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databyter

Chain Slack, Rear Wheel Alignment Issue

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databyter
OK, so maybe some of you remember me posting about my bad experience with my first maintenance, that I had done at the dealer to make sure my warranty would be happy.
 
I decided after that issue that I would buy the shop manual and do ALL maintenance myself, at least until I find a good mechanic in San Diego County that I might be lazy with now and then if I have no time.
 
The issues I had with that terrible service were,
 
Everything was WAAAY overtorqued, and several of the nuts n bolts had unecessary tool marks as if the wrong size or type of tool was used. I had to TEAR apart my oil filter (after buying two different types of wrenches with no success). That is just STUPID tight.  Same with the oil plug which is supposed to be tightened to 31 foot pounds, it was closer to 200. I had to stand on the wrench and jump on it.
 
But the thing that I am worried about today, that I never really resolved was that my chain was tightened too tightly, and it even seemed to affect my riding. There was slack, but not much. To add insult to injury for this maintenance I paid for, the rear wheel is baised to the left. I checked it three different ways and it is definitly making a left turn. 
 
But I worked a LOT of hours last year, and my riding was commute riding, and I was pretty tired when I was at home, not to mention my landlord keeps his garage like a packrat keeps his nest so it's difficult for me to dig out tools and find a place for maintenance. So long story short, I never did fix the alignment issue, and the chain seemed to stretch to the minimum allowable slack so I figured I was ok untill I had the time, the space and the energy.
 
I have done a lot the last few days, but couldn't find my 27mm socket so I ordered another one. But when I was washing the bike, oiling the chain, and changing the oil I measured slack. It says to check it a lot so I assume they get looser and stretch over time.
 
Mine never did get looser though, when I measured it yesterday, it was TIGHTER. I figured I was going to find a very loose chain since I have neglected maintaining this area, but it is actually slightly under the tolerance distance even with the chain pulled tight.
 
I tried to figure out how this was possible, and combined with the evidence of the bad alignment, I am wondering if it is possible that the axle nut was improperly torqued, or possibly cracked or damaged from overtorquing, and is not holding the wheel in place. This, it would seem to me, would cause the wheel to rest on the adjustment hardware, or possibly just drift to where the chain won't allow it anymore. 
 
Unless I am somehow measuring it wrong, or using the wrong specs (the first time I was using owners manual specs, now I am using shop manual specs, I assume they are the same, but my owners manual is temporarily lost until I organize my room) the chain actually seems to be UNDER the minimum gap. There is still some play on the bottom chain, the top chain is riding on the guide, which I assume is normal .
 
Anybody have a theory as to why my chain would get tighter and not looser? Is my theory right? I am expecting Amazon to deliver my socket today so I can align the wheel and reset the chain. After 8K miles, my sprocket might not like being aligned since it has probably broken in at a very slight angle.
 
The owners manual says an overtight chain can cause excess stress to the motor and drive train, but I've never touched the damn thing, so if I see any damage it's on the dealers piss poor job.
 
I will say it was a pleasure to do an oil change myself the second time, since I easily removed the plug and filter, having been the person who tightened them correctly last time.
 
I want to feel as confident with the wheel and chain, but seeing as how a moron with a heavy hand did that at the dealer, I am expecting damage. I have heard what happens when people overtorque that nut, and this guy overtorqued everything by multiples. In fact that is one of the reasons I have waited so long to work on that area. I have been afraid that I will loosen it up and find something wrong that will require a parts order and have me taking UBER to work. The fact that the chain has never gone too loose has worked in my favor there, until I realized that it is too tight.
 
As usual, I am all over the place, and too longwinded with my stream of consciousness, but any advice from those who got this far would be appreciated, as well as recommendations for a good mechanic in the San Diego area. I want to do all my own work, but I also want to have a backup, and would like to have somebody check the bike out at around 10K miles who knows more than I do.
 
I'd really like to get this resolved, because I am hesitant to go riding in the twisties up in the hills until I get my bike squared away 100%, and I really want to go riding with some local folks. My bike feels a little wierd in the rear suspension, or wheel, and I am not sure if it is an overtight chain cramping the full range of motion, or if my rear shock just needs to be adjusted after 8K miles.
 
Databyter

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yamahaha
I feel your pain.
 
Dealers often have a kid do the mundane jobs of changing oil and adjusting chains.  For some reason over tightening the chain and over torquing nuts and bolts seems to be the norm.
 
You should start from scratch. Do the chain adjustment over. Carefully look at the rear sprocket to see if one side of the teeth are worn more. Inspect the axle and nut threads for damage. Make sure to retorque axle with a torque wrench.
You don't want to run with a over tightened chain so be careful with your measurements. Better a little on the loose side than too tight.
 
If you notice a lot of uneven wear on the rear sprocket you want to take a really close look at the chain. You don't want the chain to break under any conditions. Worse case scenerio is a new chain and sprockets and thank your lucky stars the input seal and/or bearing for your front sprocket are ok. If there were a problem an oil leak should tip you off.
 
Yes, a badly misaligned and over tight chain is going to affect the ride and handling.
 
Good luck.
 
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databyter
I did a little research today when I found myself unexpectedly with a day off. I wanted to ride as usual, but the socket I needed to do the chain and the alignment was gonna be delivered today.
 
I didn't feel like waiting and the research was reviews of local bike shops.
 
I found one that seemed pretty favorably rated and took a roundabout fun route to get there as it was about 30 miles away from me.
 
The mechanic and owner were pretty cool and spent the time to explain a lot of stuff to me (mostly suspension stuff because I've been wanting to upgrade), and while I was there they re-aligned the wheel (it was facing the left as I thought) , determined the chain was not tight enough to be a problem despite the fact that it was technically out of spec range, so good news there.
Aired the tires as they were both a bit low, tightened a few other things, and really impressed me.
 
I think I found my shop, although I still want to do most maintenance myself as I learn the bike. 
 
We did talk about a new custom rear shock and rebuilding the front forks to better suit my weight and riding style and I am waiting for an estimate but think I am gonna make the plunge on that. They both seemed fairly knowledgable about suspension and spent a lot of time explaining it and even measured my sag n rebound n stuff to see where I was at and where the bike was at.
 
My ride home was great and I felt a lot more confident that my bike is safe and in good hands.
 
Databyter
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rick
Gonna agree with everything that yamahaha recommended above.
 
Once upon 20 + years ago, drive chains would need constant checking as they were junk. But a good quality modern chain ( and yes, aftermarket ones are better than OE, but OE is still far better than anything from the old days) that's on unworn sprockets and adjusted properly will last 15, 20k + miles w/o much fuss and might not need to be adjusted until well after 10k miles. The DID chain on my 530 lb, 100 hp Futura is now right at 10k miles and it's not once needed adjustment from new. And ritual cleaning - never. I let the dirt fling off with the lube I concoct.
 
I know lots of people will disagree with this and have to get their hands dirty after every ride, but imo if the chain is getting noticeably worn that quick (btw, they they get longer with wear, not by stretching) early on, something's really wrong.
 
The book calls for basically 2" of slack. For many bikes, that would be a lot (my Aprilia's chain slack is 1"). As yamahaha said above, looser is always better when it comes to chains. A chain that's too tight will wear out prematurely and take the sprockets with it. You also run the risk of damaging the tranny output shaft bearing as well. It would be a mistake to assume Yamaha's specs are wrong and adjust based on 20 other bike's specs.
 
One thing to keep in mind - the chain gets tighter as the rear suspension compresses. You might even see a different chain tension just by checking on a rear stand versus on the side stand as the bike being upright will result in a different rest spot for the swinger. You will likely also see a difference just by changing shock preload. So if the chain was adjusted (to 2") at some point with the bike on the side stand while the rear shock was cranked to the max, if the preload was dropped to the minimum, the chain will be tighter.
 
Having a centerstand and adjusting the chain while the suspension is at full extension takes this variable out of the equation. Kinda wish bike makers would start putting them back on bikes.
 
My last wind - buy tools and learn how to do the basics yourself. Life will be far easier and satisfying.
 
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databyter
Yea Rick, good post. I bought a crapload of tools, but as usual on the day that I thought I was gonna do the rear end work I realized the socket I THOUGHT I had was not actually 27 mm and I didn't have anything else that would work, and even though I ordered one from Amazon, I just wanted to find a bike guy to walk me through some stuff. But I am definitely gonna be doing 90% of my own work (I say 90% because I feel more comfortable having experienced dudes with the right tools do my fork rebuild etc). I even bought the shop manual. :)

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rick
When I 1st started riding, metric tools were really hard to find. Large sockets like 27 - 36 were rare finds. These days, having a tool is just a click away. Ahhh.
 
I bought my 1st BMW in 1976 cause I'd had enough with junk drive chains. 2 more BMWs later, nothing but driveshafts from '76 to 2003. I must admit, I was quite apprehensive getting my 1st chain driven bike after nearly 3 decades w/o. Think I checked that chain every week for a month until a buddy told me I was being waayyy tooo fussy and said - "lube it, set it, forget it".
 
Speaking of big sockets, that same friend has a 1290R SuperDuke in his collection of toys. The back wheel on the "Beast" is held on with 150 ft-lbs by a nut that requires a 60mm socket! Yep, Amazon and a bunch of other online tool stores have 'em.

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garrim
Speaking of big sockets, that same friend has a 1290R SuperDuke in his collection of toys. The back wheel on the "Beast" is held on with 150 ft-lbs by a nut that requires a 60mm socket! Yep, Amazon and a bunch of other online tool stores have 'em.
Holy crap!

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rick
With big-time torque/HP numbers and only one fastener, there's a need for tight
 
 Ducatis use similar torque numbers and a great big nut for their single sided swingers
 
And that 60mm socket is at least 3/4" drive so an adapter down to 1/2" female would also be needed. Have one of those - it's a great big lump of hardened steel
 
My Futura's wheel nut has an internal 22mm hex hole. The tool kit came with a short chunk of 22mm hex key. Just need a 22mm socket - and a 3 ft long breaker bar (a piece of iron pipe over a 20" long, 3/4" drive bar that's 1" in diameter). The "nut" has a huge, flat flange making bigtime break-away friction after it's been torqued to 125 ft-lbs. It usually breaks free with a satisfyingly loud "CRACK"!
 
 

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