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Old 05-07-2008, 07:07 PM   #1
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O-ring chain, Huh?

In my defense of the upcoming idiotic question, I've owned mostly shaft drive bikes... So, my gal's BMW F650 GS. I took the front sprocket cover off (for oil filter access) and found three broken rubber o-rings, just hanging out in there, along with the other crud slung off the chain. Are these the "o-rings" from the o-ring chain? Does this mean the chain is junk? Is it normal or acceptable to lose some o-rings? I checked for chain wear like the owner's manual says, seems ok. The bike has 4000 miles on it, haven't been super good about lubing or adjusting the chain, and yes, the lube I use says "o-ring safe" Any opinions?
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
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An "O"-ring chain has sealed rollers (with lube inside them). Once the O-rings go then you will lose the internal lube. The chain will still work but you will have rollers that will cease to roll and it will function like a normal chain. This will lead to greater wear on the sprockets - greater than you will get with a functional O-ring chain anyway. In my opinion you should replace the chain. That's what I would do anyway. You should also check the sprockets to see if they might need replacting as well. Common practice says to replace all these items at the same time but with only 4K on the bike you may not need to do so. IMHO.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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You should replace sprockets when you replace the chain - a slightly set of worn sprockets will cause a new chain to wear all the faster. At this point, as long as the chain and sprockets are still within service limits you might as well run them to the bitter end. Its a good idea to have a set of replacement sprockets and chain sitting on the shelf. That way when the chain is toast, for a couple hours work you are right back on the road.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:00 AM   #4
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4000 miles seems awfully soon to be loosing o-rings. Unless she's doing a lot of off road riding I would check for proper alignment of the rear wheel / sprocket or other reasons for failure.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:26 AM   #5
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You do not have to replace sprockets each time you replace a chain. Sprockets are just like any wear item on a bike; if worn, replace, if not, keep. Read the following link on the subject.

My guess why the chain went so fast is because it was kept way too tight; a common problem with n00bs and chain bikes.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:37 AM   #6
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Ive never had an o-ring come out of a chain in extreme thrashing on dirt bikes, something got way too hot or faulty chain problems,if only 4 K miles I would check with the dealer about the chain.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:37 PM   #7
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like foot dragger said... only i have had o-rings fall out of a chain. it was dry as hell. i did not replace it right away and all was well for about 4000 more miles. chances are your chain got real hot and decided it didn't like the orings any longer. run it! but keep lube on it and check for seized up sections from time to time.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by klrfreedom
4000 miles seems awfully soon to be loosing o-rings. Unless she's doing a lot of off road riding I would check for proper alignment of the rear wheel / sprocket or other reasons for failure.
10-4 on that; my F650 GS has 19000 miles on the original chain, including a 4900 mile TAT ride last year.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:18 AM   #9
I did that.
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How much do you like your girlfriend?

Put it another way, if it was my butt on the seat I'd have new chain and sprockets at the earliest opportunity.

If you've found 3 or 4 orings, how many more may have just fallen right off? It suggests a fault somewhere, and the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, which must now be quite suspect.

ALWAYS put new sprockets on with a new chain. Get the best you can afford on the day. Cheap oring chains and cheap sprockets are a false economy.

I certainly wouldn't want to throw a chain half way around a corner with oncoming traffic. It's the kind of cheapskate mistake you only get to make once..........

In the "good old days" (which were quite shitty a lot of the time, actually) chains were often a drama, but with modern oring chains it is rare to hear of any problems whatsoever, unless caused by "owner intervention" (read: bad or plain stupid maintenance). A new set of bits properly adjusted should last a long time and be trouble free.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:01 PM   #10
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If it was my chain I would look at every link till I found the missing one's
If none are missing then some how from the factory the chain had some o rings stuck on the chain and ended under the cover. Just a stupid thought.
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Old Yesterday, 02:16 PM   #11
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My search-fu may be weak, but this looks like the most appropriate topic to ask in:
Chain and sprockets replaced 8000 km ago, chain was adjusted about 2000 km ago, during a routine service at the dealership. 1000 km ago I saw that a couple of o-rings are sticking out. 200 km ago i felt the bike vibrate weirdly, stopped and found that some of the links have seized, chain is now too tight, also half of the o-rings (or X-rings, its a DID X-ring chain) are out/torn to bits/lost.
I have an automatic chain oiler charged with some cheap motor oil. No issues on the previous chain. The only thing I changed was I turned the dripping rate way down, so as to fling less oil around. Could the o-rings have failed because of this? Is there any other reason for such mass failure?
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Old Yesterday, 02:25 PM   #12
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You can run a non O-ring chain on a O-ring chain spec'ed bike without issue. It just does not last as long. Without the o-rings it will just wear faster. i have seen chains loose o-rings, but on really old fucked up stretched to hell chains. Odd that it is happening. Sure it is not too stretched out. Did you do the ol pull the chain off the middle of the rear sprocket test? Is chain tension adjusted to tight. If the wear is good I'd run it till it is not.
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Old Yesterday, 02:46 PM   #13
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It was not too stretched before the trip started and there was still plenty of space to adjust it. It became very tight once links started seizing up. I replaced that one because of the seized links, i'm in the middle of a 5000km trip, and I just wasn't comfortable riding with it anymore.
It's just that I was under impression that even if I never lubed and overtightened an o-ring chain it should just stretch faster and that's all, not start spitting out o-rings.

Oh, remembered one more thing - the bike is loaded a lot more than usual for this trip - two-up and full side panniers + top box.
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