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  • Chain Cleaning

    Is Kerosene good for cleaning chains with O rings?

  • #2
    When I had a kerosene heater I would soak a red shop cloth is kerosene and wipe the chain thoroughly with it .. then re-lube with 80/90 gear oil. No kerosene stove now so I just spray the cloth with WD40 and do the same.

    OTOH on my KTM in the poof dust (talcum powder like) of the Sonoran desert I use TriFlow regularly. Gear oil just collects too much abrasive ..
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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    • #3
      I bought a gallon of Kerosene at Walmart for $9.95. I bought a spray bottle and put Kerosene in it and spayed the chain really thoroughly. The chain came extremely clean. Then I used motul chain wax for lubrication / protection.

      I put the bike (2013 Versys) up on a pit bull stand and spun the rear tire. I could hear a crunchy sound that sounded like sand in the chain. I have been practicing a little off road with the Versys so it may have picked up some sand that way. Or it may just be road sand.
      Florida is a very sandy state. After thoroughly cleaning the chain the sound went away. I wonder if living in a sandy state means that more frequent cleaning is beneficial. I would imagine that sand is very hard on drive trains.

      For o ring chains, do I understand correctly that the chain maintenance is more about cleaning and less about lubrication since the o rings keep lubrication in the pin areas?

      I read some place that cleaning every 3,000 miles and lubing every 500 miles is recommended. It seems to me that it would be better to clean every time I lube. Is it possible to over clean? I suppose it would depend on how you clean. I have the impression that kerosene is a mild cleaner. Does that mean I can clean as much as I want without worry? It looks really nice with the bright clean chain. Don't know how long that will last.

      I washed the bike after I cleaned and lubed the chain. My thinking was that I wanted fresh protection on the chain to protect it from the water while cleaning. But I also wondered if cleaning the bike before cleaning the chain might make sense if I hit the chain with some water to dislodge some grime, then clean with kerosene to get the tough grime and then lube.

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      • #4
        Yes to all that, kerosene is what the manual says to use.
        Sand pits are murder on motorcycles but they are just so much fun
        I don't think I ever seen a bike that was cleaned too much, I say go for it.

        sidenote: chain guard is an important feature to retain on a motorcycle, without one our rear tire directs a blast of road debris onto the chain. A few bikes even featured a fully enclosed chain with an oil bath very slick

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        • #5
          With an O ring chain the primary purpose of added lubrication is between the sprockets and the chain. I have found over 50 years of riding that 80/90 gear oil maximises the life of chain and sprockets. Chain lube is an alternative.

          Here in the desert on off road/dual sport bikes the primary problem is grit/sand. The gear oil that works so good on street bikes becomes a liability here in that it attracts the grit/sand forming an abrasive paste. So I've settled on TriFlow after talking to some serious enduro riders. It helps keep the chain clean while providing minimal lubrication. I would never expect to get the high miles out of a chain on my KTM 500 that I do out of me VFR800.
          The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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          • #6
            The spray bottle I bought to spray kerosene on the chain got gummed up and did not work when I tried to use it to clean the KLX chain. I wonder if I emptied and cleaned it, it might work.

            I like spraying the kerosene on the chain since it seems to soak the chain and clean it more thoroughly than using a kerosene soaked rag.

            I am going to try to find a better spray bottle.

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            • #7
              That's where a cir-clip master link comes in handy for servicing, you can easy remove the chain and put it into a gallon plastic jug with some solvent and shake it around until it gets all clean and then dump out the dirty.

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              • #8
                Removing and replacing a chain would be a little bit of a step up in my wrenching comfort level. Probably easy once you have done it a few times. I would be a bit concerned that I might have difficulty getting the chain back on or that I might not get the master link re-connected securely. Or I might damage it getting it off. Do you need a special tool?

                I found a wire securing the master link on the KLX. I did not put it there. I am not sure why it is there. Hopefully just a safety precaution, but I am a little concerned that it might be because the master link is defective or damaged.

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                • #9
                  A twist of lock wire clamping the master link clip to the side plate was a common method of adding a bit of security to prevent the clip from departing unexpectedly. Especially upon contact with some sort of trail obstacle.

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                  • #10
                    Dirt bikes typically have non-sealed chains, growing up with dirt bikes and chain saws you just get so accustomed to servicing the rolling parts frequently, wheel bearings, suspension bearings, clean the brakes, air cleaner and chain accumulate a lot of service time. A clean and well lubricated chain robs very little horses but one that is less then perfect is like riding with a brake slightly on, you really notice it in competition environments, I tend to carry those habits over to my street bikes. ... same with chainsaws, those things need almost daily chain maintenance when you are running them hard.

                    #1 failure with cir-clip installation is putting it on backwards, just make sure the squid clip swims like a squid
                    and that the side plates are not all installed on the same side of the roller :/ seen that once too.

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                    • #11
                      My bikes are all sealed chains. I like the idea of clean and efficient. I cannot notice a power difference when I clean and lube the chain, but I feel like the bikes run smoother and quieter.

                      Originally posted by Trials View Post
                      #1 failure with cir-clip installation is putting it on backwards, just make sure the squid clip swims like a squid
                      and that the side plates are not all installed on the same side of the roller :/ seen that once too.
                      I could see myself putting it back on backwards. And I do not know what you mean by on the same side as the roller.

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                      • #12
                        You know how a chain master link has a plate on one side of the sprocket and a plate on the other side of the sprocket this guy had both plates stacked up on the inside of the chain and the circlip was riding directly on the part with the roller in it.
                        If you ever have a sealed chain go bad on a motorcycle you will notice, as you said vibration can result and even crunching sounds if the chain has any seized up links. On a small displacement motorcycle you would notice a profound difference in the performance delivery.
                        ... it's just as easy to mess up the install of a rivet type link as a cir-clip master, rivet links you can use once and they are toast so you better buy them in twos or threes.

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                        • #13
                          OK...little late to this, but...I was researching this very thing a couple of months ago (just to see how similar the procedure is to bicycle chain cleaning and lubing -- cuz I've done that a time or two ), and I found this "how to" article and video on the Revzilla site. TL;DR They say Kerosene in a spray bottle works just fine. I'm inclined to believe them, because 1) I trust Revzilla, and 2) They sell the more expensive chain cleaner, but still suggest kerosene.
                          '02 Shadow Spirit 750 - The R-Honda TRADED IN
                          '07 BMW F800 ST - Eyegor TRADED IN
                          '17 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT - Phantom

                          "I own a Goldwing...when I get cold, I just turn on the autopilot and go downstairs and sit in front of the fireplace and drink hot chocolate. The bike beeps to let me know when we're starting our final approach." -- shonuff

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                          • #14
                            It should be noted however that bicycle chain is not a sealed chain, the difference being that sealed chains have exposed rubber and rubber moving in contact with steel surfaces.
                            Key is to not use something that is highly corrosive to rubber IF you are running a sealed chain, if you have a plain roller chain you are good to use anything that does not corrode steel. If you are lubricating a sealed chain the best you can hope to do is inhibit corrosion on the exposed steel surfaces and I have no idea what you can do to benefit the exposed rubber bits, because most chemicals are contrary to rubber other the plain old H2O and the Only link you can completely service on a sealed chain is the master link.

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                            • #15
                              Doesn't need to be noted at all. At least, not to me. The reason i started researching was to learn the differences between the types of chains. I mentioned "bicycle chain", because it's a similar procedure that I'm well aware needs different tools. I researched because I wanted to be sure that, if I've done one that I could just as easily do the other. I was not about to affix my bicycle chain cleaner to my Versys and give it a go.

                              The article I linked contains some great information, and the video in the article actually runs through the procedure. Should be helpful for someone who has never done this before.
                              '02 Shadow Spirit 750 - The R-Honda TRADED IN
                              '07 BMW F800 ST - Eyegor TRADED IN
                              '17 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT - Phantom

                              "I own a Goldwing...when I get cold, I just turn on the autopilot and go downstairs and sit in front of the fireplace and drink hot chocolate. The bike beeps to let me know when we're starting our final approach." -- shonuff

                              Comment

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