Spring Return Chain Tensioner

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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Treasure Coast, Florida
I was having a problem keeping my chain taut, and was very unhappy with the stock chain, so off to Tractor Supply for some #41 chain. Got the chain and got to browsing and also picked up a really sweet ball bearing, rubeer coated chain trensioner, AND spring, it is sold seperatly. After mounting the chain I took some 3/8 althread rod, heated it up and bent it into a U shape to fit around seatpost. I cut a strip of metal ( out of stock tensioner mount) to secure allthread. Then I just mounted the spring tensioner to the end of the allthread, the ID of the tensioner seems to be a good fit on 3/8" rod. Then a little adjustment and done. Spent $40. on everything including new chain. I have put a couple of miles on it an it is a lot quieter, and very smooth...
 

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Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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Aztlán, Arizona
Great set up! That look's great (^)

That's kind of what I used for my Dble. suspension bike. I do not have pic's of it. But here is what I used. I used a Idler sprocket and had to do some mod's to get it to work with the tensioner. Your set up look's much better.
 

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misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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I looked at those tensioners and was about to order one Fair, when I saw the one at Tractor Supply. It looked like a lot of mods to make it fit my bike though. And the one at TSC was less than $15. with spring.
 

Dave31

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Yes, it took alot of mod to work, and it was'nt cheap. But at the time I had a nissan timing chain tensioner that I was using. I was taking a trip to Mexico and there was no way I was going alone. The homemade nissan tensioner had a little to much tension on it because that was the only way I could keep the chain to stay on on the trail. And I was afraid to take a long trip with the way I had it set up. So it was kinda of a last minute set up I did with the tensioner and idler sprocket, but it worked great, held up all they way. The chain did fall of several times.
Your set-up is much better and I like it. I was looking at tractor supply but could not find it :confused:
 

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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Yea I dont see the parts either. looks like they carry them for their line of mini bikes "Baja Motorsports". You could call them. the part # is 165-063 for the chain tensioner, and # 165-280 for the spring...
 

jezusjonz

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Feb 26, 2008
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Indiana
I love that George thanks for sharing that. I tell ya thats the one thing I hate so dearly on these is that tensioner. Well you know I ditched both of mine but I would rather be running them. Might have to make a trip to TSC and thanks for the part numbers.
Terry
 

paul

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Dec 23, 2007
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very nice mister right. i been in the middle of a move and missed this all togather. i am putting a copy in the clasic posts area (^)
 

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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At first I used the spring that I bought with the tensioner, additional item, but made to work with the tensioner. I didnt like it and couldnt find the "torsion" spring I needed so I made my own by cutting, heating and forming a large gate spring...
 

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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I originally used the one that was sold seperately to be used with the tensioner. I ended up buying, heating, cutting and forming my own spring out of a large gate spring. The correct spring to use that I was unable to find is known as a "torsion" spring..
Hope this helps..
 

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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Fred, I'm sorry I lost your email add. My chain rides about 2'' from my seat post. It rides closer to my rear tire because I am running a wider #41 chain. I have the tensioner shimmed way out, but it can be moved in on the allthread rod. You must have a large down tube for the chain to be rubbing on it huh? Any other question please email me or post here and I will be happy to help answer your questions...
George........
 

Saddletramp1200

Custom MB Buiilder
May 7, 2008
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Houston, Texas
I know that not running one "may" mess up the countershaft seal. But I have a bearing seal puller from Snap-On and am just daring it to fail! Used it three times so far in 6 years! $ 55.00 back then! I know it's, there even tho I have never seen it hiding behind that front sprocket. rotfl
 

Egor

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Jan 30, 2008
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You can not use a spring tension-er for the drive chain, for the reason that when you are starting the bike the pressure compresses the spring and the chain is then loose as it feeds into the engine. Or on a downhill the same thing. You can use it to put the tension on the chain and then lock it down. If you have the normal amount of slack and can not get the chain close to tight you will have a problem. Look at the Russian bikes they are the ones that invented this engine, no springs. Hope this helps. Have fun, Dave
 

misteright1_99

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Mar 21, 2008
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I have had this spring return tensioner and the #41 chain on my bike from the beginning of my build (over 4 months ago) as I did not like the stock roller tensioner and stock chain, and have had no problems. It has worked flawlessly for well over 300 miles. I am not familiar with Russian bikes, but the brand of minibikes and atv's that Tractor Supply Co. sells (Baja Motorsports) use them on their products.
 

Egor

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Jan 30, 2008
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99, I have looked at the pic of your bike, you are one of the fortunate ones that have a setup that essentially does not need a tensioner. Your bike needs nothing the chain is at perfect adjustment. If your bike was like so many others that have no adjustment at the wheel and only a the chain adjuster that comes with the kits or something like it to take up the slack you would understand. If later your chain stretches enough to get loose enough to derail you will need a follower that will stay the same when in compression, if not the chain will go slack in the starting or downhill. The machines that you are referring, to have a normal ability to adj the chain, that follower is to insure the chain is in line with the rear sprocket at high speed. If they made half links for the chain we are using we could get our bikes to the level of tension you have. Have fun, Dave
 

eDJ

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Jul 8, 2008
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Not haveing started one of those Chinese in frame projects yet I've been following these feedback post on the issues builders are having them. The thought entered my mind for a spring tensioner similar to the rear derailer tensioner (although I doubt one would be available for a size #41 chain)
But in principle....at least it would take up the slack and be flexible.

It seems these chain tensioners are really the #1 issue, followed by the rear sprocket mounting.

I'm sure that in China were they are cranking out this #41 chain that they could easily tool up to make 1/2 links and in time a better tensioner. Usually when there is a crying need for something better someone rises up with "aftermarket" solutions like we're seeing here with 99's solution.

I'd like to see 99 take his photos and put up a post on the "Take a tip & Leave a tip" topic. If he wanted I'd be willing to sketch a black and white projection drawing of how to do it for those wanting to try it.

.......and Egor, thanks bunches for explaining that chain geometry. Recently I was reading about a "lock up" condition where the chain kinking up in the counter shaft gear housing could lead to that...........which once again is a chain tension issue. I've wondered when I look at alot of those old turn of the centruy British bikes that had "chain guides" (I think I saw one set up on an old Excelcior bike) before rollers became popular that just setting up a guide may be the way to go. Yeah, it would be cheap & dirty.....and likely loud....but perhaps dependable.