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How to clean chain w/o masterlink?

Old 03-01-13, 10:31 AM
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How to clean chain w/o masterlink?

My bike chain doesn't have a masterlink or PowerLink and I can't really make it to a store to buy a chain tool. Is there a way to clean the chain very good but doesn't require one to take off the chain? Thanks in advance.

Josh
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Old 03-01-13, 10:41 AM
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Plenty help here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_5uck8tuyuu_b
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Old 03-01-13, 10:45 AM
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Is it come kind of emergency, or can you put it off? Is the chain only looking dirty, or does it sound dirty and gritty?

If the chain is running smoothly, but has a bunch of oily diet glued to the outside, you can simply "dry clean" it by running it through a dry rag, or one slightly dampened with a suitable solvent (the choice depends on the kind of chain lube you use). That will remove any loose dirt, so you can oil it without washing dirt deeper into the chain.

If the chain is very dirty, and sounds gritty when you flex it in your fingers, it wants a real wash. This is best done with it off the bike where it can soak and you can do multiple rinses to flush out all dirt and old oil. In a pinch you can slip it off the chaining, and dangle it from the chainstay (only works with FDs where you can open the cage at the bottom), and wash half at a time in a coffee can. I warn you that this is a time consuming and dirty process, so only suggest it if you can't wait and have no other option.

Otherwise, do a quick dry clean, and wait to do a proper cleaning job (if necessary) until you have what you need to do it right. Some will disagree, of course, but IMO doing an incomplete soaking, does more harm than good, since it leaves compromised lube still in the chain, so you're better off riding a dirty chain a while longer.
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Old 03-01-13, 10:58 AM
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Get a masterlink. bk
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Old 03-01-13, 11:21 AM
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Park chain cleaning tank is attached over the chain and 'sheep dips' the chain as it passes through it's cleaning fluid bath.

Still kind of messy as chain comes out wet with the cleaning fluid.

so not a white carpet , in the house, job
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Old 03-01-13, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Park chain cleaning tank is attached over the chain and 'sheep dips' the chain as it passes through it's cleaning fluid bath. Still kind of messy as chain comes out wet with the cleaning fluid. so not a white carpet , in the house, job
Ditto fietsbob.

OP; try here for cleaning...

https://www.amazon.com

; key words bicycle+chain+cleaning+tool

- You will note several competing brands. Recommend starting with the Park one.

-- Look in the listing also for the Park chain cleaning fluid. If you select both from the same shipping vendor, you can get them both in one box delivered for free or for pretty cheap.
-- As to being a bit messy, yes this is true. So put a old towel in one hand and use it is capture the chain as it comes out. And try not to spin it real fast...as you will really make a mess and not clean the chain as well. Even with a towel it is still not a living room job...

Rationale; FWIW; I had a pretty firm belief that breaking a chain adds a bit of risk and a good bit of wear to the chain even if using a quality pin tool, so I strived to avoid doing that for a long time. Of course in the modern era when replacing the chain the next time, sure 'nuff -- get a good chain and one with the master link already built in and then you can go either way. I use the Park tank for monthly cleaning and the masterlink to pull it off for annual end of season treatment. /K

Last edited by ksisler; 03-01-13 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-01-13, 12:21 PM
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Hi,

Depends what you mean by "very good".

I have a method that works well as long as its done regularly.

Wipe off any crud on the chain. Spray the chain in the inside
with lube, I use a silicon + PFTE grease spray, and wipe off
again. Hopefully the grease carrier will tend to wash out dirt
from inside the chain to the outside.

Occasionally I plan to essentially do the same thing with
a fair amount of WD40, followed by the spray grease.

So for a really gunked up chain - clean the outside - a WD40
soaked rag should work. Then WD40 it from the inside, wipe
in down again, and repeat. Then apply your preferred lube,
and wipe it down again, no point needlessly attracting dirt.

Some say you can get away with just WD40 if done often,
(Some say the stuff is the spawn of the devil, YMMV.)

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 03-01-13 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 03-01-13, 12:43 PM
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If you do buy a chain breaker make sure it has a replaceable tip.
At an old scool bike shop he charged me $1 for a new tip.

Try this.
Dry wipe the chain in both directions, now go over the chain with a new hard tooth brush knocking off all you can see. To include the DR wheels, chainrings and cassette.
Then use TriFlow in the tiny squeeze bottle putting a small drop on each plate at the pins. Do this with the bike on its side. Don't lose pin count. :-)
Let it set about 20 minuets. Then wipe down the chain, wipe again after a 10 mile ride.

I'll be buying Chain-L soon and maybe an ultrasonic cleaner.
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Old 03-01-13, 12:48 PM
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KMC makes chains so I figure they might know something about maintaining them.

From the KMC website:
- Clean your chain after each trip, especially after riding in the wet.
- Always use a piece of dry cloth to clean the chain and it’s component parts.
- If neccesary, use an old toothbrush to clean between the plates.
- Do not forget the sprockets, front changer and derailleur pulleys.
- To remove mud or sand, use a bristle brush, if necessary with light soapy warm water .
- Never use acidic or alkali based detergents (such as rust cleaners), these agents can damage the
chain and may cause breakage.
- NEVER EVER use a so-called ‘chain washing machine’ in combination with solvent. This is the one
and only sure way to instantly ruin your chain.
- Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from
the chain’s bearing.
Use a piece of dry cloth
Lubracte into the chain’s bearing
Clean inner bearing ends

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Old 03-01-13, 02:03 PM
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When I bought my bike I remember the chain rollers being chrome color but now they are a gray-blaxk color and they have a coating of grease probably that gives it that color. Ive read andrhought about just getting a new chain but it was stated that it is unsafe to replace the chain without replacing the cassette and I don't want to have to buy that tool and part because I'm trying to be as frugal as possible. That's hard to do these days but I've gotten by for this long and only needed to buy new tires.
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Old 03-01-13, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jowilson
When I bought my bike I remember the chain rollers being chrome color but now they are a gray-blaxk color and they have a coating of grease probably that gives it that color. Ive read andrhought about just getting a new chain but it was stated that it is unsafe to replace the chain without replacing the cassette and I don't want to have to buy that tool and part because I'm trying to be as frugal as possible. That's hard to do these days but I've gotten by for this long and only needed to buy new tires.
That is definitely not true. If you make a good habit of replacing the chain before it stretches beyond 1/16", you should be able to replace the chain several times before you need a new cassette.

Without a master link (you must either have a really old or a really cheap chain), the best course of action is to wipe off the chain really well with a rag or paper towel, apply a good amount of "wet" lube, and then wipe it off really well so that it is almost dry to the touch. This lets the lube flush out some of the grit from the inside of the chain, and prevents the chain from picking up as much grit when you ride it again.
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Old 03-01-13, 04:44 PM
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You do not need a master link to clean your chain. The only time I remove a chain is when it's time for a replacement, and I always get 4000 miles or more out of a chain before 1/16 inch stretch per foot. Clean your chain on the bike often, I suggest once every 100 to 300 miles depending on how dirty it is. You can use a little mineral spirits and a paper shop towel (the blue kind) wrapped around the chain while turning the crank backwards. Re-lube the chain with your favorite lube, one drop on each link.
The newer Park and similar chain cleaning machines do a good but are a little messy. I use a machine if the chain gets really dirty, and I use mineral spirits in the machine.

Last edited by Al1943; 03-01-13 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 03-01-13, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jowilson

When I bought my bike I remember the chain rollers being chrome color but now they are a gray-black color and they have a coating of grease probably that gives it that color.
As alluded to previously, you clean the chain because it's dirty/gritty. A change in color does not necessarily call for cleaning.

Originally Posted by jowilson
I've read and thought about just getting a new chain but it was stated that it is unsafe to replace the chain without replacing the cassette ...
Perhaps you have not read the right sources, then. I have never seen the (untrue) statement that it's unsafe. Any reasonable amount of reading, especially of the sites continually referenced here - Park Tool and Sheldon Brown - would have yielded detailed info about the interaction between chain and cog wear and how to measure the chain.

Originally Posted by jowilson
I don't want to have to buy that tool and part because I'm trying to be as frugal as possible.
Then just buy a master link and drive out the pins on a link with a round punch, or have the bike shop do it when you buy the link.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 03-01-13 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 03-01-13, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Al1943
You do not need a master link to clean your chain. The only time I remove a chain is when it's time for a replacement, and I always get 4000 miles or more out of a chain before 1/4 inch stretch per foot. Clean your chain on the bike often, I suggest once every 100 to 300 miles depending on how dirty it is. You can use a little mineral spirits and a paper shop towel (the blue kind) wrapped around the chain while turning the crank backwards. Re-lube the chain with your favorite lube, one drop on each link.
The newer Park and similar chain cleaning machines do a good but are a little messy. I use a machine if the chain gets really dirty, and I use mineral spirits in the machine.
1/4" per foot is way past most recommendations and isn't all that impressive for 4000 miles. Typo?
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Old 03-01-13, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
1/4" per foot is way past most recommendations and isn't all that impressive for 4000 miles. Typo?
I'm just getting over the flu!
Fixed.
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Old 03-01-13, 05:31 PM
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Ah, that's more like it. Feel better, man.
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Old 03-01-13, 05:32 PM
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if i remove the back wheel on my bike, i don't find it difficult to drag the chain in the dirt.

now, if there were a shallow dish of kerosene under there, i think i could do a pretty good job of cleaning the chain.

and it WILL get messy.
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Old 03-01-13, 06:37 PM
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KMC

Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from

the chain’s bearing.

Don't agree with this at all, I want to remove all the old lubricant. So they are saying this because....
Anyone know how "green" KMC products production is? Cast the first stone, right? I'm guessing not very but I sure could be wrong.

Don't want to beat the proverbial dead horse but WTF, does everyone use a quick link? In my 40+ years of cycling I don't know how many times(a lot!) I've used a chain breaker to remove and replace a regular link. I've had 1 chain break during that time, was it the link I replaced? Couldn't tell. My weight has varied from 230 to 260, 245 now so I'm no light weight. I've broken several crank arms, about the same number of pedals, and a bb spindle, a chain breaking is not a concern for me compared to other components. Of course I knocked on wood when I typed this.

Brian
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Old 03-01-13, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by calstar
KMC

Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from
Solvent is a big word that encompasses all sorts of stuff. Water is a solvent --- aka the universal solvent --- and I've yet to hear that water is bad for the environment.

I assume the reference is to petroleum distillates like OMS, naphtha or kerosene. Even here this is bad advice. Once you begin to wash a chain, your objective should be to completely strip all old oil. Failure to do so means leaving a lube/cleaner emulsion inside the chain, which is worse than nothing because not only is is a bad lubricant, it also keeps new stuff out.

As for the environment, most of us who use petroleum solvents, save and reuse them many times. So we need to answer the question of what's worse, dumping water/detergent down the drain each time you wash a chain, or keeping OMS in a closed container and reusing it a number of times.
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Old 03-01-13, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Ah, that's more like it. Feel better, man.
Thank you for the heads-up.
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Old 03-01-13, 10:00 PM
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html
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Old 03-01-13, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
Perhaps you have not read the right sources, then. I have never seen the (untrue) statement that it's unsafe. Any reasonable amount of reading, especially of the sites continually referenced here - Park Tool and Sheldon Brown - would have yielded detailed info about the interaction between chain and cog wear and how to measure the chain.
Well... I got that info from Sheldon Brown on this page.

I already cleaned the chain and just finished up a few mins ago. It's looking much better than before and I also happened to find an old bottle of TriFlow so I used that to regrease the chain.

I think I'm gonna by a PowerLink 8-speed chain anyway before my sprocket and chain wear too much.
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Old 03-01-13, 11:50 PM
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I have the same problem with my 11 speed Campy. There's no master link and not meant to be broken.
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Old 03-04-13, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by calstar
KMC

Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from

the chain’s bearing.

Don't agree with this at all, I want to remove all the old lubricant. So they are saying this because....
Anyone know how "green" KMC products production is? Cast the first stone, right? I'm guessing not very but I sure could be wrong.
KMC is the first (and still only) chain company to achieve an independent Carbon Footprint Certification of chain production for our X10 series chains. Manufacturing steps and overall production were measured, which allows us to pinpoint and reduce waste. This is in addition to following (and continually reducing) all industry environmental standards.
https://www.kmcchain.com/en/eco.php

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Old 03-04-13, 09:16 PM
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And here's one of many references for cleaning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyKEfHUyxM8
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