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  1. #1
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    Reputation: noshortcuts's Avatar
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    Suddenly ALL chain links making vibrating noise with side to side play

    Today a new noise began on my mountain bike. I found that anytime the chain (SRAM PC-971 - 6mos. old) was suddenly engaged it would make a vibrating sound. Under closer inspection it seems the sound comes from the fact that all of the links are loose with side to side play. In other words, where outer links overlap connecting inner links, there is play.

    I have had chains stretch and break, but not develop such noticeable looseness in side to side play, at least not that I've noticed and not with the vibrating noise on engagement.

    Is this play normal? I will get a new chain and check, but I don't think so.

  2. #2
    Chrome Toaster
    Reputation: Hecubus's Avatar
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    Yes there's supposed to be a fairly significant amount of play between each link. Thats how the chain is able to shift and handle even extremely off center chainlines such as big-big combo's. That vibration you describe is almost always an indicator of a badly worn chainring. Ride the bike in different rings up front over the same terrain. If it stops when switching to a different ring that means one of them is worn out.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Hecubus. I see the play is normal. The chainrings look good to me but I will do a test-ride as you suggest and try different rings to see what happens.

  4. #4
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    Guess I'll live with the noise

    With a test ride, the noise was present in the two smaller front rings. The middle ring was actively loosing it's chrome "Stylo" finish and I thought the resulting thinner profile may contribute to the chain's vibrating sound. I replaced that ring and also cleaned, lubed, and went over all derailleur settings.

    The vibration is still present under load such as engaging the crank on an up hill. I'll just live with it now as the cog and ring teath are good and the chain still has some stretch left.

    Or maybe I'll grab a new chain out of curiosity to see if it does the same thing (but I think it won't).

  5. #5
    MTB B'dos
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    I'll ask a stupid question here.... Did you just happen to clean the chain and did you lube it after?
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  6. #6
    JMH
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    Lube

    Yeah, contrary to popular belief, WD-40 is not a chain lube!

    Lube that sucker.

    JMH

    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx
    I'll ask a stupid question here.... Did you just happen to clean the chain and did you lube it after?

  7. #7
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    Yea, Yea, Yea, when I said I lubed, I lubed. Finish Line Teflon-Dry. Maybe I should give the old WD-40 a try!

  8. #8
    JMH
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    Okay!

    I have gone back to heavier lubes to keep the chain quiet. The dry lubes can help keep your chain a little bit cleaner because they don't pick up as much grit, but they tend to be noisy and seem to be more easily rinsed off in water crossings. An oil will attract more grit, but is more durable in my experience. I wipe down my chains and relube often enough that it's not much of an issue.

    I used to use Phil Wood oil, but have moved to the lubes from Dumonde Tech... The blue lube will make your chain blissfully silent.

    JMH

    Quote Originally Posted by noshortcuts
    Yea, Yea, Yea, when I said I lubed, I lubed. Finish Line Teflon-Dry. Maybe I should give the old WD-40 a try!

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