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Cleaning a clay encrusted O-ring chain?


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It’s been a muddy first few weeks of ownership with our new dirt bikes. We’ve found our drive chains completely encased in mud, or more specifically, Georgia red clay — which is tacky and persistent of the highest order. 

In reading some threads on cleaning chains, I have taken notice of advice not to use a pressure washer on O-ring chains. Oops. Didn’t know that (first time having such a chain). I am hoping just 3 washings so far won’t have done too much damage. 

But how else to get this level of mud off? Brush only? Pressure washer, but very carefully? (And if so, how?)

I would prefer not to have to remove the chain to clean it if possible. 

Thanks!

1B09F328-D7F5-4C18-AB26-94D510809D16.jpeg

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Just rinse that beast with water with a mild pressure sprayer on a hose. It's mud. It will come off. If necessary, use a SOFT brush designed for cleaning o'ring chains. Then blow the water off with mild compressed air and wipe down with o'ring approved lube (which is really just made to keep the links from rusting, not add lubrication, cause that's is already inside your o'rings).

 

Edited by LSHD
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Awsome from your local Dollar Store remove chain place in a shallow pan mix 1 cup of Awsome to 1/2 gallon of hot water and soak over night. Next lay chain out on a table and take a nylon brush and clean it well. Then use some low air pressure and dry chain. Spray with WD-40 and your ready to go! Chain will out last the sprockets!

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4 hours ago, Tahoe Gator said:

It’s been a muddy first few weeks of ownership with our new dirt bikes. We’ve found our drive chains completely encased in mud, or more specifically, Georgia red clay — which is tacky and persistent of the highest order. 

In reading some threads on cleaning chains, I have taken notice of advice not to use a pressure washer on O-ring chains. Oops. Didn’t know that (first time having such a chain). I am hoping just 3 washings so far won’t have done too much damage. 

But how else to get this level of mud off? Brush only? Pressure washer, but very carefully? (And if so, how?)

I would prefer not to have to remove the chain to clean it if possible. 

Thanks!

1B09F328-D7F5-4C18-AB26-94D510809D16.jpeg

Firstly I'd use a big plastic brush and maybe a wooden paint stir stick and come chop sticks to get off most of the mud/dirt. Then IMO the chain is actually pretty clean but I soak mine on the bike (and the sprockets) before every wash with Maxima CleanUp Chain cleaner for at least one beer before having at it with an electric pressure washer. Then MPPL, the Chain Guard.

564401-toiletbrushwithlip.jpg

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If its really bad soak with the cleanup and have at it with good plastic scrub brush, repeat with the cleanup cus you obviously do not want to use a steel wire brush on a o-ring chain.

libman-00054-heavy-duty-scrub-brush-scru

 

 

Edited by filterx
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1 hour ago, David C said:

I live in Georgia, covered in clay all the time and I pressure wash the hell out of my chain.
Just spray it off and shoot some wd on there and you'll be fine.

+1 and if no improvement then the Maxima clean up sprayed on after the bulk of the dirt is sprayed off will get the rest of it. Pressure washer tip: Don't get closer than 12 inches to any part of your motorcycle with the tip of the washer wand (assuming it's gasoline powered).

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47 minutes ago, filterx said:

Firstly I'd use a big plastic brush and maybe a wooden paint stir stick and come chop sticks to get off most of the mud/dirt. Then IMO the chain is actually pretty clean but I soak mine on the bike (and the sprockets) before every wash with Maxima CleanUp Chain cleaner for at least one beer before having at it with an electric pressure washer. Then MPPL, the Chain Guard.

564401-toiletbrushwithlip.jpg

maxresdefault.jpg

If its really bad soak with the cleanup and have at it with good plastic scrub brush, repeat with the cleanup cus you obviously do not want to use a steel wire brush on a o-ring chain.

 

 

 

I get the chain cleaning product suggestions, but what about the notion that an O-ring chain does not require lubricant? Only something like WD-40 to prevent rust.

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Something I don't understand is why people keep saying to use WD40.  The stuff is NOT a lubricant, it is a water displacement spray, does nothing for lubrication (even though it may claim to).  If you're trying to keep something dry the stuff works reasonably well, and works pretty good for removing stickers, but it is of no use for any other reason.

Edited by cjjeepercreeper
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7 minutes ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

but it is of no use for any other reason.

It absolutely prevents rust. 9 months of the year here even after towel drying the chain it will rust without it. You live in a desert and I live in a cold, dark, wet swamp that dries out only 3 months of the year.

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1 minute ago, shrubitup said:

It absolutely prevents rust. 9 months of the year here even after towel drying the chain it will rust without it. You live in a desert and I live in a cold, dark, wet swamp that dries out only 3 months of the year.

Makes sense. 👍

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43 minutes ago, Tahoe Gator said:

I get the chain cleaning product suggestions, but what about the notion that an O-ring chain does not require lubricant? Only something like WD-40 to prevent rust.

I do use a rag on the chain (spinning it backwards it to get most of the water off before the MPPL) and IMO the MPPL is a water displacer and helps preserve rubber (o-rings etc) and is not sticky like WD40. I use MPPL in my cables about 2  or 4 washes.

IMO both WD40 and MPPL will prevent rust but as  I mentioned MPPL is not sticky and once e you have the chain clean etc and use what ever lube you want but I prefer Maxima Chain Guard.

I'm bore and hoping the Jags kick NE's butts 🙂

Edited by filterx
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8 minutes ago, unswitched said:

You said right off that you just got new dirt bikes. I'm surprised that none of the previous commenters told you that dirt bikes do not normally come with o-ring chains.

Why do you think you have o-ring chains?

trail bikes do, MX bikes don't. Kickstand and 18" rear it appears his is a YZ250X which does come with an O-ring chain.

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1 minute ago, shrubitup said:

trail bikes do, MX bikes don't. Kickstand and 18" rear it appears his is a YZ250X which does come with an O-ring chain.

Ahhh.

Well so what if his o-rings wear out, just lube the chain often. I rode motorcycles for 15 years before o-ring chains were invented. O-rings just extend service intervals, right?

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16 minutes ago, unswitched said:

Ahhh.

Well so what if his o-rings wear out, just lube the chain often. I rode motorcycles for 15 years before o-ring chains were invented. O-rings just extend service intervals, right?

allegedly keeps pins always lubricated but I don't have any trouble doing this with a standard chain either. the price of the O ring version has come down so much on RMATV (primary drive brand) that I don't care anymore. Only thing I don't like is the grease supplied on the new chains. I always soaked a new chain in gasoline for days to remove that goo. You can't do that with a O ring chain because the rings swell from the gasoline so I wipe it off and use clean up to remove it (takes longer).

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Something I don't understand is why people keep saying to use WD40.  The stuff is NOT a lubricant, it is a water displacement spray, does nothing for lubrication (even though it may claim to).  If you're trying to keep something dry the stuff works reasonably well, and works pretty good for removing stickers, but it is of no use for any other reason.

That's what you use it for, to get rid of collecting water on the chain.
O and x ring chains are lubed on the inside, putting anything else on there is a waste of time.
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4 minutes ago, David C said:

O and x ring chains are lubed on the inside, putting anything else on there is a waste of time.

I disagree... if you study the makeup of an o-ring chain you'll realise there are 3 areas that would benefit from oil.

Here's a good picture of one.

 oring-vs-xring.jpg

1. The Oring itself - this has to slide against the inner & outer link plates, and the mating surfaces can become dry, at least on the outer edges. A little lube here will help.

2. Solid roller to Solid bushing - This is the main area where you can help your chain. This mating face slides and wears, and will account for some of the wear in your chain when it "stretches". These mating faces are not sealed but do require lube, any you can get in there will help.

3. Solid roller to Sprocket teeth - if the chain can hold a film of oil it will lessen the wearing that happens as the roller engages and disengages with the sprocket teeth. This is probably more applicable to road bikes as the chains last long enough for this to be noticeable (Scottoilers etc.).

 

To the OP - Just jet wash the bike/chain. Try not to hold it too close and if possible avoid pointing it straight down into the O-rings.

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