View Full Version : Helpful safety warning...

11-26-2004, 10:48 PM
I recently purchased a new primary drive chain for my Harley. About half of the box it came in was covered in safety warnings, including this gem: "Do not attempt to install on running machine". Who the hell comes up with this stuff???

11-26-2004, 10:51 PM
Some idiot with nothing better to do, its their way of justifying their existence

11-26-2004, 11:15 PM
Nope more then likely there was a incident that prompted the label. Some 3 watt bulb puts chain on with motor running leans on shifter and hamburgers his hand... course not his fault was not anywhere on the box that said not ta.

11-27-2004, 01:39 AM
Yep, "common sense" is not a valid defense against a law suit. Buy any new tools lately? The first 20 pages of the owners manual is full of warnings.

I'm starting to see a lot of installer warnings on car parts too. I guess someone tried to change a fuel filter next to an open flame heater.

11-27-2004, 01:44 AM
Soon you won't be able to buy matches. It is gonna be real hard to print the warning "Do not use to view contents of fuel tank" on a match stick...

11-27-2004, 02:53 AM
primary drive chain , cool, I always thought belt drive was wimpy.

the first tar and rock road (chip seal) in summer time you hit the belt is a goner.

I like the shaft drive from the honda goldwings, thats the way to go.

11-27-2004, 09:12 AM
Primary chain is under the large cover on the left side of the engine. Bike still uses a belt. An awful lot of bikes out there running all season long, through all kinds of "stuff" without failures. My wife got rid of her bike with a chain drive, now rides a bike with belt, less maintenance for sure. I'd hate to see what her chain drive would have looked like after running through 30 miles of construction in Glacier National park last summer,,,,their idea of temporary pavement is either rocks the size of your fist, gravel, sand or watered down clay,,,,,nope I'll take belt drive any day.

11-27-2004, 05:55 PM
Evan, as dumb as that may sound -"Do not use to view contents of fuel tank"- I know a guy who did just that. He wanted to see how much gas was in the tank on his Stock Car so he used his disposable lighter. As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon!"

11-27-2004, 06:11 PM
Trial lawyers are responsible for more loss of jobs than any other source.

11-27-2004, 06:26 PM
Chain runs between motor and clutch. Hit starter button while fingers are in chain goodbye fingers. Normal installation is when you remove clutch bell and motorshaft sprocket and install chain onto them then reinstall all back onto shafts.

If motor runs, chain turns. Chain transfers motor power from motor to clutch bell. It is a dual row chain drive. They do not forgive.

Advantages of belt drive? less maintenance tightening chain. Lighter rotational mass meaning less vibration.

My homebuilt had a front chain drive and rear belt to rear wheel. Old stroker I have now? a front belt and rear chain. Them belts build a lot of heat by the way.

If you look inside a goldwing you will probably find a chain. It is common to connect the transmission to the motor crankshaft via chain, even jap bikes. Most people throw them away before they see the insides thou. I kinda remember working on a supercharged jap bike that had to be converted to a chain, the shafts kept breaking.

If you look inside lots of 4wd dodge trucks transfer case you will find a chain. A Hyvo silent chain like a large timing chain.

If you look at a 1903 harley davidson you will find a belt going to the rear wheel. A leather belt.

If you put your fingers into a chain it will indeed cut them off. A old friend lost his fingers in front of a motorcycle shop, he was running a open primary, no covers. Reached down drunk to get the kick stand and whoops, there went 3 fingers.. When the proprietor came in he looked down at a drying puddle of blood, in there was 3 fingers. He said to self.. "self someone will want these back". Took them inside and put them on the bullieten board with a thumbtack. All was well till some sob stole them. I heard about that for years. I can still mention fingers and he goes off on a ten minute rampage.

People learn hard lessons everyday. SINCE Lawyers do exist and work for percentages people have to put disclaimers on everything from cigarettes to motorcycle chains. Mc'ie-dees Caution Hot coffee, should be.."caution if you serve me cold coffee" I asked for "hot coffee"

I am smart enough to deal with what I asked for and accept the responsibility. I got all my fingers for a reason.

11-27-2004, 06:43 PM
Reason the Goldwing has a shaft drive is because the crank on the goldwing runs north-south down the frame as does the gearbox , so it would be hard for them to implement a chain .
Most bike motors that run north-south crank have shaft.
there were a few across the frame motors that had shafts though.
my knowledge of this only go's up to about 15 years ago.
models that had across the frame transverse motor and shaft drive were
Yamaha XS750 XS850 and XS1100
Kawasaki Z1300 Z1000GT
Suzuki GS1000
as as much as can remember.
all the best...mark

11-27-2004, 07:24 PM

Item #6, primary chain from inside a goldwing motorcycle engine.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I do take things apart to see how they work. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
more pictures there..

I have had to work on lots of things, common misconceptions about chains and reliability of motorcycles. If you get more out of a engine than designed for, YOU WILL SEE THE INSIDES.. The drag bike with the roots blower? a Suzuki 1100 w/shaft drive.. Most bikes have a primary chain regardless of the output device, chain or shaft.. Most times it is the HYVO chain running in oil never gives a moment of problem.. WHoo hoo, way to go engineers.. these chains are also known as silent chain..
THE very old hondas had a sealed chain on the rear wheel. You never seemed to have to work on the chain? why is it out there in the nasty real world? Dirt in moving parts = wear. Machining as you ride..
David Cofer, Of:
Tunnel Hill, North Georgia

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-27-2004).]

11-27-2004, 08:02 PM
groan .....I hate being wrong..........
i dont supose BMW and Moto-Guzzis have this arangement do they .
on the goldwing the box must me on top of the motor then?
I thought because the goldwing ran down the frame that the gearbox would be on the end of the crank at the back like a car..with clutch between it.
Ahh well i cant get things right all the time .
thats twice for me in one week ...lol
all the best....mark

[This message has been edited by aboard_epsilon (edited 11-27-2004).]

11-27-2004, 08:23 PM
Friend, I count my amazing mistakes somedays by the minute. If you never do anything you never make any mistakes.

Not sure about the guzzi or bmw.. I love the old bmers.. if I didn't ever have or know harley I would have at least two of the old funny kicker bmers.

The old guy I mentioned losing his fingers? He rode Bmw's.. with all us harley riders in the 70s. It was my old 49 panhead he lost his fingers on.
He gave me a scar, right here in my eyebrow. He was tough, so tough someone afraid of him shot him to death. All in all he was a nice guy.

I didn't mean to come across as a wize-a.. Sorry if I did.


11-27-2004, 08:44 PM
That's ok Dave
if I'm wrong i must be told.
and if anyone was to tell me ..your the best guy to do it .
got my thumb rapped round a sprocket the other day .
was turning the sproket by hand on the grinder I was doing up.
tooth went right thru my nail...didnt get a chance to wimper ..because a chap knocked on my door at that very moment ...asking if I wanted to change my electricty company.....he was sorry he asked ...because with all that adrenalin running I was very nasty to him.
when the pain subsided I tried to look for him as I felt very bad about giving him a hard time .....
couldnt find him..... I still feel bad about how I treated him.....as he was getting on in his years and he was working out in the rain, and I thought after, he has a job to do and I probably ruined his day.
anyhows thats life
all the best...mark

11-27-2004, 08:50 PM

Motor is simple, I love them old bmer's.. Notice the hyvo chain driving the camshaft thou.. neato engines.. the only ones I have saw.stopped to help on the interstate, had problems caused by the riders.. usually electrical..

I'd trade my stroker for the right old bmw bike. I watched ebay for a long time. Some went cheap on the west coast.. I just almost went after one.


11-27-2004, 11:06 PM
What's really comical about the warning with regards to a Harley, is that it is impossible to start the engine by normal means without the primary chain being installed to begin with!

11-28-2004, 11:39 AM
I've got an '83 BMW R65. I've come to respect it as a beautiful secondary hwy machine. But when I first bought it I just had to see Chicago so I left Ann Arbor and buzzed down Interstate 80 leaning into the wind and kind of nervously eyeing the tach breaking 5 grand. Here's the really memorable part of that day. A full-dressed Harley lumbered right by me somewhere south of Kalamazoo. Guy was tipped back in his seat behind the full fairing, EZ-boy monday-night-football style, and SMOKING A CIGARETTE! I have no doubt all these years later as I read this thread that this gentleman, were he to suddenly find it necessary, might indeed be found changing his primary drive chain, engine spinning, bike at speed, somewhere between Chicago and Barstow, and SMOKING A CIGARETTE! Let's face it, it's a lifestyle, and sometimes all you can do is watch and wonder.

11-28-2004, 04:05 PM
Ever see the VW to BMW conversions? Now that is a superbike. A dual port VW motor can boogie.

I helped on some work on a Karman Ghia quite a few years back. Thou heavier it was more aerodynamic.

The English Indian 4cyl, uses a bmw tranny.

Thou I lust, I probably would not give up the Old Harley I have sweated and dripped blood over. (and airbrushed multi-colored flames onto)

Simple old machines seem to run forever.

I've no doubt unless lung cancer killed the dresser rider he is still puffin somewhere, feet propped up.. Who knowes, they might find a connection from breathing exhaust and lung cancer.

Me? I think I'll take a nap..

David Cofer, Of:
Tunnel Hill, North Georgia

11-28-2004, 05:28 PM
Hey Mark, you weren't completely wrong...

The six cylinder Goldwing does not have a primary chain. The only chain (on the 1500) runs one of the oil pumps. The pic David posted showing the primary chain was the earlier four cylinder engine.

The 1800 Goldwing replaced the belt driven camshafts with chains (which was a mistake in my view) but still no primary chain - all gears to the back wheel.

Brisbane Australia.

11-28-2004, 08:27 PM

Got a inside picture? I am interested.

Years ago, I got to build a hi voltage generator for a limosine. It consisted of a afro comb mounted in white nylon that could be pulled down to drag on the serpentine belt. A ground ran down to the earth and dragged a lamp chain under the vehicle. A choke cable would pull the comb down to the belt.

It made sparks, when people would run to the limosine and try to look in the dark glass. Man that thing would power flourescent bulbs.

I got this flat belt in the primary of my harley going around and around. WHOO HOO.. that'd make a keep hands off sign at the car shows really mean just that. (store the power in 1000 volt capacitors in series)

David http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif ;p

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-28-2004).]

11-28-2004, 09:16 PM
As a safety warning, I found this helpful and infomative -


11-28-2004, 11:52 PM
Ah! That'd be why I've been getting cut up when using the Stanley knife. Didn't read the instructions!

David, the best internal pic of the six cylinder goldwing motor I could find is...


The large helical gear at rear of crank drives the alternator - I think the primary drive gear is behind that.


11-29-2004, 12:35 AM
Speaking of safety you guys nead to view these - they originaly aired on BBC 4 so if you get offened - Blame my mother! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Please view in order:



I am sure you guys were missing my handy shop tips, and there are some power tool accidents and warning to heed so pay close attention!


11-29-2004, 09:02 AM

I used to dream of building my own airplane. I even bought a set of Burt Rutans quickie plans (lawnmower engine based.) and then decided it was not enough. Next plan was a 900 kawasaki motor gear reduced cut-down engine. I calculated hp vs ideal propellor and climb out was right up there with the pitts. The propellor was a nightmare getting enough pitch without exceeding the diameter required. Never got one made or found one that suited that many hp.

Then I started looking into what it takes to certify a experimental aircraft/engine. Then I started working on my motorcycles again.

Neato Honda engine. Took the goldwing engine and added the hop-up goodies and the excellent thought out drivetrain concepts. I have a friend with one of the plastic freight trains with this engine. I will email him the picture for his desktop.

I started out riding a 750 1971 honda. Pops 812cc Yoshimura kit,Rc engineering,350 honda parts inside, then totalling it twice, then a brief stint on a 650 yamaha, then the 1976 new bicentinnal FXE Harley with all the pretty decals that turned green from sun exposure. Then homebuilts since then. Someday when I get time I wanna design my own heads, primary drive, clutch, all the things that tick me off. I pretty much got a handle on what I like, a thumper, plenty of torque, big brakes w/big front rubber to stop, progressive suspension, sprung saddle, dual tanks, and simple big old engine. No replacement for displacement. The Harley starters suck.. Hot rod harley starters suck at price. I am getting too old to kick. Perhaps the first thing I should do is find a jap car starter that I can adapt.. Take a wheel and build a bike around it.. done it before.. yep.. I got a Quad-4 GM inline engine, bought a six speed tranny, a front end, then got "dunn'ed by my ex wife and started ebaying off the lot of items. Still got the engine. I envision a engish Indian-4 type style bike around it. Got the 1" DOM .25wall tubing and the bender handy. Just not got back on that track yet. BUT, Thursday my son turned 18, soon.. soon.. THE English indian 4 uses a 82hp air cooled volvo engine and a bmw transmission.. pretty neato. I told them (owner) in email about my 190hp engine, hp-per-pound and they asked where to get them.. I guess they will build one before me. Imagine how much fun that'll be?


[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-29-2004).]

11-30-2004, 11:48 AM
I bought my old man(actually we both did) a 1990 K1 BMW. It is a weird looking thing but is a great touring bike. He told me he had it up to 220 kms one evening after work. (Second ride on it) It is so smooth. Harleys are Ok but why pay so much for a poor poor design. Sorry Dave Audrey

11-30-2004, 12:03 PM
4.5 hour drive to upstate NY, the only car I ever been in that made it enjoyable was my uncles BMW 330xi. Any other car is just boring and irritating. I can imagine that BMW bike would be nice. One day driving upstate NY in the bmw, 2 fellas were on their BMW bikes, gave us a wave, I guess it's a BMW thing.
I can only hope one day I can afford a BMW.

11-30-2004, 05:09 PM
No offense taken Audrey:

Explanation in defense of a old product:

A harley is basically a slice out of a radial airplane engine. Simple as can be, the plain design survived five wars and years of competetion from more modern engineering marvels.

Something about the odd degree cylinder sound. My poor old panhead I had at 18, It had carried a club rider for 16 years everyday before I bought it, ($500) he didn't have a car. I rode it over 100k after rebuilding the bottom end, which included replacing the crank pin but not the outer main bearings. They just went back into the cages onto the original shafts. Upon cranking it I thought the oil pressure was low, I got to learn that the oil must be there in a roller bearing motor but pressure does not have to be. It is for cooling as much as lubrication. I had some good teachers.
Now how many people can put a harley transmission in a box at 18, Shake it, measure all the parts then put it together and it work for years? I rebuilt a 58 panheads tranny in a pizza box after doing a wheelstand upon the rear fender and bending a countershaft (clutch shaft and rear fender) which I blame upon my irresponsible adjustment of the primary belt. (read that drunk mechanic-ing)

Yes I agree. It was a poor design. Vibrated like heck and leaked oil (on purpose total loss system). You can take any piece of machinery and pick the design to pieces. But how many are known by sound and sight worldwide? Or copied like the harley? Or worth as much when the time comes to sell? My redheaded young pregnant girlfriend caused the sale of the 58 panhead. She bought a car with part of the money and left me. I had it 18 years, her 3, of which I supported her 3 years. Hurrah for the Harley. It still was a cheap escape thou. She was a fast machine, but not a classic.

I loved the old boxer Bmer's the triumphs, the BSA's the original Hondas and the Harleys. Never had to support any of them, it was a labor of love. I still love motorcycles, sportscars and machinery. I respect the well made machinery most of all I think. It'll sit there quietly (rusting) gaining monetary value while the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Still a labor of love. I should've bought every one, every part or basketcase I could have. My mistake wasting my money on fun thou.

You and husband have chosen a quality machine to carry you. Please stop by if you ever get down this way (where it is warm and sunny 80% of the year). I wish you peace and happiness but most of all have fun.

As I look around this smallish living room I see pictures of my kids and me all posing with black harley-davidsons. I got one now, a micro-rainbow metalflaked-Kameleon-flamed-custom-antique shovehead-twin spark plugged stroker. No doubt it vibrates. Heck, I am still having fun, and Carrol got a 20year old set of boobs for Christmas. Ahh the wonders of Plastique. And this redhead has a job and her own money, sounds like a classic. Heck as long as you are happy I guess. I still love fine machinery.

Heck, did I just write a book. I just woke up from a nap and my fingers fly.

David Cofer, Of:
Tunnel Hill, North Georgia