Master link assembly puts the “OH!” in O-ring chain
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  1. #1
    Senior Member old white truck's Avatar
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    How come no one told me about this???



    So, O-ring (and X-ring) chains are all new to Old White Truck. However, I thought I would give one a try.



    I bought a DID 428 VX X-Ring Chain.



    However, assembling the master link for an O-ring chain was a bit of a surprise. This is not your father’s master link that can be put together blindfolded with just a fingernail. Oh no.



    Looking at it in the package it doesn’t even look like it was made properly – “There is no way that is going to fit on there!” – he thought, gaping in wonderment.



    A quick interwebs search showed that that they make custom installation tools for putting these master links together. However, feedback is that these tools often bend before the link can be put on. (That can’t be good.)



    Member tba02 on this forum mentioned that some people use a C-clamp. I tried that but all the clamps that were small enough to fit between the pins did not have enough force to press the link on (tighten, slip, tighten, slip, repeat).



    After more trial and error I blundered my way into a solution that was quick and easy and free. All it required was two 5/16” nuts and a larger C-clamp. The nuts allow pressure to be applied all around the link plate but provide room for the pins to protrude. With this – it went right on – no problem. I thought I would share and hopefully save someone else from having to experiment like I did. See bottom (second) photo below.





    Anyway… this leads to a couple of questions:



    - How do you take these O-ring master links off, or put them on, if you have to do a field repair?



    - What do you guys use for lubing O-ring chain?









    Experimenting:





    Success! This worked quite well (below):


  2. #2
    Senior Member mrbracket's Avatar
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    I use a small set of vice-grips to install o-ring chains.



    Some lubes claim to work on o-ring or x-ring chains, but the whole point of using an o-ring chain is that the little o-rings keep things out of the chain. IMHO, you only get the lube inside the chain to begin with. I do use chain lube every once and while, but I doubt it's really doing anything. Again, that is just my opinion, I have no proof of that.



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  3. #3
    Senior Member r80rt's Avatar
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    Chain lube will slow sprocket wear if nothing else.
    Only a fool would attempt it, and God help me, I am that fool!

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  5. #4
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    I take a small round file and enlarge the holes a little bit and it gets much easier.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r80rt View Post
    Chain lube will slow sprocket wear if nothing else.


    My mechanic and several other very experienced riders I know say that the main purpose of lube on an O-ring chain is to keep the O-rings from drying out, thus extending the chain life. Makes sense to me!



    On this same tech's advice, I have been using BelRay Crystal Clear since new two years ago. I clean the chain with kerosene and a toothbrush, blow it dry, and apply this stuff. It foams and gets in everywhere. Then I run the chain through a rag or shop towel a couple dozen times, and wipe the sprockets too.



    Ideally one should do this at the END of a ride when the chain is hot, then let it sit and evaporate. I usually have to repeat the wipedown after the first and second ride, as it gets on the wheel....(I like a CLEAN MACHINE! ) The real advantage of this wiping is to get the chain as dry as you can while still leaving a little bit of lube on the O-rings. Then the chain won't pick up as much dust and grit. I usually end up doing this full clean and lube about every 300 miles, with maybe an intermediate wipedown and re-application, depending on how much and what kind of dirt I've been riding in.



    I think you could get 20,000 miles out of an O-ring chain with this level of cleaning and lubing. It's too much work for a lot of folks and with the fairly low cost of new sprockets and chain I can't blame them. But my time is only worth about $.05 an hour now that I'm retired.....
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  7. #6
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    OWT, there's a bit of a trick to installing them.



    I do them one pin at a time in the field. Install the clip, side plate and 0-rings, then compress them in the center with pointed visegrips. Slip the clip over one pin, leaving it at 90 degrees to the chain. Reposition the vicegrips to the far outside edge of the sideplate, swing the clip in line with the unfastened pin and snap it into place.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    OWT, there's a bit of a trick to installing them.


    Lizard, you're a genius!!!
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  9. #8
    Senior Member old white truck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    OWT, there's a bit of a trick to installing them.



    I do them one pin at a time in the field. Install the clip, side plate and 0-rings, then compress them in the center with pointed visegrips. Slip the clip over one pin, leaving it at 90 degrees to the chain. Reposition the vicegrips to the far outside edge of the sideplate, swing the clip in line with the unfastened pin and snap it into place.
    I gave you a +1 for this. Now I just have to try and understand it. I have read it about 17 time and still don't quite get it. (I am a dork).





    In this part (below) are you putting the clip and side plate on the part of the link with the pins and compressing the plate and clip onto the pins, or are you just holding the clip and plate together seperate from the link?

    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    Install the clip, side plate and 0-rings, then compress them in the center with pointed visegrips.
    If you already have the clip on in this step (above) then how can you slip the clip over the pin in the next step?





    (Also, both you and Mr. Bracket mentioned thin nose Vise Grips for putting these on. My small bent nose vise grips in the photo would have not had near enough force to press this on. I don't know if I got a particularly tough master link, but even the smaller C-clamps in my photo could not apply enough force. I had to use the big C-Clamp and give it a pretty good crank. My problem was not getting the clip on, it was pressing the side plate on that was difficult.)



    Remedially Yours,



    OWT

  10. #9
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, I mispoke. Install the o-rings and sideplate (not the clip). Squeeze them in the middle until the clip will slip over the groove in one pin.



    THEN scoot your vice grip to the outter edge of the link, compress the o-ring on that side and the open end of the clip will snap over the second pin.



    Watch your clip direction cuz it'll really tick you off if you get it backward once you're done. lol. The closed end of the clip should face the direction of chain travel.



    If you get in a jam, the INSIDE links of an o-ring chain are the same dimension as a non-o-ring chain. The master from a standard chain will fit your o-ring chain just fine, minus the o-rings.



    I use the same slim-nosed ViseGrips as in your pic. The smallest pair they make. Compress them only enough to expose the groove so you don't tweek the side plates.



    I'm not sure why yours are so hard to compress. Will the side plate slide freely over the pins with the master link off the chain? There are two types of links. One is permanent, and requires a tool to peen the pins over the side plates. These sometimes have an interference fit on the pins. The ones with a clip should freely slide over the pins..



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Bullspit's Avatar
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    Mine was a tight fit as well. I was able to use the chain break tool to press them on.

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