Drive Chain ?

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mcraeav
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Drive Chain ?

#1

Post by mcraeav » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:07 am

I need to buy a new drive chain for my 62 FLH and see that there are 2 types; a heavy duty and a O-ring available. The O-ring is about twice the price. Since I don't plan on putting a lot of miles on the bike is the heavy duty OK. Anyone have an opinion?



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Re: Drive Chain ?

#2

Post by Panacea » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:20 am

If you are still running the chain primary, the regular chain will probably get some oil dribbled in it's direction, but if you plan on running a belt primary and shutting off the oil supply to the primary, then the "O" ring chain may last longer. They are a lot wider than the stock size though so you may have to adjust the inner primary location with a washer in front of the lower mount to make room for the wider chain...Mike

mcraeav
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Re: Drive Chain ?

#3

Post by mcraeav » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:42 am

I am still running the primary chain. Do you mean if I go with the O-ring chain, I need to hold the inner primary out from the transmission case with a washer?

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#4

Post by FlatHeadSix » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:00 am

Mark,
As Mike just said, the "O" ring chains are much fatter than the originals and will require a little tweaking to make everything clear. The O-ring chains are for "go" the heavy duty (original type) are for "show". If properly lubricated, kept clean and adjusted, the heavy duty will last you a lifetime.

mike

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#5

Post by mcraeav » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:07 am

Thanks, I think I'll get the O-ring and do the adjusting to the primary case.

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#6

Post by Bigincher » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:20 am

Bear in mind that the O-rings seal the lubricant inside the roller links, but the outside of the chain still requires periodic lubricating. I use a special aerosol spray designed for use with O-ring chains-- supposedly won't harm the rubber O-rings.
Also, if you run a large counter sprocket, there can be additional clearance issues, but usually only on electric start models.

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#7

Post by oldbob » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:47 am

I highly recommend the o-ring chain. I put one on my ride over 5,000 miles ago and have only had to adjust it one time. As far as tight and lose spots it is the best chain I have ever had. A well lubed chain that runs smooth with out chain whip should be gentle on the sprockets. I found one on ebay for under 60 bucks.

Bob
Last edited by oldbob on Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#8

Post by Cotten » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:54 am

Sorry folks,
But I vote thumbs down on o-ring chains for classic machines.

I'm not impressed by their survival on customes either.

My only complaint against conventional chains is that they arrive with a knarly preservative that should be washed out and replaced with a light lube before installation.


...Cotten

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#9

Post by oldbob » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:37 am

Cotton did you buy a very large roll of chain in the past that you are still using. In the mid 70's I bought a Diamond chain for my pan and it was great. lasted a very long time . The one I bought in 2006 was a total piece of junk. I thought Diamond was the best chain you can get in the 70's. Has the quality of Diamond chains gone down hill. Is there still good brands of chains made in the USA. I hate to admit that the chain I put on my custom UL was made in japan for a Honda . The pitch is a little to wide but it is doing good running right down the middle with no wear on one side or the the other. Doing pretty good for a old VL frame that I had to spend two days on chaining it up to a power poll and tweaking it with a 10 foot timber . Is there a non o-ring chain that will out last a o-ring chain? What is the best non o-ring chain brand that you can buy now days. Just wanting to get all the facts. What is the very best brand of chain.

Bob

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#10

Post by 51Hog » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:30 pm

My sprockets were new and are in-line with each other, Paralell in all directions, and one is directly behind the other.
When I adjust the slack, I look for the tightest spot, then adjust to 1/4"-1/2" deflection at about 1 lb. pull in the center of the bottom span.

I have been through 2 Diamond chains and one Tsubaki? (SP) in just under 6000 miles.
The first was a diamond-- Heated washed out and soaked in hot 50 wt motor oil over night. Hung up and let drain for a day and installed.
Had to adjust all the time to keep it from cutting my clutch lever in half. Lasted about 1500 miles.

The second Diamond I installed right out of the box and used spray lube every 150 miles on a warm chain. Still had to adjust all the time. 1500-2000 miles.

The third--Tsubaki--Straight out of the box and different spray lube. New sprockets. Still had to adjust all the time. Ran out of adjustment and took out a link of chain.
Need to replace before next season.
Next stop for me----O-ring---

Even if I were initially running the chain too tight, one would think that the chain would stop wearing when it reached its optimum tension.

Must be the quality.

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#11

Post by 108 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:42 am

My O ring chain has been great. I've had it 4 years, I rode about 900 miles this summer and the slack is the same as it was in the spring. In fact, I havent adjusted it since May of '08. I do run a 25T trans sprocket which probably helps since the chain "bends" less under load. I hesitated at the price too but it was worth it.

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#12

Post by Cotten » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:28 am

O-ring chains are fat.
They are not the size H-Ds were designed to use.

No biggee if you've gone custome.
But it means severe tweaks on a stocker. Often far from worth it.

My evaluation of their durability resulted from customers who insisted upon them.
They were fine if the keep the o-rings stayed intact.

As OldBob points out, quality ain't what she used to be.
Gimmicks rule over metallurgy.

Determining the wear upon a chain is easy , but subject to the sprockets wear.
When installed, the wear upon a chain is best determined by grabbing a link wound upon the rear sprocket and pulling outward. A fresh chain hinges outward very little. A shot chain may pull outward as much as three eighths of a inch.

A chain in your hands can be straightened sideways and held up horizontally to observe its arc. Fresh chains arc little, whereas a worn chain bows greatly.

Determining wear upon a sprocket is mostly visual.
Brand new sprockets can be eccentric, making slack&tight measurements exasperating.

If you really want to eat chains and sprockets, get a sidehack.

...Cotten

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#13

Post by 51Hog » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:45 am

Cotten--
What tweaks are necessary, if I were to use an o-ring chain?
Off hand, the only thing I can come up with is the oil slinger on the tranny.
Will the chain clear the frame?
I hope the hacks are better on chains than mt stock 51 Pan.
Thanks,
Dale

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#14

Post by Bosheff » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:57 am

A very large percentage of chain wear can be attributed to the sprockets themselves. If the sprockets are not concentric, it will be impossible to correctly adjust the chain, thus causing tight and loose spots while rotating the rear wheel with the chain installed. On a rigid frame, the drive chain can be adjusted with motorcycle on the ground or on the rear stand. On a swing arm the motorcycle should be sitting on the ground with the rear suspension loaded with the rider's weight if possible. Quality O-ring chains are where it's at. Non O-ring chains are pretty much a waste of money anymore, but in my mind it doesn't matter what chain ya run if the center hole in yer sprocket is not in the center of the sprocket. I am runnin a plastic rear sprocket on my rigid (rear disk set-up). This sprocket has a bazillion miles on it, and it is bearly showing any signs of wear at all. These sprockets were manufactured in the 80's by an outfit called N.E.P. One. They have long since gone tits up. I have one back up, so I should be good till I die. In the past I have run tranny sprockets that were stamped PORTCO with greeat success. Some of yer newer O-ring chains have master links that required a compressor to install the side plate and a jack hammer to remove, makin' it a real pain in the ass to deal with em. There's a reason H-D went to rear belts....bosheff

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Re: Drive Chain ?

#15

Post by Cotten » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:10 pm

First, I agree with OldBob that quality of chains ain't what it used to be.

Next, Dale posted:
"Even if I were initially running the chain too tight, one would think that the chain would stop wearing when it reached its optimum tension."

Too-tight causes un-even wear, and quickly. One part of the chain will "stretch" before the other, giving you weird harmonics that proceed to eat at the sprockets.

Chains can wear sideways, and they can wear out lengthwise.
Laying the clean chain out on a table will allow you to scrunch it up close and then pull it out tight so see just how much "stretch" has occurred.

"What tweaks are necessary, if I were to use an o-ring chain?"

I've only removed O-ring chains, but I can tell you that stacks of washers seem to be popular.
Good point about the oil deflector.

"I hope the hacks are better on chains than mt stock 51 Pan."

Sidehacks eat chains.
Sidehacks vaporize tires, halve your oil and gas mileage, and eventually fatigue the entire machine fendertip to fendertip.
I'll never part with mine.

Old Timers swore by using very light oil on their chains.
I haven't gotten up the nerve to test the theory, yet.

Chains aught to be parkerized.

.....Cotten

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