alternative chain oiling

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
Please tell me what you think of this idea.

For a long time I have been extremely unhappy with all of the spray-on chain lubes. They are messy and inefficient. Why use a high-pressure spray with very little control when the only part of the chain that needs to be lubricated is the ends of the rollers?

3Motul_c5_chainpaste.jpg

In the UK there are alternatives to spray-on lube. One is chain paste. It comes with a brush in the cap. In the US you can get it on eBay but it is expensive for a small quantity.

$_12.JPG

Here's another, again, based in the UK, available in the US on eBay, and very expensive.

PTLubeMotorcycleChainOil_500ml-252x300.jpg

One more, again, UK based, unavailable in the U.S. without really trying.

So what do you do if you live in the U.S. and you think that the spray-on lubes, which are the only thing available, are purposefully wasteful, aside from being a mess, and you refuse to be a part of this paradign any longer?

$_12.JPG

Well, I bought this, from this seller:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/REFILLABLE-...450?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cec979b62

k2-_41a04cfa-9f51-460a-bf01-e27d5cf82f0f.v1.jpg

And then I filled it with this from Walmart at $4 a quart. I chose bar oil because it is supposed to resist flinging off of the chain.
I oiled a chain, putting exactly one drop on each side of each roller, right where the plates meet. The oil can allowed very precise drop-by-drop application. I weighed the filled oil can before and after oiling the chain, and I used 7.3 grams of oil. I did the math. Assuming that motor oil weighs 7 pounds per gallon, I can oil a motorcycle chain 435 times with my quart of bar oil. If I did it twice a month, the quart would last me 18 years. The cost of the oil used per oiling is less than one cent.
But it's not really about the cost so much as it is about being cleaner and more efficient.

A couple of afterthoughts: The chain I oiled was on a 1978 XT500, which is an enduro and which has a chain tensioner. I noticed that the tensioner was wiping the excess oil off of the chain as it slid on it -- a considerable amount of the 7.3 grams that I used ended up on the floor underneath the tensioner. So, when I do this to my XS650 I am going to wipe down the chain after I finish.

lube.jpg

I also think that a wax type lube would be worth trying, but the only non spray-on ones available in the U.S. that I know of are bicycle chain lubes, such as those above. I considered just trying one instead of buying the oil can, but I wanted to see how bar oil worked as a motorcycle chain oil.

So, there you have it.
 
Last edited:

5twins

XS650 Guru
Top Contributor
Messages
23,100
Reaction score
19,031
Points
813
Chain lube of any kind should be applied to the inside of the chain so centrifugal force pushes it to the outside. Sounds like you applied your oil drops to the outside. The best chain lube I've found and the only stuff I use any more is Kal-Gard Chain Kote. If you've never tried this stuff, you might like it. It contains black moly and stains the rollers a dark gray. Once they start turning silver again, you know it's time to re-apply. They also make a clear version but I don't get that. I want the black moly to stain the rollers.
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
I know about the Scottoiler, but it's just not for me. But I do appreciate the endorsement of the bar oil.

I did apply the oil to the top (outside) of the chain, but I could have just as easily applied it to the lower section of the chain, which would be the inside. I found that the bar oil was very runny, and did a good job of migrating and coating both the inside and outside.
The Kal-Gard sounds excellent, but I have made the decision to never use an aerosol chain lube again.

Truth is, the bar oil was too runny for me.
My latest thought is to make my own wax-based lube. It's not as crazy as it sounds. As an artist,I've had lots of experience using wax as a "resist," to resist a water-based material.

51KRlgysAnL.jpg

You buy this at a grocery store (used for canning), for as little as $3 for 16 ounces, you put it in an electric fry pan to melt it, and then you add kerosene to achieve whatever consistency you need.
Here's what I think I'm going to try next: Add motor oil instead of kerosene, and add enough so that the wax just solidifies when the heat is off. Once the ratio is right, heat it again, and put it in the oiler can. When I'm ready to oil a chain, put the oiler can in a warm oven for a few minutes, and then use.
 

TwoManyXS1Bs

BBQ Hunter
Top Contributor
Messages
14,655
Reaction score
14,937
Points
813
Location
Fredericksburg, Texas
Back in the day, we were in a kinda transitional mode, doing the 'cook in a pan of hot grease', to oils, to trying various new-fangled spray lubes.

The big selling feature for the better spray lubes was that they would apply as a light viscosity fluid, with agitating foam to promote penetration. The low-viscosity carrier would eventually evaporate out, leaving a very sticky high-viscosity purposely designed grease.

I've been sold on the principle ever since...
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
Two Many, why can't they put it in a squeeze bottle instead of a spray can? The bicycle chain lube makers do. The only reason to use a high pressure spray from a spray can is if you want to blast the chain clean, but that's a whole 'nother product, called Chain Cleaner.
 

TwoManyXS1Bs

BBQ Hunter
Top Contributor
Messages
14,655
Reaction score
14,937
Points
813
Location
Fredericksburg, Texas
The low viscosity carrier requires pressurization to remain in the liquid state. After spraying, it boils and bubbles, creating the agitating/penetrating effect...
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
Good explanation of why they pressurize. Or, they could sell it non-pressurized, and require that it be gently heated before use, but then they would have liability issues, and it would be too much trouble for the average user.
As for the agitating promoting better penetration, maybe that's true, or maybe it's the ad men spinning what happens coincidentally into a "feature."
 

TwoManyXS1Bs

BBQ Hunter
Top Contributor
Messages
14,655
Reaction score
14,937
Points
813
Location
Fredericksburg, Texas
Back then, application techniques were demonstrated that produced minimal fuss/muss. I haven't seen those techniques published for years. I don't know how to present that here, would have to show you next time I visit.

In the meantime, keep experimentin'. Your "Hot Wax" idea may catch on...
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
ChainLube.jpg

All right then, I don't expect anyone to follow suit, but here I am making my own wax-based chain lube.
As luck would have it, around Christmas I decided to start getting rid of some of the chemicals that I never used, and I sold my black molybdenum oxide. The coffee can and the spoon in the right foreground contain nickel oxide, which is almost as good as a lubricant. It should stain the rollers like 5twins mentioned.
Done for now, want to see how solid the mix is or isn't after it has cooled in the morning.
 

timbeck

HARDLY A GURU
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
1,288
Points
163
Location
Boston,MA
Things that make you say, Hmmmmm....... tim
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
Used engine oil, that's another idea with merit that I'd forgotten.
To reiterate, this isn't just about being cheap, but is more so about rejecting an inefficient application system. No matter how much I feather the push button on an aerosol lube can, way more comes out than I need or want, and I believe the manufacturers would like to keep it that way. Non-spray chain lube seems to be somewhat common in the UK, why is it almost unobtainable here?
 

glennpm

Another Old Biker Nut!
Messages
472
Reaction score
46
Points
28
Location
Huntersville, NC & Wiscasset, ME
Hi,

I bought a "Grease Ninja" two or three years ago and use DuPont spray Teflon lube that I get at Lowe's A few months back though I had a little trouble locating it there so Lowe's may be discontinuing carrying it. I bought the last two cans they had. It had been stocked in their tool section of the store. It sprays and penetrates well and drys with a wax like film.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_213197-39963-D00110101_0__?productId=1059839

I like the grease Ninja since I can direct the spray and don't waste too much of it. The only issue I've had is keeping the tube in the Grease Ninja.

http://www.greaseninja.com/

Review of the Grease Ninja:

http://www.canyonchasers.net/reviews/accessories/grease-ninja.php
 

Attachments

  • Clipboard01.jpg
    Clipboard01.jpg
    19.7 KB · Views: 182
Last edited:

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
So, I began with about a 50/50 mix of t wax and bar oil. It was way too stiff.
I began to worry about how well my mixture would go through the oiler can, and I decided to go with a final mix of about 3 parts bar oil to one part wax.
This resulted in a thixotropic gel that goes through the oil can freely and easily without heating.
I think I might thicken it up in the future with more wax, and I will probably also try a mixture that does require heat to flow, but for now I am satisfied.

If anyone else wants to experiment with this, the wax melts pretty easily, and you do need an electric frying pan like I used. Any pot on a stove top will work.
 

fredintoon

Fred Hill, S'toon.
Top Contributor
Messages
6,682
Reaction score
5,382
Points
563
Location
saskatoon sk
So, I began with about a 50/50 mix of t wax and bar oil. - - - and you don't need an electric frying pan like I used. Any pot on a stove top will work.

Hi DogBunny,
seems someone has beaten you to the finish line:-
http://www.putoline.com/en/catalogue/product/140/chain-wax/1675/
Now you know how I felt when I showed the boss my design for a small parts decontamination unit and he said "Congratulations Fred, you have invented the dishwasher".
 

5twins

XS650 Guru
Top Contributor
Messages
23,100
Reaction score
19,031
Points
813
Commercial chain wax was all the rage years ago when it first came out. So much so that I decided to try some. It was the absolute pits for use on a normal chain because it didn't penetrate the rollers, just coated the outside of the chain. That may be fine on an o-ring chain that has lube sealed inside, but it's terrible for a normal type chain. Mine developed all kinds of kinks in no time. Hopefully your mix will penetrate better.
 

DogBunny

Motorcychologist
Top Contributor
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
3,196
Points
263
Location
Austin, Texas
fred, the chain wax you linked to is yet another product that can't be easily and/or cheaply bought in the U.S. If I lived in the UK, I'd just buy the Motul paste and the PT lube, decide which one I liked best, and be done with it.
Also, with the chain wax, you have to remove the chain from the bike. There is no way I'm doing that, I'd use the spray-ons that I despise first. Back in the day, as TwoMany alluded to, removing the chain was how it was done, thankfully we have progressed beyond that.

In my quest to find an alternative to spray-ons, another solution I researched was self-lubricating chains. Tsubaki makes what is probably the best known self-lubricating chain, and MMM sells it on 650Central.com, which is a pretty good endorsement. Unfortunately, Tsubaki only makes it in 530, not 520.
Regarding penetration of the rollers: I did a little research on self-lubricating chains, and the technology seems to be to fill the rollers with lube, which is then slowly expelled during the life of the chain. This is supposed to be superior because as the lube travels out of the rollers it carries dirt with it, keeping the working surfaces clean, as opposed to applying lube externally which carries dirt with it into the working surfaces...
Someone also anecdotally told me that the technology behind the Tsubaki self-lubricating chain is that it is plated with nickel, and as the nickel plating erodes the nickel particles provide the lubrication. That sounds plausible, but I've never seen a confirmation of it.
 

fredintoon

Fred Hill, S'toon.
Top Contributor
Messages
6,682
Reaction score
5,382
Points
563
Location
saskatoon sk
Commercial chain wax was all the rage years ago when it first came out. So much so that I decided to try some. It was the absolute pits for use on a normal chain because it didn't penetrate the rollers, just coated the outside of the chain. That may be fine on an o-ring chain that has lube sealed inside, but it's terrible for a normal type chain. Mine developed all kinds of kinks in no time. Hopefully your mix will penetrate better.

Hi 5twins,
that's the wax in a spraycan? Yeah, that don't work too well.
But Putoline and the now unfindable LinkLyfe don't work like that.
Remove the bike's chain and wash it clean with your choice of solvent.
Melt the can of wax on the stove.
Lift out the chain that's already in there and hang it up to drip the excess lube back into the can.
Drop in the chain off the bike into the can while the wax is still melted.
Put the lid back on the can and carefully store it.
Install the second chain.
Repeat every 1,000 miles.
 
Top