Chain Tension [Archive] - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums

: Chain Tension


Dyne79
02-20-2011, 02:18 PM
I have a 98 vulcan 500. Didn't come with a book. Ordered one but they are saying it won't be in for another two weeks. My chain has some serious slack so it needs adjusted before I go for another ride. But the weather is SO nice right now! Could some please do a quick write up on how to adjust my chain so I don't have to wait two weeks and miss out on this gorgeous weather?!?

bikerbill
02-20-2011, 02:35 PM
Chain 'slack' is 1" - 1 1/4". (25-35mm) I measure at the bottom for easy access to the chain.

I adjust the chain on my 1997 this way:

Rest the machine on its sidestand. Put transmission in Neutral.

Loosen the torque arm nut. Save cotter pin. If cotter pin is too damaged to reuse replace it!

Loosen the axle nut. Save cotter pin. If cotter pin is too damaged to reuse replace it!

Loosen the jam nuts on the chain adjusters on each side

Tighten the adjuster on the left side one 'flat' at a time, counting the 'flats', until the chain is at the proper tension.

Tighten the nut on the right side adjuster the number of 'flats' you counted on the left side.

Tighten the axle bolt. Reinsert cotter pin.

Tighten adjuster jam nuts.

Tighten torque arm nut. Reinsert cotter pin.

Go riding.

Dyne79
02-20-2011, 02:39 PM
So the chain should move down about an inch from its resting position and up about an inch from resting?

bikerbill
02-20-2011, 02:46 PM
The measurement is for total distance from top of travel to bottom of travel.

Dyne79
02-20-2011, 02:51 PM
Woo ok. So roughly half an inch in either direction. Yeah I am WAY off then

Dyne79
02-20-2011, 02:53 PM
Does the axle bolt have any specific torque setting?

bikerbill
02-20-2011, 03:03 PM
Spec for the axle nut is 65 ft-lb then continue to the next cotter pin hole (there are two sets of holes 90 deg to each other on the axle).

Dyne79
02-20-2011, 06:40 PM
Got it done in no time and got a nice ride in. Sun may be shining but its pretty cold at 70 mph! Thanks man!

bikerbill
02-20-2011, 07:43 PM
You're welcome. It's windy out here (gusts to 30mph) so no pleasure riding today. :(

Ride safe.

Larryb22
02-21-2011, 03:28 PM
Don't forget to lube the chain too.
Larry

gooch0001
03-13-2011, 09:51 PM
Chain 'slack' is 1" - 1 1/4". (25-35mm) I measure at the bottom for easy access to the chain.

I adjust the chain on my 1997 this way:

Rest the machine on its sidestand. Put transmission in Neutral.

Loosen the axle nut. Save cotter pin. If cotter pin is too damaged to reuse replace it!

Loosen the jam nuts on the chain adjusters on each side

Tighten the adjuster on the left side one 'flat' at a time, counting the 'flats', until the chain is at the proper tension.

Tighten the nut on the right side adjuster the number of 'flats' you counted on the left side.

Tighten the axle bolt. Reinsert cotter pin.

Tighten adjuster jam nuts.

Go riding.


So this is the same process I used for mine but I was reading the manual today and it has a caution in there to make sure you loosen the torque nut before loosening the axle nut and tighten it at the end. It is specifically called out in a caution box so I was wondering if this is something that I should be concerned with since I did not do it. Does anyone else do this and what is the reason it needs to be done? Any issues if it isn't done that anyone is aware of?

bikerbill
03-14-2011, 12:08 AM
Loosening the torque arm nut before moving the axle isn't a bad idea. When you move the rear axle it also puts a slight twist on the torque arm and brake backing plate which could loosen the nut if done repeatedly. 'My Bad' for the oversight.

Since there is a cotter pin keeping the nut from coming off there is no danger of losing the nut BUT the nut does not need to be that loose.

If you are concerned about it right now go ahead and give it a twist to be sure about things and don't forget about it next time. Also don't forget to retighten it after adjusting the chain.

I have also edited my original post to include the torque arm nut loosening and retightening.

gooch0001
03-14-2011, 07:44 AM
Thanks for the response bikerbill. I feel better now about riding my bike, I will just be sure to loosen the torque nut next time I adjust the chain.

Pete7874
03-14-2011, 01:08 PM
So the chain should move down about an inch from its resting position and up about an inch from resting?
The way the Haynes manual describes it, the slack is measured between the resting position and the upper position:

Pushup on the bottom run of the chain or belt and measure the slack midway between the two sprockets.

But according to my 2008 owner's manual, it's like bikerbill said:

measure maximum chain slack by pulling up and pushing down the chain

I think mine needs adjusting, too...

Pa. Vulcan
03-14-2011, 05:12 PM
Important to note that the slack/amount of movement needs to be measured where the chain is tightest. If you roll the bike you will notice the chain is typically not the same tension all the way around one sprocket rotation. Make sure to measure and/or adjust with the rear wheel rotated to the tightest chain slack position, per the service manual.

Pete7874
03-14-2011, 07:51 PM
What size wrench/socket is needed for the axle nut? Is it 1"? 25mm?

I just realized none of my sockets are big enough...