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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 2009, 6:03 pm Thread Starter
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Counter Sprocket Retainer

I've got a bad(?) habit of constantly looking over our bikes when we are sitting around and taking a break from riding. I don't know if it is simply the mechanics of the bikes, the obsession I have with them, or some weird desire to constantly have projects. Well, this past Sunday we rode to a local twisty-mountain road hangout to meet up with another rider. We were BS'ing in the parking lot, and while looking over my ST, I remembered someone on this forum talking about wearing out his swingarm protector with his chain, so I looked at mine....






Something just didn't look right to me. Ah ha!!.....the chain is not aligned correctly on the slider and I thought I knew what it was, so....I grabbed the allen wrench set and took the sprocket cover off....






Not a good thing. As I had suspected, the retainer had worn out, allowed the sprocket to travel toward the engine case, and the sprocket got pressed onto the ramping of the shaft splines. I left my wife at the store to ride with some of the other riders, and I went home to see what kind of damage the bike had to it.

When I got home, I realized the chain was very tight, and the press fit of the sprocket on the splines required me to use a large channel-locks set of pliers to walk it down the shaft. Removing the clutch slave, I was able to pull the sprocket off the shaft...






Luckily, the flaring of the spline grooves prevented the sprocket or chain from hitting the engine case, but the retainer had chewed up the splines a little where it rests in the groove on the shaft. I cleaned the area, scavanged the retainer off my 748 until I could buy a new one, had the bike apart, repaired, back together, and on the road back to the store in about 35 minutes.

Strangely, this is the third or fourth sprocket retainer that I've put on the bike in the 40k miles of its life, and I've never had one wear out this quickly nor as badly...






I think from now on, I'll check the retainer every 6k miles when I'm checking the belt tension and doing other checks.

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 2009, 6:15 pm
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Wow - that is one dirty chain! Give that bike some love brotha! ;-)

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 2009, 6:36 pm Thread Starter
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Wow - that is one dirty chain! Give that bike some love brotha! ;-)
I do give it lots of love.....about 800 miles this weekend alone. I figure cleaning time = riding time, and I'd rather ride, besides.....the grease protects the chain from the salt that North Carolina spread all over their roads the last week.

If you think that is dirty, you'd hate to see my 748. Heck, here's my Harley. I bet I've only washed it four times in the last 20k miles (it has 103,000 miles).


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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 2009, 6:49 pm
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I do give it lots of love.....about 800 miles this weekend alone. I figure cleaning time = riding time, and I'd rather ride, besides.....the grease protects the chain from the salt that North Carolina spread all over their roads the last week.
I hear that. My old R1 got washed a few times in the 7 years I owned her. The Monster get's cleaned quite often - every other ride or so. I can't help it


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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 7:45 am
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Desmo, If you'd clean the bike once in a while you would have seen this problem earlier.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by Desmo_Demon View Post
Strangely, this is the third or fourth sprocket retainer that I've put on the bike in the 40k miles of its life, and I've never had one wear out this quickly nor as badly...
Just out of my own curiosity, is this usually a wear item or could something be out of alignment in your drive train that causes you more problems than you'd normally expect?
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 8:39 am Thread Starter
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Desmo, If you'd clean the bike once in a while you would have seen this problem earlier.
I seriously doubt it. The only way to have seen that wear would have been to go looking for it. The groove in the output shaft would have hidden the wear (especially if the wear is on the innner side of the retainer), so the only way to inspect the retainer would have been to remove the retainer. When I clean that area (it is clean now), I usually spray it down with a can of brake cleaner and get it nearly spotless before putting it back together. I never, ever, put anything back together while the area I'm working on is still dirty. The last time I had the retainer off was 6k miles ago when I replaced the chain and sprockets. The retainer had minimal wear, so I reused it. 4k miles ago, when I did my valves last, I was going to inspect and clean that area, but since I did it 2k miles previously, I decided not to.

As for cleaning, if I was an anal as some people are about cleaning, I'd never have time to ride. It's like this past Friday through Monday. All four days I rode on wet roads or roads with sand and salt on them. The last time I pulled the ST2 out before this, I rode in the rain. Last year, I think we rode in the rain for at least 4000 miles, so typically it is pointless to wash the bikes.....they just get dirty again the next time we ride them.....Plus, I have no one to impress with a clean bike.

The point of the thread is that, despite this being the 3rd or 4th retainer on the bike in the 40k miles, the retainer still wore out. I'm sorry if some people may get offended that they prefer to wash their bikes instead of ride them.

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Just out of my own curiosity, is this usually a wear item or could something be out of alignment in your drive train that causes you more problems than you'd normally expect?
It is a wear item, but not a high wear item. I try to inspect the retainers every now and again, but always when I have to remove the front sprocket, naturally. There was a recall on the '98 ST2 for some of these retainers that were not heat treated. That was the first time the retainer was replaced on my ST2. I remember changing it at least one more time, maybe twice, since the first replacement). I've never had an issue with what I would consider premature wear on the chain and sprockets (original set of sprockets lasted 34k miles and the original chain lasted 18k miles), so I would not suspect an alignment issue, but......I thought it was weird that the sprocket traveled that far inward toward the case. It is not a natural alignment position, as you can see how bright and shiney the inside of the inner sideplates on the chain are from rubbing the sprocket, from improper alignment. Interestingly, the retainer on my 748 looks like new with 18k miles on it.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 9:43 am
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Luckily, the flaring of the spline grooves prevented the sprocket or chain from hitting the engine case, but the retainer had chewed up the splines a little where it rests in the groove on the shaft. I cleaned the area, scavanged the retainer off my 748 until I could buy a new one, had the bike apart, repaired, back together, and on the road back to the store in about 35 minutes.

Strangely, this is the third or fourth sprocket retainer that I've put on the bike in the 40k miles of its life, and I've never had one wear out this quickly nor as badly...
I believe that countershaft is toast. Those splines are damaged and may fail in the near future. There is something else wrong I think if the retainers are wearing out like this.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 11:30 am Thread Starter
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I believe that countershaft is toast. Those splines are damaged and may fail in the near future.
I'm a little concerned about the edge of the splines where the retainer chewed the splines. This has created a little more wobble in the counter sprocket than what is normal (as compared to my other Ducatis). That picture is deceiving, though. The splines beyond the chewed tip appear to be fine. The way the lighting is with the shiney worn spots and the surface-rust spots create an illusion that the splines are bent or wavey, but this is not the case.

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2009, 12:16 pm
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Hey Terry, a little grease or copper based never seize on the splines will cut down on the rust dust and make removal easier. Thanks for the tip. Something else to watch for. Can the sprocket be reversed (run in the opposite direction)?

Maybe they're not hardening the clips like they did in the past or do you think the chain may have jumped the groove on the swing arm guard and pulled the sprocket to one side?

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