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OK, I screwed up by deciding to replace my chain. My rear tire had to be replaced so I removed the chain as well. (At 5k, my old chain looks as good as the new one, even the o-rings. At least I have a good spare.) It all went back together very easily, but I am not satisfied with the chain adjustment. I followed the procedure in my Ducati service manual, lining up the notches on the swingarm, but this bound the chain and you could see it was out of alignment. I did this several times with the same result. I then pulled the tire back to tension the chain and tightened the axle nut a bit, followed by the chain adjustment bolts. This aligned the chain and sprockets. It also allowed the chain to roll very easily. My alignment marks are about 1 1/2 marks off from one side to the other. My left side marks start big in the front and decrease in size, the right side is opposite of that. Any ideas or help from the pros?
 

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i find the marks to be disorienting, so i made a punch mark at the centerline of the marks on each side. it is hard to tell if the adjuster is covering a hash mark or not, so i work off the centerline of the marks, which is easy for my old eyes to see.
 

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There are many acceptable ways to align a chain but using the hashmarks on the side of the swingarm is about the worst. A search for chain adjustment will turn up better methods.
 

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Actually, those won't help since the problem is the mis-aligned swingarm hashmarks.
Not wishing to contradict you but it first has to be established the marks are not "true".
I.E. Mine are fine and the billet adjusters work well accordingly.
 

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if the marks are out, then the part is defective and should be replaced or repaired by ducati. it is well established that ducati's adjustment procedure is via the hash marks, and should yield acceptable results. i would think that the factory has a fixture the swing arm is placed in to set the hash marks up. like the man said worth checking to verify the hash marks do indeed line up. just my 02.
 

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Actually, those won't help since the problem is the mis-aligned swingarm hashmarks.
Maybe. So, you've SEEN the bike in question and measured? ;) I've be more likely to believe a wheel install error than that the factory miss stamped the swingarm for the first time ever. :)
 

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Timely post. I'm getting ready to go out to the shed and replace the stock axle plates with a set of the Desmo Times billet plates. Then I'm going to do my first chain tension job. I'll see how it goes for my bike, hash-marks versus aligning the chain.
 

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rino56 -
The marks on my ST3 are pretty accurate but I have noticed that the factory axle plates can move a bit which makes them difficult to use. You can check the accuracy of the marks by measuring from the end of the swing arm, not the adjuster plates, but the end of the arm. The billet pieces recommended from Desmotimes are supposed to fit more tightly which provides improved accuracy. However, the quick way to align the axles is to measure from either the swing arm pivot or from the end of the swing arm to the axle. Don't worry initially about whether the chain is loose or not. Concentrate on getting the axle aligned; same length on both sides. Then turn the adjusters the same amount as you tighten the chain up. Keep the adjuster plates against the end of the swing arm. Small increments on the adjusters, 16ths or 8ths, work just fine. Try and sneak up on it and avoid over tightening. Since you have a new chain you shouldn't have any tight spots but check the adjustment several places. Use the tightest spot as the main adjustment point.
Bill W.
 

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I have adjusted the chain (and am about to again) by way of the hash marks. Of course I double/triple check things. But for me those work fine with the stock adjuster plates. I just ensure the adjustment plates are oriented the exact same way. It's all about the detail and attention. My stock chain and sprockets (14/37) are in fantastic shape and I'm getting about 6K out of my Conti Road Attacks. Plus the bike handles famously.
~19K miles.

(But I DO like LT's fancy plates...)
 

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Not wishing to contradict you but it first has to be established the marks are not "true".
I.E. Mine are fine and the billet adjusters work well accordingly.
The OP already posted that he verified his hashmarks are different side to side (by 1 1/2 marks)! He also said his marks started small on one end and got bigger on the other and the otherside was the opposite situation.

I would not want to rely on those marks.
 

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For me the easiest way is using a dial caliper and measuring from the inside of the axle to the end of the swingarm (not adjuster plates). Takes any guesswork out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe. So, you've SEEN the bike in question and measured? ;) I've be more likely to believe a wheel install error than that the factory miss stamped the swingarm for the first time ever. :)
I have removed and installed the wheel/tire assembly 4 times with the same result. As it is mounted now, my measurement from the center of swingarm to the center of axle is 20 1/4", on both sides. If I measure from the rear of the swingarm, 2 1/2 " to center of axle on both sides. It does appear my marks are about 1/8" off from one side to the other.
 

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Hmmm. My marks are in about 1/8th inch increments. My axle is hollow too so I couldn't measure from its' center. And what do you mean by the center of the swingarm? I'm cornfused.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hmmm. My marks are in about 1/8th inch increments. My axle is hollow too so I couldn't measure from its' center. And what do you mean by the center of the swingarm? I'm cornfused.
I put a small mark in the center of the swingarms' black plastic plug and measured back to the center of the axle. Yes mine is also hollow, but I measure to the center of the axle opening. I also put a center mark at the base of the axle for easier measuring.
 

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The end result is you want your two sprockets lined up so the chain will ride on them evenly. Also, too loose is always better than too tight on the chain tension.

By the way, my chain adjuster marks are spot on, which makes the adjustment a bit quicker. If I remember correctly, I've only adjusted the chain once since I bought the EK 525 with chrome links.
 
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