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Discussion Starter #1
I dropped my Versys off at the dealer this morning and am waiting to hear back from them. Something is wrong. I was returning from a 3500 mile trip, when on the final leg of the return, having made my final fuel stop (thankfully), I felt the bike shaking strangely. It seemed, pulling to a stop, like an very off-balance wheel. Moving from a stop, it seemed like a fueling glitch, a surging or lugging. My final impression was of a scraping noise from the clutch area of the engine case, audible while on throttle or coasting, in gear or in neutral, with the clutch engaged and disengaged (even while coasing with the engine off.) It is most noticable at lower speeds, while running the engine up to 5 or 6 k. Shortly before I left, the 15,000 mile service was performed. Nothing was noted, except that both intake valves had to be adjusted.
My trip consisted of extended freeway miles at 85 mph, along with mountain riding in Wyoming and Montana. I logged more "off-road" miles than ever before, due to road construction which, in those areas, involves removing large streches of asphalt.
I don't expect that anyone can diagnose this. I am posting this partly as therapy to relieve my anxiety while waiting to hear from the mechanic. I will post the dealer's diagnosis and needed repairs when I learn of them, with the idea that compiling all repair issues is a good thing for V owners

Visionary
 

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Thanks for the info, sorry about the bike, hopefully it is under warranty ( due to the service done )
 

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(even while coasting with the engine off.)
Sounds like the drive chain/sprockets. How's the chain tension? It could also be an unevenly stretched or binding chain. That could possibly affect the countershaft bearing. I hope it's not transmission trouble. The clutch stops turning when the engine is stopped...
 

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Are you still running the original chain? If yes, I think Invader is on the right track here. Had a similar problem on the V-Strom once. Chain wore a lot faster than I expected (it was the third one, I was expecting to get similar mileage previous two), the bike felt similar to what you described.

Gustavo
 

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My chain crapped out on me at the beginning of my week-long tour this summer. Similar symptoms although I don't remember the bike shaking, more of a vibration. We loosened the chain off a bit more than normal because there was one section that was extremely tight, and I thought this might do it for the trip. But in Duluth I finally lost confidence in the situation and found a dealer who could look at it. He said he could hear the problem across the parking lot as I pushed the bike over to the service door. I was very surprised that this problem occurred since I always take very good care of the chain. But it did have 25,000 kms. on the chain, so I suppose it was ready to go. The front sprocket was quite worn, the back not at all. It was a good lesson to learn if only to see how tough the equipment is, that it could continue to function for a couple of days without failure even though damaged. Not that I'm recommending it to anyone; it added a certain level of stress to the trip that I could have done without.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Stupidity

Excellent detective work, all of you. Thanks.

The problem is, in fact, the chain and the front sprocket. I wish I had consulted someone earlier. That way my V wouldn't have sat out four days for the dealer to look at it and another 2-4 to get the (aftermarket) parts.

What I really wish, though, is that I did not let this happen in the first place! These components were in fine shape before my trip. The dealer guessed, correctly, I think, that the rather rough riding I did on extensive unpaved sections caused the axle to slide back, tightening the chain and causing excessive accelerated wear. That was no doubt due to the fact that I do not have the proper tool to tighten the axle sufficiently (80 ft-lbs). It was fine for pavement, but . . .

I ordered 24 and 27 mm 6-point sockets and picked up a torque wrench to replace my old crap one. All my careful chain mainenance went up in smoke. It was looking like I would get very long life out of it, as I expected from a low-powered bike. The dealer said he would look for the quickest delivery for good quality items. I have no idea, so now I wonder how long these will last

The trip was fantastic, but now I am missing out on the best riding weather of the year. Please make shure that, in addition to keeping proper chain tension, your axle nuts are sufficiently tight to stand up to that killer pothole.

Visionary
 

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Visionary,

As jd said, these parts are "consumables", therefor no need to beat yourself up over this. What I learned from my experience was to keep a closer eye on the front sprocket. Hopefully that will be somewhat of an indicator when the chain is close to the end of its life. BTW, I'm still waiting for OEM parts to arrive from Kawasaki, and my problem occurred in early July. I've been running the chain I bought in Duluth on the old sprockets since then, so far no problems. I'm changing the whole setup - sprockets and chain - as soon as the parts arrive.

Also as jd said, I'm scratching my head re: the axle moving. Hard to imagine.

Doug
 

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With the rear axle nut tightened to recommended 80 lbs-lbs, it can't move back on its own. I don't think it would even have a tendency to do so. You can tell if it's still sitting up against the chain tension adjusters...
My original chain stretched out unevenly from the start and never recovered much, so I upgraded it with new sprockets at only 2600 miles.
 

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uneven adjustment

Whenever I see alot of wear (chain stretch needing adjustment)over and over, I usually find that the adjusters are mis-aligned. ie: one is closer than the other. if the rr wheel is crooked, it seems to accelerate wear on the rollers.
 

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Interesting... Make sure you kick rear tire forward to have rear axle back up against chain tension adjusters before a final check and before tightening axle nut to 80 ft-lbs.
 

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With the normal forces of the chain under power PULLING the rear sprocket towards the front of the bike, I have problems trying to envision the axle moving rearwards. :forgetit:
What CAN happen, is doing a chain-adjustment, then tightening the axle nuts and FORGETTING TO RE-CHECK CHAIN TENSION! On some bikes the chain becomes overly tight as the nuts are tightened. My old Bandit and my present KLR are 2 examples where that can happen.
Ed :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Chain and Sprockets

Re my chain and sprocket replacement,

Whatever happened, these items went from good to shot within 3500 miles. The chain had a very tight section in it. I will have to pay closer attention to them as I put more miles on them. What I need is to have a better idea of the sort of wear to be looking for. As annoying as I find this to be, it could have been worse. I went through the Beartooth Pass in Montana, and was disappointed to find that there was a great deal of it torn up, covered in oil-coated gravel. I encountered one rider who had presumably picked up a piece of gravel between the drive belt and the rear sprocket, causing it to start to split. It made me think. Finding a new chain in Duluth is one thing, but finding one halfway through the Beartooth pass is something else. I was riding alone for much of the time. I need a better travel toolkit and a Breakdown Plan.

As for the aftermarket parts, I didn't know what to ask for. I intend to go on another trip next week, so I wanted the "fastest" parts the dealer could get. That was probably a mistake, but I didn't have time to shop around, and the dealer draws from a limited number of suppliers. Also, my Dunlop Roadsmarts might not make it through another extended trip. But at least my shaft drive did not explode. Motorcycle Consumer News has been reporting for years that some owners have had trouble with them due to a misaligned spacer, or something, but none of their photos included flames.

Visionary
 

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You haven't told us if it was the original chain, or how many total miles were on it. That very tight section most likely went undetected while you thought chain was still good in the last 3500 miles or more. Did you measure it to determine if its stretching was already excessive? Which model of chain and sprockets did you order?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It seems that I know less about chains than everyone else on this forum. (My last bike had a shaft drive.) It was the original chain and sprockets. I had just recently had the 15,000 mile service performed and the dealer remarked that they still looked quite good. (This was when I was convinved that the low power and torque of the bike would translate into a longer life.) I have been happy with the dealer thus far, from the sale through my servicing. I said I wanted the bike ready ASAP. He said he could get quality aftermarket items more quickly than OEM, so I said "OK." I don't know what brand they are. Maybe I will be posting another Learn From My Mistake item in the near future.
 

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With proper and regular lubing and cleaning, one UK Versys forum member did get over 33000 miles on his 'still good' chain, but the average is about 20000 miles. Some use an automatic Scott oiler...
Drive chain 20-link length: Standard: 317.5 - 318.2 mm (12.50 - 12.53 in.) Service limit: 323 mm (12.7 in.)
 

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Whew, I am so happy to have this forum as a resource!

I have the same problem... bike started lunging a bit and a rattly chain. I lube it regularly, but I think the mileage has finally got to it. Even after a couple of adjustment attempts, part of the chain is tight and loose on the other end. Sprockets are still good. 21,000 miles on the stock equipment.... so off to the dealer I go for a new chain!

Curiousity question: For those of you who've had a dealer replace the chain with OEM, what's that been costing you all?
 
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