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Chain Lubrication

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  • Chain Lubrication

    Back in the 1980's when I rode a Honda 500/4 (ie. pre-O ring chain days), I used to take the chain off, clean it and then place it in a large round metal can of hard black chain lubricant. The stuff was a waxy solid at room temperature and contained molybdenum (according to the can).

    The idea was to heat the can, the grease would melt and the coiled chain would sink into it. When the chain warmed through, the lubricant would wick into the rollers. Pick the hot chain out, let the excess run back into the can and let it cool.

    This seemed to work well. Can anyone remember who makes the stuff, and is it still available?


    All of the gear, no idea...

  • #2
    That would have been Castrol Linklyfe, used to stink the kitchen up a fair bit didn't it?

    I don't know if you can still get it, it probably just quietly passed away since the universal adoption of O ring chains.



    • #3
      Probably been replaced by some of those aerosol lubricants like Open Gear Spray etc.
      This stuff looks and acts like the same, ideal for change wheels [ if you don't have to keep swapping them a lot - sticks like sh1t to a blanket ]


      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


      • #4
        Ian --

        Back in the 1960s, when I rode a Hercules bicycle, the factory's instructions were to remove the chain for cleaning every three months (IIRC) and then lube it with a mixture of tallow and graphite, to be supplemented with a few drops of oil weekly. Hercules didn't specify how the tallow-and-graphite was to be applied, but the process you describe sounds like it would be a lot more effective than the "smear it on with your fingers" method I tried.

        If you can't find a tin of Linklyfe, a homebrew analog might work for you.



        • #5
          Greatest roller chain lube in the world is Molybdium DiSulfide, or just plain "Moly D" for short.
          When the base metal is absolutely clean, it will put a molecular layer on the wear surfaces
          and easily give you 3 to 4 times the life of other lubes.
          The secret is cleanliness. A brand new chain is prefered.
          Clean in lacquer thinner or some other solvent that does not leave a film of oil. Then immediately immerse in moly D, and leave it for a day.
          I showed this to my Neighbor, who races junior Dragsters. His chains lasted maybe 3 runs. After this treatment, he said he got 20 runs before stretch.
          his son won the USA Nationals title two years later. it works.

          it is still sold as a grease ,a powder( $$$ ) and even in spray cans as a chain lube...HOWEVER
          the thicker it is, the purer it is. Sounds like you had the solid stuff almost.Also the spray has a carrier that interfears somewhat with the layer plating characteristics.
          your heating it, accelerated the application !
          It can be black nasty stuff if you get it on clothes !
          Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 01-02-2007, 11:04 PM.
          Green Bay, WI


          • #6
            Double post..sorry
            Green Bay, WI


            • #7
              Worst thing about moly is the tendency to migrate and stain everything. I use it but sparingly on my bike chain. I have a can of brush on moly grease for that.

              BTW, I used to service equipment at a molybdenum mine near here. Place looked like a moonscape. All shades of grey.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


              • #8
                Ian, im with Rich on this one, as far as i know you can still get the stuff your talking about for bicycles, you heat it up and stuff, its really high in parrafin, its very waxy and although it doesnt attract dirt like an oiled chain does it still does get sandy and dirty and this increases wear drastically, there are many manufacturers that make a spray on moly, it goes on like penetrating oil and then totally drys, it leaves a dry film and it wont last as long as the waxy stuff but it will not attract dirt and if you do keep it lubed you wont believe how long your chain and sprockets will last, I like it for bicycles because its a horsepower saver too, all those links and all that stiff wax having to constantly flex and get worked around four sprockets adds up to power lost...


                • #9
                  Moly D

                  This site may be of some use.

                  I'm going to contact them re some Open Gear Grease for the change gears on my lathe. Probably tell me to go jump, as they are in to Mine Equipment




                  • #10
                    I once worked in a plastic molding plant that had a lot of conveyor belts which were chain driven and the maintenance guys would buy a PTFE product already in solution that came in a gallon can. This stuff looked and smelled a little like WD40 but was totally different (and expensive, I remember around $80-100 per gallon and this was over 15 years ago). Unfortunately, I cannot recall the brand name but IIRC, it was made by DuPont. The product was agitated and the chains dipped briefly, then they were allowed to drip dry over a pan so the lube could be recycled. They were then dipped a second time, allowed to dry and put into service. Our chain life more than tripled and the lube was more or less invisible and completely dry to the touch. The engineers claimed the PTFE was ground very fine and so would penetrate any nook and cranny but when dry, would also not migrate out of the bearing surfaces.

                    Don't know if this would work as well on a bike chain, but it was the cat's meow for high load, lower speed apps.