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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Chains get longer due to wear on the link
pins and the links they contact. You kind
of expect them all to wear about the same
since they all are exposed to about the
same stresses. Consider though that
a single link may become damaged and
wear faster than the rest of the chain.

Say for example a weed gets caught
in the chain and tears one o-ring, letting
out the lubricant, and letting in dirt.
The chain won't get a lot of "stretch"
overall, and need a lot of adjusting, and
that one link can be easily overlooked.
A link pin of 1/8 inch diameter can have
1/4 of its diameter worn (1/32 inch)
without being obvioius.

An easy way to catch such wear is to
check the distance between the ends of
the side plates with a feeler gauge. By
trial, find the number of layers it takes
to just fill the space between the plates
on several links. Then with this "stack"
simply feel the gap between each link
in the chain. (It can be done quickly
enough to become a regular check you
do every month.) If one seems way
bigger than the rest, use more layers
to find how much more worn that link is.

If it seems excessive you may want to
mark that link so you can keep an eye
on it, or just go ahead and replace the
chain. If you wait till you can hear the
bad link as it goes click each time around,
you have probably waited too long, and
are asking for trouble.

When I put on my new chain, I measured
the gap and wrote it down in my owners
manual so I'll know how much it has worn
months or years from now.
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