Please help with weird chain tension - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Please help with weird chain tension

Few issues here that are probably unrelated. Chain adjustment issue @ the bottom. My bike is a 13 with about 6k miles.

A few weeks ago I was riding the bike probably too hard and experienced a bit of a loss of power. Like..I was kiting along about 100mph (for a good 15 minutes) and suddenly after about 80mph I had mush. I slowed down until my destination and it seemed ok, but I didn't ride it hard again like that since. It DOES seem like since that day starts have been a little more difficult, but it always starts---I just have to hold the button longer or do it twice. I was worried I may have burnt an injector or something, but there's no warnings and it's running fine. It goes on a battery tender every night. Then yesterday it was dead at work, would click but not turn over, so I push started it and went about 10 miles to Walmart. Again, had to push start. Got it home and threw it on the charger, it says it's 95% charged..hmm. Let it charge to 100 and the bike started right up, but I'm thinking maybe I cooked a cell and wrecked my capacity even if the voltage is good? Any ideas on that? Any thoughts about whether or not these things may be related?

Next, there's a strange sound that happens on de-throttle decelleration that I can't find. It's slower than the rotation of the tire and isn't always there. Sort of a tsssh tsssh tssh sound. The problem is that I have no idea how long it's been doing that since I always ride with earplugs and only recently forgot them at work and had to ride without them. It's not an audible noise with earplugs in. It's not caliper, it's not fender, like I said it's slower than the rotation of the wheel and seems to be coming from somewhere between under the seat and the front wheel---so I know, tons of help. Doesn't seem to do it without the bike moving. Any ideas? I think it MAY be due to chain tension because yesterday while investigating the bike in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, I happened to jiggle my chain, which has gone probably right about 600 miles since last adjustment, and it was like...floppy loose. Like drooping down off the real sprocket loose sorta. I just checked it not 300 miles ago and it seemed, if anything, too tight. So I limped it home slowly on a back road, threw it on the stand, and gave the wheel a spin.

It's like...significantly tight in one spot ~1" and significantly loose in the other ~3". I think maybe on decel the chain is flopping around? I recently replaced my tires and had a hard time getting the rear wheel back on my myself, I'm wondering if there's a chance that I somehow made the chain uneven over the rear sprocket? I attempted skipping it a link from the loose side to the tight side, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference and I can't find ANYTHING in any service manuals about the need to keep it perfect, so I'm at a loss. I spent about two hours trying to get it closer to even with absolutely zero luck. As soon as it would feel even and I'd go to increase tension, it would wonk back out again. I took a video that seems to show it being pretty floppy, is that normal? Should I just degrease the heck out of it? Is that much slack difference normal? WHAT DO I DO? ahhhhhhh.

I've also had an issue with it not wanting to move gears when stopped without throttling up, but I recently adjusted clutch tension and I think the two are related. I readjusted last night again so we'll see what happens there.

Here's the video:

Last edited by AdventureSeeker; 09-24-2016 at 09:36 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 10:17 AM
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If the rear wheel is aligned correctly, then the chain sloppiness is a sign that you need to replace the chain and rear sprocket. I don't know about the front sprocket, maybe someone will make a recommendation on that.

It's weird that the chain would wear out at 6,000 miles. I'll take a wild guess and speculate that the chain was much too tight after you replaced the tire. Maybe you set the chain tension with the rear wheel off the ground. I made that mistake for a long time. From now on, measure the chain tension with the rear wheel on the ground.

As for the other problems, few ideas. Slack throttle cable? Failing stator? Damaged transmission resulting from a too-tight chain?

Does anyone think 100mph for 15 minutes will damage a Versys that's in good condition? I don't. The engine can handle it.

Upon further thought: Yes, I'm increasingly convinced that you set the chain tension way too tight when you replaced the rear tire, and the chain pulled the front sprocket and messed up the transmission, as well as prematurely wearing the chain. It's probably a job for a dealership to tackle. I'm sorry.

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Last edited by Holden; 09-24-2016 at 10:45 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holden View Post
I made that mistake for a long time. From now on, measure the chain tension with the rear wheel on the ground.
the swing arm is under the same tension if the tires on the ground or on a rear stand
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 11:58 AM
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Possible Stator / Battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdventureSeeker View Post
Few issues here that are probably unrelated. Chain adjustment issue @ the bottom. My bike is a 13 with about 6k miles.

It goes on a battery tender every night. Then yesterday it was dead at work, would click but not turn over, so I push started it and went about 10 miles to Walmart. Again, had to push start. Got it home and threw it on the charger, it says it's 95% charged..hmm. Let it charge to 100 and the bike started right up, but I'm thinking maybe I cooked a cell and wrecked my capacity even if the voltage is good? Any ideas on that? Any thoughts about whether or not these things may be related?
I would suggest going checking your stator, anything electrical involved with the stator or regulator you can advance search posts using my onewizard , in search keep the question limited to one or two words, such as Polaris , go to my post #5
Testing Stator to see if Toast

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...stator+testing

If you push started it, you had to have 7 to 8 volts to run the fuel pump, ignition etc. So a cell gone is very likely I would suggest taking the tender off after charging, check with a voltmeter doing the following test, turn on the bike, start it and then hit the kill switch, wait two minutes with the headlight on and watch the voltage of the battery, it should maintain plus 12 to 12.5 volts during the test, then increase in voltage by 0.2 to 0.4 volts with the key off after the 2 minute interval . If you go below 11.8 volts your battery is done. At this time it would be prudent to check the charging system, rarely is it the regulator , 98% of the time the regulator causes the stator to fail.

[quote=Any ideas? I think it MAY be due to [B]chain tension[/B] because yesterday while investigating the bike in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, I happened to jiggle my chain, which has gone probably right about 600 miles since last adjustment, and it was like...floppy loose. Like drooping down off the real sprocket loose sorta. I just checked it not 300 miles ago and it seemed, if anything, too tight. So I limped it home slowly on a back road, threw it on the stand, and gave the wheel a spin.

It's like...significantly tight in one spot ~1" and significantly loose in the other ~3". I think maybe on decel the chain is flopping around? I recently replaced my tires and had a
Quote:
Originally Posted by [B
hard time getting the rear wheel back on my myself,[/B] I'm wondering if there's a chance that I somehow made the chain uneven over the rear sprocket?
Sounds like your chain is done, lots of threads on chain alignment, so since you had your wheel off, are all the spacers in their proper place? FYI it is normal to only be able to go into first, then up shift, a tight chain will also hinder this action, I doubt anything wrong with gearbox. So a chain is also likely due--when I have time I will look at the video***gone for a ride, see you later

Quote:
Originally Posted by I've also had an issue with it not wanting to [B
move gears when stopped[/B] without throttling up, but I recently adjusted clutch tension and I think the two are related. I readjusted last night again so we'll see what happens there.

Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q7jH1KnLDE

Last edited by onewizard; 09-24-2016 at 12:08 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. When I had the wheel off, I believe I followed the service manual installation instructions which did not, I think, say anything about spacers so I'm confident I did that wrong. I have searched here too without great success but I'll keep searching, if someone wants to throw me a bone on that front it would be much appreciated. I'm pretty confident the trans is fine.

I'm well familiar w/ battery testing, voltage test is fine but load test is fail, battery is dead, new one on the way. I believe these are unrelated issues. FWIW I bought this bike NOS in 2015, and it's a 13, so who knows how well they treated the battery. I know I killed it a few times being dumb.

I believe in the original video I posted that I had the chain alignment done very poorly. I had previously learned to do it using the hash marks and/or a micrometer, folks here told me to use a chain alignment tool and not trust the hash marks. I think my eyeballs are on crooked, because I have a very hard time using the alignment tool.

Anyway last night I scrubbed all hell out of the chain. I'd been keeping it lubed @ 500m but not degreasing it. Cleaned up up real nice and let it sit overnight. I also fully loosened the adjustment screws and slid the axle fully forward, popped the chain off the rear sprocket, lined the chain up as evenly as I could, and replaced it on the sprocket. I don't know if it's POSSIBLE to have the top/bottom have too many or too few links, too stupid to figure that one out, but whatever. Then did a totally slow, totally manual alignment adjustment with the help of a friend and I'm not very confident that it's aligned as close to perfect as it can be without a robot. Then we lubed the chain. I should note that prior to taking it off the sprocket, even just spinning the rear wheel met with resistance in some places. After doing this it spins free and there is much less variation in how much slop exists in tension.

There are some sticky links in the chain, ones that are less inclined to rotate than others, so we lubed those extra. Then I started it up on the lift and let it run for a while, giving it a little more lube. It's still sorta doing it but I'm not exactly clear on how much is normal. Here are two more videos.

This one is after alignment and lube but the chain is cold:

This one is after it ran for long enough to come fully to temperature:

Do we still think I need to change the chain?
If I do, which is a better option, a steel DID X-Ring, or a steel JT Sprockets HD X-Ring chain?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdventureSeeker View Post
...There are some sticky links in the chain, ones that are less inclined to rotate than others, so we lubed those extra. Then I started it up on the lift and let it run for a while, giving it a little more lube. It's still sorta doing it but I'm not exactly clear on how much is normal. Here are two more videos.

Do we still think I need to change the chain?...
Yes. Once you have a 'seized' link it's pretty much "toast". Usually happens when a FAILED O-ring has allowed the lube out of the chain, and NOTHING you can do will 'put it back in'.

ALSO check your sprockets, ESPECIALLY the countershaft one, as it lasts MUCH fewer miles than does the rear. Mine have usually been changed mid-life on the chain, and again when I change the chain. At about $15 each, they're cheap.

Ed
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well. Doo Doo. I guess this is a good time to step up a tooth size then isn't it? Recommend me one?

And any feelings on which chain from my last post?

Thanks!!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 02:52 PM
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Chain is Shot / Dangerous running on Stand

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdventureSeeker View Post
Thanks guys. When I had the wheel off, I believe I followed the service manual installation instructions which did not, I think, say anything about spacers
The only reason for mentioning, is the sprocket side the spacer fits into a grease seal, which is recommended to pack some grease on the inside lip of the seal----brake side it is possible to have misalignment , however you would notice immediately when trying to put the chain on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by [B
I'm well familiar w/ battery testing, voltage test is fine but load test is fail, battery is dead[/B], new one on the way. I believe these are unrelated issues. FWIW I bought this bike NOS in 2015, and it's a 13, so who knows how well they treated the battery. I know I killed it a few times being dumb.
Sounds like you solved it , how many miles???, MY test for stator output should take no more than 5 minutes, better to try it than to find a second battery failed, although your mention of Stupid, may explain the failure, only reason I mention is it has happened before, better to be riding on it than working on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by [B
I believe in the original video I posted that I had the chain alignment done very poorly.[/B] I had previously learned to do it using the hash marks and/or a micrometer, folks here told me to use a chain alignment tool and not trust the hash marks. I think my eyeballs are on crooked, because I have a very hard time using the alignment tool.
There are some sticky links in the chain, ones that are less inclined to rotate than others, so we lubed those extra. Then I started it up on the lift and let it run for a while, giving it a little more lube. It's still sorta doing it but I'm not exactly clear on how much is normal. Here are two more videos.
This one is after alignment and lube but the chain is cold:

This one is after it ran for long enough to come fully to temperature:

[quote=Do we still think I need to change the chain?
If I do, which is a better option, a steel DID X-Ring, or a steel JT Sprockets HD X-Ring chain?[/quote]



If you haven't already damaged the sprockets, I would advise replacing the chain, what you did with the bike on the lift is very dangerous, I don't think you would be too impressed seeing your bike take off and crash, others have done it as you did, my feeling is the same!
The first video it appears that the chain is too tight, the manual shows proper chain slack and how to, both your owners manual and the full manual available on this forum, if you haven't already downloaded it I would advise you to download it. I personally have the full service manual in paper.
Many opinions on lube, WD40, I use Dupont chain saver and Dupont multipurpose lube.

Last edited by onewizard; 09-25-2016 at 03:21 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-26-2016, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Yes yes I know not to let it run on the lift, I also know more people who do it than don't, lol. Kinda the same as working on hot circuits. Advised? Nope. Worth the time savings? Right until it's not.

I've ordered a new 16T front sprocket and steel x-ring chain. I've got another friend in my ear about the possibility of having warped the countershaft but I think that's less likely at this point.

I will test stator and regulator output as well. I'm now sorta wondering if my "loss of power" day could be the regulator overvolting my battery and it shorting---thus not having the voltage to run the system @ high power. It hasn't had any issues getting up on it since then though, so I'm not tooooo worried.
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