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I was looking in a repair book for the ex500, and it says that the chain does not have a master link. When I went to clean the chain, it looked as if there was a master link, so I tried to take it apart, but it wouldn't come undone. Is that just how the chain looks, as if it has a master, but not really?

Also, I cleaned the chain on the bike because I didn't want to take the whole back end apart, but I used gas to get the grime and dirt off. I read in other posts that kerosene is sometimes used, and other detergents, but nothing about gas... Someone please tell me that I didn't hurt my chain by using gas.. Thanks a ton!
 

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If the chain has ever been replaced, then it will have a master link. A master link will have a clip on it. Taking the clip off does not mean the link will just fall apart. It usually takes some, "persuading..." I never take them apart unless I plan on replacing the chain.

Gas is hard on the o-rings and has no lubrication. It is also highly inflammable, and lights much more easily than kerosene. Just not something to be cleaning with all around... You probably did not hurt your chain, as long as you lubed it afterward, but if you start seeing pieces of O-Rings coming off your chain, start saving for a new one...

As in the linked post, non-flammable organic cleaners are the best choice. They won't hurt the o-rings and have zero chance of putting you in the burn ward where you'll learn a whole new concept of pain...
 
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