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Old 11-19-2006, 11:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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FXR Engine/Swingarm Alignment

I've been working on this project for about 4 years now. This winter I am determined to finish for next summer. I've bought about 70% of the parts on ebay including the frame and new crate 80ci 1999 EVO. I've never built a bike before but have always wanted a HOG. My uncle and the movie "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" is what made me decide on a FXR. My question is regarding getting the engine/tranny/swingarm aligned so the bike tracks down the road straight. I have a belt primary that fits inside the factory case and I've been told that they are very UN-forgiving if not aligned properly. I have a Harley Service manual and can't find any info regarding this, also have wasted numerous hours searching on the internet?? any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm still figuring out how to put a bigger picture on the post rather than just a small one.

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Old 11-20-2006, 01:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hookturn_92
I've been working on this project for about 4 years now. This winter I am determined to finish for next summer. I've bought about 70% of the parts on ebay including the frame and new crate 80ci 1999 EVO. I've never built a bike before but have always wanted a HOG. My uncle and the movie "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" is what made me decide on a FXR. My question is regarding getting the engine/tranny/swingarm aligned so the bike tracks down the road straight. I have a belt primary that fits inside the factory case and I've been told that they are very UN-forgiving if not aligned properly. I have a Harley Service manual and can't find any info regarding this, also have wasted numerous hours searching on the internet?? any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm still figuring out how to put a bigger picture on the post rather than just a small one.

Attachment 36781
Welcome to the Forum!

Alignment is one problem with a belt primary. HEAT is the other problem. I had a 1980 Sturgis and the primary belt broke on that in the middle of nowhere. Primary belts were a big PITA for me.

(My nowhere was in Kansas, which is MUCH more populated than the nowhere you can find in Montana. I was stationed at Malmstrom AFB for 4 years back in the mid-seventies.)

You should find applicable information on alignment in Harley-Davidson Service Manuals for the 1980 FXB Sturgis.

The Sturgis ran belts for both the Primary and Final drive. Harley quickly dropped primary belts - their service record was NOT good. The belts on the final drive worked great, as their continued use attests. The primary belt should be ventilated to avoid heat fatigue and this complicates keeping primary components CLEAN. Dirt will accelerate the wear of your pulleys. You will also get a lot of noise from the exposed dry clutch disks.

My advice, if you intend to ride (vs show) the bike, is to keep the wet clutch with an enclosed primary chain running in oil.

Last edited by 84FXRP; 11-21-2006 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. I've heard exactly what you said about the belt primarys before. Actually i'm still not for sure about using it anyway. I was mainly trying to figure out how to get the engine/tranny aligned with the swingarm so the bike tracks straight without wearing out back tires or handling poorly. Using the adjuster struts on the top engine mount and on the front engine mount. do you just get the engine in and kind of just tighten them or do you have to adjust them?? Or is it just something you have to just figure your best and ride the bike and then re-adjust till it's right??
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Since the days of the Sturgis belt technology has come a long way. I run a BDL closed primary 8mm belt drive and have had exellent service from the belts. I'm running 100+ horsepower and tend to keep the RPM above 4000. In the four years since I started running the BDL system I have put over 100,000 miles on this bike and have replaced the belt once. The old belt didn't break I just got nervous about it and replaced it. I still carry the old belt as a spare (just in case) Alignment is crucial and will make or break the system. Alignment is also very simple to do and the instructions usually come with the belt drive system.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hookturn_92
Thanks for the reply. .... I was mainly trying to figure out how to get the engine/tranny aligned with the swingarm so the bike tracks straight without ...

The Harley-Davidson Service Manual has a good explanation of the alignment procedure. You should have a copy of the genuine HD manual specific for your year and model bike.

Roughly: You will need TWO, long, STRAIGHT edges that will go from behind the rear tire to in front of the front tire. (I used florescent light bulbs as they were handy).

Remove the fuel tank.

Remove the bolt through the frame/turnbuckle/head combination at the top of the motor.

With the bike vertical, and the front tire straight ahead, the straight edges are temporarily affixed to the rear tire. Measurements are taken and the front turnbuckle is adjusted to align the front tire to the rear (equal gap on each side of the front tire).

Again, DO NOT HAVE THE TOP (engine heads) TURNBUCKLE ATTACHED AT THIS POINT - If the top turnbuckle is attached at this point, then the engine will be twisted in the frame - which you will notice as excessive vibration when running.

Once the front and rear wheels are aligned, with the bike VERTICAL start and run the engine for 5-10 seconds. Stop the engine.

DO NOT LEAN THE BIKE OVER. KEEP IT VERTICAL.

Adjust the top turnbuckle so that the bolt that attaches the turnbuckle to the
frame DROPS cleanly through the frame turnbuckle combination.

DO NOT PUSH THE ENGINE SIDE-TO-SIDE TO GET THE TURNBUCKLE ALIGNED.

The bike should track straight with no excessive vibration.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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thanks for the info, looking at my service manual(covers missing) it's a clymer manual. it has nothing about engine alignment. my mistake. i'll have to buy a HD factory service manual.
thanks for the input on the belt primary, godzilla22. I was wondering if you made any vent holes in the primary inner and/or outer covers?? the belt primary I have is also a BDL 8mm. if it'll run that long with no problems i'll definately use it. my engine is just stock with a stage-1 upgrade(pipes, free breathing air cleaner and carb re-jet)
-on a side note- do i have to pay the $15 in order to post pictures and open attached pictures? i'd like to see some of the pictures that are on this forum.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have one small vent hole in the top of my inner primary and it seems to be sufficient. Some guys put small spacers between the derby cover and the primary and that works too although you will hear a lot of clutch noise if you do that. There are vented covers that you can buy as well. If you do a lot of wheelies,burnouts and the like it will adversly effect belt life.
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