Time to replace the chain without spending a bundle on a tool.

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by RllwJoe, Mar 10, 2020.

  1. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    I purchased my '98 VFR with 36k miles on the clock a little over three years ago. At the time of purchase I noted that the chain had a couple of links that would not flex, and the chain overall appeared to have not been cleaned and oiled well. The rear sprocket looked to have some life in it, and the front sprocket was, as we all know, imposible to see without removing it's cover. Adjusting the chain proved to be frustrating because if it was to specification at the tightest point it was extreamly loose elsewhere. Bottom line was that I planned to replace all three soon.

    It now has 41k miles on the clock and I could pull the chain away from the rear sprocket indicating a stretched chain and/or worn sprocket. A friend gave me a new unused RK 525GXW XW-Ring chain he had taken off a brand new Triumph when he converted it to 520 pitch. If I had been shopping for one, the chain of choice for me would be a 520 but I like free, so I'll make it work.

    The 525 front sprocket is not hard to find, and I ordered a 16 tooth front through Ebay. It took some searching to find a 525 rear sprocket because it is not an item that I could find available in North America. I ended up purchasing a stock size 43 tooth from an Ebay listing out of England. No problems with the order, it just took a bit more time to be shipped.

    With those three ingredients in hand I began to research chain breaker/ riviting tools, and this is what this forum is centered on. I am cheap to a fault, just ask my wife she will tell you! I didn't like the idea of spending upwards of 80 to 100 USD on a tool that I may only use a hand full of times. So, I was looking for a tool of $20 or less that could do the job.

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    Amazon proved to be a good source of information by way of the customer reviews. The one thing that was common in the reviews, no matter the cost of the tool, was that they all can be broken. I'm confident that you really do get what you pay for, however, breaking and riviting a chain is not rocket science. So in the end, in large part because of my desire to spend the lease ammount possible, I used the 20% off coupon from Harbor Freight to purchase their chain breaker - https://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-duty-chain-breaker-66488.html.

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    The first thing that, after rubbing some grease into the threads, I did with the HF tool was to push some pins out of a 530 chain that I had from a chain that had been taken off my CBR 600 30 years ago. It was a bit rusty and stiff. I first ground the heads down flush with the link plate. Then pushed two pins out being careful to line up the push pin with the link pin in the chain. I think that most of the broken push pins are a result of extending the 1/8 inch diameter push pin for the initial breaking push. You only need to extend it slightly, then tighten the large guide bolt until it is flush against the side plate. The tool worked without any problem.

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    I then stacked the two plates from the above test along with a third plate from the previously removed master link and drilled an 1/8 inch hole as close to center in them as possible. The reason for this is to fabricate a way of pushing a new master link together with the HF tool, which does not come with the adaptors to do so. By drilling the hole in the middle of the link plates I had a way to keep one or more of them centered on the cutting tool by extending the push pin out of the large guide bolt to hold it in place.
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  2. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    The next need was to enlarge the link plate holes where the pins are inserted so that when pressing a new master link together these don't catch the master link pins and deform them as they come through the new link plate. I also wanted to be able to remove these press plates with ease after pressing the new master together. I did this by using a small chainsaw file, you could use a die grider or a Dremel tool.

    The other end of the tool has a hollow guide that allows the pin to pass though as it is pushed out of the link. It threads into the tool. So I removed it and came up with a 3/8 inch bolt, nut, and washer combination to hold and press on the pin of the new master link when staking it. You do not want to push on the plate or it may just push the pins out of the back side of your new master link. The stack of washers shim just enough for the end of the bolt to be resesed to cradle the pin as I expand and stake the other end on the master link.

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  3. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    I learned from a reviewer of the HF chain breaker that the ball bearing inside the tool can be used to stake the new master link by rearanging where it is used.

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    It worked well. One word of advice in regard to this ball bearing. Place a rug or something soft under the area of staking because, if you are like me, you will drop or loose your grip on it muliple times, and it bounces and rolls a long way away on concrete (I wasted a lot of time looking for it time and again).
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  4. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    I used the HF breaker to break my old chain.

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  5. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Removed the old front sprocket.
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  6. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Then the old rear sprocket.

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  7. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Installed the new 525 pich sprockets.

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  8. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    The chain was a few links too long, no problem cutting the extra links out. In fact cutting the new chain was noticably easier than the older chains.

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    After carefully pressing the new master link together and staking the pins, I went for a ride yesterday and am very happy with the much quieter and smother ride that I now have.
     
  9. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    There are several chain breaker/riveter tools on Ebay for what you paid for the HF breaker. And
    no need to make it work, they're designed to do what you wanted. Sometimes the right tool for
    the job is cheaper in the long run.

    Take it from a life long cheapskate. :)
     
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  10. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    I have an ebay tool... I checked that it had the adapters, etc.... used it with success on one chain so far. Just putting a new chain on the VFR, so will use it again......
    And then..... if you didn't know... if you get an EK chain, you might be able to use their screw-type master link... no extra tools required. I did one of those on a dirt bike..... pretty kool.
     
  11. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Thanks for that fj....

    Most of the fun is in the challenge, in fact I was firting with trying to make my own but that would have taken too long and the HF purchase came with a free 4 inch dia. magnetic parts bowl.
     
  12. FJ12rydertoo

    FJ12rydertoo Member

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    Yeah, I've got 3 or 4 of the magnetic parts bowls, and about an even dozen of the flashlights. LOL
     
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  13. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    I've heard about EK's new masterlink that screws together, but no one offered to give me a brand new chain with one.
     
  14. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

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    After I blew up 2 with normal use, a cycle gear version and one from amazon, I cut my losses and bought the DID KM500R. Perfect rivet every time without all of the stopping and checking. To each his own.
     
  15. wiso

    wiso New Member

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    I bought a RK chain tool many years ago, never looked back.
     
  16. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    The stopping and checking is a pain. The first two times I checked, no change!
     
  17. Norse

    Norse New Member

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    A cheap tool will generally do the job just fine. But a quality tool is almost always a worthy investment.
    They will last forever and be a quality-of-life upgrade.

    I will be changing many chains over the coming years so I really don't think $100'ish is a bad deal. IMHO, just the fact that mine came in a quality metal case is worth half the price. Makes it easy to keep everything together and organised.
     
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  18. Paul Myers

    Paul Myers New Member

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    Thanks to everyone on this thread.
    Just bought the DID KM500R.
    Time is too precious to be wasting time with cheap tools. Been there done that, paid the price.

    I agree a good tool will last longer than I will ever need it and knowing it will create a consistent rivet everytime is worth the money.
     
  19. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    I bought a cheap tool a couple of years ago, changed two chains and rivetted them just fine, however, that tool might be able to do one more.... it's only adequate to do a 530 chain..... one day I'll spend the bucks on a good one (for the next chain I change).
     
  20. ridervfr

    ridervfr Member

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    https://didchain.com/did-km500r-chain-tool/ funny I bought an EK chain tool with a funky blue metal box that looks just like that. Its a pro tool that cost alot, but I figure I am gona have it for the rest of my life and a chain is well, the best analogy I can make is would you want to skimp on a tool that was used on your parachute? Nah, have used these cheapo chain tools and they sucked out loud. This is similar to what I own minus the metal box https://www.amazon.com/EK-PROFESSIONAL-CHAIN-TOOL-69-9935/dp/B00EXFYEHS
     
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