Home Forums Tech Talk Chains, gears and lubes

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    • #46118
      Samir Shah

      So, I’m learning the hard way about chains and lubes for my son’s Leopard – burned out 2 10T front sprockets before someone told me that I needed better chain lube, and the Triflow that worked on Animals would not work on the 16+k rpm Leopard chain. I put on a new gear and sprocket, and a new chain, and almost used up a can of Chukka chain lube to make sure the kid managed to finish all the races for the day.

      I’m getting all kinds of recommendations about chains and lube, and reading some contradictory stuff on the internet too. So, I’d like to get to the bottom of this.

      – One recommendation is to change chains every race! That gets expensive quickly. How can one know when a chain is worn out? Shouldn’t chain wear be simply stretch, which a gauge will quantify? And shouldn’t wear determine whether to change the chain?

      Are there any tricks to determine wear and replacement time? I can look all I want, I’m not seeing problems – I don’t know what to look out for, can someone elaborate or show some pictures – on chain as well as gears.


      BTW, it’s not easy to find a gauge for 219 chains. And the prices are 5x what the gauge for a bike chain costs.

      – O-ring vs non-oring chain: which is better with a leopard? Is the performance issue acceleration due to different mass of the chain type? Will one last longer than the other?

      – Huge range in prices of lubes that claim to work with Leopards/high hp kart engines. Each supplier recommends something, and often talks down another product. Are there no specs that one can read and rely on, like there are for car gear oils or motor oils?  The marketing babbles about high temp, stickiness, ability to withstand high pressure, etc, but are there no ratings for this stuff? Is the presence of <span style=”color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: 17.6000003814697px; line-height: normal;”>moylbdenum sulphide what is necessary in a chain lube? It seems to be in a lot of the lubes I’ve look at. Moly plus a penetrating oil is what they seem to be, to get the moly to the inside of a chain.</span></span>

      I’m sure this is going to get a lot of opinions. I’m asking for more concrete indicators or measurements of wear, that can allow me to time when its time to change a gear or a chain, and also a more specific guide of what a chain lube for a high rpm chain should contain.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.



    • #46188
      Samir Shah

      So, I think I answered some of my own questions.

      Chain stretch – 3 ways of measuring or at least identifying;

      – I used a straight metal ruler. Put a new chain against it. End to end, the new 219 chain fits exactly in the center of 2 pins. Next put the suspect chain against the ruler. If the chain pins overhang the ruler, it is stretched.

      – I also put the new ‘benchmark’ chain directly against the suspect chain to verify that it was stretched.

      – I then wrapped the chains, one at a time, around an entire new rear sprocket. and held the excess chain tight against the sprocket with with one hand. A new chain could not be lifted off the new sprocket and fit tightly, the used chain could be lifted off the teeth of the sprocket and had play.

      Now to figure out how to tell if a sprocket is still good.


    • #46192
      Jim White

      Are you sure your aren’t running it too tight? Guys can run a 30 minute roadrace and not have issues.

    • #46195
      Samir Shah

      No, I had it misaligned (I sighted by eye and spun it – a no-no for a newbie) and also did not have the right lube. I was used to 4 cycle guys using Triflow, and that’s what I used.

      Had the alignment been OK, it would have probably survived. But, the clutch gear got chewed up and stripped due to the alignment (and presumably the chain was toast at that point too). Then I put in a new 10T gear, made sure it was aligned, but used the same chain, since it was ‘new’ and only had 1 session on it, and the 2nd 10T also got stripped, this time presumably by the stretched chain.

      Then someone experienced (thanks John Ferris) took a look, identified the dryness of the chain, and educated me on what was happening. New chain, new gear, new sprocket, new can of proper lube, and not only did the kart run well the rest of the day (4 more sessions), but my son also won the feature race in his first race in a Leopard (yeah, yeah, I’m a proud dad and can’t believe it or get over it).

      I understand the problem now. My learning curve in the past 2 weeks has been steep! And I’m glad there are such nice helpful people at the track, else it could easily have been very frustrating.


    • #46218
      tony zambos

      Link to a chain test tool:

      Link to a reply posted by Tom Grisham on May 28, 2013

      LAD Specialties customer / tony kart / rotax / kt100

    • #46222
      Samir Shah

      Thanks Tony. Great links.

      Yes, that was the only chain test tool I found, but there was no link to purchase it, so I sent them an email. Waiting to hear back. In the meantime, it gave me ideas, thus the 3 methods I listed. I think measuring with calipers might be the way to go as it can be done on the kart.


    • #47012
      Samir Shah

      Lube: I found and tried out the Lucas Oils Chain oil 10014 product.

      It’s amazing, worked fastastically all weekend. I was lubing after every race, and I suspect I did not need to do so every time- chain was always still lubed well even when coming off a 15 lapper.

      Much cheaper than all the spray cans, very easy to apply, no wastage, and no mess from spraying.

    • #47043
      TJ Koyen

      RK O-ring chains + Xeramic chain lube = best combination we’ve found. Chains last forever.

      Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
      Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com

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