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Cheap DIY Chain Oiler

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by boingk, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. I've been thinking about getting a proper chain oiler for a while, but in the meantime I rigged this up for less than five dollars. Its simply a 10ml syringe attached to a length of 3mm rubber hose that exits onto the rear sprocket. Push the plunger a bit as you go along and oil trickles onto the sprocket and then the chain; repeat every 100km or so.



    Cheap, simple, easy to make. Should make chain lubing a bit easier for the meantime until I get a proper system. One brand I've happened upon is Tutoro - check them out at www.tutorochainoiler.com. They look like a good bit of gear and are quite cheap compared to the big names like Scottoiler.

    Cheers - boingk

  2. That's cool, like your improvisation mate.

    But, and I could be wrong, but it looks like its putting a fair bit of oil onto the the tyre wall? Or it could be the flash showing up other gunk
  3. pretty cool. just generic engine oil?
  4. I once rigged a bottle of gearbox oil, (small bottle) upside down over the chain, and rather than snip the top of the tube off, I put a pin hole in it. To shut it off, I put the little plastic cap back on.

    The drawback was control. You'd have to learn to make the right sized hole, the first time. Initially, I made it a little too small, so I put the pin back in and enlarged it. Mistake! Back of bike covered in gearbox oil. The concept is, I think, a good one. Perhaps a little tap arrangement would be better? What-ever, it works, and it's not hard to rig up.

    The other idea I had - (and I have not tried this yet) - involves rigging a piece of electrical conduit above a hole in the chain guard, and dropping in one of these dry lubricant sticks.
  5. c0rrupt - the bike is filthy haha, the oiler has nothing to do with it.

    Lilley - yeah just Valvoline 10W-40, nothing special.

    kneedragon - good ideas there, and I especially like the solenoid and dry-lube idea. I think I will probably end up getting the Tutoro setup though, because its so simple and isn't very expensive. Sounds like your 'pinhole' method - reserviour of oil that you set with a tap to drip at a few drips per minute. Remember that setting and simply turn off when not riding.

    Cheers - boingk
  6. No solenoid req - just a piece of electrical tube, some glue (epoxy would be good) and a hole in the top of the chain guard. Say the dry lube has a 14mm OD. You want electrical tube with an ID of about 15mm, and a 15mm hole in the chain guard. Glue (or otherwise fix) the tube above the hole, and drop in a stick of dry lube. Investigate a wedge or something to hold the lube stick up, so contact only happens when the chain flicks up a bit. Investigate a top or retaining strap of some sort, so the lube doesn't get flicked out. Investigate removing or not removing some of the paper wrapper. Investigate the optimal angle for the tube - ie, would vertical be best, or would it work better at a 30 deg angle toward the back?

    Assuming you buy the lube, the tube, and the epoxy, the whole experiment is going to cost less than $30. You will be left with a hole somewhere on your chain guard. Let me know how well it works, I'm curious.
  7. Not sure it'd work too well if you're applying the stick from the outside of the chain - you want to apply to the inside of the chain so centrifugal force pushes the lube out through the chain, lubricating it thoroughly. Either way, it'd wear very rapidly (seconds or minutes) unless you had some sort of automated restraint or manual method of engaging it with the chain.

    I was thinking solenoid so you'd hit a button and it would push the lube stick into contact with the chain for as long as you held the button - a single short jab would suffice if you were travelling at anywhere near legal road speeds. Only thing is that you'd need to account for wear of the stick...

    To be honest, I reckon the system I have is as far as I'll go with DIY oilers. The beauty of it is that is utilises a basic lubricant that you already use for your bike, and in miniscule quantities - half a millilitre per application, with an application only needed every 100km or so. The system also only has two components - the syringe and the bleed hose. Both components are widely available and very cheap - the syringe was 75c from the local chemist and 1 metre of 3mm hose cost me $3.50 at Supercheap.

    Makes you think doesn't it? - boingk
  8. It is a good idea - no question. I priced a scott chain oiler once, and nearly had heart failure!

    I think the trick is to use a little oil, often. These days I just carry a small pressure pack and give a very quick squirt (about half a second) to the exposed rollers on the outside of the rear sprocket, each time I fuel up. The rollers roll, the outside becomes the inside at some point, the oil spreads by contact... Put some oil on one point - say 5 rollers, then ride 5km and stop and have a look. All the rollers have oil on them. And in this day and age of sealed O-ring chains, you don't need to worry about inside, only keeping a minimal film on the rollers.

    Most people, in my observation, use way too much oil, way too infrequently. Their rollers are dry and shiny, and there's fling-off all over everything.

    I could, of course, just carry the lube stick, and give it a quick swipe over the exposed inside of the rollers, on top, on the bottom run, after each refuel.
  9. Sounds like a plan - theres no way I'd get into stuffing around with solenoids or rigging a manual control system. I definitely agree with you on most people not lubing frequently enough, too.

    What I meant by the oil working its way through the chain was that it is important for the O-rings themselves to get oil as it both lubricates them (and the linkpins they protect) and prolongs their life. The rollers will, of course, pick up oil from contact with the sprockets... but the big point is still the O-rings. They prevent sideplate wear and keep the chain links free of water and road grime.

    The thing about the Scottoilers is that they're bloody good at what they do, and you pay the premium for that. The setups like the Tutoro are basic, no BS bits of gear that just get the job done, and thats what I like about them. I've yet to actually buy one, but will do so before too long as I like the idea of a (mostly) automatic system. It takes the biggest factor out of the equation - human error.

    Cheers - boingk

    EDIT: Good magazine test of chain oilers (and how I got interested in the Tutoro system): http://www.motorcyclenews.com/upload/Ride Magazine/Product test pdfs/Chain oiler test.pdf
  10. You reckon? I'm not convinced. There's grease inside, and more or less oil outside has no effect on internal wear. The grease should keep the contact faces of the O-rings good. The outside of the O-rings, I guess, could get old and hard and brittle due to lack of oil and UV and stuff, given long enough, and the link faces could start to rust, but the chain is not going to fail - or wear out any more quickly - because of a little surface rust. The things that wear out these days, are the outside of the rollers and the sprockets. I would think (I don't know), that by the time the O-rings are getting hard and old, you'd be about ready for a new chain and sprockets anyway. ...Unless the bike is a garage queen, anyway.

    PS - thanks for the link - going off to read that now.
  11. Good point. Hell, the rings will get oil if theres oil on the rollers... enough to stop them perishing anyway. Lets say oil is good for a chain and leave it at that I reckon.

    As for the state of my bikes, they certainly aren't garage queens haha - the XR is covered in crap and gets used as a commuter/thrasher/offroader, and the GSX is currently awaiting new valve seals and possible piston rings. One thing I can't stand is people who keep bikes in perfect nick... but only take them out once in a blue moon.

    - boingk
  12. ... but good for a laugh. I'm pretty sure it was the first track day I ever went to, at Qld Raceway, I found myself admiring a ZX9R that had all manner of bling on it. It was blue, and had a blue double bubble screen, and blue braided steel brake lines, and a HyperPro damper that was anodised blue ... It was borderline between fast bike and show bike, let's put it that way.

    So I went out on my first time on the track - any track -, and settled into 1:32 ~1:30 pretty quickly, and got down to a PB of 1:25.4 by the end of the day. I saw the 9R a few times and it always seemed to be cruising around, so I went and got a lap time sheet and looked it up. Never got under 2:00. I'm still chortling about it. If it doesn't go - chrome it.
  13. Nice bit of improv there, good work!

    I've been thinking of knocking up something similar, I just need to find some kind of vacuum operated switch/tap...

    That's the hard part.
  14. Thats a pretty nifty set up. I did a bit of a search on the net and I came accross this


    It's a heck of a lot cheaper than a Scottoiler and looks like it would do a pretty good job
  15. Yeah but read the review thats in the link I posted on page one - the LoobMan is included in the test and doesn't get a great review. The Tutoro actually takes pole position, whipping the Scottoilers, and it works out at only about $40 delivered from the UK.

    Cheers - boingk
  16. on my 1969 triumph .... the crank case breather spits oil on the drive chain,...so now 41 years on you guys have to make a chain oiler for your self.. carnt beat old school motor bikes,,,,
  17. I am yet to see a good review (professional or consumer) of the loobman. By all accounts, incredibly messy and a real PITA - in which case you may as well just lube the chain the old fashioned way.

    I have a pro-oiler on my VFR, and it is fantastic. For what I do with the bike (commuting, touring and sport-riding) the pro-oiler is perfect, can't recommend it enough. Easy enough to set up (using an electric pump, so a bit of battery work, but that is it), shove any old oil in the canister, and away you go, no more work really (unless you want to use the dash-controller to adjust the oil flow). Not a cheap item, but still cheaper than any of the scottoilers (and their esystem is wayyy over priced).

    However, that Tutoro looks interesting - more manual, and gravity fed to placement might be restrictive on some bikes, but at $40, who cares!?! I am very tempted to get one for my Husky. My only concern is controlling the rate of oil flow - keep in mind that regular oils don't 'stick' like the canned chain lube. Too much and you will have it all over your rear tyre. Too little and the oil will fling off faster than it is replaced.
  18. Yeah the automated systems really are very good, but part of the reason I'm steering away from them is a] cost and b] I ride an XR600 most of the time... which doesn't have a battery and only has a very small capacity (80W) altenator. Manual is the go for me here.

    I had a squizz at the Tutoro instructions and they reckon that 1 to 2 drops per minute is the proper amount of oil, and that one reserviour full (8ml) will last around 5 hours at that rate. Only thing would be remembering to top it up and turn it on/off.

    - boingk
  19. you can get cheap plastic needle valves from aquarium shops that fit into that small hose.

    1-2 drops a minute seems a lot to me.

    I'm not sure turning this on and off every time you ride is any less hassle than a bit of lube every few days.
  20. That's the thing I liked about the loobman if you forget to squirt it then you get a dry chain for a day, if you forget to turn off off the Tutoro then you end up with a garage full of oil...