How to *Properly* clean chain? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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How to *Properly* clean chain?

I'm probably opening a can of worms here..but I'm going for it anyhow...

I'm not looking for the discussions about whether you use WD40 or kerosene, or a discussion on which cleaner you like best. I'm wondering about the proper way to clean a chain.

I just learned that I've been doing it wrong all along (got a brief lesson from the folks at the dealership yesterday, I trust them). I've just been spraying cleaner, wiping with a shop towel, spraying with lube, done in 10 minutes.

Apparently you are supposed to spray the chain with a cleaner, let it soak in for 15 minutes to work its magic, use a brush (lots like the Grunge Brush), spray the chain with whatever lube you like and wipe off excess (so it doesn't spray everywhere). They said it works best when the chain is warm so the lube can work into the tight spaces. Sounds like it should be a 30 minute job or so.

I looked for some youtube videos and most of them were kinda lame.

Does anyone else use the above method? If you do, any tips/pointers?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 12:25 PM
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I just spray mine with Dupont Teflon Spray Lube after every fillup and wipe down the chain once in a while with a shop rag.

I guess that's not the proper way, but my chain appears clean.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 12:33 PM
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I use this for cleaning

http://www.tiroxproducts.com/

Works great.
I clean the chain warmed up.
Maxima chain wax on warm chain I let it sit overnight and you're set.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 11:04 PM
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I think that it is clear that the only "correct" way to clean the chain is the MotoMan method!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 12:54 AM
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Since I just came in from cleaning my chain no less than 5 minutes ago here is what I did.

Put my bike up on my rear spool stand.

Took my diluted simplegreen (20:1 - 30:1) and soaked the chain for a full 2-3 revolutions of the master link.

Let it sit for a couple minutes while I had a stare down with a raccoon. He stood up on two legs, maybe 14" tall and 15 lbs or so. I stood up, 6'4 350lbs and told him "What you wanna do?" he ran away and climbed a tree.

Once my raccoon situation was handled (thank god he didn't know jujitsu or something) I wipe down the chain with a shop rag, then repeated the process again.

At this point the chain is pretty sparkling clean. I then tried a new method to apply my 75w90 gear oil I use to lube the chain. I normally just dribble it on and rotate the wheel until the chain is covered, then wipe away excess but it simply gets everywhere. So I now applied a few drops of gear oil to my shop rag and wiped on and rubbed in 4" at a time. I did this for a couple revolutions and this further cleaned and lubed the chain with 0 excess and no drips.

I had a lot of good luck with wd40 and motoroil on the chain. I found maxima chainwax to make the chain way to dirty and gunk up the front sprocket. Using wd40 or gear oil keeps it super clean but you must lube the chain every week or so. I ride about 180 miles a week to commute and more if I ride somewhere on the weekend.

The raccoon came back and got brave. Cautiously walked passed me with my back too him. Next time I doing a midnight bike maintenance i'm bringing him snacks..
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 06:03 AM
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I think one factor to consider about the "proper" way to maintain your chain has to do with how often you perform the cleaning & lube and what your road conditions are. If you're riding on dirt and gravel, you're gonna pick up more dirt & gravel (duh!)

I think once you've done a "proper" cleaning (using one of the very good methods suggested here) and you develop a pattern of actually doing the cleaning and lubing at the recommended interval, you'll find it's not that time consuming and each time, it will take LESS time till you establish YOUR "proper" method.

When I first acquired my 08 w/15K miles (about a month ago) I didn't have the rear wheel lift and used 2 small floor jacks. I spent about the same amount of time trying to raise the rear wheel off the floor as I did cleaning and lubing the chain! (Actually, that's a bit of an exaggeration, the previous owner used the chain wax and it was seriously "caked" behind the front sprocket cover and all around the rear sprocket. I took the time to give it a "showroom" cleaning.) Having established a CLEAN starting point, and having bought the Harbor Freight rear wheel lift, it takes very little time. A couple revolution of the chain while spraying with WD40 to clean, a few more revolutions while holding a rag around the chain to remove dirt, grime and excess WD, then a couple more revolutions spraying with chain lube followed by the last two revolutions again with a rag around the chain to take off excess lube.

A funny side bar related to the rear wheel lift. My local Harbor Freight presently has it on sale for $30. I figured what the heck, let's give it a try. When I first tried to lift the rear wheel, this 130 pound guy found he didn't have enough ass/weight to lift the rear of the bike. I looked pretty funny with my feet off the floor as I tried to lift the bike.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 09:37 AM
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Here's what works for me, best done when the chain is warm:

1) Lift the rear using a stand.

2) Spray on chain wax. Scrub with grunge brush and wipe off with shop rag or ratty t-shirt. Do this in sections around the entire chain.

3) Spray on a light coat of chain wax. If there's too much, wipe off excess.

I find the chain wax does a good job of cleaning the chain, and I don't have any concerns about damaging the o-rings. Is there a cheaper cleaner? Probably, but I only go through a can of chain wax a season, so it's not breaking my budget. I spend more on coffee each week.

Dave

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 08:21 PM
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eddie......oh eddie, where are you?

This topic is right up your alley.....where are you eddie??
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 07:08 AM
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I'd almost bet the difference between the chain's life using the "proper" way and other ways is less than 500 miles over the course of the 15-20,000 mile chain's life. The life of a chain comes more down to the conditions it's being used in, how often it is lubricated, how infrequently it is cleaned, the rider's riding style, and proper alignment. Which technique you use to clean your chain is pretty insignificant in that equation.

That is really why the argument over which lubricant is used is nearly pointless. As long as you are lubricating often enough you can use something silly like mineral oil as a lubricant. All the fancy lubricants do is extended the amount of time you can go between lubricating. And all the fancy lubricant in the world isn't going to do you much good if your chain/wheel isn't aligned.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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That Tirox stuff looks pretty cool. Great idea to have the 360 degree chain brush.

I got about 11K miles out of my stock chain. The sticker on the bike says between 9 and 15K miles or something like that, but I know other folks get a lot more. Makes sense that proper alignment and adjustment plays a bigger role in chain longevity than cleaning method.

Well, I'll try some of the methods mentioned here until I find one that works, and I'll definitely remember to have some snacks in case the neighborhood racoons drop by for a visit...

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 12:30 PM
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I'm going to try the Tyrox juice and brush pretty soon

Also, I think that having a hot chain is a better deal than a cold one

My 2 cents

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyOne View Post
eddie......oh eddie, where are you?

This topic is right up your alley.....where are you eddie??
Well... "DustyOne", I just returned yesterday from a week-long ride in the rain. Oh yah - and HAIL! Second time in hail while riding, but THIS was a gulley-washer from a prairie CB (cumulo nimbus thundercloud)! Probably 2 miles of HEAVY HAIL, but luckily not BIG hail...!

You'll be pleased to hear that I stopped OFTEN and sprayed my chain with the "old WD40 stuff", and it STILL is 'in adjustment' and looks pretty good at 26,000 kms. LAST adjust was at 20,506 kms (2 flats...), altho' I DID adjust 2 flats when I aligned my chain at 21,869 kms, so I'm not sure whether those 2 were from wear, or aligning the axle.... (Don't forget that my '08 in AZ has OVER 43,000 miles on the ORIGINAL chain, using WD40 as its ONLY cleaner/ lube.)

I'll write-up more on a thread I started in "General" about my son's ride east to Montreal on a '79 Yam SR500.

Ed
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 10:26 PM
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hail....I hate riding in hail

I hit a tremendous storm riding east on I-10 by Gulfport MS back in 99 or so. It was so bad that I decided to get off and head south towards the coast and just check into a room as I was worn out for the day anyway.

Later in the room, I saw on the TV, that specific storm spawned a couple of tornadoes just 10 miles further east of where I decided to exit.

An angel was definitely with me that day
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Well... "DustyOne", I just returned yesterday from a week-long ride in the rain. Oh yah - and HAIL! Second time in hail while riding, but THIS was a gulley-washer from a prairie CB (cumulo nimbus thundercloud)! Probably 2 miles of HEAVY HAIL, but luckily not BIG hail...!

You'll be pleased to hear that I stopped OFTEN and sprayed my chain with the "old WD40 stuff", and it STILL is 'in adjustment' and looks pretty good at 26,000 kms. LAST adjust was at 20,506 kms (2 flats...), altho' I DID adjust 2 flats when I aligned my chain at 21,869 kms, so I'm not sure whether those 2 were from wear, or aligning the axle.... (Don't forget that my '08 in AZ has OVER 43,000 miles on the ORIGINAL chain, using WD40 as its ONLY cleaner/ lube.)

I'll write-up more on a thread I started in "General" about my son's ride east to Montreal on a '79 Yam SR500.
I motion that every time somebody mentions wd40, he has to give 0.25$ to the red cross

AND

I'm buying share in the company that is making it


LOP
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 01:26 PM
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...I'm buying share in the company that is making it

LOP
So am I - ONE gallon at a time...!

Ed
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