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#469090 - 11/23/04 09:04 PM WD-40 o-ring test
JonS Offline

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 700
Loc: USA
I like to clean my chain with WD-40 and then lube with gear oil. My chain stays very clean and i have no fly off. I wipe the chain with a rag after the gear oil application. I have heard that some say WD-40 is not good for the o-rings in the chain. So here is my test:

I have 2 identical o-rings and measured them with a calibrated micrometer.
I soaked one in a cup with WD-40 submerged in WD-40 for 1 week. I them measured both o-rings (cross section and od-id)
Then i let both dry out for one week, and they both always measured the same.
So my conclusion is that WD-40 is safe for o-rings and i will continue to use it.

P.S. i have use chain wax and it leaves the chain looking dirty and oily, Now with the WD-40 and light coating of gear oil, mine looks shiny and clkean.

#469091 - 11/23/04 09:38 PM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
road_rascal Online   content

Registered: 12/09/02
Posts: 762
Loc: Twin Cities, MN
I mainly use WD40 for chain lube/ cleaning unless I know I'm going to be riding in really wet weather and then I'll use a heavy chain wax. The last chain on my '97 Honda lasted over 33,000 miles. I only replaced it because I went up one tooth on the countershaft sprocket.

#469092 - 11/24/04 04:05 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
KW Offline

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 1686
Loc: Central Arkansas
WD 40 works like magic for cleaning chains. I generaly luube mine with motor oil or the Honda Pro stuff.

#469093 - 11/24/04 06:38 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
tom slick Offline

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 8975
Loc: Central Coast, Calif.
the OEMs recommend cleaning your chain with kerosene which happens to be the main ingredient in WD-40. it seems to work great.

my question is what exactly are you lubing when you "lube" and o-ring chain? if the chain's "lube" is sealed by o-rings what does the spray actualy lube?

#469094 - 11/24/04 07:02 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
JonS Offline

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 700
Loc: USA
The lube is held inside the rollers with the seal between the side plates and rollers. The lube is "NOT" to lube between the sprocket and chain. The rollers spin on the pins in the chain,not on the sprockets. All the lube is for is to keep the side plates from rusting.

#469095 - 11/24/04 10:18 PM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
satterfi Offline

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 903
Loc: CA
Originally posted by JonS:
All the lube is for is to keep the side plates from rusting.


A lubricant on the exterior of the chain maximizes the life of the O ring.

#469096 - 11/25/04 12:42 PM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
wileyE Offline

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 1967
Loc: Kitsap, WA
On long trips I carry a small tube of petrolium jelly or white lithium and a toothbrush rolled up in a rag i store under my seat. It just takes up less room than cans of anything. I just squeeze a VERY small amount on the toothbrush and brush the inner run of the chain only, hitting the orings first then across the rollers. DON'T be a dumbas% and do it on the centerstand with it running in gear like me, LOL! The light grease will migrate around to the outside that's why I only do the inner run. Light application and it never flings (130mph tested), if any does its wipes of ez. I have done this for years and works as good as anything. Prefer it to any of the "sticky" chainlube products. On my dirtbikes I use fogging oil on my chain. For some reason Kawasaki brand has worked the best (I tried others). So well some of my non believing buds have switched over to it. Chain just seems to still bead water at the end of a wet muddy enduro and doesn't rust if you forget to lube it post race.

WD40 is fine on orings IF the orings are still good. If they are worn to the point where they will allow the wd40 to creep in but still good enough to hold the thicker factory grease, it could be counter productive IMO. But we've all done it.

When orings chains 1st came out they were assumed by many to never needing any lube. They were even marketed that way by some vendors. Guys that ran them dry soon found out the sprockets didn't hold up and the chains rusted.

#469097 - 11/28/04 10:43 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
tom slick Offline

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 8975
Loc: Central Coast, Calif.
Originally posted by satterfi:
Originally posted by JonS:
All the lube is for is to keep the side plates from rusting.


A lubricant on the exterior of the chain maximizes the life of the O ring.

I agree 100% with the o-ring life issue, although i'm sure it helps rust too. i've had people try to tell me that chain lube is to lube the rollers/sprocket then go on about how great wd-40 works as their only chain lube [Bang Head]
it does work great for cleaning the chain though.

#469098 - 11/29/04 08:15 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
KL250 Offline

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 13
Loc: North Florida
Hi Guys,
I have 16,000 miles on an OEM O-ring chain and I've used lot's of WD-40 on it. I have also used Triflow and 90 weight gear lube on it as well. I alternate between the three. I usually maintain my chain once a week. My rear sprocked is still looking good but I've replaced the counter shaft sprocket twice. I operate this equipment in a very sandy enviroment.


#469099 - 12/09/04 10:19 PM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
Jay Offline

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1600
Loc: Arroyo Grande, CA
I wrote a letter to RK Chain Co., the OEM of the chain on my Honda VFR, detailing the problems I'd had with several different chain lubes and I asked them what they recommended.

I got a surprisingly candid and in-depth letter back from them. The first thing the representative did was dispel the notion that o-ring chains need lubricant. He said don't think in terms of lubricating the chain; think in terms of conditioning the o-rings. What's the best o-ring conditioner? According to RK's tests it was WD-40. WD-40 conditioned o-rings better than many commercial chain lubes, including those recommended for o-ring chains!

I wrote the letter many years ago, but I've talked with a couple of o-ring chain manufacturers since and have gotten the same advice.

WD-40 is cheap and widely available, it doesn't attract dust, it drives out moisture and protects against rust, it doesn't make a mess of your wheel like heavier lubes, it's easy to clean off, and it conditions o-rings well. I get 30,000 miles of life out of the chains on my VFRs using WD-40 exclusively.

Incidently, WD-40 contains no kerosene. That's an old wives tale.

#469100 - 12/09/04 10:51 PM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
XS650 Offline

Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 12385
Loc: Northern CA
Originally posted by Jay:

Incidently, WD-40 contains no kerosene. That's an old wives tale.

Some of those old wives are pretty sharp. Turns out they aren't far off mark.

WD-40 is 45 to 50% CAS 8052-41-3, AKA main ingredient in cheap hardware store paint thinner or stoddard cleaning solvent. Anyone worried about kerosene damaging anything should be more worried about CAS 8052-41-3 solvents.

I'm not worried about either and use WD-40 as a convenient aerosol can substitute for kerosene and cleaning solvent.

#469101 - 12/21/04 12:06 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
1sttruck Offline

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 4378
Loc: Camas, WA
I use WD40 for cleaning, short term protection on tools in the garage, and I keep a small can each car in the tool kit, as a general purpose unsticker/cleaner/mediocre lube. I use to lube o-ring chains on the street bikes to help lube the sprockets, and to get some lube under the rollers. I'd lube and if I had time I'd turn each roller until it rolled freely. A product that I'd consider trying now would be Mobil 1 grease; clean with WD40, use a short stiff brush to lightly grease the chain on the inside track, roll the rollers, and then wipe. Mobil 1 grease bleeds a bit, which is good for getting lube into tight spots. Mobil 1 75W-140 would be another product that I'd try.

#469102 - 01/10/05 11:47 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
GrahamB Offline

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm of the minimal lube-school, but I also run alloy rear sprockets. They definitely wear faster than the chain: I get about a season of racing from a set of Afam hard anodized rears, but the Renthals I bought for the new bike seem to be going much faster. Maybe because we've had a lot of wet races? The chain is usually still ok to do duty on a road bike.
I think some lube on the sprocket has got to be helpful. Sure the rollers roll onto the sprocket, but roller rockers and cranks tend to like oil...

#469103 - 02/15/05 04:56 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
Uneasy Rider Offline

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 74
Loc: Michigan
I frequently use WD-40 to clean my chain when it gets all gunked up.
I use Maxima chain wax to lube the chain every 600 miles.
I changed my first chain on my 2000 R-1 at 19000 miles & it was still in pretty good shape.
For those interested in an alloy rear sprocket but don't want the shortened life span...try The sell a sprocket called a Stealth, it has an alloy center, titanium riveted to a heat treated steel ring. Its pretty trick. I have had one on my bike for the past 7000 miles & have only good things to say.

#469104 - 03/02/05 06:52 AM Re: WD-40 o-ring test
wileyE Offline

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 1967
Loc: Kitsap, WA
Uneasy rider, thanks for the link, interesting. Another option for alloy rear sprockets I've had real good experience with is a hard coating that's called "titan tough" available from sprocket specialties. Well worth it. For steel sprockets I'll only buy sunstar or oem, the other cheapys have proven to be junk for me. One of the biggest killer of chains is running them (too) tight and small diameter countshaft sprockets.

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