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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I am going crazy trying to figure this out. At about 5K, I adjusted my drive belt to spec and it whined like a banshee when it heated up. I followed the SM instructions (I am not new to this and never had a problem with earlier bikes BUT the older belts called for a looser adjustment) and adjusted on the side stand to 3/8 at the tightest spot cold. My dealer checked it (I thought I had a front wheel bearing going) and said that the belt was way too tight. He loosened it and the whine was gone BUT the cold play was now over a half inch, in fact it was at about 5/8. I figured he knew what he was doing and let it go untill I had the rear tire replaced at about 10.5 K miles. A different dealer had a sale and installed and adjusted the belt, still looser than the book BUT tighter than the first dealer. No whine, fine.

I just did my 15K and checked the adjustment. It is at about 1/2 inch. That is still over the suggested play.

I double checked my service manual and , after having several people on a couple of boards say tight is better, loose belts break etc. , the manual and the owners manual too BOTH say check the adjustment at THE LOOSEST POINT ON THE BELT!!!! That means they want it even tighter than the 3/8 I adjusted it to at the TIGHTEST point.

AM I NUTS or is this a mistake in the books?

Anybody else think this new belt with the tighter tolerances is a PITA?

EZ
 

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I'm a tech, and never adjust to dead on 3/8". 1/2" is a better setting in my personal opinion, and is only 1/8" looser. Just set it to 1/2" and be done with. I think too tight is bad, as it causes the whine and can put tension on the transmission pulley. You certainly don't want MEGA slackness, but 1/2" is not that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, makes sense to me. Do they really mean to check it at the LOOSEST point OR is that a misprint?

EZ
 

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I'd agree with ChopperDude. I've been adjusting belts at 1/2" ever since HD started using them and have never had a problem. A belt that is adjusted slightly on the loose side will also shred small rocks much better than a tight one.
 

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I've found on my 04 FXST that the belt needs to be on the loose side or I get noise.
 

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chrome monger
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ChopperDude said:
I'm a tech, and never adjust to dead on 3/8". 1/2" is a better setting in my personal opinion, and is only 1/8" looser. Just set it to 1/2" and be done with. I think too tight is bad, as it causes the whine and can put tension on the transmission pulley. You certainly don't want MEGA slackness, but 1/2" is not that.
hi...are you checking the belt cold or after the bike has been ridden and hot? i notice quite a difference between the two. which do you suggest??
thanks
robert 07 ultra
 

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Discussion Starter #7
rbt, you always check it cold to adjust it. If you adjust it hot it will be way too loose. Good idea to recheck when its hot though, to make sure it isn't too tight.

There is alot of conflicting "lore" on this and the concensus seems to be to adjust it just a tad looser than the book calls for. I know, everytime I try to do it by the book it is too tight and whines.

I don't understand the instruction in the owners and service manuals to adjust it at the loosest spot though. Seems bass akwards too me.

EZ:hmmm:
 

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Harley Ridin' Bow Hunter
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The way I understand it; start with a cold bike, put a butt on the seat, using a belt tension tool (HD part # 40006-85) measure the play at the loosest portion of the belt, i.e. the midway point between the drive sprocket and the rear wheel sprocket, the play should be 3/8 to 5/16 of an inch. I've read that 1/2 inch seems to be the general consensus in the "real world". Once you think your done, roll the bike and then recheck, then roll and check again! I am doing this twice tomorrow (07 Ultra and a 05 1200 Sportster) and if I discover any issues with this procedure I'll let you know but it seems pretty straight forward.

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Is there a condition that would cause the belt to slowly disengrate? I have what looks like grease all around belt side of the bike and even in the sprocket. But it's dry and like a very fine powder.....never seen this before.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Several places I have checked AND some dealership mechanics I've asked said the method given in the 06 manual is WRONG.

I think I have found out why but if anyone knows otherwise, please let us know.

I agree with adjusting to 1/2" BUT think it should be at the TIGHTEST, NOT THE LOOSEST point as the manual states.

When I adjusted as per the manual (after years of never having had a problem the "old" way) my belt was so tight it whined like a banshee.

I let the dlr. correct it (adjusted too loose imho) and again, when I changed rear tires, the dealer adjusted it (1/2 " at the TIGHTEST SPOT)

I just checked and readjusted it , to make sure it was good and not too loose. I adusted to 1/2" cold, on the sidestand, no weight (because the book says that's correct) and re checked with the bike on a lift to the 3/8" spec.

Rolled the bike around, checked several spots and they were all at 1/2" or MORE. Belt feels fine, no chirps, hot it is pretty taught but not like a banjo string. I think its correct, at least I'm confident with it.

NOW, I think the manual is WRONG. It makes NO SENSE to adjust at the tightest point. It would almost have to result in too tight an adjustment in the tightest spots IF the loosest spot was the point of meeting the spec.

This site gives the "old way" but I think adjusting at the tightest point should still be valid.

http://www.nightrider.com/biketech/hdbeltdrive.htm

Be interested in any professional opinion here and IF it is a misprint. Dealer said lots who try to adjust their own are overtightening them.



ez:unsure:
 

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Call me old fashioned, stupid or whatever but I have allways adjusted mine while on the jack by taking my index finger and thumb and grabbing the belt at the midway point and twisting it 90 degrees with ease. When you tighten at that possition and you let the bike down onto the side stand you are generally at about 3/8ths inch play. Never had an issue this way and have run nitrous on bikes without ever loosing a belt. jmho
BC
 

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fxstc80 said:
Is there a condition that would cause the belt to slowly disengrate? I have what looks like grease all around belt side of the bike and even in the sprocket. But it's dry and like a very fine powder.....never seen this before.
Your belt is too tight, the last time I had a tire changed the tech tightened the belt like a bango string, when I got home there was residue all over in the area of the front pully, adjusted the belt and haven't seen any since.
 
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