Linklyfing a chain, By Graham B.
I treat my final drive chains with a product called Linklyfe which I find gives very good protection and doesn’t fling off. I’m not sure if Linklyfe is still available but there is I believe a similar product called Castrol Chain Wax – if anyone has experience of both then it would be great to hear from you how the two compare.
My well used can of Linklyfe
As far as I’m aware, O or X ring chain is not suitable for treatment with Linklyfe as the heat may damage the O/X ring seals.
The trouble with oiling a chain is that it is easily washed off by rain. I find that Linklyfe stays on for much longer and one treatment will last for most of the winter.
Linklyfe comes as a solid in a shallow can that you heat to melt. The can acts as a bath to fully submerge the chain in. The following is the way I do it. You may have to adapt the procedure to suit your setup.
The bike is put on the centre stand in neutral so the rear wheel can be spun freely. Newspaper is put on the ground under the chain to stop chains picking up grit from the ground. The connecting link is removed and put somewhere safe where it won’t get mixed up with the connecting link of my spare old, worn out chain. Always keep an old chain, it’s not only handy for this job but for another I’ll describe at a later date. If you haven’t got a spare chain then you can still Linklyfe the chain but a spare saves time when it comes to threading the new one back over the gearbox sprocket.
The old chain is attached to the new one at the rear sprocket using the old chain’s
connecting link. The old chain is wound all the way onto both sprockets and secured with its connecting link.
The new chain’s connecting link is reconnected to one end only of the chain so it is not a loop but a long strand.
I use a rag that is already mucky enough to be destined for the bin to wipe as much of the dirt as possible off the chain. At this stage I either wash the chain in paraffin or cheat and go straight on to Linklyfing. The proper way is to wash every bit of grit out of the chain with paraffin so I make the decision of whether to wash based on how gritty the chain feels. Paraffin takes days to dry off. It may be ok to Linklyfe the chain with the paraffin still wet. I’m not sure about this, if it evaporates in the heat then no problem but it may dilute the Linklyfe it is submerged in.
I’ve made up a section of wire coat hanger to hang the chain from a garage roof beam while draining excess Linklyfe back into the can. This hook is attached to the chain by squeezing together the ends round the connecting link pivot. The hook stays attached throughout. Otherwise it’s quite tricky getting purchase on a hot chain when you
can’t see what you’re doing while it’s submerged in black Linklyfe.
A hook to hang the chain by made from a wire coat hangar
Squeeze the ends of the hook round the chain with pliers so it won’t come adrift while submerged.
Decide where you’re going to hang the chain. Hang the chain by the hook and cover the floor and the surrounding area under it with newspaper. There may be splashes later when the excess drips off the chain so the newspaper needs to cover a wide area. Place the open Linklyfe can centrally under the chain and mark the newspaper so you can replace the can in exactly the same spot. Try to make the length of the hook such that the end of the chain hangs no more than six inches above the can – this will minimise the distance any splashes travel.
Coil the chain loosely into a spiral and lay it on the yet to be melted Linklyfe with the end of the attached hook hanging outside the side of the tin so it will stay cool and dry while heating.
To carry the chain and can of molten Linklyfe I use molegrips locked tightly onto one side of the can and pliers on the other. Two sets of molegrips would be better if you
How to carry the can once it has been heated. Molegrips are best as they can be locked in place. If using pliers do not slacken your grip!
I suggest rehearsing carrying the can while it is cold from where it is to be heated to
where the chain is hung. Make sure the route is clear. If the molten Linklyfe is spilt it will be incredibly difficult to clean off of carpets as well as causing burns if you get it on yourself.
I heat the can on the kitchen stove, having closed all doors to the rest of the house. It gives off strong but non-toxic fumes as it is heated. You can heat it on a gas burner in the garage but make absolutely sure it is stable and won’t fall off the burner.
It may smoke a little as it is heated. But if it smokes a lot it may be nearing its flashpoint (450F) so back off the heat straight away. As the Linklyfe melts the chain will sink into it. The chain needs to be in the molten Linklyfe for five minutes, gently agitated by the hook and/or a screwdriver to ensure the Linklyfe finds its way into all the links. The chain needs to be in there long enough to reach the same temperature as the Linklyfe so that excess drains away when it is hung up. Pull it out too soon and the coating will be too heavy.
Turn off the heat, attach the molegrips and calmly carry the can and chain to the
chain hanging area. Position the can on the marks on the newspaper and without delay, pull the chain out of the molten mix using the hook and hang it up to drain. Be aware that the chain will be hot so use pliers to grab the chain if it has doubled up on itself and needs uncoiling.
If you have got the temperature of the Linklyfe just right then the chain comes out with an even and light coating – you should still be able to read the manufacturer’s name on the sideplates. If the Linklyfe was too cold, there may be some lumps of it on the chain. These can be removed using a very light application of a blowlamp and
they will dribble down the chain and off the end – don’t overdo this and melt
all the Linklyfe off the chain.
Leave the chain for an hour to cool and then remove the hook and refit to the bike. Double and triple check the spring clip of the connecting link is refitted the correct way round with the closed end facing the direction of travel (ie the closed end is nearest the engine when on the upper chain run). This is so that any brushing of the chain against the chainguard etc does not pull the spring clip off.
While we’re on the subject I suggest adding checking the spring clip to your weekly tyre pressure etc checks. If the spring clip falls off the connecting link will break soon
after so check the clip is there and fitted correctly.
A few spots of Linklyfe will be thrown off the chain in the first couple of journeys but after that it will settle down and be a much cleaner and better protecting alternative
to oil. And the chain will look like new, last longer and soak up less bhp !
The end result – a thin even coating that will make the chain last and last …
Thanks for your top tips Graham, can't wait for some more come next winter! You can find out more about Graham's books at http://stores.lulu.com/improvingclassicmotorcycles
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Graham B's Top Tips, Part III.
Ok ya'll, here's another word or two from Graham B, our Top Tip man who writes books about Improving Classic Motorcycles and Speedometer Repair. Looks like he's getting his chain all spruced up and ready for summer...remember summer?
Posted by Gorgeous Biker Chick at 23:01