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philthyphil

Slight Loose Chain a Safety Issue?

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philthyphil
I just finished replacing the rear fender on my bike with a tail tidy. I have approximately 400 miles on the bike so while I was in the garage wrenching I went ahead and checked on the oil, coolant level, and chain tension. My chain seems to be a little loose. The owners manual says to measure the distance from the bottom of the chain guide down to the center of the chain, and that there should be between 2.01 and 2.20 inches of space there while applying some downward pressure to the chain. I followed this procedure and I have just under 2.5 inches of space. About 2 and 7/16 inches to be exact, which is too much. I don't have a socket big enough in my garage at the moment for loosening the axle, so I'll need to head over to the hardware store tomorrow and pick one up. 
 
Would it dangerous, and/or potentially bad for the motorcycle if I were to ride it to the hardware store in the morning, and then ride it back home where I can make the proper adjustment? The manual says that if there is a distance greater than 2.28 inches that the chain could damage the frame, swingarm, and other parts. How much risk am I taking by riding it about 10 miles round trip with the chain tension in the condition that it is currently in?
 
Also, is it normal that my chain already be this loose before I even reach the 600 mile first service mark?

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johnakay
not quite sure what you mean by chain guide.
never heard of 2.20" what is that 2.1/4"??
the correct way to measure is to have the bike on level ground and upright.
if you haven't got centre stand have some one to hold the bike up.
do not use a paddock stand .
measure from the centre of the chain to the ground and gain with the chain lifted up.
deduct the 1 st measurement from the second ..this will give you the correct measurement.
another way to is to try and pull the chain off the socket centre it should hardly move.
having a little more slack is better than having it to tight.
 

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bugeyes
And yes, it's normal that the chain loosens up on a new bike.
Like said above a little loose is better than too tight, you should be OK until the service.
But get the proper tools to adjust, you will need them further on.
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rick
Sorry, but the owner's manual specifically states that the bike be on the side stand when checking chain tension. .
 
If you checked chain tension with the bike on an aftermarket center stand, the suspension would extend fully and the chain would appear looser than it would measure with the bike on the side stand.
 
If you check it with the bike upright, the suspension wth settle more and the chain will appear tighter. If you then loosen the chain to get to the specs, when the bike is on the side stand, it will likely be too loose.
 
Maybe 20 years ago chains lost some adjustment in the 1st few hundred miles. But unless the chain is a real cheap POS, I don't see why it would budge in the 1st 10k miles. The OE chain may not be DID's best quality chain, but it still says DID on the side and those are never junk.
 
The slack specs for the chain are 51-56mm. This translates to 2.01" - 2.3. ( 3 tenths of an inch is a bit more than 5/16" )
 
 
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jake
Here is a few pointer I found real quick its a different way to do it than what the owners manual says but it has some good sound advice. He says use a center stand in the video but like said above you want some a load on it when adjusting.
 

 
here is one on the FZ
 

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2015 FZ-07 2003 2014 GSXR 1000

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rick
The side stand thing is a bit odd, imo. It would make more sense if the "book" also specified and preload setting on the shock as that would take a variable out of the equation. So a guy who weighs over 200 lbs and leaves his shock set with a bigger preload than me, for instance, at 140 lbs will measure a different amount of chain slack - even if the chain has the same amount of slack at, say, the 3rd notch up from full soft, where mine was delivered.
 
Who's gonna change shock preload, just to check the chain?
 
This is where having that center stand as OE is another good thing.
 
Ultimately, it's not all that fussy - yer not adjusting valve clearances. A chain that's a bit too loose is always better than too tight. Because I ride with a pretty soft spring preload (swinger is up relative to the frame - the chain is tighter) , I tend to adjust chains to the lower end of the scale.
 
Keep an eye on the rubber guards - both top and bottom of the swinger. If they're not getting destroyed and you don't hear chain slap when you slam the throttle shut, life is good. Set it,lube it, forget it.

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philthyphil
not quite sure what you mean by chain guide. never heard of 2.20" what is that 2.1/4"??
the correct way to measure is to have the bike on level ground and upright.
if you haven't got centre stand have some one to hold the bike up.
do not use a paddock stand .
measure from the centre of the chain to the ground and gain with the chain lifted up.
deduct the 1 st measurement from the second ..this will give you the correct measurement.
another way to is to try and pull the chain off the socket centre it should hardly move.
having a little more slack is better than having it to tight.

Have you ever read the owners manual?

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Beemer
A loose chain is a fast chain (but not too loose). If it's not slapping anything and not slipping on the teeth it's probably ok. I suggest you get a good, quality torque wrench for the job. One with a long handle that gives you good leverage to put that specified torque on that wheel nut without straining one of your own. ;) GL!
 
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Beemer

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yamahaha
A too loose chain is quite noticable when riding. If you can feel the slack its time to tighten. Over tightening the chain is BAD.

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philthyphil
A too loose chain is quite noticable when riding. If you can feel the slack its time to tighten. Over tightening the chain is BAD.
What do you mean by feel the slack? Do you mean feel the slack while riding the bike, or feel the slack by moving the chain up and down with my hand while the bike is parked? One thing I have noticed the last few times I've ridden is that I can hear the chain allot more than I could before. 

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yamahaha
You can feel the slack while riding if its really loose.

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philthyphil
My OCD got the best of me and I went ahead and adjusted the chain anyway. It was slightly outside of spec so I figured I'd might as well make it right. It was a pretty simple job. I just followed the instructions in the owners manual. Measuring down from the chain guide to the center of the chain I had nearly 2.5 inches of space. After about 15 minutes of closely following the manual's guidelines my chain is set it its proper tension and I have about 2.125 inches of space between the chain guide and the center of the chain, putting me well within spec. 
 
 
 

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mjh937
@philthyphil, I think everyone here had to adjust their chain after the first hundred miles or so. Mine has not needed to be adjusted again since (and that is over 9,000 miles now).

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philthyphil
@philthyphil , I think everyone here had to adjust their chain after the first hundred miles or so. Mine has not needed to be adjusted again since (and that is over 9,000 miles now).
 
Okay, glad to know that it wasn't just my bike's chain loosening up. Obviously everyone here hasn't adjusted their chain though because most of the people that replied to this post are saying that the chain should be good to go where it was before I adjusted it.

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philthyphil
Something else I wanted to run past you all. The only torque wrench I have is one of the non-click ones. It just has a needle and a little gauge that tells you how many ft. lbs. you're at. I don't think that it is the most precise thing in the world. The axle nut calls for 76 ft. lbs. and the set nuts each call for 1.6 ft. lbs. I erred on the side of over tightening. The axle I think I got pretty close, but it may be as tight as 78 or 79 lbs, but the set nuts were a little harder to get. It's difficult to get such a small reading from that type of torque wrench. I torqued them to just under 2 lbs. Do you guys think my margins error are okay?

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hamster
Something else I wanted to run past you all. The only torque wrench I have is one of the non-click ones. It just has a needle and a little gauge that tells you how many ft. lbs. you're at. I don't think that it is the most precise thing in the world. The axle nut calls for 76 ft. lbs. and the set nuts each call for 1.6 ft. lbs. I erred on the side of over tightening. The axle I think I got pretty close, but it may be as tight as 78 or 79 lbs, but the set nuts were a little harder to get. It's difficult to get such a small reading from that type of torque wrench. I torqued them to just under 2 lbs. Do you guys think my margins error are okay?
 
 
I'd say you did a pretty nice job, it is as exact as it can get.
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Safe riding!

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timjh
The only torque wrench I have is one of the non-click ones. It just has a needle and a little gauge that tells you how many ft. lbs. you're at. I don't think that it is the most precise thing in the world.
It's probably MORE precise (and accurate) than a clicker.  Just more of a pita to use.

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YZEtc
If you are referring to the chain adjuster nuts at 1.6 ft/lbs, my Owner's Manual specifies those at 12 ft/lbs.
Double-check them and be sure they're snug to prevent losing them.
The Owner's Manual lists a 1.6 figure for the metric equivalent of 12 ft/lbs.
 
 
Also, be sure you have tightened the axle nut first, then tighten the adjuster nuts second.
 
 
My results on bikes and chain slack over the years:
 
 
If I am mega-anal over keeping the slack in the spec shown in the Owner's Manual, on most of my bikes, I'd constantly be making adjustments - several per season, anyway.
The way it typically works out is that after I make an initial adjustment soon after riding a new bike, the slack will again increase but stop at or around the maximum spec.
If I leave it there, it will stop increasing and I can ride all season without another adjustment.

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johnakay
Have you ever read the owners manual?
 
I have but ours is in metric not inches and we haven't use inches in years.
 
as for centre stand Rick is correct..
I will still say you need to stand the bike upright to take measurement.
on my last bike I fitted a auto lub and in the 9,500 miles I've never had to adjust the chain and it was the same on all my other bikes since 2003.
on my fazer 600(03 model)I had a scottoiler fitted and in 15000 miles I only adjusted once.
also bare in mind all torque settings are for dry nuts/bolts.if you lube them this will increase the torque.
 
 

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philthyphil
If you are referring to the chain adjuster nuts at 1.6 ft/lbs, my Owner's Manual specifies those at 12 ft/lbs. Double-check them and be sure they're snug to prevent losing them.
The Owner's Manual lists a 1.6 figure for the metric equivalent of 12 ft/lbs.
 
 
Also, be sure you have tightened the axle nut first, then tighten the adjuster nuts second.
 
 
My results on bikes and chain slack over the years:
 
 
If I am mega-anal over keeping the slack in the spec shown in the Owner's Manual, on most of my bikes, I'd constantly be making adjustments - several per season, anyway.
The way it typically works out is that after I make an initial adjustment soon after riding a new bike, the slack will again increase but stop at or around the maximum spec.
If I leave it there, it will stop increasing and I can ride all season without another adjustment.
 
Yea, that was a brain fart/typo. I use the metric reading on my torque wrench because the gauge is spaced out nicer and easier to read. The manual has the set nuts for the chain adjuster nuts spec'd at 1.6 m. kgf, which is the metric equivalent of 12 ft. lbs.

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peteinpa
OK. Got to weigh in. Chain slack spec. is with shock fully extended. With bike on side stand it should be fully extended anyway. If not your rear spring preload is too loose.On a track stand it might compress some.A center stand is the way to go.Ive got one.?

Got new red 2015 FZ-07 on 7/22/16!
Black 2006 Honda ST1300 53K miles.

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yamahaha
Don't sweat it. My axle was so over torqued from the factory, it was pitiful. Couple pounds either way shouldn't hurt. Unless you are using an expensive torque wrench or one that has been recently corrected you could be off several pounds anyways.
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