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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I checked my chain slack yesterday, and found it to be about 1.3 inches, measured on the sidestand with no load per the service manual...slightly higher than spec (0.8-1.2). So I wanted to tighten it a little. Loosened the axle nut, and gave each adjuster one half turn...that is, I put a wrench on it with the wrench handle pointing straight up, and turned just until the wrench handle was straight down. Then tightened down the axle nut. I rechecked the slack, and (IIRC) it was just under 1 inch.

So I went for a little ride today. Everything felt OK, until I slowed down. When slowing down, I hear a noise that sounds something like buckshot mud tires on pavement...kinda hard to explain, kindof a "RRRRRR" decreasing in pitch as I slowed. I noticed the noise even with earplugs in. Makes this noise whether bike is in gear or neutral or clutched.

Maybe it always made that noise, but I dont recall ever hearing it before...it worried me enough that I only got 2 blocks from the house, and came home.

Maybe I'll loosen that chain a bit, methinks. Loosened axle nut, and turned the adjuster nuts 1/4 turn in the other direction, retightened axle nut. Slack is now almost exactly 1 inch...maybe just a hair over.

Went on a little 15 mile ride, without earplugs this time, because I want to hear what's going on. Can still hear that noise on deceleration. hmmm.

Came home to look everything over. I notice the right side adjuster...the plate under the adjustment nut is loose. freely wiggles under the nut. can't get a fingernail under the plate, but it moves easily. Left side plate is able to move a little bit under the bolt, but not as much as the right.

I'm on stock suspension, sprockets, chain and tires. bike has about 4000 miles. this is the first time I have adjusted the chain.

several questions:

how much slack do you guys run (street only, no track)?

is this a normal noise? I dont remember hearing it before, but it's possible I just didnt notice it.

why is the adjuster plate loose? I dont think it was like that before...but I guess it could have been. If this isnt normal (which I assume it isnt) what do I need to do to fix it?

thanks
 

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+1 on checking the axle nut. Make sure it's tight, and pin it.

I run about 1" of slack, give or take.

The adjustor plate shouldn't be loose at all...I think you'll need to loosen the adjuster nut, get the adjustor plate set inside the swingarm, then tighten the adjuster nut again with the plate properly in place. It may be that that's what's causing your problem...the chain is tight with the plate in position as you tighten the nut, but banging around on the road allows the adjuster plate to move around and may be changing your chain tension. ???
 

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Once you tighten your axle, you're supposed to tighten the adjuster bolts snug against the end plates of the swingarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Flatline said:
+1 on checking the axle nut.  Make sure it's tight, and pin it.

I run about 1" of slack, give or take. 

The adjustor plate shouldn't be loose at all...I think you'll need to loosen the adjuster nut, get the adjustor plate set inside the swingarm, then tighten the adjuster nut again with the plate properly in place.  It may be that that's what's causing your problem...the chain is tight with the plate in position as you tighten the nut, but banging around on the road allows the adjuster plate to move around and may be changing your chain tension.   ???
axle nut is tight, torqued, and pinned.

thanks for the suggestion, will give this a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hmmm...did what you guys suggested, and it seems a little better now.  the RRRRRR is still there, but it's pretty quiet...have to really tuck behind the windscreen to hear it, and only hear it in neutral on deceleration from about 40 mph or so. got the adjuster nuts tight and straight.

I'm thinking its something that was quiet when the chain was looser, and I just didnt notice it...and it got louder when the chain was tighter (maybe a bit too tight).

tried your suggestion, too, maritan.  thanks for the help.

here's what I think may have happened:
when I loosened the chain the first time, I didnt really pay attention to the position of the adjuster nuts after I torqued down the axle nut.  I think just the act of torquing down the axle nut moves the axle a bit in the swingarm...seems that the act of tightening the axle nut tightens the chain a little bit (which would make the adjusters loose).  also, I had the axle bolt pretty loose...could turn the nut with my fingers.  so I think the axle moved a bit after I tightened the adjusters (making it a little off center...making one side adjuster looser than the other), and during the axle tightening (loosening both adjuster nuts a little bit).  Tightened the adjuster nuts 1/4 turn on each side after torquing the axle.  I didnt torque them, but they felt like they were the same tightness...so I assume everything is still straight.

so it's just a WEE bit tighter now than when I started this whole business...lol.  I measure 1 3/16 (or 1.19) inches. 

how in the world are you supposed to ensure that your rear wheel is straight?  there's no way to get it perfect, that I can see.  the little notches on the swingarm?  no way...the little gauge thing wiggles around when the axle is loose, so no way am I counting on that alone.  just make sure to make the same number of turns to each adjuster?  I did that, and still managed to get mine crooked.  Looks to me like unless it's perfect right on the money, it would eat your chain and sprockets in no time flat.

thanks for your help, guys...I just kinda freaked out and got scared there for a minute.
 

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i run between 1 1/5 to 2" of slack, if you run it too tight you can shear the front bearing, you have to think about the travel of suspension too, the suzuki recommendations are way too tight, you might get a little less out of the sprocket but it's better than the bearing shearing, rear tire locking and eating asphalt,
 

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Gahdzilla:

You capture my frustration very accurately here too.  This seems like such a simple process when in fact there is no precision or consistency at all.  When things are perfectly adjusted they go out of whack when you torque the axle.  Maddening.  I tried to do exactly what you said the other day.  I don't measure any more though.  I get it so the chain touches the rubber guard when I press approximately 1/2 way between the swingarm pivot and the axle (there's a handy weld on the bottom of the swingarm on '99's that I use as a reference).  

Anyway, I have a trick that I learned somewhere (my dealer IIRC) but I'm not sure it's exactly right.  Anyway, to get the wheel aligned, I adjust the chain to the approximate proper slack and then cinch it all down.  Then I push the chain to one side of the rear sprocket and spin the wheel.  If the chain heads for the middle all is well.  If it stays where it is or is on the other side it is tight on that side (loosen that adjuster). Eventually the chain is running right down the middle regardless of which side I put the chain on and the slack is right (an hour later).  You'd think it'd save time, but it really doesn't, it just lets you know it's right.
 

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I guess I didn't read the owners manual on this one...but I've always had great success following the motorcycle magazines advise on this one. Don't measure the slack with the bike on the side stand. You'll want to measure it while you are sitting on the bike and get about 1" slack total. It's amazing how much difference this can make! Works great for me!
 

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That rrrrr noises sounds like your front sprocket. Probably just never noticed it until now. I run my chains above spec like jimdaddy, things just seem to work better like that. I dont even measure it, I simply press on the middle of the bottom side of the chain and if I can make it barely touch the rubber chain guide, I'm satisfied. That much play usually runs about 1.75 inches or so. I haven't found it to increase wear any. As for the adjuster plate, I get that too, I think everyone does and just doesnt realize it. The left side has the chain keeping the plate mated to the swing arm, the right side does not. And when you torque down the castle nut, it likes to move things slightly on the right side. Once everything is tightened I just hand snug the adjuster nut on the right side and that keeps the plate from moving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think you're right about the rrrrr, evilbologna...my ride today, I had to REALLY listen for it to hear it. I'm thinkin it was always there and I just never noticed it.

The rubber chain guide...I'm not sure what you are talking about. Maybe that's just a first gen thing? My 04 has a plastic chain guide thing on top of the swingarm near the front sproket that the chain always touches no matter what the slack is.

nimbus...that's a pretty good tip, I'll have to remember that next time. I'm fairly certain it's as close as I can get it now, so I'm not jacking with it anymore now ;)
 

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gahdzila said:
The rubber chain guide...I'm not sure what you are talking about.  Maybe that's just a first gen thing?  My 04 has a plastic chain guide thing on top of the swingarm near the front sproket that the chain always touches no matter what the slack is.
Bottom of it, I push up the chain with one finger until it barely touches that plastic guide. It's on my 03 so it should be the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
evilbologna said:
Bottom of it, I push up the chain with one finger until it barely touches that plastic guide. It's on my 03 so it should be the same thing.
ohhh....ok....yeah. (I had to go look ;D) somehow I never noticed that it was also on the bottom of the swingarm.

which part of the guide? the end all the way towards the rear tire, I presume? it would make a difference, as the chain angles up towards it as it approaches the front sprocket.

I think I'm gonna leave it where it is for now, it's within the manual specs, and I'm probably not going to have time to jack with it again for a while. I'll just keep an eye on it, and let it get a little more stretch in it before I tighten it anymore.

I'd be most interested in hearing about ways to ensure that you keep the rear wheel straight and aligned when doing stuff like this, and what sort of problems it may cause for the wheel to not be in perfect alignement, and how far off it would have to be to cause any problems...anyone? how do you guys change your rear wheel at home and make sure you have it back on there straight? nimbus's method sounds a little tedious but quite effective and easy to do at home with simple tools.
 

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You can measure from the end of the swingarm to the axle. I've thought about doing that, but I have yet to have a problem with using the silly lil markings, so eh.
 

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gahdzila said:
When slowing down, I hear a noise that sounds something like buckshot mud tires on pavement...kinda hard to explain, kindof a "RRRRRR" decreasing in pitch as I slowed

is this between neutral then downshifting into first?  the transmission in the SV is constant mesh, thats why it is not necessary to "sybcronize the gears" like in a car, to make the gears engage. nice feature, but it comes with it's downside, the occasional  false netral, I believe the noise you heard was the effect you get between neurtal & 1st it happens mostly when you are coasting in neurtaland our are rolling way faster than your idle engine speed sometimes you might even get it going from 2nd into first.  Dirty lnkage is usually the culpret it will co away completly by dleiberatly shifting the shifter the rest of the way into first, pull the clutch in before you do it then release as normal taking caution with rolling speed vs engine speed
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
possible, but I dont think so, randy...did it when clutch was pulled in at any gear, or in neutral. I'm thinking it was possibly from the chain being too tight or rear axle crooked, as I'm not really hearing it as loud now that the chain is straight and a little looser (errr...is that a word? more loose...you know what I mean). I think most likely its just normal front sprocket noise that I never noticed before, and that the only reason I noticed it more while coasting is that the engine was idling and the exhaust note wasn't masking it with its bark.
 

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When I ran the slack by the manual(1+ inches), it was too tight, and I had similar noise on engine breaking manuvers. I am running 2 + inches of slack, on the side stand, unweighted, and its back to quiet again. I only rode it tight for a couple days, hope no damage to the countershaft bearing. The chain slack is taken up when you addd load to the bike, so you sort of have to pre compensate.
 
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