An Adventure in Firsts: '83 XS650 Heritage Special Build/Rebuild

MarieKaramazov

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So I'm having some difficulties/uncertainty with the chain alignment/tension.

I have the rear sprocket on, tabs bent, I have the chain on withe the master link and clip installed, I have the front sprocket on and fully torqued (got it to 90ft/lbs...but it was strange...the wrench clicked, but I don't feel like the bolt really moved any tighter...), I just have to fold the lock tab up for the front sprocket. I ended up doing the front sprocket torque before finishing the chain tension/rear axle alignment (I figured that's okay?) because I kept feeling uncertain about how to get the best alignment and tension. Reason is that I remembered that my tensioners are worn (or there's some other reason) so the screw doesn't hit the swingarm at the same amount of turns on either side. I figured that maybe if I get the markers on the chain adjusters to line up with the same swingarm tick mark on either side, then I'm good. I couldn't make that happen without doing an uneven amount of turns for each side--and even then it was being a bit fussy. So ultimately my question is, which do I go with? Turn them both the same amount of times and forget about them being at same hash mark on either side, OR turn them each however many times it takes (even if it's different amount for each screw) to get adjusters on the same hash mark? I figure it's the latter option since the screws and back of swingarm are probably worn they're not perfectly even, but the hashmarks should get me very close to alignment and then I check chain tension (and that's when I'll mimic the amount of turns?) and then I can double check alignment with that tool.
Even if I put the motion pro tool on bottom of sprocket and get on the ground and see if I can sight a straight line, to fix wonky alignment it if it's out of whack will mean turning one adjuster and not the other, no?
I feel like I'm going in a loop here guys...

The brake stay just needs to be snugged up and the cotter pin replaced (if you have one) or reuse the old one if it's still serviceable.
Looks like there wasn't a cotter pin in there, but I had a small one that I stuck in and bent up.
 

650Skull

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Found the guide marks worked pretty well............My tire edge would rub on the Brake plate stay so i was about a 1/4 of a mark different, (not quite 4). Still just touched when it was slightly out on the marks.............(4 on the left and 3 3/4 on the right).............. Bike traced well when i let the bars go going along the road so thats all i used to do.

Can just see in the pics, (not the best pics), How it is set up

IMG_7856 Shpn crop 2.jpg
IMG_7861 Auto enhance 69 crop 2.jpg
 

Raymond

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Good questions. Sounds like you might have lost your wheel alignment along the way but that don't matter - most important thing is to get the wheels both in line and this is a good time to do it. The ideal is to get the two wheels properly in line but no need to get too carried away and buy special tools.

Buy a chain alignment tool tool if you like but you don't need one.

For street riding, near enough is good enough. If your wheels are badly out of line, the bike won't drive straight, handling will suffer and your tyres will wear quicker. But you can get them so close, you or I or the average Joe ain't gonna notice the difference.

To answer your question, should you go by the marks or count turns of the adjuster? Counting turns only works for wheels that are already in line, so forget that. Get the rear wheel with the adjusters both at the same hash mark - that puts you in the right ballpark. Then use one of the methods to check the rear is in line with the front. With the bike on the centre stand.

You can use a long straight plank (not all planks are straight) placed maybe on two bricks or mugs, touching the edges of the rear tyre in two places - it will run just wide of the front tyre but the gap should be the same at both leading and trailing edges of the front tyre. Check by setting up the same arrangement t'other side of the tyres and the gaps should be similar. I'm calling the widest part of the tyre the edge.

You can use a long metal angle piece or similar to do the same job.

Or you can do as I do - get down real low ahead of the bike and peer past the front tyre towards the back tyre. Start at the front, because most times the front wheel will be turned a little and you need to nudge the handlebar to put it straight. Because the rear tyre is wider, you shouldn't be able to see the side of it till you move your head a little ways out to the side. As soon as you can see the front and rear sides of the rear tyre, pay attention to how much of the front tyre you can see. Now move you head a little ways out to the other side, till you can see the two edges of the rear tyre. Can you see the same amount of the front tyre as before? If the answer is Yes, your wheels are in line, job done.


tyres.jpg


The explanation is very long-winded so a picture of what I mean? When the two edges of the rear tyre just come into view, the angle between the edges at the front will be wider, because the tyre is narrower. Look along the other side and it should be similar.

However, if the edges of the rear tyre come into view before you can see the edges of the front tyre

PICT0289.JPG

it means your rear tyre, seen in plan on the right, is squint as shown and you need to correct by using the adjusters.

I also look along from the rear and check the same thing, that the edges of the rear tyre look the same both sides as the front comes into view.

This will make sense as you do it. And when you move the adjusters - might have to kick the rear tyre to make sure it goes snug forward after you loosen an adjuster - you will see the difference they make.

Once you are happy, it all looks symmetrical, the wheels are in line. In future you can use the counting turns method when you adjust the chain. Obviously, you need to check the chain adjustment is still correct after you do the above. Good luck, any questions ask.

PS Skull and I crossed in the post.
 
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bosco659

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Good advice above. Agree that counting turns is really only relevant when the wheel is in alignment already. Using the hash marks should get you close enough.
 

Team Junk

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I've seen several modern reports that attribute the interesting handling of the Kawasaki 2 strokes to wheel alignment problems.
 

Jim

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Bike traced well when i let the bars go going along the road so thats all i used to do.
That's pretty much all I've ever gone by.
I'll eyeball the tire and get it close. Nothing fancy, just sight down it from the back to make sure the front tire isn't "peaking out" either side.
The real proof is in a test ride. 30-40mph on a flat road. Put the bike in the center (crest) of the road. Line yourself up nice and straight and let go the bars. If the rear is lined up the bike will track straight ahead. Don't trust just one test, ride the same road in the opposite direction and do it again. If the bike always want's to fall off it's line the same direction, the rear's not tracking straight.
If the bike want's to fall off to the left, the rear is cocked to the right and vise versa. Adjust accordingly.

As far as how much to adjust out of it depends on how bad it falls off the line. If it "barely" falls off, try taking about a full turn out of the opposite side and do another road test to see how much it helped. It's something you'll develop a "feel" for.

A few things to keep in mind here....
1. You have to loosen the axle nut to readjust alignment.
2. Don't worry about chain tension during alignment adjustments/tests.
3. You'll always loosen whichever tensioner is opposite the fall off direction... falls left, loosen the right. Falls right, loosen the left.
4. Give the tire a few smacks with your knee and look to see the adjustment bolt is seated against the swingarm.
5. Once you have it tracking straight ahead, readjust chain tension by the "counting turns" method.
6. Don't forget to tighten the axle after every adjustment and (before the ) test ride!!

In my opinion, this gives you the best alignment you'll ever get on the rear because it'll compensate for any slight tweaks in the frame.
 
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Raymond

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So if I'm getting this right, it seems I could do the alignment ride test before I worry at all about the chain tension (within reason)?
Yes, within reason, as Jim says. And when you set the chain, tension, don't make it too tight. I don't think it should be called chain tension, it should be chain slack. It won't matter if you can move the chain up and down a fair bit - within reason - as long as it's not so slack it can jump off the sprocket. Too tight is bad for the chain, the sprockets and the gearbox.

I hope you're enjoying looking after your bike and doing these little jobs to get it right and keep it working properly?
 

MarieKaramazov

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Issue with that is that I have to take the muffler off (which is a real pain cuz it doesn't like coming off or going back on) to get at the axle for tension adjustment, so I'd have to put it on and take it off again and put it back on if I do it this way. Getting the bike on the center stand solo is also something I'm still mastering, especially when the ground on the street is uneven by the curb where I work. I may or may not have pulled my back out after the bike tipped over and I had to get it back up with a bush/tree in my way that made my usual lifting method a no go.

So I'm thinking I get the alignment as straight as I can using a combo of the swingarm marks, looking down the bike, and the motion pro on the bottom of rear sprocket (chain guard is in the way on the top and not easy to get to now). I also saw something about measuring from the swingarm pivot to the center of the rear axle on both sides and if the numbers are even then the alignment is good; I have everything off that's in the way of doing that so I can do that as well. Then, set the chain tension. Tighten axle and rear brake rod. (And Get that front sprocket washer flattened.) Then put everything else back on and test ride for alignment. That work?

Also, there was some goo on the chain rollers already on the new chain I got. You think I should lube it anyway?

Then I need to charge this beast and hope that it sitting for a month (?) hasn't given me sassy carbs.
 

Jim

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I also saw something about measuring from the swingarm pivot to the center of the rear axle on both sides and if the numbers are even then the alignment is good; I have everything off that's in the way of doing that so I can do that as well. Then, set the chain tension. Tighten axle and rear brake rod. (And Get that front sprocket washer flattened.) Then put everything else back on and test ride for alignment. That work?
Yes, that's a good method.

Also, there was some goo on the chain rollers already on the new chain I got. You think I should lube it anyway?
I would.
 

5twins

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I'd say you could take your test ride then lube the chain when you get back. Chain lube penetrates better on a warm chain. I always do my chain lubing after a ride when the chain is warm or hot, never before on a cold chain.
 

Jim

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Issue with that is that I have to take the muffler off (which is a real pain cuz it doesn't like coming off or going back on) to get at the axle for tension adjustment,
I'm assuming you have a socket for the axle nut then?
If so, I'd suggest you invest in a wrench that will loosen the axle. Chains need tensioning periodically. Would suck to have to take the muffler off every time.
 

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As others have said buy an open end spanner the right size for the axle.............Factory mufflers are short for that reason not to have to remove them when replacing chains/sprockets or rear wheel.

I had a full factory tool kit and used that without any problems when tightening the chain or removing and replacing the axle and wheel. Axle nut gets tightened up firm and unless your real lucky it has to be backed of a fraction to align the hole for the cotter pin.

I found/find the Yamaha tool kit is very good.
 

650Skull

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Another thing..............Use a screwdriver where the shaft will go through the hole on the Axle, (opposite side to the nut), and hold this when tightening up the Axle nut to stop the axle from turning.

When i am doing that, i'm positioned at the rear of the tyre with the spanner on the nut, (around the 3'oclock position after it is snugged up firm) and the screwdriver handle in the 12 to 1'oclock position so i'm leaning on the screwdriver handle and pushing on the spanner
 
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MarieKaramazov

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Sorry for the delay. I finished the job and then got covid shortly after. Still on the mend.
Thanks for the wrench references guys. I have fishtail mufflers that the PO put on, but I think a wrench would get by them. How would I get the torque right on the rear axle if im just using a wrench though? Am I just going for as tight as I can at that point?

Could only get torque on rear axle to 86-90 ft/lbs; after that point I was lifting up the front end of the bike. I think I got the chain tension right but I'll check again at some point soon.


Also: brake disc looks like it's got rust (?) on it. That screech is back when braking. Perhaps it's just from the bike being parked outside, but I wonder if that shop didn't check my caliper for rust when replacing the MC. ...clean the disc with brake cleaner and see how it goes? as you may remember I swapped my MC and brake line not that long ago. Brake pad wear had been okay when I last checked it but maybe I just grab a new set if it's not too time consuming of a job to complete? And it's the front and rear brake that have the screech; front seems worse I think. As for actual power, it's okay; I'm not sure if it's actually not the best or if it's just psychological as a result of the screech--I gotta say I don't think it's in fact that great. Wear indicator for rear is pretty close to the end too. Is that--replacing pads on front and drum (?) on rear-- a very difficult and/or time consuming job for a street working newbie like me?
 

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