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  1. #1
    Senior Member Woodswoman's Avatar
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    Chain oiler noob questions

    I'm a complete noob when it comes to chain oilers. I bought one -- a gravity-fed Nemo unit -- but have not yet installed it. However, now I'm laying plans for a riding vacation in May, and the oiler would be very handy to have up and running for that.

    Please, may I ask some very ignorant questions about chain oilers?

    1. What kind/weight of oil is most suitable to use?

    2. Do I have to completely clean my chain before deploying an oiler? Right now, I lubricate as needed with spray-on chain wax. Should I strip all that off first?

    3. How much dripping should I expect when parked? For example, should I keep newspaper or something handy in my saddlebags, to whisk under the oiler nozzle once my kickstand is down?

    4. Is it necessary to engage the oiler for every ride? Or can it be skipped for, say, a six-mile run to the gas station and back?

    5. If I forget to engage the oiler, and I don't realize my goof until I've ridden 100+ miles, have I conceivably done damage to my chain?

    See, I really am ignorant about this. Experienced advice would be sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks!
    2014 Honda CTX700ND, "Flicker"
    ------------------------------------------------
    Former rides
    Cruisers: Victory Cross Roads, Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Suzuki Marauder 800
    Scooters: Suzuki Burgman 650, Suzuki Burgman 400, Honda Elite 80

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  3. #2
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    Hi woodswoman. I and a bunch of others have the tutoro. So that one has its own formula that is also gravity fed. I'm sure a similar chain oil would work fine, but in this I'll stick with their oem. It's cheap enough.

    No you don't HAVE to clean the chain before you start using the oiler. I would just to give it a good start. Just wipe it down with a cleaner and a brush, and you are good to go.

    Mine has a auto valve, so there is no dripping. It works by road movement. Bouncing around opens it, stopping closes it. I'm not sure if the Nemo has this feature, or is always on or off. It would be silly for that while it sat for days if you left it on. That doesn't make sense to me. All you'd do is lose your oil. I'd guess a 10-30 or 40 would be fine. Nemo will tell you what to fill it with.

    If you've kept it oiled, a short ride won't hurt it. Neither will a 100 mile run as it'll just be a bit more chain wear than if it was oiled. You'll be fine. The key is to set the flow so you don't put that much on, or too little. The tutoro takes a bit to dial in. Too much is better, but you do get some fling. I dial it based on temps. Colder I open it up more for more flow. Warmer I close it down a bit. Really warm I may have it open only a 3/4 of one turn. Colder may be as much a two, or more open turns. I also mounted it so I can change it on the fly for wet conditions. You'll be able to tell if your chain looks wet if it's about right without too much fling. You can tell that by looking at the rear wheel buildup.

    Hope this helps. It's not a science by any stretch. But I will tell you I've not cleaned my chain ever, in 9600 miles. There's no gunk in there either. So it must be working.
    Last edited by casper; 02-03-2018 at 01:05 PM.

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  5. #3
    Senior Member Woodswoman's Avatar
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    @casper, thank you very much for your input.

    The Nemo oiler does not turn itself on or off. The rider does that, from a handlebar control, before taking off or after parking.

    That's why I wondered about leakage while parked. I certainly expect any such dripping would be minor, but no points for messing up the corner of my garage where I park Flicker, a friend's driveway, the employee lot at work, etc. If I wanted to be the butt of oil slick jokes, I'd buy a Harley. <Evil Grin!>

    And that's also why I am wondering what happens if I ride off and simply forget to turn the oiler on. Turning on the Nemo will be an entirely new habit for me to get into.
    Last edited by Woodswoman; 02-03-2018 at 01:19 PM.
    2014 Honda CTX700ND, "Flicker"
    ------------------------------------------------
    Former rides
    Cruisers: Victory Cross Roads, Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Suzuki Marauder 800
    Scooters: Suzuki Burgman 650, Suzuki Burgman 400, Honda Elite 80

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  7. #4
    Senior Member ponydrvr's Avatar
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    Each of the questions you ask are the exact reasons I chose to go with a Pro-Oiler. None of those issues are of concern. I can use any weight oil anytime of year, never had any puddles due too failure to shut off, it turns on/of with the state of the ignition switch, easy to adjust the oil flow if I ride in wet conditions, and can't forget to turn it on.

    It is not the least cost oiler available, nor is it the most expensive. I've had mine installed for a bit over two years with no issues. I use about 125ml of oil per 7,000 miles of travel. And the oil I use is used motor oil.

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  9. #5
    Senior Member randy1149's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodswoman View Post
    I'm a complete noob when it comes to chain oilers. I bought one -- a gravity-fed Nemo unit -- but have not yet installed it. However, now I'm laying plans for a riding vacation in May, and the oiler would be very handy to have up and running for that.

    Please, may I ask some very ignorant questions about chain oilers?

    I have a Tutoro gravity feed oiler.

    1. What kind/weight of oil is most suitable to use?
    I use 80W-90 in the summer and 10W-40 in the winter.

    2. Do I have to completely clean my chain before deploying an oiler? Right now, I lubricate as needed with spray-on chain wax. Should I strip all that off first?
    No you do not have to clean the chain, the chain oiler will self clean the chain as it drips on the chain.

    3. How much dripping should I expect when parked? For example, should I keep newspaper or something handy in my saddlebags, to whisk under the oiler nozzle once my kickstand is down?
    The bike parked just for a short period (an hour or so) I don't do anything. Parked for an extended period over night I close the oil flow valve.


    4. Is it necessary to engage the oiler for every ride? Or can it be skipped for, say, a six-mile run to the gas station and back?
    If the chain is oiled and you stop you go to your OEM maintenance spec.

    5. If I forget to engage the oiler, and I don't realize my goof until I've ridden 100+ miles, have I conceivably done damage to my chain?
    No, if you forget the oiler, again, the chain will go to it's OEM maintenance specs.

    See, I really am ignorant about this. Experienced advice would be sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks!
    How much oil you apply is up to you. I apply a LOT of oil which keeps the chain very wet and very clean. I do have to wipe off the fling oil on the chain guard. I've got over 10K on the chain and NO slack take up has needed. How much oil you apply is your decision. Not enough is always a lot worse than too much.

  10. #6
    Senior Member Woodswoman's Avatar
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    Good feedback, ponydrvr and randy1149. Much obliged to you both.

    All of this has me re-thinking the Nemo; it might not be the right solution for me. It didn't cost me all a jillion dollars, so writing it off and starting over would not break the bank.
    Last edited by Woodswoman; 02-03-2018 at 02:28 PM.
    2014 Honda CTX700ND, "Flicker"
    ------------------------------------------------
    Former rides
    Cruisers: Victory Cross Roads, Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Suzuki Marauder 800
    Scooters: Suzuki Burgman 650, Suzuki Burgman 400, Honda Elite 80

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  12. #7
    Senior Member Woodswoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randy1149 View Post
    No, if you forget the oiler, again, the chain will go to it's OEM maintenance specs.
    By the way, this ^^ is extremely helpful. To be honest (and a bit abashed), I didn't understand this. I mistakenly thought I had to run the oiler every time I took a ride.
    2014 Honda CTX700ND, "Flicker"
    ------------------------------------------------
    Former rides
    Cruisers: Victory Cross Roads, Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Suzuki Marauder 800
    Scooters: Suzuki Burgman 650, Suzuki Burgman 400, Honda Elite 80

  13. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponydrvr View Post
    Each of the questions you ask are the exact reasons I chose to go with a Pro-Oiler. None of those issues are of concern. I can use any weight oil anytime of year, never had any puddles due too failure to shut off, it turns on/of with the state of the ignition switch, easy to adjust the oil flow if I ride in wet conditions, and can't forget to turn it on.

    It is not the least cost oiler available, nor is it the most expensive. I've had mine installed for a bit over two years with no issues. I use about 125ml of oil per 7,000 miles of travel. And the oil I use is used motor oil.
    I followed Pony and bought a Pro Oiler too! It's great. I have it dialed in to use 0.2L of oil every 8000 miles. Yes, I buy a gallon of oil, use most of it for my 8K oil change (I always change both filters - they're cheap), and the balance is used up oiling the chain. I live in Ventura, CA and it is NOTORIOUS for eating chains. Salty air, sand, not a lot of rain (so your chain collects everything). I get 15K+ out of my chains, about double what would normally be expected for a WELL maintained chain in this area. For not much more than the cost of a chain, I have an oiler I never have to worry about.

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  15. #9
    Senior Member randy1149's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodswoman View Post
    By the way, this ^^ is extremely helpful. To be honest (and a bit abashed), I didn't understand this. I mistakenly thought I had to run the oiler every time I took a ride.
    The chain doesn't know where the oil came from. A spray can or an oiler. As a matter of fact... I had about 1K miles on the bike when I put the oiler on and here's something I noticed.

    I had cleaned and oiled the chain with the sprays prior, with it's normal slack. After about a week or so with the oiler in operation I checked the slack and found the slack was all gone, the chain was tight as could be. How did the chain get so tight? The slack is made up of all the spaces in between the pins and rollers on the chain. As the oiler dripped it's oil into the chain all the space between the rollers and pins got full of oil, taking up all the slack. So I concluded the auto oiler is doing a much better job than me with the spray cans filling up the metal to metal spaces in the chain. And still with thousands of miles on the chain it has not needed an adjustment.
    Last edited by randy1149; 02-03-2018 at 06:30 PM.

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  17. #10
    Super Moderator MJC's Avatar
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    Well, what I do is, and only because I do not like the idea of oil dripping and going onto the road:
    I installed Shanghai Dan's block/oilier part, and hook up a hose to it with a small bottle of oil, then ride over to my friends home, a block away and in his gravel/dirt driveway, push on the bottle, go walking speed for about 1/4 mile, get to his home, remove the bottle/hose, place rag under chain and visit with him. When I leave I clean off any drips (using a 2nd rag) and go home.

    By the time I get home, park, look for any oil drips etc, clean up any and it is all good for 4 to 500 miles. If I am going on a long trip I take the hose and oil bottle with me.( in the bottle I use, new/opened motorcycle oil, from leftover oil changes)

    At oil changes, I check chain, no adjustments yet, while I am down there, clean and brush on new chain oil.

    Honda, says oil chain every 500 miles or so. And I believe chains are made a lot better then years ago.

    With all that said, I understand why people use oilers and like oil dripping onto the chain all the time, I get it.

    Just not for me.

    So far this has worked for me, but I only do this because like I said I do not want oil dripping even if it is controlled, just do not like the idea.

    Woodswoman, if you want to hook up the oiler you got and use it like I oil my chain, that unit would be fine. But if you want controlled/auto oiler get a Pro Oiler.

    just my 2 cents, mj

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