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Tip of the Day

Assessing Drive Components - Gearboxes and Chaincases
(21 December 2014)

Certain gearboxes or chain cases can be quickly inspected for looseness, called backlash, between gears or sprockets by twisting one shaft while keeping the other shaft fixed. A few degrees of relative twist is acceptable, but more twist is a clue that the gears inside are worn. Chain cases can be inspected in a similar manner, but there are often idler adjustment devices that take up excess chain looseness. Idlers should be checked to determine if adjustment has been neglected.

In some instances, the universal joint bearings may be checked for wear at the same time. Watch the U-joint carefully as you twist; if the yokes twist with respect to one another or seem to "hop," the universal bearings or the entire assembly will have to be replaced.

To check gearboxes for wear, grab an output or input shaft, then push and pull on it. Any movement or end play greater than a few thousandths of an inch may signal worn gears or the need for shims or thrust washers.

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