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About a month ago, I was in a parking lot about to jump on my scooter. I started her up, mounted, and put her in first gear and went nowhere. The main drive belt had broken clean apart. There were strands of belt fibers exposed so there was no evidence of sabotage. Warranty covered repair and dealer's repair ticket was about $400, lucky for me!

Was I the unlucky person that got that one-in-a-million defective drive belt?

I have heard stories that one strand of belt fiber suspended a touring bike for months at the H-D factory...
 

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I have a little better than 38k on my Y2K FLHRCI. I changed out the rear tire three weeks back and did an inspection on the belt at the same time. No cracks, no shreads yet. Belt looks good so far.
 

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There appears to have been a relatively small bad batch of belts about a year ago, that broke for no apparent reason.
Normally, on near stock bikes and reasonably maintained, they last well over 100K miles unless somehow cut on the edges. Like by a stone picked up off the road.
 

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Traveling Man
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I haven't heard of the problems with the belts. I have heard of rocks popping up between the sprocket and the belt that can shread the belt. Chances are, that is what started your belt to fray and just happened to break at that time.
 

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Don't know what to tell you, we had never seen a significant rate of belt failures other then accidental cuts (even those are rare), then we saw a number of them on early 01 FLT's at very low mileages, and now we don't see them any more.
 

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Broken Drive Belt (long)

My old bagger's current belt looks OK now, with 18,200 miles over the past four riding seasons (Jeez, need more riding time!). Had Dealer change it Jan. '98 while getting repairs made from being rear-ended. The old belt had a 1/8" rock hole in it, but not broken, with 33K miles on it after 4 1/2 riding seasons.

The belt prior to that had 8400 miles on it over one ridng season. The nut that clamps the left, rear exhaust pipe to the rear exhaust "Y" header pipe came loose and fell down lodging itself between the belt, inner primary, tranny and motor. It ground off 1/3 the width of the back of the belt's ribbing, down into the Kevlar strands before it spit it out. It didn't break, so drove it home & to the shop. Also got new updated 32T tranny sprocket & 61T (International) rear drive pulley installed at same time.

The belt before that (the original one) was cracking about 1/3 of the way across the base of most all of the teeth, when looking at it from the side. To prevent a roadside break, had it replaced in Sturgis with 51,500 miles and 5 1/2 years of service. That's my rear belt drive 'sperience.

(A riding buddy's '96 S2T Buell's final drive belt just crapped at 26K miles a few weeks ago. It has screaming eagle heads and free flow exhaust though.)
 

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I have used the same type of belts on high horsepower machines (not motorcycles, metalworking machines) in the past and they work very well and last a long time. The biggest benefit is reduced vibration transmition, and that allows a better finish on the metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Broken beltdrive

cruzencoach said:
How many miles did you have on the old belt, and is it a stock motor?

This happened at about 6K miles on a stock motor...
Conditions: Bike backed in on a rear slight decline on a gravel at a ballpark. Snapped clean when put the bike in 1st and attempted to get on the main pavement.

Could the weight of my 240 lb 6 ft 3 frame and this 800 lb beast have been the culprit?
 

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Your right, D, that belt should go more than 6K miles. With the rear wheel lower than the front whenyou took off, it would have transfered more weight to the torque of your motor while taking off. Still, the sliding compensating cam ramps and springs in the drive output's compensating sprocket (if torqued right) should take up the shock before transmitting it to the primary chain. Then, the primary chain, if adjusted properly, should take up more of the shock load with it's slack (that's one thing I like about Hayden's M6 primary chain tensioner, it gives additional spring loaded movement for more slack into the primary chain slack). Next, the drive belt itself, if adjusted properly, should take up some more of that engine shock load.
As posted earlier, a riding buddy's Buell's belt broke similarly while parked in his garage, and shifting it into 1st to take off. I was wrong about his mileage. He only had 16K miles on it, and (St)dealer wants $170 parts for his replacement belt.
 

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The fact it went on gravel should tell you that it was a defective (or damaged) belt, as you can hardly get much traction there. These belts are strong enough to smoke the tire on concrete, handle over 120 ft/lb and lift the front wheel on upshifts. Some of the guys we ride with weigh over 300 lbs and their OL's are not what you would call petite either.
Look at it this way, if it had to go, better at 1 mph then at speed.
 

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(that's one thing I like about Hayden's M6 primary chain tensioner, it gives additional spring loaded movement for more slack into the primary chain slack).
Not so when applying power, the upper strand of the primary chain transfers power from the compensator to the clutch basket, and the loading does not reverse with proper shifting.

Under engine braking you will load the lower strand and compress the springloaded tensioner, making the downshift marginally smoother, but now you have the slack on the upper strand, wether you have an M6 or not. If you feel you need one of these tensioners, there is one on the market that is hydraulically assisted, much like a timing chain tensioner.
 

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Belt replacement labor

Question- I have a 2000 FLHPI with 38,000 miles. The belt is in good shape with the exception of the teeth having a slight bevel in the outer edge or the belt, possibly due to bad alignment and subsequent wear. I'm considering replacing it, but was curious what the labor to do this work is? Does belt replacement require removal of the inner primary to access the front final drive pully/sprocket?

cruzencoach said:
My old bagger's current belt looks OK now, with 18,200 miles over the past four riding seasons (Jeez, need more riding time!). Had Dealer change it Jan. '98 while getting repairs made from being rear-ended. The old belt had a 1/8" rock hole in it, but not broken, with 33K miles on it after 4 1/2 riding seasons.

The belt prior to that had 8400 miles on it over one ridng season. The nut that clamps the left, rear exhaust pipe to the rear exhaust "Y" header pipe came loose and fell down lodging itself between the belt, inner primary, tranny and motor. It ground off 1/3 the width of the back of the belt's ribbing, down into the Kevlar strands before it spit it out. It didn't break, so drove it home & to the shop. Also got new updated 32T tranny sprocket & 61T (International) rear drive pulley installed at same time.

The belt before that (the original one) was cracking about 1/3 of the way across the base of most all of the teeth, when looking at it from the side. To prevent a roadside break, had it replaced in Sturgis with 51,500 miles and 5 1/2 years of service. That's my rear belt drive 'sperience.

(A riding buddy's '96 S2T Buell's final drive belt just crapped at 26K miles a few weeks ago. It has screaming eagle heads and free flow exhaust though.)
 

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Hippo,
You are correct,there were some bad belts,seemed to find their way more on baggers, 2 years ago.I've seen the MoCo cover them on some bikes that were out of warranty.Dealer wouldn't,takes a call to cust.service.
 
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