Jammin Chain Lubrication System
— DR650 — 2 min read
During my break in Sao Luis, I made myself a manual chain lubrication system. I replaced the chain and sprockets after 16,000 miles and I've always read of other riders getting much more mileage out of their chains by using a chain lubrication system. It's the one thing I didn't get around to before starting the trip. And next year around Africa, it's going to be a lot hard to find or get the right chain and sprockets, so long life is important.
My design was inspired by the simplicity and effectiveness of the Loobman dual-sided delivery system, where two zip-ties are used in delivering the oil to both sides of the sprocket so that with the aid of centrifugal force, the lubrication gets to the o-rings on both sides of each chain pin as the sprocket spins. What Loobman says makes sense to me, that making sure the o-rings aren't rubbing dry against metal should ensure long chain life and the key is to keep both o-rings lubricated.
For the delivery system, I took a piece of thick fuel line and cut a hole in the top for the tube from the oil bottle to enter the chamber. Then I cut two slits angling towards the middle with exiting slits out the back of the chamber. I inserted a zip-tie into each slit and due to the angle of the slit, the zip-ties are touching against each other. The design isn't perfect, but this way there should always be tension on the zip-ties so that they're touching off the face of the sprocket. The zip-ties might plastically yield at some point, but that's part of the development process. And the beauty of using zip-ties is that once they wear off, replacement should be easy (I knew saving broken zip-ties would come in handy at some point).
The inside slits (on the sprocket side) were enlarged so that oil would flow easily on to the zip-ties. The system needs refining and even if oil doesn't travel down the zip-ties, it'll at least be spilling onto the chain and getting the job done.
The oil bottle has been placed on the frame such that while I'm riding, probably towards the end of the day, I can reach down with my left hand and give the bottle one or two squeezes and within half an hour all the oil should be emptied out hopefully onto the sprocket and worst case, at least on the chain.
The delivery chamber made from a piece of fuel line and the tube from the oil bottle. The zip-tie loop in the back is for securing and positioning the chamber next to the rear sprocket. Ideally, the chamber should be made of plastic, molded specifically for the task, but hey, I'm using what I've got.
The complete system with oil bottle, tube and delivery chamber. I asked a local mechanic (where I got my chain cut) where I could buy a bottle like that and he told me just to take his, with chain lubrication in it. Brazilians are so nice.
Wet test run after the RTV silicone had cured on the delivery chamber. This systems works simply with gravity and if the delivery chamber can be angled upwards, the oil should run down the zip-ties, but physical constraints on the bike didn't allow for this.
The Jammin Chain Lubrication System mounted on sanDRina. The tube is hard plastic and doesn't kink, allowing for the oil to flow unimpeded.
The delivery chamber in its position in front of the rear sprocket with the zip-ties touching the face of the sprocket. It works so far and I'll see how it holds up.