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Old 08-24-2009, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Primary Chain Adjustment

I have a 2000 RKC. I would like to know if there is a tool or a way to accurately measure the chain at it tightest point. I'm thinking a small metal ruler would do the trick. Any recommendations. I know for sure this winter I'm following Dave's instructions in putting in a auto chain tensioner.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tramus0 View Post
I have a 2000 RKC. I would like to know if there is a tool or a way to accurately measure the chain at it tightest point. I'm thinking a small metal ruler would do the trick. Any recommendations. I know for sure this winter I'm following Dave's instructions in putting in a auto chain tensioner.
I use a small piece of a BIC ball point pen cut about 2 " long. I hold it in the inspection hole with a pair of needle nose visegrips grabbing it crosswise at one end of the pen...(it is a white plastic housing)...I then hold it up against the chain and make a mark with a blue Sharpie pen to any constant reference point inside the case. I the push the chain up to it's highest travel and mark the pen shaft again. I pull it out and measure between the marks to get my travel, if it needs adjustment I loosten the bolt and move it and check the measuement again till its right...sound wierd but it works very well...and it's cheap...
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A small ruler. All you do is take the inspection cover off, slide the ruler inside the primary, and when it hite the chain, not the measurement on the ruler.

Push it upwards, and not when it stops.

That's your (cold) play.

I believe it's 5/8"-7/8"....???

You can also take a popcicle stick, and mark the endge of the cover, then the stick where it gets tight. Measure the gap.....

Wa-la........
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You don't want to be putting that chain to the tightest point anyways. There is a reason for some slack, which is due to contraction and expansion of the chain. Too tight will only burn your sprokets down and stretch the chain before normal ware. And you will deffinately have a premature failure.
Rule of thumb, rotate the chaine around untill you actually come to the high spot on the chain, then take your small engineering inspection ruler, which only 6" long and measure the deflection height. At this point, you will loosen the tnesion nuts and drop the shoe loose, then raise the shoe until the chaine is fairly snug at this point. After you tighten the tensioner up, rotate assembly again, this will help seat the chain and it will be set properly until your next service, 3.5K to 5k miles, depending on your riding habits.
Good luck, keep the rubber side down and have fun.:1drink

Maximo
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There is a reason for some slack, which is due to contraction and expansion of the chain. Too tight will only burn your sprokets down and stretch the chain before normal ware. And you will deffinately have a premature failure.

Not true.

The old school way of thinking was this, however, with the auto-adjusters, it runs the chain with as little as a 1/4" of play, and there are no ill side effects.

I have the HD auto adjuster in my 1995 and it runs as cool as it did prior, smoother due to less chain slack and only makes a faint whirring noise, as a byproduct of the tighter chain.

Most of the new HD bikes (bug twins) all have it now, since 2005 and newer.....
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I was refering to the comment stated about "as tight as it can get" too. Yes the auto adjuster is a great advantage, but as you just mentioed, it keeps the primary loop at about 1/4" slack, which is an optimum ride setting. But only if you have this feature installed.
For the most part, this was not a standard feature on 90% of the rides on the road. I have seen people actually set the drive loop too tight and literally destroyed the front bearings on the output shaft.
Along with the premature ware of the drive loop sprockets.
I wish I had one of those autoadjusters on my bike for sure, it would actually keep my in check and I wouldn't have to remind myself every time I did a service on the bike.
Thanks, this will be the next improvement my ol bagger will be getting this winter when the ice is over 1" on the roads.

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Old 08-25-2009, 07:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
I have seen people actually set the drive loop too tight and literally destroyed the front bearings on the output shaft.
Well, I know that's a BS statement right there, because
there is no "front bearing on the output shaft".

The "output shaft" on the front, that holds the compenssating sprocket, is the crankshaft of the engine and any failure would be an engine catastrophe.

The compansating sprocket attaches to the crankshaft, and has no carrier bearing like the double row clutch hub bearing, or the inner primary bearing that carries the thrust of the clutch basket and the torque of the primary chain, being pulled by the compensating sprocket/engine.

Not sure what you're getting at, but you can make that chain as tight as you want with the factory adjuster, by hand, and you'll get some noise, and that's about it...... Possibly some premature chain stretch.....

I've never seen any failure of sprockets, due to a too tight chain, as the derlin adjusting pad will wear before steel, and that's what it's made to do.7
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The front of the crank shaft is the load bearing, and over a period of time, it is proven fact on any kind of shaft, with over exerted forces, the bearing will fail. Does not matter what the application is be used.
Older bikes have shown failure due to ridiing habbits being a great importance and lack of proper maintenance. Plus, the materials being used in the manufacturing of the newer engine cases is very much improved upon, then from as early as 10 years ago. Plus, the design on the inner workings, being crank assemblies has been improved with the newer engines too. Instead of having a 5 piece crank assembly, there are engines with only 3 piece crank assenblies and even the fly wheels have been improved upon for greater torque forces which are being applied to, by the larger and stronger engines.

There is no BS when it comes to physics and actual mechanical allignments of rotating assemblies. TOO much preasure on one side of any rotating assembly will cause uneven wear on any bearing at that given point of the preasure being applied. It is just like your front wheels being out of alignment, on the spindle, the inner bearing will wear faster then the outer bearing assembly, mainly due to the extra and uneven load forces being excerted on that bearing.
And the output shaft of the Harley engine is in fact the same design as the spindle of any front wheel assembly on the automobile. It is a tappered shaft sitting on a bearing in the housing, with a load factor extending some 4" out from the bearing, with all sorts of energy forces being applied, that are loaded to the rear section quadrent of the shaft. So depending on the ridding habits of the owner, will be the overall and primary cause of effects to a premature ware.

Now lets get back to the question, not all bikes have the auto adjusting feature as the newer bikes have. So there is cause for manual adjustments to be made during the service of the bike. The question was how does he accomplish this task?

Not to be off the subject, but this one was a good one......
Not nice to flame people anywhere anytime.:1drink

Maximo
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
The front of the crank shaft is the load bearing, and over a period of time, it is proven fact on any kind of shaft, with over exerted forces, the bearing will fail. Does not matter what the application is be used.
Older bikes have shown failure due to ridiing habbits being a great importance and lack of proper maintenance. Plus, the materials being used in the manufacturing of the newer engine cases is very much improved upon, then from as early as 10 years ago. Plus, the design on the inner workings, being crank assemblies has been improved with the newer engines too. Instead of having a 5 piece crank assembly, there are engines with only 3 piece crank assenblies and even the fly wheels have been improved upon for greater torque forces which are being applied to, by the larger and stronger engines.

There is no BS when it comes to physics and actual mechanical allignments of rotating assemblies. TOO much preasure on one side of any rotating assembly will cause uneven wear on any bearing at that given point of the preasure being applied. It is just like your front wheels being out of alignment, on the spindle, the inner bearing will wear faster then the outer bearing assembly, mainly due to the extra and uneven load forces being excerted on that bearing.
And the output shaft of the Harley engine is in fact the same design as the spindle of any front wheel assembly on the automobile. It is a tappered shaft sitting on a bearing in the housing, with a load factor extending some 4" out from the bearing, with all sorts of energy forces being applied, that are loaded to the rear section quadrent of the shaft. So depending on the ridding habits of the owner, will be the overall and primary cause of effects to a premature ware.

Now lets get back to the question, not all bikes have the auto adjusting feature as the newer bikes have. So there is cause for manual adjustments to be made during the service of the bike. The question was how does he accomplish this task?
You're giving me a physics lesson to cover up for the fact that your comment was utter BS. You HAVEN'T seen failures of crank bearing due to "too tight" primary chains, because it doesn't exist.

You said YOU'VE SEEN THEM.

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Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
I have seen people actually set the drive loop too tight and literally destroyed the front bearings on the output shaft.
Your quote...right there. ^^^^

Then, when confronted with the fact that the mysterious front bearings is actually the left side crankshaft bearing, you cloud the waters with some mechainical/physics lesson that has nothing to do with the fact that your comment is unsubstantiated and try to give me some crap about "better case materials". The case was redesigned 10 years ago due to the introduction of the twin-cam engine in 1999. The crank was redesigned to help eliminate vibration. HD has had more problems with cranks in the last 10 years, the almost ever before.....

Your claim is that you've seen crankshaft bearings taken out because of an overtightened primary chain...Right? 7

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Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
There is no BS when it comes to physics and actual mechanical allignments of rotating assemblies.
I agree that excessive side load can cause bearing failures, but you're forgetting I work on these bikes, and have YET TO SEE a crank bearing failure due to someone over tightening a primary chain.

You'll damage an inner primary bearing first, as it's inherantly weaker, has more hanging weight applied, (clutch basket on one end, front sprocket on the other) and is taking the force of NOT ONLY the primary chain, but sharing the force of the front sprocket/secondery drive as well, and has a considerable amount more sideload. They fail more often then any other drive bearing on the bike because they're a inline roller bearing and not a tapered roller bearing, with this load.

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Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
And the output shaft of the Harley engine is in fact the same design as the spindle of any front wheel assembly on the automobile. It is a tappered shaft sitting on a bearing in the housing, with a load factor extending some 4" out from the bearing, with all sorts of energy forces being applied, that are loaded to the rear section quadrent of the shaft. So depending on the ridding habits of the owner, will be the overall and primary cause of effects to a premature ware.
Yes....and carries over 25-40% of the weight of a 3500 lbs car, but over tightening a chain is gonna damage them? Pa-lease....

Your comments hold no water, no has any value, or proof to back it up. There is no "Front output shaft bearing" as you claimed and I busted you on it. I never said that said that sideload on a bearing can make it fail was BS, I said your comment regarding seeing "front outputshaft bearings fail due to too tight primary chains" was crap.


The failures of crankbearings for HD have been due to improper/excessive crankshaft endplay and the change from the Timkin bearing, and now back again, to stop the issue. It was never due to a primary chain tightness issue, or anything that you fabricated to prove your point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Maximo View Post
Too tight will only burn your sprokets down and stretch the chain before normal ware.
Maximo
You can tighten your manual primary chain adjuster as tight as you want, and it'll never be 100% tight, because the adjusting plate in the back has teeth, that mesh and lock, when the adjuster is tightened.

Even if you make the chain as tight as possible, within 100 miles, you'll find play in it. I've done it, and proven it as not being harmful to anything, except premature wear on the derlin adjusting pad, if anything at all.

If making it too tight caused bearings and sprockets to fail, the auto-adjusters would be coming to a screeching halt, left and right with prematurely worn parts........ But they're not.....

I ran my 72 Shovelhead for 25K this way, with nill for side effects....

The chian is a hardened steel, double width chain. It doesn't stretch that easily. In 1995 there was a recall for chains not hardened, and even then, they lasted 30K before the adjuster was out of room. I own one and it's hanging on my garage wall.....

I don't need a physics lesson to tell me what 35+ years experience has taught me, from doing it firsthand and speaking from that experience, and not something I read on the internet.
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Last edited by Dave63; 08-25-2009 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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GUYS,GUYS,GUYS, All great information. I'm a novice mechanic, that loves to work on my bike. I promise not to over tighten my primary chain. :
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