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Chain adjustments

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Hauula Pan
Posts: 402
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:15 am
Bikes: 1952 FL
Location: California

Chain adjustments


Post by Hauula Pan » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:00 am

I have a couple of questions on primary and drive chain adjustments. 1. How tight should the primary chain be. Mine is pretty tight, I can move it up and down about 1/4" and I'm wondering if that's too tight. It is a new chain. 2. I can't seem to get my drive chain to maintain an even tension all the way around as I rotate the rear wheel. At one point it will be way tight and as I turn the wheel it becomes loose and then tight again. I have tried realigning the wheel several times and still get the same thing. Am I just not getting it straight or could it be my sprocket & hub is out of round??? How would I check that?? I appreciate any and all advise, thanks. Oh yeah both chains are new as is the rear drum and sprocket.

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1952 FL
1977 FLH
1994 Fatboy

Re: Chain adjustments


Post by Bigincher » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:09 am

My first hunch is that the drive sprocket is not exactly 'centered' on the drum, as you suspect, and is therefore out-of-round. I have heard that the V-twin repops are notorious for this. To check it, you could disconnect the chain, and fashion a 'pointer' that is fixed on the sprocket, then spin the wheel and watch the pointer so see any deviation in the sprocket. Should check the bottom of the sprocket 'notches' rather than the point of the teeth.
I have old OEM drums, a V-twin drum, and a Paughco drum. The V-twin is basically junk, the sprocket is also waaay out of alignment with the tranny drive sprocket, I didn't even bother to check out-of-round. My OEM drums are too pitted to run, so I am going with the Paughco drum for now until I can find a good OEM drum. At least it aligns perfectly with the tranny drive sprocket.

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Re: Chain adjustments


Post by panhead_kicker » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:16 am

Hauula Pan,
59-69 Service manual says 1/2" for 64 and earlier front chain. You better slack yours off. I have the same problem to a degree with the rear, even with new chain and sprockets. As you probably already know, set your slack at the tightest points in the chains.

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