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mjh937

Master Link Question

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mjh937

I have not riveted a chain before and am pretty sure I screwed it up.  The top rivet looks almost flush and is pushed through on the back.   Can this be fixed or do I need a new master link?  I am scared to ride it as it is until I have some expert opinions. 

AC3DA7D3-4059-4891-9333-16ACC4781803.jpeg

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mjh937

Here is the back side. 

C64F14D6-72E9-4768-9273-3C268E6DA061.jpeg

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mjh937

I think I might have fixed it.  Does this look okay to you guys?   I put a zip tie in the master link so you are looking at the right one.  Thanks. 

678EDB39-EBFA-4A4C-9CBD-6C5E23E9413B.jpeg

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mossrider

Oh, why do you do this me...

You were correct in the first case. That one was effed up. It would have lasted up to highway speed and came apart, snaking down the highway, looking for someone to k...

On the second point, can it be fixed? Possibly which it appears you almost got right. Assuming the correct chain tool (press) you can/did get that pin pushed back and fixed, almost. You have to be as careful with the backing block on the back side of the link as you are with the rivetting face in the front side of the tool. That's how that pin got pushed back out the back side. With those hollow pins you should be using the solid round nose flaring pin, again being very careful to correctly position the press block on the back side of the link. There is a tetrahedrite staking tool for solid pin types as well. 

It looks like it just may hold up tho, I'm proud of you.  To be sure, drop the chain off the rear sprocket so you can manipulate the chain in your hands. Flex the chain at several points and compare that to your new master link to ensure you have proper tension on it and that it is not binding up as it goes around the horn. It ain't Purdue but it looks like it'll work.

Good save.

 

And never mind how I know that you can (should) buy several master links for your chain because you just never know when you'll need one. They can be dremmeled out if needed for a second try. 

 

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mjh937

Thanks @mossrider   I was using a D.I.D. chain tool as I did not want to skimp on something that important.  I marked the link with a sharpie and I will keep an eye on it.  It feels like it is flexing the same as the other links so hopefully it is good. 

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mjh937

The test ride went well and the rivet looks the same so that is good.  I will still keep eye on it for the next few hundred miles though. 

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mossrider

You should be gooders for a lonnng time now. And my first was a lot worse than that. It do take some practice to learn the proper feel.

 

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Snake

That's a nice save!

It was my first time riveting a chain a few weeks ago, I was looking for a tool and when I asked the tech at my local shop he told me he never had a "chain tool" that lasts, and advised me to press it in with vice grips (a bit on each side at a time) then with the help of someone else hold a sledge on the backside of the chain and used a center punch to mushroom the rivet, worked very well. 

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Bigturbomax

Good save. Ive done almost the exact same thing before lol

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Fast_Frankenstein

If my mechanic said that he didn't use a rivet tool, but instead thought a sledge was da bomb, I'd be sure to bring my business elsewhere. FML, that's ridiculous.

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klx678

Take this for what it is worth, not saying chain tools are bad or one is a lesser skilled mechanic for using them.  It is saying those who may not use them may be a better mechanic than you think.

 

I totally understand what the mechanic said.  Nothing wrong with it.  In fact it shows he knows how the parts function and is doing exactly what the tool does using simple general tools to do it.  I would be more concerned with the idea of a new "do it myself" mechanic having to ask if that master link side plate install was bad.   If one does not understand how the part is to function one should not be doing the job.   

Knowing how the parts function, it totally makes sense what the mechanic is doing using small vise grips to install the side plate and make sure the pin is properly positioned and using the sledge.   If you don't get what he is doing with the head of the sledge hammer you're lacking a bit mechanically.  It is simply the "anvil" to provide support while the pin is being flared properly with a punch and ball peen from the other end.  Pretty much the same thing as the chain link tool does, just a different method that is totally mechanically sound and functional.   

If a mechanic told me that technique, with that rationalization, I'd realize he was a real mechanic and not just a "technician".    When I worked in a dealership, that was a bone of contention in the shop area.  We had three real mechanics, people who knew or could learn how things functioned, then how to work with and fix them if possible.  I know the Honda service rep was impressed with them and had confidence in their knowledge.  They didn't like being called "technicians" because they associated that with parts replacers, the ones who don't know how parts works, just how to test and replace parts.

 As for chain tools, they can be a pain in the butt.  I ran into that with the rivet link tools for bicycle chains.  They weren't very robust.  I don't know about motorcycle chain tools since I have only used clip style master links on my motorcycles, knowing full well how they work and how to use them.  

 

On the subject of chains...

I personally have used the clip style master links for the past 40 something years for on and off road motorcycles and do a similar process with small vise grips to get the side plate on the link pins completely before installing the clip making sure the groove is fully exposed.   The correct way to use a spring clip master link.  If the clip doesn't seat into the groove on both pins the job isn't right.  

And before anyone goes off about the clip style master link, it is every bit as strong, using the same solid pin and side plate material and thicknesses as all the other links.  It is simply about the clip being installed in the correct direction for chain rotation and that it is fully seated in the groove.   Done correctly it is as reliable as a pressed on clip, done wrong and there can be problems.  Kind of like that first picture of the pressed on link, don't do it right and you end up with problems.

I've had two chain failures, one when I was 18 riding off road when I apparently put a link clip on the wrong way, it got knocked off and the link came apart.  I remember the link wasn't a press fit, but rather kind of loose, no pinching on required.  That one time with a chain through the ignition cover was when I learned to make sure I put the clips on properly.  The other chain failure was a broken main link that fractured the side plate over time, due to the chain being too tight.     Last time I trusted running a chain adjustment according to manuals.   Bringing up the other problem with the new "do it yourself" mechanic, being too anal about the chain adjustment and adjusting the chain too tight, because they fear it will come off.   A good chain will not derail without something causing it, usually something jamming against the chain, an adjuster breaking/failing, or severe wheel misalignment.  That's pretty clear when you see how loose off road bike chains are.  

Now I will compress the suspension until the swing arm pivot, axle center, and counter shaft in line, adjust the chain to have about  ½"-1" play, then see how much play is in it at full extension of the suspension on the side stand or work stand.  That is the correct slack.   I found my Zephyr was incorrect, as was the KLX250 and 650.  Too tight.   I know how much slack should be in my chain no matter what it looks like.   It is better run a bit too loose than  a bit too tight.   A loose chain will not damage wheel or counter shaft bearings, chains, or sprockets.

Edited by klx678
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Lone Wolf
On 12/20/2020 at 5:28 AM, klx678 said:

I personally have used the clip style master links for the past 40 something years for on and off road motorcycles...

And before anyone goes off about the clip style master link, it is every bit as strong, using the same solid pin and side plate material and thicknesses as all the other links.  It is simply about the clip being installed in the correct direction for chain rotation and that it is fully seated in the groove.   Done correctly it is as reliable as a pressed on clip, done wrong and there can be problems.  Kind of like that first picture of the pressed on link, don't do it right and you end up with problems.

That's cool. I have used clip style before, they wouldn't sell them if they were a liability.

On 8/1/2020 at 4:43 PM, mjh937 said:

I have not riveted a chain before and am pretty sure I screwed it up.  The top rivet looks almost flush and is pushed through on the back.   

I know you fixed this already - but here is my autopsy for what happened.

That DID tool has multiple positions, so you can push the pin out (break the chain) or other positions to use when rivet (flare) the master link.

Position "A" pushes the pin through the hole. The other position "B" retains the pin so it cannot move that far.

DID.jpg

A.jpg

B.jpg

The photo below shows the other end of that pin was free to move.

1.jpg

The only way that pin could have been pushed out that far would be if it was in "Position A" or the tool wasn't sitting flush with the back side of the link.

2.jpg

Mossrider had the same diagnosis, I just put pictures to it. He said "You have to be as careful with the backing block on the back side of the link as you are with the rivetting face in the front side of the tool. That's how that pin got pushed back out the back side." "...again being very careful to correctly position the press block on the back side of the link."

I made the opposite mistake and was trying to push out a pin using the cheap Cycle Gear tool. I had used it a few times before, and this time it was harder and harder to turn the bolt to push out the pin until it finally messed up the tip of the tool. I was mad, thought it was a cheap tool - then realized I had it in the wrong position and the pin had nowhere to go and was being crushed. 

All of these tools, including the Motion Pro (that I replaced it with) do multiple functions and are sort of disorienting until you do a few chains with them.

Edited by Lone Wolf
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DewMan

Excellant post @Lone Wolf . 👍

I use the DID tool and I agree, it's not hard to use as long as you're paying attention to what you're doing.  


DewMan
 
Just shut up and ride.

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klx678
18 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

I made the opposite mistake and was trying to push out a pin using the cheap Cycle Gear tool. I had used it a few times before, and this time it was harder and harder to turn the bolt to push out the pin until it finally messed up the tip of the tool. I was mad, thought it was a cheap tool - then realized I had it in the wrong position and the pin had nowhere to go and was being crushed. 

All of these tools, including the Motion Pro PBR (that I replaced it with) do multiple functions and are sort of disorienting until you do a few chains with them.

Yep, that's the risk there.  Problem is if the first few should come apart.    Maybe the trick should be to advise to buy a long chain - 120 link or so - and practice with the last couple links and a couple master links.  Less costly than a road failure.  If I ever decide to use a chain riveter tool I will do the practice.  Just so far the standard clip type master link suits the power of the bikes I ride, no 150+ hp bikes here.

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Lone Wolf
1 hour ago, klx678 said:

...Maybe the trick should be to advise to buy a long chain - 120 link or so - and practice with the last couple links and a couple master links.  Less costly than a road failure. 

That's a great idea - or even just an old chain and some new master links to practice. In hindsight it would have been fantastic to practice on a few chain break / rivets off the bike, without cramped work area and plenty of light to see what you are doing.

This video helped me, and I found the calipers he is using were cheap at the hardware store and have had many other uses in the few years I have had them.

 

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Lone Wolf
4 hours ago, klx678 said:

... Problem is if the first few should come apart...

I had the same concern, but after doing a few chains I became confident that there is no freaking way in hell that sideplate is coming off after even slightly flaring the end of the rivet.  The sideplate is actually a fairly tight friction fit, and this step on the DID instruction is critical to get it pressed on. I bend the chain around to make sure it's not on too tight or too loose before going on to the rivet step. You also lube the pins on that master link before install it.

DID press plate.jpg

Flare.jpg

RK_flare.jpg

This photo is from RK chains

Edited by Lone Wolf
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Fast_Frankenstein
Posted (edited)
On 12/20/2020 at 5:28 AM, klx678 said:

Take this for what it is worth, not saying chain tools are bad or one is a lesser skilled mechanic for using them.  It is saying those who may not use them may be a better mechanic than you think.

I totally understand what the mechanic said.  Nothing wrong with it.  In fact it shows he knows how the parts function and is doing exactly what the tool does using simple general tools to do it.  I would be more concerned with the idea of a new "do it myself" mechanic having to ask if that master link side plate install was bad.   If one does not understand how the part is to function one should not be doing the job.   

If a mechanic told me that technique, with that rationalization, I'd realize he was a real mechanic and not just a "technician".    When I worked in a dealership, that was a bone of contention in the shop area.  We had three real mechanics, people who knew or could learn how things functioned, then how to work with and fix them if possible.  I know the Honda service rep was impressed with them and had confidence in their knowledge.  They didn't like being called "technicians" because they associated that with parts replacers, the ones who don't know how parts works, just how to test and replace parts.

 As for chain tools, they can be a pain in the butt.  I ran into that with the rivet link tools for bicycle chains.  They weren't very robust.  I don't know about motorcycle chain tools since I have only used clip style master links on my motorcycles, knowing full well how they work and how to use them.  

 

On the subject of chains...

I personally have used the clip style master links for the past 40 something years for on and off road motorcycles and do a similar process with small vise grips to get the side plate on the link pins completely before installing the clip making sure the groove is fully exposed.   The correct way to use a spring clip master link.  If the clip doesn't seat into the groove on both pins the job isn't right.  

_______________________________________________________________________

KLX678 - I'm a licensed motorcycle mechanic - worked in industry for ~30 years, then worked HD on Caterpillar for the past 10 years. My original comments were mostly focused on the idea that a professional mechanic didn't have even the most basic tool in his box.

Yes as a "emergency repair" track side, you can absolutely hack out with a ball-peen, punch and sledge. This is in no way "professional" - the person should not be considered either a technician or mechanic. There is opportunity to bend the pin, or work harden the "flare" from multiple strikes, and there is no support for the back of the link using this method. DID, RK and others do not recommend this as an adequate solution either, so it certainly should not be seen as "functional". DID and others offer the correct tool, and at a reasonable price. It is additionally, easy to use and robust.

Your discussion about clip style masters is quite accurate, especially regarding press-type side-plates, and their safety. Most manufacturers do not offer these type of masters for their premium chains, so the DID ERV only offers the additional safety of a rivet that can not fail. Additional issues with clip-type masters surround wear in the chain guides of dirt-bikes - it is possible to wear the pin to the point that the clip becomes unsupported.

Thanks for your detailed reply, it allowed me to re-consider and flesh out what may have been seen as a flippant response to the OP.

 

 

Edited by Fast_Frankenstein
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klx678

So, explain to me how using a punch to flair the pin is not at all how the chain tool works.   Seems to me they are pretty much using a punch set using a screw to push it in where using a punch to do so with a ball peen hammer is pretty much the same, but one uses the force of the screw thread ramp against the pin, the other  using impact from the hammer on the punch to flair it.

As for the use of the sledge, you're a mechanic you know full well that he was simply using it as an anvil to back up the pin against the force of the punch and hammer flairing the pin, kind of like how the chain tool has a solid back side as an anvil against the screw force.   The sledge head could be duplicated using a large heavy piece of steel.  It's only a backing to support the pin.   If the guy has done that for years and done fine with good flaired pins, why does he need the chain tool.

Just to make a point, how did people put chains together before there were chain tools?  I'm kind of betting on that same supported pin(link) with the other side being punched to flair them.  Some sort of impact punch.

Again, just saying the mechanic had a working knowledge, whether it conforms to yours or mine is beside the point.   Pretty soon mechanics who adjust chains without chain slack tools will be considered totally wrong.  

A pin can only "not fail" if flaired properly.  Seems some people don't do them right, much as they may not put on a master link properly.  Nothing is fool proof when in the hands of the inexperienced or unknowing.  

I would say a hardened pin would cut through a chain guide before wearing to the point of losing the clip.   I've never seen any chain that  worn.  I never got that kind of wear on my trials bike where the chain ran through a chain tensioner.  But who knows.  I'm sure someone has done it.   But I'm betting the extremely hooked rear sprocket would be a sure sign that the sprockets and chain should be replaced - to the knowing rider.

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Lone Wolf
39 minutes ago, klx678 said:

So, explain to me how using a punch to flair the pin is not at all how the chain tool works. 

The tools made for flaring have a "back stop" to press against. 

If you punch, even with something set against the back side, it's not the same as what these tools do where they are literally pressing against that back side so it doesn't move anywhere.

This thread started with an "oops" of a pin getting pushed out of place because it wasn't set in the tool properly to secure the back side of that pin (start from top of this thread and read down)

A.jpg

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klx678

And a metal bar or hammer head between the tire and the chain to provide support is doing a similar service.   I did visit RK and DID sites and didn't find anything saying do not flair the pin with a punch.  I did see they sell chain tools, which just makes sense.  As for work hardening, it's gonna take more than a few whacks with a hammer and a flaring tool will also create work hardening.  It happens whenever metal is forced to move.

If I do ever go to a riveted master link, which I probably won't, I will probably get a tool to do the job.   But maybe not too.

 

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Triple Jim
1 hour ago, klx678 said:

If I do ever go to a riveted master link, which I probably won't, I will probably get a tool to do the job.

Yeah, it's not always a popular thing to say, but I've never had a problem with a clip type master link.

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Lone Wolf
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, klx678 said:

And a metal bar or hammer head between the tire and the chain to provide support is doing a similar service...

That's cool, sometimes there is more than one way to do something.

Just be aware that if you don't have something holding that back side of the rivet pin totally captive, it may creep out of place no matter what metal bars, hammer heads, etc. you have pushing against it.

The first post on this thread shows a pin that pushed out of place while attempting to flare it.

2.jpg.a5b5418d19a11d08c25ee0d584d3459b.jpg

The reason for that failure was not putting the backing plate in the right position on the chain tool, but I could see a similar issue happening if you didn't have something set up similar to how hydraulic presses work, they are pushing against something that is integral to the tool - the stuff it is pushing against can't move.

599906649_MotionProJumbo.jpg.79de02947f2b5f1b78dcf975e70559ec.jpg

I am kind of a tool freak, so after I screwed up my Cycle Gear chain tool I bought the Motion Pro Jumbo chain tool

2013812185_MotionProJumbo_2.jpg.ca48dbe7f6d62b15c7ba9d9db2c7b38d.jpg

As you can see, it holds the other side of the rivet pin captive (if you have the "press plate" on properly).

I have done a lot of bodywork over the years, beating on fenders with hammers and dolly. It reminds me of that "every action there is an opposite reaction". the thing you hit tends to bounce backwards. 

This is an entirely different concept, it is more like crushing a beer can in a vice.

BTW someone else commented on "work hardening", I don't see that as the main issue. The bigger issue is how critical it is to get that rivet flared just right, while maintaining proper position of the link plate so you don't crush it on too tight (I have done that, and then that one link won't move freely). 

Totally OK with me if anyone wants to use clip style links, I have used them over the years. I'm just clarifying the proper tool if anyone decides to do the rivet thing.  I do my own maintenance, so for those looking to try the rivet thing I suggest taking an old chain, buying some master links that are rivet style, and test making several rivet flares. After the first couple of tries you become great at it.

Edited by Lone Wolf
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Lone Wolf
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, klx678 said:

Just to make a point, how did people put chains together before there were chain tools?  I'm kind of betting on that same supported pin(link) with the other side being punched to flair them.  Some sort of impact punch.

I'm not a historian... But I do have a bunch of very strong "C-Clamps" used for welding. 

If you took my chain tool away, I would use a "C-Clamp" to put a controlled gradual pressure on the master link pin until it was flared out to spec. And I would put a steel "BB" in the small hollow center to control the metal, push it outwards rather than cave it in flat. The professional chain tools literally have a BB at the tip to shape the hollow pin.

BB.jpg.e221c33731120f50f59f2e9d6bb506a6.jpg

The clearances are pretty tight on how that end plate fits over the pin, and it is really just a slight expansion at the tip of the pin that ensures the plate is secure.

My drill press also has a small removable vice. I could carry the little vice over to my new chain, and it would work well for pressing the pin to flare the tip without pushing the other end of the pin out of the link. These options are cumbersome and make me appreciate my chain tool - but it could be done. I would reach for Channel lock pliers before I reached for a hammer. Something that totally controls the other end of the pin.

When George Washington worked on his motorcycle, he likely hammered against an anvil. You want something that isn't going to move on the other side.

Edited by Lone Wolf

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Fast_Frankenstein
4 hours ago, klx678 said:

So, explain to me how using a punch to flair the pin is not at all how the chain tool works.   Seems to me they are pretty much using a punch set using a screw to push it in where using a punch to do so with a ball peen hammer is pretty much the same, but one uses the force of the screw thread ramp against the pin, the other  using impact from the hammer on the punch to flair it.

 

Not to beat this to death. Note the plethora of photos from others, The difference is that the hemispherical end of the engineered flair tool "pushes" the hollow flare end of the master-link, limited by the force engineered into the tool. One and done, dramatically reducing the opportunity to work harden (and therefore crack, requiring replacement), and allowing the engineered final external dimension (noted by the chain manufacturer, and measured assuming symmetry). Punches (even roll-pin punches) require multiple strikes to adequately flair the link, and cannot be centered to create the required even flare.

So to end - Can you use a hammer, anvil and punch to create a flair? Yes. Is this the recommended, professional solution? No.

Regarding wear on off-road chains - in the Pacific North-West wear, in wet conditions, from grit between chain guides and chains (o-ring) mean that chains with zero "stretch" can be worn to the point that they are un-safe from side-plate erosion. Really common locally, and the reason most of us use rivet type masters.

image.thumb.png.504fa821a45f7a17f6e89c95f0014bac.png

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klx678
18 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

That's cool, sometimes there is more than one way to do something.

Just be aware that if you don't have something holding that back side of the rivet pin totally captive, it may creep out of place no matter what metal bars, hammer heads, etc. you have pushing against it.

 

.

The sledge hammer head is against the pins being punched,  not the backside plate.  So the impact is focused on the pin, not the plate so the pin will not move in that plate..  

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