TUTORO Chain Oiler Review and Install - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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TUTORO Chain Oiler Review and Install

(Note: I am writing this up for three different forums, so pardon if this is a bit generic.)

Part 1: Installation -

I hate chain maintenance. I mean, I really, really, really hate chain maintenance. It's dirty, messy, smelly, and it's a giant pain in the arse that we wouldn't have to put up with if more UJM/generalist bikes were shaft drive like they used to and ought to be.

So you can imagine my joy when I realized that my 'new' Honda 919 was going to require me to get back into chain maintenance. I immediately started looking at chain oilers and discovered that the field had expanded quite a bit and new concepts had appeared since the last time I owned a chain drive - no more being limited to the Scottoiler!

My search lead me to the TUTORO (short for Top Up, Turn On, Ride Off) gravity-fed chain oiler. The Brits are going bonkers over this thing; for under 20, they can get a chain oiler that's about as good as the much more expensive Scottoiler vSystem but is easier to install. Ride Magazine in the UK raved about it (see article here) and I had bad memories of the old Scottoiler, so I decided to try one.



This unit is controlled by one knob on the reservoir that serves as both on/off valve and flow control valve. You must remember to shut it off when you stop riding or you will end up with a puddle of oil and an empty (but easily refilled) reservoir. There are no vacuum or electrical connections to be made.

Normally you can order direct from the company in the UK, but they just got a US distributor - one Everman Products out of California. For $32 plus shipping, a Tutoro with the dual feed was shipped to my door. Here's what's in the padded envelope:



The oil, teflon tape and brass petcock are not included; the unit can operate off chain oil or motor oil. Chain oil or 10W40 are recommended - and since I couldn't find any non-aerosol oils, I went with motor oil. On the left is the bundle of two large zip ties and three smaller ones that are needed for the install. To their right are the two rubber cushions to be used for mounting the reservoir to a frame stanchion (should you do it that way, more on that in a bit), then the dual feed nozzle, the reservoir/control unit itself, the feed tube (which has some stiff coated wire in it for getting the end with the attached feed nozzle exactly where you want it.

Also included is this cheapie little syringe for filling the reservoir.



Sadly, the 919 doesn't have suitable rear frame trusses to strap the oiler to, so I took the suggestion of a Brit Hornet 600 rider and attached it to the rear foot peg stanchion on the left side.





I accidentally ordered my oiler without the P-clips (the metal band covered in rubber you see in the pictures, basically a conduit or cable clamp - pictured below) so I had to go get some from the local home destruction store. If you ask, they include them for free - I forgot to ask. I also picked up longer stainless steel hex key bolts of various sizes to allow me to mount the oiler to the back of the existing peg mount. No drilling, tapping or anything like that required.





If you have a bike with round stanchions out back, you could get away with zip-tying it to those frame members as demonstrated in the Tutoro gallery. I didn't have that option, so I tried the footpeg rather than the other ubiquitous install which is behind the license plate. At that, I just needed a 10mm socket, associated ratchet, hex key for the stock and replacement bolts, and that was all the tools required for my 919 install. The rest is all zipties (included), which is all the installation method would be for a more traditionally framed bike (no tools required in that case, other than something like a scissors or a knife to trim the hose to length.) 919 riders, you will need one M6 x 40mm stainless steel button head hex key screw to make this work - you can reuse the stock or provided hardware otherwise.



I simply removed the upper footpeg mounting bolt, stuck the longer bolt in, slid the P-clipped reservoir/control valve unit onto the bolt on the other side, then put the nut on the other side and tightened it up. I then took one of the provided cushions plus one of the small zipties and secured the top of the reservoir to the footpeg guard as a little insurance against the thing going wrong and tipping over.



The hardest part of it was deciding where to route the hose, followed by getting the oil nozzles properly oriented and finally discovering how many turns of the knob equaled 1 pair of drips per minute (about 1.3 or so for my setup) per the instructions. Actually, getting the metering right was what took the longest time; it was physically installed in less than 20 minutes and took a little more than 20 to determine flow rates.

For the routing, a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll let the pictures do much of the talking.

The hose runs down from the reservoir...


Through the front large ziptie, which is tight enough to hold it in place but not enough to crush it flat; this ziptie also holds the bottom half to the swingarm. There is enough slack to allow for swingarm movement:




The line continues forward to this ziptie through the stock chainguard observation port. This keeps the upper half on top while also holding it close to the swingarm and preventing it from chafing when it loops down:




Note that the bottom has the coated red wire providing the shape and routing, not just the zipties. The hose runs back through the bottom of the front ziptie, back to the second ziptie, and then out to the sprocket.




Note clearance between the rearset boom and the hose/swingarm.

The dual feed nozzle is placed in the end of the hose and with the two pincers in contact with the sprocket well away from where the chain and sprocket meet - and in this case, somewhat close to the swingarm. The 'pincers' of the dual feed nozzle are meant to be in contact with the sprocket face on each side.


Take care to get the nozzles away from the sprocket bolts and the teeth. Once you have the layout down, you then trim the reservoir end to length, leaving enough slack for the swingarm to move through its full travel, but making sure that the hose can't get into anything that might ruin your day when it flexes.

The zip tie 'tags' are not cut off flush here because when the picture was taken, I was still adjusting them. Do cut off all the tags (the excess zip tie material) flush with the 'box' end once you're done.

Next comes experimenting with the flow rate to get the recommended one/dual drops per minute and field testing. I'll post that up tomorrow as part two.

So far, while some of this could be easier and there are some improvements to be made, it seems to be a high quality and simple system for cheap - at least so far. Will have more tomorrow after more extensive field testing.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to Everman Products or Oldcroft Engineering, the maker of the Tutoro chain oiler, other than that of a customer.

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post #2 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 02:35 AM
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Well reviewed.

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post #3 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 04:44 AM
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Very nice product and great writeup. Let us know how it works.

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post #4 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 05:45 AM
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seems cool. I could've used one of those instead of rolling my bike forwards a few feet at a time every night in a parking lot of a motel last summer! let us know how it works!

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post #5 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 07:56 AM
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Where is the Petcock?

Is there enough clearance to run to the front sprocket for a cleaner look? I've been looking into oilers but I want something with a clean look.



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post #6 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james_kraska View Post
seems cool. I could've used one of those instead of rolling my bike forwards a few feet at a time every night in a parking lot of a motel last summer! let us know how it works!
Buy a centre stand and use proper chain lube.
You'll be further ahead.

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post #7 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crakerjac View Post
Where is the Petcock?

Is there enough clearance to run to the front sprocket for a cleaner look? I've been looking into oilers but I want something with a clean look.
Over on Hornetsnest, 370Steve has done it with the feed at the front sprocket and the reservoir under the seat. Have to drill a hole in the sprocket cover if you want to do that, though.

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post #8 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcromo44 View Post
Buy a centre stand and use proper chain lube.
You'll be further ahead.
I do have a centerstand and while I can't imagine not having a commuter bike without one, I have to disagree with being ahead.

This chain oiler costs less than two cans of high quality chain lube and will save me tons of unpleasant time spent on chain maintenance.

Put it to you this way - at the recommended 400 or so miles, I'm sometimes having to pull chain maintenance every other day and that's just for my city errand running.

Also: The petcock didn't work out. Working an alternative idea now.

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post #9 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 05:47 PM
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Use one of these instead of the petcock. Available at Lowes where the drip irrigation stuff is. You can buy a package of them for about $4. I use one for my chain oiler shutoff and it has worked great for a couple of years.



And I agree with you. I hated lubing my chain every 3-400 miles. A chain oiler is a very worthwhile mod to me. Now I just check the slack and wipe down with a rag every 1000 miles or so. Thorough cleaning with Kerosene with a rear tire change.

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post #10 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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That's exactly what I was thinking of using. I looked for one of those (before installing the system) in the local Lowes but they either didn't have them or they were out, so I was going to try the brass one. I'm going by Home Despot later to see if they have some because having a separate cutoff valve would seem to be a smarter idea than having to constantly reset the flow rate because that's the same control to turn it on and off.

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post #11 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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The Home Despot had them, so I'll go fit that now.

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post #12 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Ran 120-odd miles today, had a few install related problems (not least of which was getting the flow level wrong). Once I sort those out I'll run another test.

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post #13 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 02:21 AM
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no matter how much chain lube you apply you will not get the resulting long life that these oil applicators give. As the oil is constantly flung off it takes the grit with it, the grit is what wears the chain.
I have 45000 with my scottoiler and the chain and sprockets are like new, i have a buddy with 95000 km on his vfr (scottoiler since new).
In rain and dirty conditions i just turn the flow rate up, the chain always looks just clean.
A bit of oil fling around the rear of the bike, but i designed a little mud guard on the chain guard and the oil is at a minimum now.
a lot of the honda step throughs in asia have the chain fully enclosed, a great idea me thinks, but butt ugly.
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post #14 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Exactly so. I came back tonight to the cleanest looking chain I have ever seen on a chain drive bike after a 120 mile run. Normally after such a day, even the newest most recently maintained chain is covered in filth around here. Of course my flow rate was a bit high, but there's some tuning to be done.

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post #15 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 11:30 AM
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and that is why i love the teflon wax lube that i use. i ride rain/shine daily and it does not attract grime. chain keeps clean and lubed. i'll take that over an oiler. just personal preference.

great ideal though. just wished the whole thing was a bit cleaner. dont like the idea of constant fling.

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post #16 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 01:16 PM
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+1 on the teflon wax.

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post #17 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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and that is why i love the teflon wax lube that i use. i ride rain/shine daily and it does not attract grime. chain keeps clean and lubed. i'll take that over an oiler. just personal preference.

great ideal though. just wished the whole thing was a bit cleaner. dont like the idea of constant fling.

I tried using a Teflon wax. Didn't help.

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post #18 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 06:07 PM
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you tried using A teflon wax? therein lies the problem. dont try ANY teflon wax, try THE tefon wax.

made by dupoint called "teflon multi-use lube" that's the stuff i use and it works awesome, without attracting any grime, even after riding for a week in constant rain.

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post #19 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't use that, but a friend did (we heard about the stunningly low price and that it actually was chain lube elsewhere) since I only had a shaft drive at the time.

It did help some, but it only cut the grunge and crud accumulation by about half. Keep in mind that Texas is rather dusty and dry, two things that chains don't like.

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post #20 of 22 Old 05-29-2011, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davehirt View Post
A bit of oil fling around the rear of the bike, but i designed a little mud guard on the chain guard and the oil is at a minimum now.
I'd like to see pictures of that guard you fabricated.

Just got back from a 140 mile run and I finally have the oiler dialed in to about where I want it. I am quite pleased with it. For those that know the Dallas area, I ran from the High Five over to 35, up to the Sanger area (over Lake Lewisville), back across the Ray Hubbard dam and associated lake, back through Savannah and Prosper, down the Tollway to Bush and then back to the High Five via 75. Saw gravel, dirt, dust, blowing crap - and my chain is pretty much pristine and well lubed. Not much slingoff either.

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post #21 of 22 Old 06-03-2011, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Part 2: Living With It/Conclusion -

I now am approaching 750 miles with the Tutoro chain oiler on my 919. Overall, I am pleased by it but there are several improvements that could be made (perhaps as an extra cost accessory pack) to make this good product better.

First, some fitment notes. I got it a bit wrong; I should have allowed more flex on the tube by not fastening the top part to the swingarm. I've corrected this and now the hose doesn't want to come off after vigorous suspension exercise.

Old:


New:


It's still using the tie at the chain inspection hole, it's just that the next tie is to the rearset instead of the swingarm. This gives it much better flex tolerance.





On living with the system - it does take quite a bit of initial trial and error to find out how many turns out of the screw equals the 'ideal' rate of one drop at the nozzles per minute in the manual. In my case, using the recommended 10W40 motor oil, it's about 1.5 turns out. At that rate, the chain gets quite a good lubing and the sling onto the wheel, tire and everything else is minimal, certainly not significantly worse than I got with some chain lubes in the past.

The flow rate does vary with the ambient temperature - it is slower in colder temps and faster in hotter temps as the viscosity of the oil changes. This can require minor changes to the flow setting by moving the knob - you'll have to work this out when the seasons change, etc. You may also want to give the flow rate a bump upwards when you know you will be traveling through especially dirty or dusty areas, or wet ones.

My chain seems happy; it's the cleanest chain I've ever had on a bike and I've recently been riding through nasty things like construction sites, where there is clinging concrete dust and the like. No complaints with its basic functionality. It is well worth the low $32 price and I recommend it heartily.

However, it isn't perfect. There are areas for improvement - at surprisingly low cost.

The first enhancement or modification that should be made to this system is cheap and simple. The manual states that the flow control valve (a screw) is coated in petroleum jelly or similar to lubricate the threads and to prevent leakage in hotter temperatures. It further recommends that should leakage occur, the user should remove the screw, clean it, reapply petroleum jelly and reinstall. This seems kind of silly; I recommend cleaning off the screw threads and using teflon tape to seal the upper 1/3 to 1/2 of the thread (nearest the knob end). This will permanently deal with the issue. Cost: $1.50 for teflon tape at home improvement center - of which 99% will be left over and usable for something else.

The second modification that should be made is the insertion of an inline petcock or shut-off valve, as pictured below.


These are available for about a dollar per valve in the drip irrigation section of your local home improvement center. They are often sold in packages of three or four, so cost is $3-4.

The stock setup of the flow control valve doubling as the shutoff valve is simple and cheap, but it has the disadvantage of 'losing' the setting you've got it tuned to every time you stop riding and have to shut it off. Also, the multiple turns needed is slightly annoying. Installing one of these valves inline means you never lose your setting and turning it on and off is a matter of a quick quarter turn. It's also as simple as putting down some paper towels to catch the mess, cutting the hose at a convenient point and reattaching the two ends to the valve.




Finally, the reservoir empties in about 3-5 hours (5 hours to spec, but I've had it go in 3 hours when adapted to exceptionally dusty areas, etc.) This isn't a problem if you're back at base within that amount of time, but unless you want to carry a quart bottle of oil and the provided cheapie syringe/eyedropper thing (sealed in a ziplock bag) around with you to reload in the field, it's a bit of a problem with longer runs.

The solution is a small leakproof bottle or flask, like this one:



Cost seems to be about $1-5 for most of these leakproof bottles, which are intended to hold cosmetics, lotions or other potions for women to stow in their purses. (Men: These can be bought at the Container Store, so no need to go to EstrogenWorld to get one. :P) These would be perfect for filling with the oil of your choice and stowing in your tank bag. Many come with that type of flip up nozzle so no funnel or anything would be needed to top up the reservoir. Depending on size, this could considerably extend your range. It would also make it easier to fill the reservoir in the first place as the included syringe is a bit messy, while transferring oil from the quart bottle into the leakproof flask (and thence into the reservoir when needed) would seem to be a cleaner and easier task as it could be accomplished on the workbench with a funnel, without the dip-squeeze-squeeze-wipe-repeat while sitting by the bike that the stock syringe requires. Less chance of foreign material contaminating the oil or the oiler, too.

That's pretty much it; I like the oiler and recommend it. I suggest obtaining the three items mentioned above to enhance the oiler's functionality and range further as well as ease of use. I'd further suggest that the makers/marketers of the Tutoro system consider packaging this stuff as an optional add-on so owners could conveniently get everything they need at the same time as the oiler.

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post #22 of 22 Old 06-03-2011, 06:16 PM
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Great review and write-up CB. Thanks for taking the time do do it. I have tinkered with my own chain oiler which is also gravity feed. The hardest part really if the flow rate, with all of the variables (viscosity, oil level, etc...) I ended up making mine intermittent, i.e. turn it on for 5 -10 minutes every time I get gas. Chain always looks happy.

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