Tips: Repairing Tight Chain Links|
Friday, September 17, 2004
Typical Tools and Supplies
1. Chain Tools - CT-2, CT-3, CT-5 or tool in MTB-3
2. Repair Stand to hold bike (optional but nice)
3. Chain Lubricant
Tight links are typically the result of the two outer chain plates pushing tightly against the inner two chain plates. If pressure on the inner plates can be removed, the tight link can be fixed.
Some chain tools such as the Park Tool CT-3 and CT-5 have a tight link repair system built into the tool. The following procedure demonstrates how to use the tight link repair system. NOTE: Many nine-speed and ten-speed chains have narrow rollers and may not fit the tight link cradle. It will be necessary to loosen the tight link by hand, as described in Tight Link Repair Without Chain Tool section below.
1. Locate the tight link. Put the chain in smallest rear sprocket in back and on the middle ring of a triple crankset, or the smallest ring of a double crankset. This relieves tension on the chain and makes problem links show up easier.
2. Back pedal slowly and watch the chain as it passes through the two jockey wheels of the rear derailleur. Look for a popping or jumping of chain, or movement in derailleur arm. Keep backpedaling slowly. The tight link should show up as it passes by the tight bend of the lower jockey wheel.
3. Isolate the tight link and move it to the lower section of the chain between the chainring and rear cogs.
4. Engage tight rivet in tight link cradle.
5. Run chain tool pin up to tight pin and note position of handle.
6. Turn handle only one-eighth to one-quarter turn clockwise. This presses on rivet to spread chain.
7. Remove chain tool and feel the tight link.
8. Repeat as necessary, pushing rivet from the other side of the chain.
9. Inspect the chain rivet. Rivet must be centered in chain plates.
Tight Link Repair Without Chain Tool
It is also possible to repair tight links without the tight link cradle system. This method requires physically stressing and flexing the chain laterally. Use care not to bend and deform the plates by using too much force. To avoid damaging your chain, practice on a section of scrap chain. Your hands are likely to get dirty from grabbing the chain. If this is a problem use a rag over the chain.
1. Locate the tight link as described above.
2. Grab either side of chain with your hands, and place both thumbs at the tight rivet.
3. Pull outward with your hands, while pressing inward with your thumbs to flex the tight link.
5. Reverse pressure to flex the chain in the opposite direction. Press inward with your hands and press outward with the index fingers centered on tight rivet.
6. Pivot link back and forth to see if it is free and repeat if necessary.