Chain Breaker - Tool Review and How to Guide

My electric gate chain got rusty and old. It lasted about 8 years with light oil maintenance. The chain started to kink and after trying to make the kinks free up I decided time to get a new chain. I picked up nickel plated chain with the hopes that it will last as long and not be a rusty oily mess. My gate needed about 12 feet of chain, and most of the online stores sell them in 10 foot lengths. I figured it would still be less expensive then going to a local gate supply store and picking it up, plus I'm lazy and figured I'll use the internet to get my chain as well as any tools needed (see how nice the internet is).

My small driveway gate used a #41 chain, some of the larger units use a #40 chain. Also don't forget to get new end links, which could be just master links or offset links. You might be able to use the old ones, but before you go ordering all the parts good to not for get these.

You will find you need a chain breaker for Gokart, Mini-Bikes, Regular Bicycles and all sorts of things. Here are a couple that I have used and a quick review.

Below are links to the products (or similar tools and supplies used)
Chain Breaker Review

Made in U.S.A. Chain Breaker

I have a small Go-Kart/Mini-Bike Chain breaker but it was too smal for the gate chain. I picked up one of these from eBay, similar to the one on the Amazon Link above. It works on chain sizes 25, 35, 40, 41, 50, 60 Roller Chain. This is a simple to use tool, not very expensive and it comes with a spare tip.
Chain Breaker Jaws Open

Jaws Open from the Underside of the Breaker

This is the bottom view of the chain breaker. The greased center pin is what pusher out the pins in the links of the chain.
Chain Breaker Grabbing Link

Chain Breaker Grabbing Link

To push out the pin you squeeze the 2 handles together to open the jaws. Then let them snap on the link. The pin should be centered on the pin of the breaker tool. The spring keeps the jaws snapped on the link which is a nice feature.
Centering the Pin on the Chain Link

Center the Pin on the Chains Link

Tighten up the top handle and make sure the pointy part of the tool is centered on the chains pin. Start Cranking it down.
Closer View of the Chain Breaker

Closer View of the Chain Breaker

The tool is a simple looking tool and easy to use. Nothing magical here, it's all steel and similar to many of the import models and not much more so why not support a US company...
Pushing the Pin Out

Pushing the Chains Pin Out

As you tighten up the top handle the pin starts to push out the pin. NOTE you can only push it out so it comes out of the top of the link. You can't push the pin completely out, the tool does not work that way!!! One you get the tool tighten up into the link stop. The bit that pushes out the pin is conical in shape and will not pass through the link. If you over tighten you will just bend the link and damage the tool. Depending on what you are trying to do you now can move the the next pin (on the same connecting link pin as you just removed) and push out that pin. This will allow you to use a master link for the end of the chain for the connecting to the gate. How you break the chain may be different depending on how you intend on connecting things up. If connecting the chain in a loop think before you break... It's difficult to add back in link except with a master link for the most part.

Removing Link

The way to get the link out if it stick (It likely will) is to twist it and pull with a pair of pliers. Seems barbaric as this chain was not letting go easily. This is where this tool is not the best.
Taking out Link

Punching out the rest of the way

This is just for illustrations, but a small punch can help knock out the pin the rest of the way, note I would not clamp a chain into a vice but would find a way better way to hold it while driving out the pin. One other way is to use back to back a pair of needle nose pliers to wedge them apart. You can get creative if you run into a difficult chain.
Punching out the Pin
Gokart and Minibike Chain Breaker

Minibike and GoKart Chain Breaker

I have this type of chain breaker for the Minibikes and Gokart sized chain and it's very good as it will hold things and keep them from bending as you drive out the pins. This type of breaker has 2 allen heads one with a recess and one long pin. You can easily push the entire pin out no trouble. Also you can use this to re-assemble a link if you want. I have only used it to break chains. I did find a version that will work with #40 and #41 chain on eBay for about $40, but figured I don't need a 3rd breaker. I prefer this type of chain tool to the other above as it keeps things simple and you can push the pin right out. The other you have to use pliers and not quite as clean. This type of chain tool is seen more for the smaller chain sizes.


Any of the cheap chain breakers will work. I opted for one of a different style that partially pushes out the pins and did the job with a bit of extra work get the pin pushed all the way out. The 'Import' versions are a few bucks less and most don't seem to come with a spare tip. A few extra bucks is worth it IMO, or if you can get the one pictured above if working with small chains, it's the best so far. I have seem plenty of 'Plastic Box' kits with a chain breaker and various pins for many different sized chains, but they are a bit more pricey then the above and most have very bad 'Import Tool' quality reviews.

Keep you Chain Clean and lubed for a long happy life...
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