Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Tech

Tech ALL bikes: "Generic" tech questions and answers. Maintenance, general discussions etc.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Like Tree5Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 7 Dec 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 68
Is WD40 actually harmful for a chain?

The unfortunate sequence of events below has occurred:

1. Buy bike with Scottoiler
2. Discover Scottoiler is actually full of water logged oil/goo due to broken delivery pipe
3. Fill Scottoiler with WD40 to now have a whole Scottoiler full of bluish white goo that I think is liquid enough to flow out
4. Not being able to find anyway to flush said goo out of scott oiler apart from one drop at a time, for which I just don't have the patience

Has left me wondering whether I can just let it the bluish white goo run through and oil my chain as normal. But will the WD40 actually damage the chain or not? Or do I need to face the inevitable and pay 45 quid (!) for a plastic cylinder with a vacuum valve inside it? Or maybe there's a clever way to flush the bugger out (I don't have access to an air hose unfortunately)....

Thanks in advance for any comments.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 7 Dec 2012
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,488
Flush out the scottoiler and delivery pipe with very warm (not boiling) water.

Use an empty scottoil refill bottle or similar to force the water through. Using the same priciple/method as when you first fill and prime a new scottoiler (instructions on their website)

Leave it on prime with the engine running and squeeze that bottle hard.

You will eventually flush it all out.


ORRRRR... Just use it all up. WD40 won't do any serious damage to your chain. There are loads on internet experts who say it eats your 0-rings, and maybe they're right , but I don't think any chain will last long enough for that to happen unless you're only using the bike once a year.

If it were me, I'd just leave it be and use it up and enjoy a life lesson learned.
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 7 Dec 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: London
Posts: 402
Probably not a good idea to lubricate the chain with a WD40 mixture for however long one fill-up of the Scotoiler reservoir will last.
It may flow quite fast and lubricate the tyre as well!

How about fully priming the reservoir, like here?
http://www.scottoiler.com/images/sto...ming_guide.pdf

I'd turn the flow-rate dial to max (note where it is to start) and follow the prime process until the reservoir is empty. Then fill, and prime to expel the air from the pipe. Then return the flow rate dial to previous position.
You'd need a bottle of ScotOil and the primer-adapter which should come with it (you may have to ask).
If you already have a bottle of ScotOil you should be able to get the adapter from a dealer for free - just tell them your last one broke, worked for me (it really did break).

(On my very old Scotoilers, turning the dial to max makes it easy to prime. Is that still the case? It doesn't mention that on the website)
__________________
TTR250 - London to Cape Town
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 7 Dec 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 434
The WD40 (and water/oil/dirt solution) would not be the best solution for your chain.

Take the container off the bike and empty all that you can out (turn it upside down, shake/squeeze it etc.). Use something fairly cheap to further dilute the solution (kerosene, methylated sprits, diesel fuel etc. [NOT water!]). Mix that up and again remove the contaminated fluid. Repeat until the fluid is reasonably clean. Once most of it is out (all you can get) then put it back on the bike with the outlet tube directed into a bottle (old drink bottle for example), zip tie it on so it won't fall off.

Turn the flow rate dial to max, ride. If your chain needs lubrication now then lube it the old fashioned way - by hand. Empty the drink bottle out before it overflows. Once you have most of the solution out, put some more of that cheap stuff in (just a bit more, not filling the Scott oiler) and run again. Again repeat until the stuff coming out is fairly clean. What you want is for your cheap solution to flush away the dirty stuff before you put good oil in there and direct it to your chain.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 7 Dec 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: England
Posts: 18
WD40 contains petroleum distillates which will swell the "o" rings of an "o" ring chain which will then be damaged when you ride the bike. The same goes for the seals on suspension linkages and brake calipers etc. This is why rubber grease and "o" ring suitable chain lube exist. If you need to clean your chain don't ever be tempted to use petrol go with Kerosene. The same goes for cleaning brake calipers etc. even brake cleaner of the cheaper variety will swell the seals. Use a good quality brake cleaner or even mild soapy water and rinse then dry well. You can lube up afterwards with Rubber or silicone grease. Of course if you chain is non "o" ring then none of this matters.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 7 Dec 2012
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 2,013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo68 View Post
WD40 contains petroleum distillates which will swell the "o" rings of an "o" ring chain which will then be damaged when you ride the bike.
I know nothing about this except that I've been using WD40 to clean o-ring chains on a regular basis for over a hundred thousand miles now (on road, off road, wet, dry, sandy, muddy, throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa, mainly) without trouble. No matter how many times someone says the rings will swell or degrade, I continue to get 12,000-20,000 miles (20,000-32,000 km) out of my chains with very minimal attention. That's at least as good as anyone I ride with has done by taking elaborate care with special lubes, including auto-lube devices.

I'm not the only one. However, I can certainly only state my own direct experience with any authority.

I might add that I sure wouldn't rely on water-contaminated or dirty lube of any sort as the op seems to be proposing. Rinsing the contamination (as suggested by others above) seems like the better part of valor.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 271
I'm on the triumphrat forum quite a bit and there are numerous threads on this and like Markharf, many of them swear by wd40 for extending chain life despite the science which seems to suggest it should damage the chain. Go figure?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Genghis9021's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Posts: 189
Well. . . . the chain manufacturer's don't seem to keen on WD-40.

Modern 0-ring chains and their variations (X, Z, etc) are so good . . . on the road, perhaps a ScottOiler is beneficial. In the dirt - a fine producer of abrasive dirt collection.

Setting up a chain with the proper tension (slack) and avoiding silly curvature (like really small C/S sprockets) is probably the largest determinant of life.
__________________
Orange, it's the new black.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: West Yorkshire UK
Posts: 1,239
I do chemical compatibility stuff against O-rings and hoses all the time at work. WD40 wouldn't be my first choice as in theory it has stuff in it that isn't nice, but lets face it, unless you never ride the chain will wear. WD40 will not instantly cause your chain to disolve, your bits to fall off or the world to end. The chatroom theorists may worry but I wouldn't.

The chain manufacturers exclusion always looks to me like it was written by warranty people. If you exclude something detectable but generally done you cut down how much work you have to do: "So, you WD40'd the chain/rode out of the showroom on the BMW/tried to use the pump to move liquid Sir? Sorry, if you read clause 11b/12-iv you'll see that invalidates the warranty. Hard chips, buy a new one".

Andy
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Redboots's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: On the border - NE FR
Posts: 842
Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I know nothing about this except that I've been using WD40 to clean o-ring chains on a regular basis for over a hundred thousand miles now
Mark
That's the point. WD40 is about 80 kerosene and as a cleaner its OK. As a lubricant, its shite.

The Scottoiler is trying to lube the chain to sprocket surfaces. Nothing else. The O-rings seal the original lube in the rollers.

Rather than pay Scottoiler prices for their stuff, use EP oils... 80 or 90, whatever you can get cheap. It works.

John
__________________
Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 2,013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redboots View Post
WD40 is about 80 kerosene and as a cleaner its OK. As a lubricant, its shite.
Direct experience again: I've ridden with people using automatic and manual oilers, and with people who clean and lube chains as often as every fuel stop. Me, I try to spray and wipe WD40 when I get around to it--every day, every week, every month... My chains last as long--sometimes longer--than theirs. Again, I'm only reporting my own experience, although I'm aware that others have reported the same thing.

What's more, I don't even change sprockets when I buy a new chain: I replace sprockets when they look or act worn, which is generally every other chain (or sometimes even less often). This should lead to increased wear, therefore shorter chain life, right? And the fact that I clean with WD40 but don't use a lube is supposed to mean my "the chain to sprocket surfaces" will wear out quickly.....yet they don't.

What can I say? You say all this stuff will cause my chains and sprockets to wear; I say it hasn't worked that way yet. Maybe if I stuck strictly to paved surfaces--how boring is that?--you'd be right, but I've never gone 12,000-20,000 miles strictly on pavement.

On the other hand, maybe you can report your own experience instead of predicting with misplaced certainty how things will work for me. Do your chains last longer than mine? How about those justly-famous "chain to sprocket surfaces?" Do you routinely get 25-40,000 miles from front and rear sprockets?

Nothing like a good chain lube, tire, oil, or hard luggage thread...

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 8 Dec 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 68
Gosh! Off I go for a day and look where this has led to.

I'm coming down firmly on Markharf's side here and now believe the WD40 will not damage the chain (it may not lube it, but it will not damage it). In any case, this is my "pre-trip" chain which will need replacing anyways.

As for the idea of draining the oiler while the bike is moving - unfortunately it's the oiler behind the numberplate, and there isn't really a way to dangle someting off it to collect the goo.

So, here's what I've decided. I'm going to measure the rate at which the goo comes out of the oiler when flow rate set to min. If this rate means I won't be lubing my rear tyre, then I'll observe what happens when chain gets exposed to WD40/oil/water goo and will report back. If not, I'm going to fork out 45 quid and start from scratch.

Thanks all for as ever invaluable help!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 9 Dec 2012
Genghis9021's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Posts: 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
The chain manufacturers exclusion always looks to me like it was written by warranty people. If you exclude something detectable but generally done you cut down how much work you have to do: "So, you WD40'd the chain/rode out of the showroom on the BMW/tried to use the pump to move liquid Sir? Sorry, if you read clause 11b/12-iv you'll see that invalidates the warranty. Hard chips, buy a new one".

Andy
It's a chain . . . not a motorcycle. The exclusion(s) for those are suitably limited.
__________________
Orange, it's the new black.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 9 Dec 2012
Genghis9021's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Posts: 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Direct experience again: I've ridden with people using automatic and manual oilers, . . .
Yes . . . modern chains are pretty amazing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
What's more, I don't even change sprockets when I buy a new chain: I replace sprockets when they look or act worn, which is generally every other chain (or sometimes even less often). This should lead to increased wear, therefore shorter chain life, right? And the fact that I clean with WD40 but don't use a lube is supposed to mean my "the chain to sprocket surfaces" will wear out quickly.....yet they don't.

What can I say? You say all this stuff will cause my chains and sprockets to wear; I say it hasn't worked that way yet. Maybe if I stuck strictly to paved surfaces--how boring is that?--you'd be right, but I've never gone 12,000-20,000 miles strictly on pavement.
This is hilarious. Have any photos ? What type of engine ? Do you have a particularly judicious right-hand ? Perhaps you only start on downhills ?

I missed the part where someone said you'd get shorter chain life if WD-40 were waved nearby the chain. Spraying it on and wiping it off . . . not much time for the kerosene to seep past nor into the o-rings. Try it yourself - take some buna o-rings and place them in kerosene.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
On the other hand, maybe you can report your own experience instead of predicting with misplaced certainty how things will work for me. Do your chains last longer than mine? How about those justly-famous "chain to sprocket surfaces?" Do you routinely get 25-40,000 miles from front and rear sprockets?
I'd love to see those sprockets. 25K miles - sure. 40K miles. That would be impressive, indeed.

I get 20K miles from my KTM 950's chain and sprockets whether it's all pavement or the abrasive granitic dust in the CA Sierra. That's with a light right hand . . .

Chains are "great" primarily because they permit relatively easy ratio changes. They suck because it's clearly a "weakest link", are heavy, and expensive in the long run.

Ever seen an incident where a chain failed ? Normally, it's due to over-use. A shark-finned sprocket tooth leverages against an old roller.

Broken cases, locked rear wheels. Lots of damage to bike and rider.

Congratulations on your good luck. May that carry on.
__________________
Orange, it's the new black.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 9 Dec 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: SW France
Posts: 268
My 690 has 15k kms on the clock and is used almost exclusively off paved roads. It's on it's third set of front and rear brake pads but still on the original chain.

My chain servicing: Every day I brush on chainsaw oil whilst rotating the chain. Occasionally I clean the chain either brushing on diesel whilst rotating the wheel or using WD40 and a clean rag. Sometimes if I'm away from home I use an spray chain lube designed for farm machinery. The rear sprocket is still OK. I changed the front sprocket from 15T to 14T at 10k.

I know nothing about Scotoilers except that most of the time they work fine but when they go wrong they're a real pain to fix.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chain Tensioner For KLE 500 rashidanis Kawasaki 1 12 Nov 2012 10:57
Chain set needed in Ulan-Baatar nachov Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 4 10 Sep 2012 05:35
Stuck in Tashkent, need chain tools jparke Northern Asia 16 21 Aug 2012 17:22
XT600E cam chain life? The other Paul G Yamaha Tech 5 6 May 2012 20:50
Clutch kit and Chain recommendations zcarter Yamaha Tech 9 22 Mar 2012 23:21

 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 17:16.