification... however, bike manufacturers (not just BMW) view chains as wear items in the same way as clutch discs and brake pads... unfortunately I would be hard pressed to prove that the o-rings on the fused links had a manufacturing defect since they are not visibly damaged.

    I lubricate the chain weekly and average 125 miles/week overall... I fully clean the chain monthly (or immediately after off road rides), but as I mentioned I am not obsessive about it at the first signs of gunkiness...

    Bottom line is that despite what I would view as an appropriate level of care and attention/maintenance to the chain it has still seized up prematurely - I can't understand what I've done wrong when others have them last 10s of thousands of miles/km with usage both on and off road...?

    Without starting a played-out, un-winnable Ford/Chevy/Mac/PC/Chelsea/Arsenal/folding/scrunching debate over the use of WD40 on chains, now that I have little to lose, I admit I am tempted to soak it in the stuff to see if the links loosen up...
    #4
  5. Spingse

    Spingse Adventurer

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    Hi
    The discussion on WD-40 as been put to the grave many years ago - by a fellow rider http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=345397
    WD-40 does not damage the chain/o-rings, and if you have a stiff one:roflit might be a good temporary solution to loosen up things.
    I would only use it sparse, though, as it is a penetrating oil and you would not want too much to get to the grease inside the other links.
    I would also lube frequently for the first many miles if i had any degreasing solution (WD-40) used on my chain.
    (My personal philosophy is, that cleaning the chain often causes more damage than good. This philosophy leaves more time for riding, also :lol3)

    Martin
    (My chain/sprockets has held up for 32.000 km so far. I try to lube at every or every other fill-up if i remember (Castrol racing). Front sprocket is starting to look worn)
    #5
  6. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Martin - nice one on the link! I love a bit of scientific process and that thread is top notch. Interesting that the chain lube affected the o-rings more than I would have expected.

    What is your routine after riding in mud or through deep, muddy water? 30,000+ km is what I would expect from a chain. My sprockets both look brand new despite the tight links. I've only ever used a nylon brush on the chain when cleaning, so nothing abrasive...
    #6
  7. JRP

    JRP Old guy

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    ^^^ This
    I only use Dupont Multi-use Teflon... no WD40 and no washing other than a brush...20,000 miles on my last chain and sprockets. I only had one minor adjustment at around 15,000 miles
    #7
  8. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    FWIW I don't think using WD40 is a good idea on O ring chains. (not that I don't think WD40 is good for other stuff).

    It is a good solvent and mild lubricant. The solvent part is what I see as the problem. I think it can get behind the O ring seal and dilute the factory oil, which the O ring should keep in...and let the lub there dry up./then rust up. This is where most of the wear occurs. when we lube the chain we mainly lube the sprockets and the chain rollers. External lubing really does not get behind the O rings.

    Keeping the O ring seals healthy and the oil behind them in-place is the main reason for cleaning
    #8
  9. SOP Dirt-Rider

    SOP Dirt-Rider Been here awhile

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    Wow, I had no idea WD40 was such a hot topic. I use it to clean before lube when at home, and on the trail I use it to clean along with a toothbrush. Idea is to remove the dust/grit from the O rings and not meant as a lube. Keeping the O rings pliant and grit free will greatly extend the chains life.
    By routine, I mean whenever it has been exposed to large amounts of dust or muddy areas. Don't know about y'all, but I carry a small can of WD on the trail, use it for tire changes, chain maintenance, and non stick cooking spray:evil
    #9
  10. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    I think the main problem in my case is the dirt sticking to the lubricant and then grinding away... I'm interested in the teflon/graphite-based dry lubricants - the ipone sand chain lubricant looks interesting but presumably doesn't offer any rust protection in wet weather...
    #10
  11. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

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    I been using automatic transmission fluid as a cleaner,ran out of WD40 and ATF was there,it works good,and I use whatever 90wt or motor oil as a lube,I don't do regular by the number chain maintenance but I make sure it's clean,and shiny.
    #11
  12. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    I understand kerosene is one of the better cleaners as well—don't D.I.D. recommend it? Also it doesn't eat rubber/silicon like petrol/gasoline does, causing the o-rings to swell by up to 1 1/2x, or seep past them and contaminate the lubricant within...
    #12
  13. puckinet

    puckinet Safety third

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    In the dirt bike world (same chain) we pull the chain off once in a while and soak in kerosene. I do this to f800 when the chain is full of crap. It gets behind the o rings.
    #13
  14. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    Ride
    Lube
    Ride
    Lube
    Ride
    Ride
    Ride
    Lube
    Ride
    Replace
    Repeat

    I've never cleaned my chain, but always keep it lubed (when I can). I use whatever oil I have for lube, old fork oil, ATF, dry teflon, wax lube, whatever. Never used solvents on it. 18,500 miles and still going strong.
    #14
  15. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    My experience has always been those most obsessed by chain maintenance are those most likely to have trouble with their chains, no matter what cleaning/non-cleaning/lubricating/smoking with incense regime they use.

    Outright neglect seems the only way to make chains last, IMHO. My original CZ chain is still, as far as I can tell, made of metal and attached to the motorcycle. Good enough :lol3
    #15
  16. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    One thing to check, or have checked, is chain alignment. If your back wheel/sprocket is ka-ka in the swing arm, relative to the path to the front sprocket, the chain will get pissed off at you sooner than later.

    Also, the art of proper chain tension a debatable uhh, debate. Load your bike with moderate gear, or heavy if you normally haul heavy. Sit upon the beast.


    [​IMG]
    (not my image-taken by another inmate, just thought the post need graphical interphase).


    Now have someone ELSE check your chain tension, slack between here and there, etc. One cannot really check the chain tension without having the rider and gear on there if you are talking about a bike with rear suspension and a swing arm, cause the slack is going to change under a load, unless you have some rigid Harley get up, i dunno. Remember, looser better than too tight in this situation. It's not a cheerleader :evil

    Kerosene has been used for more years by farmers and frontier techs to free up rusted crappy gears, stuck pistons and chain type devices. It wont hurt nothing. Get it by the gallon, or liter if you ain't from around here....... pour it in a wash pan and keep rinsing the chain and go at it with a toothbrush until the "bath water" (Kerosene) is cleanish.

    Couple times a season, anyway. I have some in a spray bottle for in between. Works great on a swing arm to take off all the expensive cake eater chain lube most of us wasted our money on, you know, the stuff that is not supposed to fly off and get stuck on your swingarm.... but does anyway..... Kerosene a great rim and spoke detail spray.

    I shop around and find white lithium spray-grease. There are different brands, but I stopped using store bought chain lube and have many, many trouble free miles on my chains. If you have a crappy spot, your done.

    Find a nice aftermarket provider of decent generic type chains and sprockets.... like rocky mountain atv motorcycle supply. $89 bucks for a new chain and front and rear sprockets for a KLR as an example.

    If it's some foo-foo bike that they don't cover, then ditch the bike brother :deal.

    Just the unpolished babblings of a complete mad-man. Don't listen to a thing I said.

    http://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/
    #16
  17. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Thanks for this - I do keep the chain on the floppier side as I usually ride 2-up (daily commute). And double-check the alignment by measuring the position of the axle on each side.

    4 litres of kerosene (sold as paraffin here) is less than £7 so cheap as chips, will def get some for the new chain - 1/10th the cost of £££££ commercial chain cleaners.

    Was thinking more about the original chain - when I had my tyres replaced last October the f**king idiots at the tyre shop over-tensioned the chain when they put the wheel back on and I didn't notice this until after a weekend a heavy trail riding using the full range of suspension travel. It is very likely something got stretched/damaged, the chain barely had 10mm of slack (BMW recommend 35-45mm). And they left one of the axle locking bolts loose. Bloody knobheads. Although I only have myself to blame because I didn't check when I collected the bike, you'd think you wouldn't need to going to a 'professional'. Lesson learnt.
    #17
  18. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Yup, agree that the abrasion from scrubbing the shite out of the chain too much can't be any good for the o-rings. My biggest worry is leaving all sorts of dirt/dust/sand/etc on it after riding muddy trails. My old bike (strictly a road bike) was still on the original chain after 10,000 miles, and I barely did any maintenance on it other than a spray of lube now and then, although that bike never saw anything worse than a pothole on a paved road.
    #18
  19. oldenuf

    oldenuf Been here awhile

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    When the chain develops these tight links, I have had no real success getting anything past the o-ring to free them up. I have ground them apart and they are dry with no lube. Rather than risk a chain failure I say just replace it. As a rule now I use nothing that is a solvent on the chain, just wipe it down with an rag and put on new lube.

    Art
    #19
  20. Twinz

    Twinz Been here awhile

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    I use a Grease Ninja to lube my chain when on a trip...works great! http://www.greaseninja.com/

    Grease Ninja says that both WD40 and kerosene will get past the o-rings/x-rings and dilute the grease if too much is used. I use kerosene on a rag to clean my chain. I use the DuPont dry multi-use teflon lube with my Grease Ninja. The dry multi-use stuff was discontinued by DuPont, but their Dry Teflon Chain Saver is the "new" dry stuff! On my recent 4000 mile trip, I did not even use all of one can of the dry teflon lube.
    #20