Article: Secondary Cam Drive Chains — One More Time

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  1. #1

    Default Article: Secondary Cam Drive Chains - One More Time

    It has been a year or two since this was last a topic of discussion. At the time I did not have chain samples in my possession for two of the three most interesting chains, the Cloyes "Z" chain, and the Morse Japan HD chain. Since then I have managed to get production versions of all three chain sets. I have photographed all three side by side for visual comparison and also personally miked each chain. The table below is a summary of the chain dimensional data.

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    The dimensional data can vary slightly from link to link on any given chain. The variation amounts to about a +/- 0.001" change for the most part. The Morse Japan HD chain is by far the most robust of the available chains and uses much more robust links than any of the other chains.

    From a visual comparison perspective, here are the three chains as viewed from the top;

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    As you can see the Morse Japan chain is visually more robust than the Cloyes "Z" chain or the Ford OEM chain. When weighed on a gram scale the Morse Japan HD chain is substantially heavier at 239 grams. The Ford OEM chain narrowly eeks out a win, weight wise, over the Cloyes "Z" chain coming in at 192 grams vs the 189 grams for the Cloyes "Z" alternative.

    This is a side view of the three chains visually comparing the link height and apparent axle sizing differences between the three chains;

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    The dark shadow on the right hand side of the OEM Ford chain is caused by lighting. In person the entire chain looks like the coloring on the left side of its picture. Again the Morse Japan chain is visually more robust.

    The last photograph (below) is one of the Morse Japan HD chain's axles and their rollers. The Morse Japan HD chain has a very interesting construction for the rollers that facilitates improved oiling of the axle and roller. As you can see from the picture there are small orfices in each roller to allow oil to reach the axle the roller rides upon.

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    All the photos can be selected by right clicking and them. When you do they are high resolution, you can blow them up considerably larger to see detail.

    I believe the Ford OEM and The Cloyes "Z" chains appear to be quite similar. Based on chain weight the OEM chains have a little more steel in them. The Morse Japan HD chain is decidedly more robust than either the OEM or Cloyes "Z" alternatives.

    While nothing is bullet proof the Morse Japan HD chains appear to be substantially stronger than either alternative. I am not certain they will make you go quicker or faster but they do appear to provide a welcome increase in the cushion between chain failure and no chain failure — which no matter how you cut the cake has merit.

    The Morse Japan HD chains are available from three sources that I know of, Accufab, MMR, and L&M.


    Ed
    Last edited by eschaider; 07-05-2015 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Added High Def Pictures

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  3. #2

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    Is the Morse Japan HD chain better? If i am seeing it right, the roller is split at the orifice as if they are stamped "round" from a flat piece of steel. Is this better than a continuous roller? Just wondering.

  4. #3

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    The HD chains are demonstrably better Sandrail. There are two versions of the chain, one with the formed and drilled rollers and one with drawn rollers. Both work exceptionally well.

    The failure mode for these chains is not the rollers it is the links and axles. The Morse HD chain uses heavier links and larger axles hence the greater strength and weight. When you look at the pics the differences are easily visible, no micrometers are necessary. Even with bad eyesight the differences in weights tells a story.

    The formed and drilled approach to the rollers can easily be argued to provide better lubrication to the chain rollers and their axles. In the end this is another one of those beauty is in the eye of the beholder sort of things. My personal preference is the better oiling of the formed and drilled chain from L&M. You should know, to the extent it is possible to determine at this time, both of the HD chain roller styles work exceptionally well.

    It is also important to remember that both primary and secondary chains are consumables and all versions of all chains will wear over time. If you are at an engine rebuild point I would give serious consideration to replacing all of them with new chains. A safe time line for replacement would be if the engine is a DD with more than two years of operation or a race engine that is a season (or more) old. If your DD is driven on weekends only and not at the race track, pull out your calculator and figure out how far in the future weekend only operation has to go to equal a year of five or six days a week of daily drinking

    A new set of chains (primary and secondary) is cheap insurance to protect the engine investment you have. Don't forget to fix the primary tensioners so they allow the primary drive chain to relax when you shut off the engine. Check out Joe Goffin's Aluminator Gibtec Build thread in the TToC for details on the primary tensioner mods.


    Ed
    Last edited by eschaider; 10-04-2016 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Additional commentary

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  6. #4

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    Thank You, Sir, for the clarification. I can see what you mean

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