Despite making some custom spacers to help reduce chainsuck, nothing was reduced. Turns out that hooked granny teeth were the culprit. Despite only about 20 rides on the stuff, the teeth were quite mangled. As the chain shifted up to the middle ring, it pulled tightly on the chain still engaged with the granny, and since those teeth were hooked, it wouldn't release.
Shermano says that my chain is too worn, the only possible cause of hooked teeth. The chain measured just shy of .75 on the Park gauge and was replaced a while ago.
They will NOT be offering a steel granny for those of us who use their granny a lot. A steel granny from another crank will not probably not perform well, shifting-wise, either. The relative placement of teeth on the respective rings is apparently pretty important. I believe that the positions of the granny and middle ring on '04 XT are flawed.
And, as I was removing my worn granny, a thin spacer fell to the bench. No big deal, I thought; there must be spacers behind all of the bolts. Nope, just one. And now I don't know where it's supposed to go. Time to get out the digital calipers, I guess. Apparently, shermano checks the rings after assembly and adds shims to correct for any misalignment.
Anyway, if you were having issues, this may be the cause. I hope that someone comes up with some improved aftermarket parts.
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Thread: '04 XT crank woe update...