Chain drive/ Belt drive conversion - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Chain drive/ Belt drive conversion

My 1991 FLHS has a chain final drive, it left the factory with a belt final drive. I can only assume that one of the previous owners has had a problem with the belt drive and has opted to change to chain final drive.
The chain and sprockets are now showing signs of wear and I would like to take the opertunity to revert to belt drive, only I have no experience of doing this work.
Is it as simple as buying a front and rear pulley and a belt? Somehow I doubt it..........any help appreiciated.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's going to be a pain in the arse. The other guys can chime in and tell you all about having to get the right pulleys and belt and taking apart the primary and all that fun stuff.

Why do you prefer a belt? I'm just asking because I decided to go the chain route on mine. I like that if I'm on the side of the road I can just get a new chain and put it on. I don't have to take apart my whole primary and slide the axle out of the rear wheel to change my chain if it breaks... which it won't... unlike a belt. As long as you keep the chain tight (but within specs), it will ride just as smooth as a belt and you can pay a little more and get a good O-ring chain that you don't have to worry so much about lubing. You can put tons of hp and torque through a chain too without having to worry about it breaking.

Chains are the way to go in my opinion but to each his own.


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Old 07-10-2012, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Only because the chain is pretty high maintanance compared to the belt, it's really dirty too, I realise that make s me sound like a girl! LOL!
and the belt is standard, like the rest of the bike.
I had assumed that the general concensus would be that the belt was king........maybe thats wrong and the chain is the way to go, it's certainly the chaeper option here in the UK.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You have a chain-adaptor kit on the bike, that replaced the original belt drive. You need a front sprocket, rear 70 tooth sprocket, and likely the original front sprocket nut and retaining hardware. As well.... you'll need a belt, and a primary gasket kit, since the inner and outer primary will have to come off to replace the sprocket and install the belt.

According to your year/model, you'll need a 136 tooth belt.

(Fits 85-96 FXR, FLT, FLHT, FLHS, & Road King models with 70 Tooth Rear Pulleys (Replaces OEM# 40001-85)
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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They got some killer chains out there for sale & like the man said , chains can take a lot of abuse & tons of horsepower and with o-rings there's very little maintenance . Plus you can run a much wider tire than with a belt . All of the pro-stock bikes use chains . Much easier to change sprocket ratio's to get the exact gearing you want . Chains are old school cool !
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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With a chain, on a 1991 FLH (1.5" wide drive belt) you can go to a 150mm wide rear tire before it scrapes the fender/hardware.

With a belt, you can barely fit a 140mm, and a 130mm is stock.

The 150mm limit isn't just due to the fender/hardware scraping the tire, rather also because a 150mm is the widest tire recommended for a 3" wide rim.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, it would appear that the chain has multiple benefits. Maybe it's not a bad idea after all.
The cost is £250 for the chain and sprockets, whereas the belt alone comes in at £200.
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