Drive Chain Tightening Question

Transmission, clutch, chains and belts
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Rib423
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Drive Chain Tightening Question

#1

Post by Rib423 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:13 pm

Hi, I am fairly new to this site. I recently bought a bike with a '54 Panhead that's in a swingarm frame ('58). I'm a younger guy who has always liked the older bikes and I'll admit I'm in a little over my head. Here's my basic question. I believe I need to tighten the drive chain according to what my Clymer manual said because when I measure the free play (the way it says in the manuel) it's a good inch. Is the measurement suppose to be taken with no one on the bike and the rear wheel off the ground? Or, should the rear wheel be off the ground? Should someone be sitting on the bike?

The Clymer manuel said to have the rear wheel off the ground and find the tightest spot in the chain. The chain's pretty new and maybe that's why it seemed to be the same no matter what position I measured it in?? When tightening it then, the rear wheel shouldn't be off the ground correct? Next it says to pry the axel nut lockwasher away from the nut. What's "away from the nut"? Pry it off? Wouldn't it be easier to loosen the nut first? Once the nut is loosened, it says to loosen the brake sleeve or anchor nut. That's the nut directly below the axel nut correct? Then loosen the axle adjusters locknuts and then, since I'm tightening the chain not loosening it, turn the axle adjusters in (each side the same amount). Once the freeplay is correct, in mentions using a tool to check chain alignment. If each side is adjusted the same amount, the alignment should be correct right? Could this also be done by measuring from the swingarm pivot shaft to the center of the rear axle without using the tool and then doing the same thing on the other side? Thanks for any help!



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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#2

Post by RUBONE » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:58 pm

No need to "pry" anything (did I mention Clymer manuals really suck!!). Loosen the outer nut, slide lock tab back enough for access to the inner sleeve nut., loosen it. Wheel on ground, riders weight on bike, tighten adjuster evenly and as necessary to achieve correct tension. Double check alignment (many things work for this, even a laser for hanging pictures!). Tighten inner sleeve, outer nut, and adjuster lock nuts. When you tighten the inner sleeve nut be sure the axle does not cock in the frame. If it insists on doing it double check as there could be a tweak in the swingarm.
go for a ride. Don't forget to lube regularly!
Robbie

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#3

Post by beets » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:12 am

If it is an old chain it will have some spots that are tighter than others. Measure for your adjustment at one of the tight spots.

Rib423
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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#4

Post by Rib423 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:22 am

Thanks for the info. I did what you suggested and got it tightened up in no time! I've got another question. First off, I'm greener than spring grass when it comes to this bike, but I figured, I have no one to help me out and I wanted a panhead, so I'll just have to jump in with both feet. I've had the bike for a month, but have been out of town for family emergencies quite a bit and have only got to ride it twice. After going through the starting ritual, it normally starts right up. On both rides, when I get 4-6 miles away, it starts to cut out and loose power and shortly after, it quits. I pull over and it starts back up after a kick or two. I had thought maybe after getting it shipped to me that it could had something in the tank that was plugging up the line and if it did it again I was gonna drain the tank, but today after tightening the chain, I had it running, went to grab my helmet and it quits (might not have been warmed up yet). Then, I couldn't get it started again for nothin. I then noticed when I had the ignition on that the generator light, nuetral light and oil light weren't on. Turned on the lights and nothing there either. Could this related to what was making it quit while I was on my two rides as well?? First things first though, what are the four positions of the ignition (ignition to the left, straight up is off and then the two positions to the right are....? I really appreciate any help. I had a guy I knew of who has a '51 and I thought would help answer some of my questions, but he never returned my call (maybe he doesn't want to be involved!!!??)

Rib423
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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#5

Post by Rib423 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:25 am

By the way, it's still got the 6volt.

DuoGlide62
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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#6

Post by DuoGlide62 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:31 am

Normally, straight up is off. One click to the right is ignition, two clicks is ignition & lights.
Rick

Rib423
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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#7

Post by Rib423 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:51 am

Thanks! So, what's key on, switch a click to the left? Just went out and turned the key on, turned switch one click to the right and generator light was dim, another click to the right and no lights and no headlights on when i switched them on. Should the nuetral light be on in either position to the right if the bikes in nuetral? Could I have a battery problem or something else with the ignition or electrical? I've been looking through past archives on this site, but thought someone might be able to point me in the right direction.

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#8

Post by lownslow » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:13 am

the neutral light will be on in both positions. If the gen light is dim you may not have much battery. If you got a volt meter check across the battery terminals and see what your voltage is. Should be close to 6 if properly charged up. Neutral light on '58???

RUBONE
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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#9

Post by RUBONE » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:40 am

The position to the left is parking light position. It is almost never used and your ignition should not be hot in that position. If your battery is good it may be wise to invest in a "Battery Tender" to keep it fully charged when not being used.
A full check of your charging system may be in order as well.
Robbie

Rib423
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Bikes: '54 Panhead & '49 Flathead

Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#10

Post by Rib423 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:04 am

Thanks for the help everyone. Also, the guy i bought the bike from just said it was in a swingarm frame, but I'm not sure what year it is exactly (I had been thinking it was a '58, but it must not be. course I don't know exactly what all has been changed on the bike (I know it's got some aftermarket parts), but the dash is a '62 style with a blue nuetral light between the generator and oil light. It's got '54 style badges on it. Thanks again for the help. I'll check the battery tomorrow and let you know what happens.

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#11

Post by George Greer » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:50 am

Rib

Go down to Documentation and you can get manuals to download.

viewtopic.php?f=118&t=10310" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

George

PS, Can you post photographs of your bike?
Photos can be a big assist when working on these motorcycles, and when one is needing help figuring out issues with them.

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#12

Post by 58flh » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:59 am

The left motorcase will have a pad above the timing hole with the year & model of engine you have!---Richie

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#13

Post by hplhd » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:50 pm

rib423, look were the shock mounts. if that part steps up it's a 58-64. if it is strate across it's 65 and later. i hope that makes a little sense and dosn't cornfuse things more, or take the tanks off and it should have a letter and number stamped for month and year.

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Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#14

Post by Panhead Ed » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:40 pm

Morning rib..... when its time to adjust the rear chain allways check the primary chain adjustment first then adjust the rear as described ..... they have to work together ... wouldnt want you chasing your tail ! Ed

Rib423
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Bikes: '54 Panhead & '49 Flathead

Re: Drive Chain Tightening Question

#15

Post by Rib423 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:41 am

Thanks for the replies! The motor's a '54. On the back of the swingarm on the right hand side is 47606 58 and to the right and slightly down is 73. Does the 58 identify the year?

When I measured the primary chain the bike hadn't been ridden for awhile and there was 3/4" play. Should it be measured after the bike's been ridden (there would probably be less play if the chain was hot/warm right?).

As mentioned, the bike hasn't been ridden for three weeks and the chain looked dry and a little brown. Should it be ridden before determining if the chain needs more lubrication? Also, my chain oiler adjustment screw doesn't look like either of the two examples in the clymer manuel. It just has the screw and one locknut or nut (no washer or shims). Could it be that all the shims have already been removed? Should I adda shim or two along with a 1/16" washer? Thanks for all the help!

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