8. Remove The Countershaft SprocketLock Washer

When changing the chain and sprockets, start by freeing up the countershaft sprocket while you still have a way to lock it down. Countershaft sprockets are usually secured one of three ways: a pair of bolts securing a plate to the sprocket, a big clip that slips into a groove in the countershaft itself, or a really big nut. For the pair of bolts, simply put the engine in gear, press on the brake pedal, and unbolt them. Follow the first two steps for the clip, but slip it off with a flathead screwdriver instead. The really big nut provides the biggest challenge. Using a punch or big flathead screwdriver bend the tabs on the lock washer that have been folded against the flats of the nut.

Since the nut was torqued to at least 65 foot-pounds and may have thread lock on it, you’ll need to secure the rear wheel before you attempt to break the nut free. Slip a piece of pipe or 2×4 through the rear wheel just above the swingarm. Now, when you muscle the nut free, the wood will keep the wheel, chain and sprocket from moving.

  • john phyyt

    Why oh Why does every chain NEED to go through the Swingarm. With true engineering excellence surely a way could be found to create one which allows the chain to be freed by removing the swingarm , thus allowing an endless chain to be installed without the compromise of a joining link.

    • Gruf Rude

      I carried sufficient tools to remove the swingarm pivot bolt on my KLR for my ride to Alaska and carried a spare endless chain & sprocket set in case the original chain was destroyed. The chain breaker/riveting tool was too heavy/bulky to carry. No problem removing the pivot bolt to remove the old chain and install the new. Of course, the KLR has a simple swingarm; the chain does not thread through it as it does on some single-sided swingarms.

  • Branson

    This is a tremendously useful and well-written article Evans, and concise. Thanks for doing it!