Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chain Maintenance

It is now the middle of summer so depending on what part of the country you race in, you could be finishing a series or just reaching the midpoint.  Either way, it is a good idea to keep up with your kart maintenance so your kart is in great shape so you can finish out the next races on top.

An experienced racer sent me some interesting information on how he handles chain maintenance so I thought I would share that with you.

Some racers will tell you that if you buy a good high quality racing go kart chain you never have to do any maintenance on the chain.  You definitely should buy a high quality racing go kart chain but it still requires care in order to get the maximum performance and life from it.
Be careful and do this at your own risk as I assume no responsibility for any injuries that could occur using this method. Make sure you read the instructions first and have all the tools and supplies available, as well as the necessary personal protective equipment.

Remove chain from kart using a pro style chain breaker. Do not use a master link for go kart racing. It will fail! Also, do not use one of those cheaper motorcycle chain breakers which seem to damage the chain almost every time you use one. Wipe off any excess dirt or debris with a cloth rag or shop towel. Pour about 10-12 ounces of type F transmission fluid into a 2 lb. metal coffee can. Fold chain up until it is slightly smaller than coffee can and place chain flat in the bottom of the can. 

In an open area, outside, away from people, structures, and anything that can burn, place can on a lit propane or Coleman type stove burner.  Make sure you heed the word outside or you may find yourself sleeping with your go kart. If you don't already have a stove like this you can find a propane single burner in the camping department of your local department store fairly inexpensively.

Turn flame on medium and allow transmission fluid to heat up and come barely to a boil. As soon as fluid starts to boil carefully remove coffee can using a large pair of channel lock pliers and place it on the ground or a heat-proof surface to cool. Be sure to watch carefully and remove the can immediately when it starts to boil.  If fluid stays on the flame very long it will start to pop and shoot drops of boiling fluid out of the can and onto you and everything else nearby.  

Allow fluid to cool about 5-10 minutes.  Remove the chain and hang on a nail over a coffee can or another drip pan to allow the fluid to drip off.  Allow the chain to cool for a few hours.
When you are ready to reinstall the chain, wipe it off with a clean, lint-free cloth and then put it back on your kart using a professional style chain breaker.

If you are go kart racing on asphalt I recommend doing this about every other race and using a chain lube after putting the chain back on your racing go kart. If you are dirt racing, you should do it every week and use chain wax instead of lube. I have found that chain wax will repel dirt but chain lube makes dirt stick to chain. Using this method you will find that your racing go kart chain will last a long time working exactly as it did when new.

So there you go.  Let me know if you have used this technique before and how well it worked for you.