Diagnosing Problems With Injector Chain Tension


  • List problems that can occur with the chain tension circuit
  • List causes for chain tension problems
  • Describe basic tests for the chain tension circuit

The Problem

Failure to maintain tension on the injector head chains can cause:

  • Unusual noises at the injector head
  • Uneven motion and jerking when pulling out of hole (POOH)
  • Damage to the tubing
  • Damage to the injector head and chains
  • Difficulties with the use of the tubing traction system

Failure to maintain tension on the injector head chains can cause the chain to skip while running in hole (RIH) as well.

Causes of Chain Tension Faults

Inconsistent or incorrect tensioning of the injector chains may be caused by basic mechanical faults such as:

  • Stretched or broken chains
  • Badly worn sprockets (diameter now too small)

In both of these causes, the chains will remain slack, but the chain tension hydraulic circuit will still be working as normal, and will provide normal pressures once the tension cylinders are fully extended.

Chain tensioning problems such as low, or erratic tension pressure, may also be caused by a hydraulic system fault such as:

  • Failure to set pressures correctly
  • Failed chain tension, pressure setting valve
  • Leaking through the bleed valve
  • Quick connector not fully connected
  • Particle contamination in the hydraulic fluid
  • Air contamination in the hydraulic fluid
  • Tension cylinder leakage
  • Leaking hose or fitting

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