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Old 07-29-2012, 12:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Drive belt adjustment gymnastics.

Hi all.

I have a 1998 Fatboy and I'm prepairing to adjust my Drive belt tension per the service manual. This next weekend I'll be the proud new owner of a drive belt tension gauge. The procedure seems simple enough. There is one part however that I believe is going to cause me some greif. The tension needs to be checked with the rider's weight on the bike. That would require some gymnastics that I am no longer able to perform.

My question is. Is there an unwritten assumption that this service is a two man job, or can one person do this?

Any advice is appreciated.

Jonathan
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have someone roughly your weight sit on it while you make the adjustments.
(Let them make motor noises and film it, then share with us.)
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have the same problem, I know a solution, but it's awkward. maybe you'll do it smarter..

Idea is use a ratcheting nylon cargo strap over the seat, properly padded, and down under a platform

the bike is setting on, since I don't have an eye or cleat set in the concrete. If you had a lift, that would work,

but a 2x10 or 2x12 plank long enough for both wheels to set on would do it too. Then the only help you'd need

is help with a yardstick or tape to measure some point off the deck when you're sitting on the bike,

so you know how far to pull it down with the straps. This might sound like over-thinking it,

but I wind up changing a rear tire and adjusting those belts twice a year. There's a topic for cussing and spitting.

Rear wheel alignment The V-Rod has a captured scroll adjusting fitting welded to the shaft on one end and keyed on the other,

so both sides adjust evenly. It's not perfect, but SO much better than the Dyna. I hate that job.
.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you Labradaddy and Nathang For your input. I'm seeing a plan coming together that draws on both your ideas. With my weight on the bike or something close. I can make the adjustment as written in the manual. Once done. The bike, properly adjusted, sitting on it's stand, with no one on it, would then be gauged again. The play in the belt (if any) would then be written down. I would then use those numbers to adjust my tension for all future services. As long as my weight stays the same and the springs don't sag. I should get repeatable results without having someone sitting on the bike to preload the suspension.

Thoughts? Comments?

All are welcome.

Jonathan
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Want the easy way?

Measure the length of the adjusting bolt from the end, to the axle spacer it's cradled in.

Some days, a $20 Harbor Freight digital caliper makes me look like a geen-ee-uss.

Do you honestly think shops set your belt EVERY time they take a wheel off, with a tensioning guage? Hardly....

Honestly, a belt will rarely if ever have to be tensioned once, in 10K. The most common time it gets adjusted, is after a wheel's been off.

A belt that's loose, with an axle that tight, is a sign of something else wrong, like a worn or bad swingarm bearing, or failing inner primary bearing, or even wheel bearing that's shot, and allowing the wheel to move forward.

I have cams. I mark them. I check it once (when I got the bike) adjusted it, and the 2 times the rear wheel has been off, I go by the marks. I just went out RIGHT NOW, and checked it, and I'm good.

Yes, you should learn to do it the right way. That's how you learn, but after that....the rocket science part of it gets old.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How you gonna align the wheel?

Which bikes have the cams?

.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathang View Post
How you gonna align the wheel?

.
If you measure both sides, and reproduce, the wheel will be aligned, just like it was before.

Same on the Dyna.

Measure the length of threaded stub sticking out from the lock nut.

Reproduce.

Even easier on your Dyna, Nathan. Measure form the alignment hole in the swingarm to the center of the axle. That's what it's there for.....
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think I get what your saying. Once my tension is set correctly. It will be quite a while (10k at least) before it needs setting again. So as I pull my rear wheel for other services such as repacking rear wheel bearings, replacing back tires and such. I can measure the adjusters as you stated and reproduce those measurements as I put the rear wheel back on the bike to match the rear tire's position on the swingarm. That will get me back to the proper tension setting without having to go through the actual tensioning procedure.

Makes scents to me. Thank you Dave. As for the tension now. For that I will need the tension gauge. I'll see what it tells me next week.

Jonathan
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave63 View Post
If you measure both sides, and reproduce, the wheel will be aligned, just like it was before.

Same on the Dyna.

Measure the length of threaded stub sticking out from the lock nut.

Reproduce.

Even easier on your Dyna, Nathan. Measure form the alignment hole in the swingarm to the center of the axle. That's what it's there for.....
But laughably imprecise IMHO. When I'm using glass fluorescent tubes like straight-edges on both sides of the rear wheels,

a quarter turn moves the tubes, but you don't have quarter turn precision measuring the stub or the hole

.
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.038%er (means I know there's only .038 % CO2 in air)

Some days you feel like TORQUE!
Some days you feel like HORSEPOWER!


Once you establish yourself as an eccentric,
you rarely have to explain your actions.

Something a guy at a HD parts counter told me 30 years ago,
"You know what I'd do with that bike if it was mine? RIDE IT! Nothin' else ."
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathang View Post
But laughably imprecise IMHO. When I'm using glass fluorescent tubes like straight-edges on both sides of the rear wheels,

a quarter turn moves the tubes, but you don't have quarter turn precision measuring the stub or the hole

.
Knowing how meticulous you are, Nathan, I know why you'd think that.

If you've never done an engne/trans alignment on your Dyna, then you can align your rear wheel till the cows come home, and it's never perfectly straight, but 99.99% of all Dyna owners have never done it. (Only HD with the swingarm that goes through the trans case on a rubber mounted trans/engine design.)

Every time your swingarm moves due to going through a rubber mounted engine/trans, the alignment changes or becomes "incorrect".

Touring model swingarms are only second in design flaw and flexability, to the Dyna models.

Regardless of how long you spend "aligning" your rear wheel, Nathan, it's never 100%. Just tightening/torquing the axle nut changes things from what you originally set, becauses it pulls the swingarm together, changing the geometry/measurements and adds torque to the belt.

As for "laughably imprecise".....If you took it to your dealer/shop, and they had the rear wheel off, it would be "laughably naive" to think they reset it with a tension guage, and an alighment tool (as recommended in your Dyna manual) but you assume they did, and you happily drive down the road, just fine.

Your car/truck alignment is even less precise. If you ever put a car on an alignment rack, as I have, aligned it, rolled it off, drove it around the block, brought it back and placed it on the rack again, you'd be amazed at how "off" it was. But the car drives straight and the tires wear fine.

The reality of it is: The process is done to get it "In an acceptable adjustment" because wheel alignment and belt tension changes CONSTANTLY on Harleys while driving, because they move in an articulating carrier/mount. Differences in rider weight is another factor. Solo....passenger.....it's all factored.

A rubber mounted Dyna swingarm/engine/trans, more than any other HD on the road......
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