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How to Maintain the Drivetrain on your Micro Sprint Car - Tech Talk

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The drivetrain is critical to getting power to the ground. Cleaning and maintaining it is essential. The first step is to take everything off of the car and check the chain for straightness. Frank suggests holding it and looking down from a bird’s eye view to spot any bent links, misalignment, or damage to the chain. Working with a damaged chain could ruin sprockets, break, and inflict damage on other important components. Look for side to side bend and free moving links.

Once the chain is inspected and approved, it’s time to clean it. First, place the chain in a pan and fill the pan with the cleaning solvent from the parts washer. If you don’t have a parts washer, mineral spirits work well. When you’re at the racetrack, WD40 is a great product to use. You’ll want to soak the chain in the pan full of cleaner to loosen the built-up grit and grime. Scrub the chain along with the sprockets to remove the unwanted dirt. Then, rinse them and dry them off. You can use towels or an air compressor to speed up the drying process.

After everything is clean, it’s time to lubricate the chain. Frank recommends soaking it in oil for the entire week leading up to a race. Lubricating the chain is important because a dry chain gets hot and that causes it to weaken. A well-lubricated chain will last longer and perform better. This is something you want to do weekly, or every time you race. After the chain has soaked in the oil, you can hang it up, place a pan under it, and let it drip dry to avoid a mess. After it’s done drip drying, you can put it back on your racecar.

Video Transcript

Charles: “I'm Charles with Speedway Motors Tech Talk and we're here in the shop today with Frank Galusha the general manager of EMI and our local micro sprint expert. We’re going to talk a little bit about drivetrain maintenance today and some of the important things we need to remember.”

Frank: “Thanks, Charles. I think it's extremely important that this is something we share with customers and micro sprint drivers across the nation because the drivetrain components are obviously critical to getting power to the ground. Once you get your drivetrain components taken apart off the car, the first thing you want to do, and probably one of the most important, is to check your chain for straightness. What I like to do is dangle it and look down just kind of right above and what I'm looking for is any bent links or anything that indicates any type of damage to the chain. You don't want to put a damaged chain on your car because it could potentially risk ruining sprockets, it could break, it could come off and inflict damage on other components that are obviously important in that area.”

Charles: “So you're checking for probably side to side bend and also if like a link isn't free.”

Frank: “Exactly, make sure as you go through and you check it, you make sure all the links are free and they are not bound up anywhere. You'll kind of be able to tell if that's going to be the case because you'll be able to see when you're inspecting your chain whether or not one of the links is bent.”

Cleaning the Drivetrain Components

Charles: “Alright, we got it checked. This one straight/ready/good to go, now I say we clean it.

Frank: “With the chain specifically, one of the things I like to do is put it in a small pan. I'll just fill it up with the solvent here from the parts washer that way while I'm scrubbing it it's soaking too, to help kind of break some of that grit and grime loose.

Charles: “What if you don't have a parts washer?”

Frank: “Brake cleaner, just mineral spirits, anything that can get a lot of the grime and grit off of the chain. One thing I like to use is wd-40 when I'm at the racetrack. Just get in here and scrub the links really well, it's really important to get that thing good and clean. You can always go back and rinse it off a couple of times make sure you get it good and clean. The same thing with the sprockets. We've got a couple of sprockets here just go through scrub them off rinse them well with the solvent.”

Charles: “So once you get these components clean, are you going to rinse them off with water and then let them air dry, or air-dry, or wipe them down?”

Frank: “Typically what I do is once I get it thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed off with the solvent, I pull it out and wipe it off with some towels or you could always use compressed air. Make sure you wipe it good and clean once you got it scrubbed.

Lubricating the Chain and Re-installing

Frank: “Once we got it clean, the next step is to lubricate the chain. One of my favorite things to do is let it soak in oil all week. This is one of the first things you should do when you unload your car that way you get it clean because it's important that this chain soaks in oil for a few days. What I like to use is chainsaw bar oil, something like that, and fill a pan up. You can see over here I've got some other chains that have been cleaned and they're just sitting in oil. It's important that not only before you put the chain on the car it's well lubricated, but even between races, you continue to lubricate your chain because when your chain gets dry it can get hot when it gets hot it can get weak. This is going to help with performance obviously when everything's free it's working better, it's easier for the engine to pull the chain but also for longevity. When it gets overheated multiple times it's more apt to break or fatigue.

Charles: “This is something that we're going to do weekly, week in and week out, it's not a once a month thing?

Frank: “Correct. I do this every time I race so when I get home from a weekend of racing and I load the car into the garage the first thing I do is take these components apart get them cleaned up get the chain in the oil.”

Charles: “So I've got them clean, we've got them in the oil. Do you just take them out of the oil put them on the car or do we let them drip dry a little bit?

Frank: “This could get messy once you pull it out of the oil, right. So one of the things that I recommend, and that I do every time I get ready to put the chain on the car, is I hang it up and let it drip some of the excess oil off of it.

Charles: “So it looks like it drips just right back into the tray, that way you're not wasting it.”

Frank: “It can make a mess, but I try to keep it quarantined and hang it right over the pan of oil so we're not getting it everywhere all over our shop floor. Maybe let it hang for 30 minutes or so, it'll drip all the extra oil off, and then once it's done dripping you can go ahead and put it on your racecar.

Charles: “Well thank you so much for showing us a little about drivetrain maintenance today and thank you guys so much for watching.”

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