View Full Version : Hardtail Chain Alignment

02-16-2020, 06:07 PM
I have a 1984 ATC 200S, but I think this should apply to all hard tail ATC's. I was riding recently, and my chain came off the rear sprocket. The adjuster was maxed out, and I was able to get the chain back on without loosening anything so my chain is defiantly worn, but upon further inspection I noticed something else. My chain looks like it's shifted sideways a bit. Maybe 1/4 inch or less. I'm wondering If this could cause my chain to come off too, or if new chain and sprockets should fix everything? I replaced rear axle bearings last year as well, and I think I had a spare cir-clip at the end of it. I also vaguely remember this clip coming from the sprocket area, but I'm not sure. I removed the mud guard, and replaced the brake shoes while I was at it if that helps. Thanks in advance for any help that you can give me!

02-16-2020, 07:40 PM
If the front and rear sprockets aren't aligned, your chain will come off regularly especially if it's worn out as well.

Be careful when adjusting your chain tension to keep your sprockets aligned before you tighten those carrier bolts

Do you have a service manual for it?

You can throw a chain and jam it against the cases and break the case or the cover, so I wouldn't ride it much until you fixed it.

I also never change the chain or a sprocket without doing all three at the same time. Heck, you got the brakes, rear axle bearings done already so you might as well get the sprockets and chain and then you're set for life.... It's a 200S.... Fantastic machine and highly reliable. A group of guys here turned some into racing trikes for the hardtail class.

Welcome to the forum. If you download Tapatalk and you can load pics right off your phone.... So post some pics

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02-16-2020, 09:32 PM
Thanks so much for the quick reply! I've ordered the replacement chain and sprockets, and I'm waiting on delivery. I have a PDF of the service manual, but haven't been able to find anything in it as far as chain alignment. Could that extra clip I had have anything to do with the improper alignment? Also, about the brakes... I know they're drums, but the backs really don't work very well. I read about a disc conversion, but I don't know about it. Back to the alignment thing... How would I go about correcting my alignment issue? I know the previous owner had it in a fairly bad crash, so could my frame be bent? I've thought about flat tracking this machine at the county fair, but this is also my trail rig, and I have thought about putting some mud tires on it too. Thanks For the help!

02-16-2020, 09:41 PM
Here are some pictures https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200217/b47f6d650d1d70b10e7508f940a3a8ed.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200217/c0919e79903e8d8d56b550c7be62d16a.jpg

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ATC King
02-17-2020, 11:56 PM
Nice pics.

If you're running a original type sprocket, they have rubber isolators. Are the isolators toast?

When you adjust the chain, do you rock the trike forward with the rear brake held? I think those only have and adjuster on one side, and if you don't ensure all the axle carrier bolts are loose while adjusting the chain, it'll be cattywompus.

I'd also inspect the bottom of the frame for rust holes.

02-18-2020, 12:13 AM
I do have the original type sprockets, and the isolattors very well could be toast. I bought a new chain and sprockets, but is there another type of sprocket that will fit? About the holding the brakes thing, even though I replaced the rears, they don't really work. They may still need some breaking in, but the fronts are much better. If I could get some more details about the rear disc conversion, that might be something I'd be interested in. I don't think my frame has any rust holes in it, but I'll be sure to check when I put the new chain and sprockets on.

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ATC King
02-18-2020, 11:26 AM
There are solid mount sprockets available, but I don't recommend them, there's nothing to gain and could potentially cause transmission damage. The rubber isolators are there to prevent drivetrain shock being imparted to the transmission gears. It is a design that has been used for more than half a century on motorcycles and is still used today on many. It's usually called a cush hub on motorcycles, but the same concept.

There isn't a rear disc conversion, it's more of a modification, because it involves welding and light fabrication. A 200X rear rotor and hub slides right onto the 185S/200S rear axle, but everything beyond that needs fabricated and modified.

You'll have to cut up/off the bake drum housing on the carrier, without cutting off the mounts where it bolts to the frame. Then you'll have to choose a caliper and fabricate a mount for it. There'll be a choice of using a foot operated pedal like normal, which you'll have to fabricate a master cylinder mount and linkage for, or some sort of cable actuated master cylinder. You'll also have the choice to forgo that and just use a hand lever master cylinder on the bars.

On mine, I chose a hand operated rear disc brake. I got tired of the rear brake pedal hanging up on brush when riding through thickets. The rear brake pedal is also so long, that it's all but impossible to make it short travel at the tip, without the rear brake set so tight it's not nearly dragging. To lessen that annoyance, the master cylinder linkage attachment would have to be moved much farther from the brake pedal pivot, which would adversely affect braking power (to what degree not known).

02-18-2020, 11:47 AM
I'm no stranger to a little fabrication. If you could post some detailed pictures of the mod, that would be great! I take my machine mudding a couple times a year; would this mod let more water into the axle carrier?

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ATC King
02-18-2020, 08:00 PM

I used a Honda XR600R front caliper.

The 200X disc hub is the same diameter as the old drum where the axle seal rides, so it's just as sealed as before. Besides, the 'sealed' drums are better at keeping water in than out.

Playing in mud means more maintenance anyway. No way around that.

02-18-2020, 08:43 PM
Awesome! This has been a great help, and I might just have to attempt that brake mod. Those pictures are great! Were there any big problems that you had to work around, or any important tips on where exactly to mount the caliper?

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ATC King
02-19-2020, 10:14 AM
Search this site for other people who've done it. There are multiple ways since it's a custom modification.

I had the axle on the trike to fit and to tack weld things in place, then removed it to finish welding.

Homeless Dave
02-19-2020, 10:56 AM
If you have bearing that are going bad, the chain will not fare too well. If you intend to have the carrier out and modify it make sure to put some new bearings in, im sure you probably know how to do that, especially if you ride in mud/water a lot. as for the chain not being lined up, does it move side to side any without the chain? If it does make sure that the axle nuts are tight on the brake side. Recently had the chain not line up problem on an 86 200x, my buddy who owns it had put in new carrier bearings, chain, sprockets, and rebuilt the rear bake caliper. Those have a small retainer clip on each side, the sprocket one was in place but the other side was not, so if he tried to slide of make a fast turn, the axle would slide outward and the chain would fly off (master link would fail first). As stated above somewhere, there is only 1 bolt that adjusts the chain, i recommend putting one on the other side, it will help in making sure the carrier is sitting evenly. On the topic of your rear brakes not working well, make sure there is not any water inside. I was riding an 82 200e in the mud and deep water (it was maybe 2 inches below the intake on the head pipe) and the brakes got full of water and the brake shoe material separated from the metal.

02-21-2020, 09:35 AM
New sprockets and chain are on, and I feel like a world class idiot. When I put the original rear sprocket on, I put the spacers facing in, and that caused my alignment problem. The new sprockets are on the right way, and the alignment is perfect! I also realized that 5 inches of ground clearance, and 2 feet of snow don't mix well.

ATC King
02-21-2020, 10:19 AM
When I put the original rear sprocket on, I put the spacers facing in, and that caused my alignment problem. The new sprockets are on the right way, and the alignment is perfect!

Thanks for that reply.