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View Full Version : Idiot Method - Chain Alignment


etcthorne
02-26-2008, 12:28 PM
Idiot - that's me, by the way.

I adjusted my chain at around 800 miles (complete cleaning with Kerosene and re-lube). I used the markings on the swing-arm to make sure they were both at the same setting (we all know that's not a good thing to do now). I banged on the rear wheel (kicking it forward with my knee) as I was adjusting, so I could make sure the adjuster nuts were making contact. Re-tightened. For about 100 miles after that, it seemed a bit noisier than it was, although I was sure to leave almost 1" slack in it - I know from experience that over-tightening a chain is a VERY BAD THING TO DO. I also noticed that the starboard side rollers on the chain (right side) as you're looking at it from the rear seemed to be contacting the sprocket more than the port-side.

Here's the idiot method, and I'm pretty sure it's good.... but need you guys to tell me if I really am an idiot - and based on this group - I know you'll tell me.:rider:

Adjust the chain while the bike is on the kick-stand, as the manual says. Keep banging on that rear wheel to make sure your adjusters are making contact. When you think you've got it adjusted for proper tension, put the bike on the center stand and rotate that back wheel. The chain should seat in the sprocket exactly in the CENTER of the rollers, and not favor one side or the other. If you're centered, tighten that axle nut and enjoy.

That worked - noise gone, tension perfect, and if you look at the chain from the rear of the bike when it's parked, the chain rollers on the sprocket are dead centered, meaning you can slide the chain on the sprocket in either direction - to port or starboard.

Now I'm ready for the "you're an idiot" feedback. Thanks!!!! :rofl:

rworm
02-26-2008, 01:06 PM
If it was that evident/you did the right thing/now come up w/ your own marks-
SHARPIE
rworm
One thing to look at is lay on your back and check out the bottom of the sprocket also/that will tell you if all is well:trust:


rworm

etcthorne
02-26-2008, 01:33 PM
Cool. "Sharpie" I like it.

Looking up at the sprocket from the ground would also be valuable, but I wanted to complicate it bit, if you don't mind. :zen:

rworm
02-26-2008, 03:39 PM
PICS PLEASE
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

suzukijo
02-26-2008, 10:16 PM
i really like the kicking part, something i've done for years. rworm for president.

etcthorne
02-27-2008, 07:09 AM
rworm for president? I nominated you - SuzukiJo for president! Let's have a debate - it is the season, you know. You're much too polite to be president anyway... you have to take a cut once in a while, like calling someone Sharpie! :mrgreen:

rworm
02-27-2008, 11:55 AM
rworm for president? I nominated you - SuzukiJo for president! Let's have a debate - it is the season, you know. You're much too polite to be president anyway... you have to take a cut once in a while, like calling someone Sharpie! :mrgreen:

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh44/robertworm/bandit109.jpg
1st -raise the speed limit and have bike only roads
See the new presidential attire:eek2: :doh: :trust: :clap: :rider: :rider: :rider:

rworm

etcthorne
02-27-2008, 12:22 PM
Rworm - looks like beautiful country down there in Arkansas....

PhilS
02-27-2008, 08:28 PM
Adjust the chain while the bike is on the kick-stand, as the manual says.

Unless I'm reading something wrong, my manual says do it on the center stand. What am I missing?

dwoodul
03-15-2008, 08:29 AM
I just did my chain adjustment (after I made two trips to AutoZone for a 36mm socket – long story). I used the marks on the swing-arm to make sure the rear wheel was aligned. The manual calls for .8-1.2in of slack (at 500 miles I had about 1.5in slack). I now have about .8in of slack but that seems tight. Any comments on the slack? I also noticed that when I tightened the axel nut, the chain would tighten slightly so I had to compensate. The manual calls for 72.5 ft lbs of torque on the axel nut which, like I said, is a 36mm
nut (LARGE - my V65 Magna had a 32mm nut).

Any comments - does this sound right?

Thanks,

Ol Dave

wanabeguru
03-15-2008, 10:28 PM
Unless I'm reading something wrong, my manual says do it on the center stand. What am I missing?

from my jan 07 owners book, page 7-24.........."place the motorcycle on the SIDE stand":doh:
Wally

aharbi
03-15-2008, 10:42 PM
from my jan 07 owners book, page 7-24.........."place the motorcycle on the SIDE stand":doh:
Wally

Could it be that they are not shipped with a center stand and only the side stand?

wanabeguru
03-15-2008, 10:47 PM
Could it be that they are not shipped with a center stand and only the side stand?

my 07 bandit came with both stands:sun:

PhilS
03-15-2008, 11:10 PM
Length check done while spinning wheel and counting pins all while on the center stand. Slack adjustment is done on the side stand. My PDF downloaded manuals are wrong on the slack adjustment - it says center stand.

dwoodul
03-16-2008, 10:15 AM
I checked/adjusted my slack on the center stand then checked it again on the side stand and they looked to be the same. I know I have .08 in of slack but it still seems tight which is probably normal. I wonder if the angle of the swing arm/rear sprocket - to front sprocket changes as it moves up/down - I hope not. This is my first chain driven bike in a while - In fact I think my last chain was my /74 Kaw Z1. Anyone remember those first 900cc bikes? My V45 Magna may have been a chain also - can't remember (don't call me "Ol" Dave for nothing).

I'm a little anal about this 'cause I know you DON"T want to over-tighten the chain. I haven't been this nervous about an adj since I did my valves on my old Magna...!!! I was a freakin nervous wreck while I was doin those... ;-)

I'll keep reading the procedures mentioned on this forum and probably get comfortable with this after a couple of trys.

BTW - thanks to everyone here who add their experience and procedures!!

Ol Dave

FDM
04-11-2008, 09:30 PM
I just wanted to check in with everyone to see how the chain adj procedure worked out by centering the rear sprocket in the middle of the chain, now that I have a Bandit I am seeing for my self what everyone has been talking about, the marks are definitely off following this procedure, the hand book says that the chain has to be in perfect alignment with the front sprocket and to use the marks just as a reference point, with every thing in line my marks are about of a mark off does this sound right to everyone? Thanks

flb_78
04-11-2008, 09:40 PM
I would think that you would want to check your slack with the bike loaded and the suspension sprung. Set your slack with no load and when you put your butt on the seat, the chain tightens up.

etcthorne
04-12-2008, 07:32 AM
Yes, the slack needs to be checked with the bike off the center stand (on the kick stand) as the manual states. I use the swingarm markings as only a very rough indicator of wheel alignment. 3/4 of a mark off seems an awful lot, from what I've experienced.

When I think my chain is adjusted, I tighten the axle nut (not to full torque yet) and pop her up on the center stand. I then rotate the rear wheel and look for the chain to center itself on the sprocket, not favoring one side or the other. I also (due to another poster's pointer on this) put my head near the ground and look at the alignment from underneath the chain, rotating the wheel and seeing if it passes the old "eyeball" check from back to front.

If everything appears to be perfect, I then pop her back down on the kick stand and torque to spec. I then check the tension again. I leave it at the upper-end of what's acceptable, or around an inch slack. I've seen horrible damage to chains, sprockets, and gears from a chain that is too tight.

A good way to determine if you've done it correctly is to go for a short ride, stop, check the tension again, and look to see if the chain rollers are still riding on the center of the sprocket, not favoring one side or the other. Additionally, if the rollers on the chain are not evenly colored - one side looking hot - no chain oil - as opposed to the other side, there is some kind of alignment issue.

I'm a maintenance freak from ****. I clean the chain with Kerosene about every 500 miles. I also lubricate about every 250 miles.

Some say that chains are a ****, but I like them. It's my therapy to go out in the garage, wipe her down, make adjustments, and clean.

There's nothing better than riding a chain driven bike after that chain has been cleaned and properly adjusted. Whisper quiet!!!

Good luck. By the way, if you've never done it before, I'd actually advise finding a friend or neighbor who has been doing this for years to help you. And, PLEASE, if you replace a chain, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS replace both sprockets at the same time.

FDM
04-12-2008, 11:13 AM
Thanks Etcthorne,

I have been adj chains for a while now on 3 other bikes, I use the marks on them and every thing is fine but if I use the marks on the Bandit the chain rides all the way over to the starboard side as you had posted, so I did the same thing adj the chain where it will ride in the middle of the sprocket, I may be off a hair on the but I know it is at least a mark off. I haven’t had any problems and the chain seems to be fine, I just want to make sure I’m not altering the alignment by not lining up the marks on both sides. The adjustment on the Bandit is just different to me the adjustment plate reads different on top and bottom and different on top and bottom on the other side, seems you can’t get the top and bottom marks lined up on both sides if you wanted to. How far off are your marks?


Now I have a real idiot question is the alignment for lining up the two sprockets or is it for lining up the front wheel with the back wheel?

DANNYROTH
04-12-2008, 01:07 PM
A quick suggestion, if lying on the ground looking up at your rear sprocket and chain alignment is uncomfortable, use a small mirror to do the check. It's not quite the same, but, with practice, you will get good at it. A small mirror, especially if you get one of those that come with a little telescoping handle, is a very handy addition to your tool box.

Greg in H-Town
04-12-2008, 09:27 PM
Now I have a real idiot question is the alignment for lining up the two sprockets or is it for lining up the front wheel with the back wheel?
I'm pretty sure it's both. If getting a straight chain line leaves the wheel out of alignment then something ain't right.

FDM
04-13-2008, 10:36 AM
I called the dealer yesterday and asked them if the chain should ride in the middle of the sprocket, they told me no it should ride on one side or the other and they use the marks to align the rear wheel, so to see if it made any difference I realigned my wheel to the marks on the swing arm, I couldn’t tell any noise or handling difference but the chain does stay on the right side of the sprocket, I was also told from one of the guys we rode with yesterday that the most important thing was to keep the rear wheel in line with the front wheel and don’t worry about where the chain rides unless it is binding or catching the sprocket when you turn the wheel, so at this point I’m just not sure where it should be.

Jack Giesecke
04-13-2008, 11:18 AM
I do the lying on the ground thing. With the front wheel straight, I compare one side of the rear tire alignment to the front wheel to the other side and how the sprocket and chain look as a check. I never owned one of those alignment tools nor do I trust the marks on any motorcycle. I guess one GOOD way to do it with precision would be to strap the bike straight onto my trailer rail and use the rail as an alignment gauge, but I've never had a problem just eyeballing the rear wheel.

BTW, some bikes (like mine) require the use of a rear stand since center stands seem to be add ons now days. But, then, I remember the day when center stands dragged in corners.:lol2: My Wing has a center stand, built in 1983, but I've never had to worry about no stinkin' chains on it. :nana: