Skip link chain?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Kestrel Motors Inc., Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have an old 50's style bike that I'm putting a Clinton engine on, I'm leaving the pedals on this one, and the bike came with a skip link chain on it. I was just wondering what you guys thought, are the new chains that use all the links better? The sprockets are good and I soaked the chain in muratic acid and then oiled it really well and it's like brand new now. I was just wondering if I should go through the hassle of putting new gears on or if it would be fine to just leave it.

    Kestrel Motors Inc.

  2. I would never put any chain in acid....ever. I hope you washed all the acid out with lots of clear water, then let it dry out completely before oiling it. If not, the acid will continue to eat the metal chain. Next time try cleaning the chain by soaking it in in mineral spirits paint thinner rather than acid to loosen it up before oiling it.

    I used a Clinton A10 engine in a go kart back in the early 1960s. I didn't know they were still in business. It was a good little engine with fair power, but not a whole lot of torque. What model/size engine are you using? Pictures of your build would be nice.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  3. bideronit13

    bideronit13 Member

    I was curious if this type of chain had o-rings like motorcycles and from what I read they dont. So cleaning it with strong chemicals wont hurt it as long as its dried then oilled or lubricated.
    Also from what I read is the links might be to long from stretching. So read for yourself.
  4. Yeah, I learned about the acid from a Mennonite friend of my dad's. I made sure to wash it really well. I don't know if Clinton is still in business, I have an old one, I don't know how old, here's some pictures of the build so far...

    Attached Files:

  5. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    They call those skip chains for a reason, aka a ballbuster chain. Ahh the fond memories. I had one as a kid in the 60s.
  6. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    How many hp is that beast? I havn't seen a rope starter like that in years. Watch your knuckles or wear gloves starting that thing.
  7. Starting it isn't bad. The only trouble I had was the first time I started it, I pushed the choke lever, pulled the rope, and once it popped off, I accidentally grabbed the spark plug! I shut it off and went inside the house after that. I don't know how many horse power it is, but I'm thinking about 3 or 4. I've run it a couple of times and it's really quiet.
  8. DougC

    DougC New Member

    These chains are more commonly called "skip-tooth".

    As far as I've ever seen online, there is nobody making new ones anywhere in the world, and there has not been for several decades now. If you want more skip-tooth chain, about all you can do is go on eBay.

    Alternately you could ask at the CABE or oldroads websites, but most vintage parts ends up sold on eBay. Places like Copake Auction mainly sell complete bikes (more or less), bike stands, and signage, displays and other vintage store fixtures.


    Also--acidic cleaners will often ruin chains.

    Simple Green is only a mild acid, and it will cause hydrogen embrittlement in bicycle chains if they are left in it too long-
  9. I'm not familiar with Clinton 4 stroke engines, mine was a 2 stroke. it looks much like any of the flat head 4 stroke cast iron small engines built by Briggs and Straton, Wisconsin, Kohler, etc. You might want to rebuild such an old engine, but parts will be hard to find. I would at least pull it apart, clean the carbon from the head, reseat in the valves with lapping compound, hone the cylinder bore, and clean everything. New rings would be nice, but cleaning and putting the old ones back in will be better than nothing. Handle the old rings with care, it wouldn't do to break one if you have to reuse them. The original bearings may also have to be reused. If it's old enough it will have poured bearings which can be redone if you can find someone old enough to remember how. Ha ha ha.

    Seriously, these old flathead singles are so simple and robust that tearing one down and putting it back together is easy. You can cut new gaskets from chart paper or gasket paper and even make a new head gasket of annealed(heat softened) copper sheet if you can't find new parts. Many of us learned about engines by tearing these down and putting them back together. They are forgiving little machines and will keep running even when far less than perfect. Keep a close eye on the oil level. An old engine like that will likely be fairly worn out so it will be prone to burn quite a lot of oil. Have fun with your project.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  10. I've already cleaned out the head and reseated the valves. I looked on the name plate (for the first time ha ha) and it said that it was a 1 1/2 horse power. I guess I just never saw that plate before. I have the tightener figured out in my head where I want it and now the next thing I need to do is to mount a pulley on the back wheel and bolt the engine on. Then once I get the tightener set up, I'll be ready for a trial run (I hope).
  11. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    I think it's great KM, And 1 1/2 H.P. is well under the 2 gross brake horsepower allowed by most States.
    Big Red.
  12. Big Red,