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Really Noisy Chain...

Old 07-03-20, 01:44 PM
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Really Noisy Chain...

A couple of months ago, I bought, cleaned up and rode a mid sixties Torpado Professional. I love the bike but with this freewheel, it is just too hard for me to use. The fw is 13/14/15/16/17 or very close to it. The Campy crank sports a 53/46 set of rings, the close ratio in place to suit the Campy Gran Sport front derailleur...




Hoping to make the bike easier for me to ride, I swapped out the "as found" freewheel for this one, a 14-24 five speed Shimano offering (I opened it up and rebuilt it)....


Still using the "as found" Campagnolo crank set, the drive became really really noisy. You can hear the chain engaging the teeth of the 46 ring. The noise is coming from the front drive but most pronounced on the big cog and decreasing in volume as I shift to smaller cogs. On the small cog, the drive is pretty quiet.

I checked my wheel for proper dish. No problem. I used a string to see if the stays need cold setting. I found that the drops are only 118mm apart. The differences in the string measurement is about half a millimetre less on the non-drive side. I will correct that tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow, I am off to the bike shop to borrow their derailleur hanger alignment gauge and their rear drop alignment tools. I will cold set the frame to its original 120mm drop space and double check to ensure that the string is still equal. I hope that all of that frame work will make a difference.

I should add that I swapped out the Campy crank just to see if it was the problem. Nope, still noisy with a different crank fitted.

So, any ideas as to what might solve the problem? I am not stumped but once I have the frame aligned, if there is no improvement, I might be stumped. None-the-less, I do intend to sort this out.
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Old 07-03-20, 03:11 PM
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Old chain on new (or newish?) cogs is generally considered a no no. That chain looks old and worn. Did you measure it for wear? Is it too short? Top jockey wheels is getting a bit too close to the big cog IMO. Another link or two might fix that.

Hanger alignment, yeah, check that for sure. A misaligned hanger will also cause those kind of symptoms.

Might be a bit of both.

I know old standard width fully bushed chains are extinct, but I'd consider trying a modern 5-6--7 type chain. I can't quite remember, but I half recollect sedisports running OK on old style smooth jockey wheels. Maybe someone can verify. I that wheel is simply worn smooth, maybe time to replace?
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Old 07-03-20, 03:49 PM
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Derailleur hanger alignment.

Derailleur tension adjustment screw. Tighten it.

Shorten the chain one pair of links.

Sometimes the derailleur is just shot in the tensioning springs.

Good luck.
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Old 07-03-20, 05:24 PM
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The chain definitely isn't meshing properly with the cog. You can see daylight between the chain and cog at one point. However, I'm not sure if it's due to different wear rates as it looks like it might be a stiff link. Those older bush style chains did get much noisier than bushless chains, the further you deviated from optimum chainline.





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Old 07-03-20, 05:40 PM
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Hard to tell, but wear on the inner plates almost looks like chain-stretch.
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Old 07-03-20, 08:01 PM
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Try something like a KMC Z51 chain (renamed the Z8.1 GY/GY). That cleared up a problem on another bike with friction shifting and older Suntour freewheels.

I prefer the KMC Z72 (not sure what they call it now) for my index shifting setup with Suntour GPX and SunRace freewheel. But that chain clattered a bit more with Suntour Alpha freewheels in friction mode.

The main difference between the two chains appeared to be the rivets -- plain peened vs mushroom head. Not sure about the internals. I think both had identical 7.1mm pin length and shared the same Missing Link connectors.
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Old 07-03-20, 08:51 PM
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Old chain on new (or newish?) cogs is generally considered a no no. That chain looks old and worn. Did you measure it for wear? Is it too short? Top jockey wheels is getting a bit too close to the big cog IMO. Another link or two might fix that.
One of you brought up a good point about the old chain. The old or "as found" chain was silent when the small cog set was still in use. The noise started after I installed the 24 tooth freewheel. After that, I also installed a new eight speed chain but it made no difference.

I also swapped wheels and no difference. Finally, I installed another rebuilt freewheel and same problem. And, as mentioned earlier, I tried a different crank and ring set. No difference.

My biggest clue as to what is wrong is almost answered as I shift outwards, towards the drop. The further I get from the big cog, the smoother the chain gets, suggesting to me chain misalignment. The frame must be out of line between the drops and the bottom bracket. Best guess for now and that brings up tomorrow...

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will set the frame up at a local bike shop and give it a good going through (great guys who always let me use their tools when in need - I do things for them also). Then, back to the cottage and assemble the Torpado. Well. now that I think of it, tomorrow is "dump day" and ya never know what happens on "dump day". And, on the way back from the city is pick up a six pack
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Old 07-04-20, 12:02 AM
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Most bike chains I've ridden are quieter toward the middle cogs when in the small chainring, and smallest cogs in the big ring. The chainlines seem to be setup deliberately for hammering with minimal friction. The slightly increased chain noise when in the big cogs seem to indicate the bike builders had to make a compromise and figured the target market riders wouldn't be in the climbing gears often.

That's probably reasonable for fitter cyclists in regions without mountains or serious climbs. Being in Texas I don't have any mountains but even a long single digit grade feels like a mountain at my age.

A year or so ago I swapped my 42T small chainring to 39T on one of the road bikes so I can stay in the middle cogs sweet spot for minimal chain noise and friction. I still occasionally need the 25 and 28 rear cogs and, yeah, it's a bit noisier but not bad. My days of riding a 42T small ring and 24T largest rear cog are pretty much over.

And the bike with the 52/42 Biopace still sounds a bit noisier in the small chainring and larger cogs. Not sure why. Something about the eccentric chainrings, I suppose. Not grinding or clanking, just a bit more audible than the other bike with round rings.
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Old 07-04-20, 01:41 AM
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However, I'm not sure if it's due to different wear rates as it looks like it might be a stiff link.
Yes, the "as found" chain was not NOS, to say the least. I WD40ed it when first getting the bike ready for the road, working the links until it seemed OK to use. You can see one of the stiff link area just about to enter the lower jockey wheel...


But the "as found" chain worked just fine when the "as found" freewheel was still being used.

That said, I am pretty sure that the choice of freewheel is not the issue even though my brain knows that it was the only thing that had changed. I hope to get some time today but it is looking less and less likely. Today, in addition to being "dump day" is also "yard sale day" and, since I have to go to the city to pick up supplies, I might as well keep winkin and blinkin peeled for...

who knows what
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Old 07-04-20, 04:58 AM
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Might suggest looking at your upper limit adjustment on the derailleur and whether its fully keeping or allowing the chain to stay on the big cog without slightly pulling or deviating away from it. As long as you have spoke clearance you have leeway to make sure the chain fully engages the big cog and the upper pulley is in line with the cog.

Otherwise, Id consider whether the big cog is put on backwards or needs to be replaced or the teeth contoured to engage better. And Id revisit a new chain, either the aforementioned KMC Z8 or a SRAM / Sedissport 5-6-7 speed type chain, maybe with chamfered or Z shaped side plates.
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Old 07-04-20, 10:04 AM
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I've never gotten a "new" bike that I didn't first thing toss the chain - - no matter how it looked. Every time ! The few $ a new chain costs is less than some 6-packs.
I mean ....................... c'mon, dude
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Old 07-04-20, 11:15 AM
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Did you add links to your new chain compared to the old? If the third picture in your 1st post is the bike in lowest gear, then the chain is too short, IMHO. At the risk of stating the obvious, a freewheel with a 24t is going to take up more chain than a 13-17t.

Could still be hanger alignment. RE frame alignment, it is unlikely that is the problem. It could be pretty off and still not matter much to the chainline compared to shifting even one gear. OTOH, if the frame is whacked and it's like an inch off or something, yeah, that can and will cause problems.

Diagnosing these sorts of things is usually a process of elimination.
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Old 07-04-20, 05:04 PM
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A few years ago, I pulled a Schwinn Varsity out of the dump and brought it home to fix it up and sell. Cosmetically, it was good, but it turned out to be a troublesome project. The chain made a loud clacking sound. I couldn't figure it out, and I reluctantly replaced the chain and freewheel, and that solved the problem. I worked as a bike shop mechanic and have seen many kinds of problems, but I had never seen this. The sound was loud! The wear on the freewheel and chain were not visible but they sure were audible.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:22 PM
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The chain made a loud clacking sound.
That is the exact word to describe the problem, noglider. And it is noisy, unbelievably noisy.

The noise seems to be coming from the chain-ring engagement. I have tried two

I have tired three freewheels plus the "as found" one that worked. The others, not a chance although I did get an Italian freewheel in the mail today. I did not get a chance to work on the bike, other than to strip it down and get the string set up.

Tomorrow is Sunday, my self assigned do what I want to do bike day. I will get up, when I get up, and work on the Torpado, making sure that the frame is straight.

Like noglider, this problem has me, pretty much, stumped but that is OK. I like the need to figure things out. Nothing at the dump today but I did get three packages in the mail - NOS Universal hoods, a five speed Italian freewheel and a third package of something that works well in happy hour.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:37 PM
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One thing you could try is breaking and flipping the chain so the other current outer side with less wear is running on the inside against the cogs this often helps with slightly noisy worn chains on vintage bikes.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:39 PM
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It's already been suggested, just MEASURE the chain.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
It's already been suggested, just MEASURE the chain.
Or buy a new one... Pretty cheap fix if you ask me.
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Old 07-05-20, 03:43 PM
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Not sure if I mentioned it but I did install a new chain, an eight speed SRAM unit, the same kind I use on everyone of my bikes (all three).

Today, when it go bright enough out to see what I was doing, I strung the frame. The gauging was close but not close enough for me. So, I grabbed a trusty 2 x 4 x 5 foot long piece of lumber, some fishing line and a small metric ruler. A short while later and the frame was true (I hope). With that done, it was time to start "dump day". It takes me a couple of hours, at least, to check out four dumps and, sadly, today i got to three only. There were two old road bikes at one of the dumps but I left them where they were. Got more bikes at the cottage than I have room for right now...


Tomorrow, I will square-up the derailleur hanger and square up the drops. And that will exhaust my ideas of what to do, so...

I will install the drive and rear wheel and hope for the best.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:41 PM
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I would have grabbed the rack and bags off the Blue Rampar and would have left both bikes also.
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Old 07-06-20, 08:42 AM
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I would have grabbed the rack and bags off the Blue Rampar and would have left both bikes also.
I hear you, however, years ago, they would definitely been on their way to The Old Shed. These days, I much prefer to have one or two (or three is one is three thousand miles away) nice bikes that sport old school technology. At one time, my stable exceeded eighteen keepers and approximately 150 not keepers. Today, my Legnano Grand Premio from the late sixties and the Torpado. However, I did drag three not-keepers home, two of which are definitely on their way to the dump (no room to store), Two old Peugeots (soon to be gone) and one old Raleigh Carlton that just might hang around for a while...





As for the Torpado. I was going to go to the city today, to align drops and derailleur hanger, but forgot that Mrs. Me had a doctor's appointment, so my true up the frame will have to wait. Guess I will finish harvesting the components of the two old Peugeots before I take them back to the dump, the rims of this one, however, will find their way onto the Torpado...


This one has little to offer, in my opinion, as a bike, but will fill a box with worth while components. The rest goes to the dump on Wednesday...
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Old 07-30-20, 02:15 PM
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Well, at last, I finally figured out why the chain was making so much noise.

I stripped the bike and took it to a local bike shop and trued up the frame set...


Brought it home and installed the drive and transmission. Same thing - noisy chain. Pooey-stinko! What to do?

Well, being certain that the noise was coming from the crank rings/chain. I changed the crank set. Same problem. I wanted to change the bottom bracket, but did not have a spare. That left only one thing to address - the rear derailleur.


Needless to say, I did not have a Campagnolo Grand Sport derailleur stashed away so I went with what I did have, a Shimano SIS. Perfect! Chain noise gone! Yahoo..!


The SIS can easily handle the lovely 14-26 six speed freewheel sent to me by another forum member. Thank you, Bill...


I guess that the noise was telegraphing along the chain to the crank, fooling me into misreading the problem. So, for now, I will ride the Torpado as seen in the following picture. A couple more test/fit rides, then some black cushion tape, and Bob's your uncle.


I will not do much more to the Torpado this year other than look over the Campy Grand Sport rear derailleur. I want to spend more time riding my nold Marinoni and get at the art/paint on the Rabeneick, my next bicycle task...
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