Post by papawheelie on Oct 22, 2018 13:17:42 GMT -7
Hey all. I noticed that the "Cleaned My Drive Chain" thread was getting some recent activity, but more related to drive chain adjustment. So, here’s a new thread dedicated to drive chain adjustment. I know it’s one of those things that some of us obsess over in an attempt to make everything absolutely perfect, while others would tell us to get it kinda close and then go ride the dang thing. To each our own, of course.
First, a little background on my own experience with street bike drive chains. I don’t have much. Haha. I’ve owned dirt bikes with drive chains and cruisers with drive belts, but my 2017 FZ-10 is my first experience with a drive chain on a high performance street bike. I’ve owned the FZ-10 for 12 months (almost to the day), and put over 10,000 miles on her, and feel like I’ve worked myself through the learning curve of owning and maintaining the sport bike drive chain.
I put a new rear tire on her this weekend. Except for the shop scratching my wheel (so freakin' frustrated), everything went well. I dismount and remount the wheel myself (I need it done right). So, it’s obviously an opportunity to readjust/realign the drive chain.
As I mentioned, there was definitely a learning curve for me. It took about 2,000 miles for my drive chain to break in / stretch, and for me to figure out how to adjust it. During those first 2k mikes, I felt like my drive chain was overly noisy (along with getting used to the sounds of the CP4 and the cam chain). I messed with it a lot during those first 2k mikes. I’ve decided that my favorite way to adjust the chain is on a swing arm stand. My particular chain likes to be adjusted to 25mm of slack. Not too tight to put undue stress on components and the chain itself, but not too loose to make a noisy drive chain. Slack is measured center-pin-to-center-pin.
I've also learned that it’s best to adjust the slack to about 30mm before retightening the axle nut, with the wheel pushed solidly forward against the adjuster bolts. Once the axle nut is retightened, my chain always seems to end up about 5mm tighter than it was before tightening that axle nut. In other words, try leaving a little extra slack in the chain, push the wheel solidly forward, and retighten that axle nut, to get it just right.
WHEEL / CHAIN / SPROCKET ALIGNMENT
This was also my first chance to use my new tool: PROFI CAT line laser chain alignment tool. I recommend it. Money well spent.
Last Fall, during my learning curve, I struggled not only with drive chain slack, but also rear wheel/chain alignment. We can obviously get the rear wheel kinda close to good alignment using the marks on the swing arm, but its going to be hard to get it perfect. If for no other reason, because we shouldn’t trust that those little marks on the swingarm are perfect, themselves (mine are not). I also don’t trust that the rear wheel was perfectly aligned when it was originally assembled. During my process last Fall, I tried aligning my rear wheel using the "string alignment" method. It’s a reasonably reliable method, but tedious, and subject to error if it’s not done properly. The PROFI CAT line laser chain alignment tool worked beautifully. It appears to be a well-made tool. I feel good about it. I like that the tool casts a laser line, versus a dot, allowing the laser to be visible the full length of the chain.
Simply place the laser tool against the smooth, clean surface of the rear sprocket, in a location where the laser is cast along the length of the chain. I found it best to place the laser against the inside, bottom surface of the rear sprocket. In my case, with my naked front sprocket mod, I can actually see the laser line all the way up to the front sprocket. I went back and forth a few times between adjusting chain tension and alignment, until both were just perfect.
I cleaned and loob'd her up, and she rolls as smoothly and quietly as ever.
Post by peripateticmike on Oct 22, 2018 14:14:36 GMT -7
Good write up. Another thing to keep in mind is that the cush drive hub will never sit in the rear wheel perfectly and there will be some rear sprocket wobble when trying to align your chain. I would recommend spinning the wheel and checking it from several different spots when using a chain aligning tool. That can add to the frustration if you're really anal about it haha
Excellent write-up brother. I've also owned dozens of bikes, but this is only the second with a chain (other was SV1000 naked). My main frustration was how much force to use to check tension. I got from 10 to 32mm on mine, so quite frustrating to not find any specific force to use. Most videos used very light pressure, which coupled to my knowing the chain was tight, only the light pressure made sense, since putting more force would yield either a normal or too loose result. So readjusted it, and ended up with 20 to 22mm with light pressure (to overcome the stiffness of a cold chain), so within specs. And chain feels fine this time. I also rather have it on the normal low side, to avoid extra noise and extra driveline lash. Will also check it when hot, just to make sure there's still enough slack, since that was another good point made by another forum member. I have a laser tool for shelves, which will try to use for that purpose, since I'd only use it once. Once you know your chain is perfectly aligned, you can mark the blocks and you'd always keep it aligned following the same difference (hope that makes sense). That's what I intend to do. Hope don't have to buy one, but since I'm also quite anal, might do it if no other option. He he. I also don't quite trust the string method, so won't even waste my time with that. There's another cheaper tool, made by MotionPro, but don't know if it can be used with that protective ring attached to the sprocket; need to scrutinize the tool's mounting method. Oh, I only used 120 ft/lbs, instead of 137 to tighten the axle; seemed like moer than enough. Just like Porsche recommends tightening the aluminum drain plug (on an aluminum pan) to 37 ft/lbs, when the most I've ever seen is 25, and what I use, with zero issues on 2 cars. Finally, your wheel should move absolutely nothing when you tighten the axle nut. If it does, you didn't have the wheel all the way forward. What I did to assure that was to hit the back of the blocks with a hammer (with a crescent wrench in-between), and it moved absolutely nothing. Just another idea .
Last Edit: Oct 22, 2018 15:28:52 GMT -7 by elptxjc
I wanted to update my post. At least on my bike, I had to choose between perfect wheel alignment, and perfect chain alignment (I chose the former), since my bike had the chain perfectly adjusted from the factory... but the swingarm marks were a bit off, so decided to check wheel alignment. After carefully aligning it with the string method (yes, it's quite tedious), it ended up being dead on with the swingarm marks. So chain alignment is a hair off from perfect now, but there's quite a bit of side play between chain and sprocket teeth, so it's not going to cause any wear issues. I used both the MotionPro and laser methods at the BOTTOM of the chain (pushing rear wheel up from behind, while in gear), and it's about 3mm off at the front sprocket, which is hardly anything. Oh, and decided to tighten the rear axle to 100 ft/lbs (which is still a crapload IMO), but that's just me. The stock nut is a lock-nut, so it's not going anywhere.
On the chain tension 'checking' method, learned the pressure has to be very light, and that's what I'm doing now. That means when pushing it down, it should hardly move. Even then, I shoot at halfway the spec (20-30mm with rear tire on the ground, or 25-35 on the air), just to make sure it's not going to be tight. Need to tighten it again at 850 miles. Now I know it takes about 2K miles before it stretches normally .
Last Edit: Jun 24, 2019 10:58:03 GMT -7 by elptxjc