Spline lube question - Page 2 - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 04:16 PM
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I am going to agree with Jerry on this one ,the splines on the 750 are a bit spindly compared to a lot of other rides,and the front splines do need a good coat of grease on them to ,it is not a big deal on the 750 to lube the front splines while you are at it.There is some movement there although you are correct in saying,Ol Hoss, there isn't as much as in the back.




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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 09:18 AM
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I would certainly expect the splines on a Goldwing to be much beefier than those on a VN750. The GW is a much bigger bike. The VN750 is one of the smallest shaft drive bikes so I would also expect that the splines to "look" more flimsy than many other bikes and I certainly don't think comparable at all to automotive splines (other than comparing design concepts out of interest.) I think the design is fine and as has been already said, if properly lubed will long outlast the life of the bike.

How much sliding action does the spline have? I was curious so the last time I lubed my splines I tried to measure the movement of the drive shaft (spline coupling) with regard to the swingarm. With the shocks removed I clamped a flat bar across the flange at the rear of the swingarm. Using a small ruler I tried to measure any movement between the shaft coupling and the surface if the flange as I swung the swingarm through it's full range of motion. I could not detect any movement. I could not even feel any movement. I believe that any movement had to be much less than 1/32".

I too had expected there to be significant movement or pumping action at the rear spline as the rear wheel moved up and down, but this is not the case. The center-line of the front U-joint is aligned with the swingarm pivot point to eliminate the drive shaft spline sliding motion. Of course the design must account for some movement caused by thermal expansion and normal wear as well as design and manufacturing tolerances.

A more significant source of wear would occur if the shaft coupling and and the spline on the final drive were not perfectly aligned (on the same center line.) Every shaft revolution would result in a very slight movement between the coupling and the spline - like a mini-u-joint. This could be caused by the final drive not being properly bolted to the swingarm flange for example. Take care when re-assembling the final drive that there in no foreign material under the flange and that the bolts are properly torqued.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunpa View Post
I would certainly expect the splines on a Goldwing to be much beefier than those on a VN750. The GW is a much bigger bike. The VN750 is one of the smallest shaft drive bikes so I would also expect that the splines to "look" more flimsy than many other bikes and I certainly don't think comparable at all to automotive splines (other than comparing design concepts out of interest.) I think the design is fine and as has been already said, if properly lubed will long outlast the life of the bike.

How much sliding action does the spline have? I was curious so the last time I lubed my splines I tried to measure the movement of the drive shaft (spline coupling) with regard to the swingarm. With the shocks removed I clamped a flat bar across the flange at the rear of the swingarm. Using a small ruler I tried to measure any movement between the shaft coupling and the surface if the flange as I swung the swingarm through it's full range of motion. I could not detect any movement. I could not even feel any movement. I believe that any movement had to be much less than 1/32".

I too had expected there to be significant movement or pumping action at the rear spline as the rear wheel moved up and down, but this is not the case. The center-line of the front U-joint is aligned with the swingarm pivot point to eliminate the drive shaft spline sliding motion. Of course the design must account for some movement caused by thermal expansion and normal wear as well as design and manufacturing tolerances.

A more significant source of wear would occur if the shaft coupling and and the spline on the final drive were not perfectly aligned (on the same center line.) Every shaft revolution would result in a very slight movement between the coupling and the spline - like a mini-u-joint. This could be caused by the final drive not being properly bolted to the swingarm flange for example. Take care when re-assembling the final drive that there in no foreign material under the flange and that the bolts are properly torqued.
Thanks for sharing the results of your research Paul. Nothing educates so much as first hand experience. I would have expected more fore and aft movement of the driveshaft coupling to the pinion shaft on the final drive.

About 30 years ago I drove a single rear axle GMC truck at work with a capacity of about 7 ton as I recall. I don`t remember the series model number, but it was a gas pot not a diesel. It had a 2 or 3 piece driveshaft with extra U-joints and "pillow bearings" bolted to the frame to support the driveshaft at these flexible joints.

Each joint also had spline coupling about 4" long IIRC. These splines had a grease zerk to allow frequent servicing. I know these spline couplings moved back and forth because I hit the brakes hard one time and the long rear driveshaft pulled right out of the female coupling, and tried to polevault the back end into the air when the forward end hit the ground. Turned out the truck had a loose or broken U-bolt holding the axle to the frame on one side.

Not sure how much movement fore and aft they had when working properly, but there must have been some because I would see some lubricant pumped out the back of the coupling during the pre-trip inspection the next day after being greased.

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Last edited by OlHossCanada; 03-28-2012 at 12:16 AM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 09:38 AM
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Gordon, Must have been quite an exciting experience when your truck drive shaft dropped. That got me thinking about the geometry of the suspension vs the driveshaft. (I found this an interesting mental exercise.) If we assume the truck frame, rear suspension to the axle and the drive shaft form a right triangle with the drive shaft as the hypotenuse. Using an estimated length of 8 ft for the frame (from above the u-joint to just above the axle) and 2 ft for the rear suspension (from the frame to the axle) the drive shaft will be approximately 99 inches long. Using basic geometry, If the rear springs are compressed by 2 inches the length for the drive shaft changes by about 1/2 inch. While the numbers may not be totally accurate, the geometry shows that indeed there will be significant sliding movement of the driveshaft spline and coupling as the truck bounces down the road.

The VN750 shaft u-joint and swingarm have the same pivot point. As the rear suspension compresses, they move through an arc. The distance between the end of the drive shaft coupling and the flange of the swingarm remain at a constant distance and in theory there should be no sliding movement between the spline and the coupling.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VN750Rider/Jerry View Post
Properly lubed splines should easily outlast the engine, they should outlast 2 engines.....I packed them with grease every 10,000 miles after that, and they survived past 80,000 miles.
I purchased my '03 VN750 with 39K on the odometer in the summer of 2016; current odometer reading is 42K. I've read a lot here on the spline lube procedure and its importance. It's something I've "meant" to get done, but simply haven't.

One question I've had all along is how often the spline should be lubed. VN750Rider/Jerry's comment me really wondering now. If a properly lubed spline should "easily outlast the engine, they should outlast 2 engines" then why grease them "every 10,000 miles after that"? Not being a smart-ass, but just trying to educate myself.

Should it be done every [x] miles...every rear tire change...etc??? Thanks guys!

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 09:01 AM
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A properly greased spline should outlast the motor, the key phrase is "properly greased"
Even using high moly content grease (recommended) the sheer pressure and heat the splines endure will eventually burn, melt and wear that lube out. So checking them every 10,000 miles is a good idea. (LESS if you are not using the moly grease we recommend here... regular bearing grease might not last that long)
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 09:36 AM
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Thought this would be in the maint. schedule, but I don't see it. The download owner's manual is incomplete.

Cleaned and greased with every rear tire change should be good.

Thought I saw every 8000 miles somewhere, but not finding that now.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 09:56 AM
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Is it possible to estimate the state of the shaft by putting the bike on the center stand, putting it in gear, and measuring how much play is in the rear wheel?

My bike just rolled over 19k and I don't know if it's ever been lubed. I was planning on waiting to the end of season to do this. At the rate I'm adding miles, I might hit 25k by then.


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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Pittenger View Post
Is it possible to estimate the state of the shaft by putting the bike on the center stand, putting it in gear, and measuring how much play is in the rear wheel?

My bike just rolled over 19k and I don't know if it's ever been lubed. I was planning on waiting to the end of season to do this. At the rate I'm adding miles, I might hit 25k by then.
I've tried that, but it's probably only good to see if the splines are completely stripped and slipping.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 06:48 PM
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My '03 was completely dry and rusty when I pulled the shaft the first time last year. Luckily it was a low mileage bike, and I got to it before any serious damage was done. I wouldn't wait to lube the splines. It's pretty easy to do.

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