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The book says to raise the rear wheel off of the ground to check the belt tension.

Have any of you checked the tension of the belt with the wheel on the ground?
My bike is a pain to get the rear wheel off the ground!!
 

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If you've got a spare $30, check out this video and build your own lift. It's very easy to put together and works a charm. I can put the bike on the lift all by myself and get either wheel off the ground to do maintenance. The VN900 engine sticks out the bottom of the frame a little, so you'll have to go by trial and error a couple times to get it seated right, but once you do, it's solid as a rock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmHkuldk8-8

Obviously, further back on the frame puts the rear wheel up, and vice versa for the front.
 

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I adjust mine with the wheel on the ground using the Kawasaki measuring tool. I purchased a lift and its still sitting new in the box because I found it un-necessary. Tighten the axle all the way before you check tension and it cant possibly make a difference. That's the step raising the bike eliminates. Also I found this much easier after I got a front wheel stand so I could have the bike sitting straight up but that too is not necessary. Make sure and look up exactly how to do it. Also make sure that your axle marks are in the same place on either side. I personally will tell you that if you have the bigger front pulley, you need to go for the 4-6mm range. Anything in the 1-3mm is simply too stiff and makes the belt squeal.
 

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...Also make sure that your axle marks are in the same place on either side...
I don't believe this is accurate. The tick marks on mine are off by about a 1/2 mark. I think the tracking of the belt is more important. The belt should be closer to the outside of the rear pulley, and should track in the same position as the wheel is turned.

This is best tested with the rear wheel off the ground. Adjust the axel nuts and alignment nuts, spin the tire several times, and watch how the belt tracks on the pulley. Adjust as needed until it is in the same place, again, almost touching the outside of the rear pulley.
 

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I don't believe this is accurate. The tick marks on mine are off by about a 1/2 mark. I think the tracking of the belt is more important. The belt should be closer to the outside of the rear pulley, and should track in the same position as the wheel is turned.

This is best tested with the rear wheel off the ground. Adjust the axel nuts and alignment nuts, spin the tire several times, and watch how the belt tracks on the pulley. Adjust as needed until it is in the same place, again, almost touching the outside of the rear pulley.
I will respectfully disagree. Unless your frame is bent, the entire purpose of those marks are to align the geometry of that axle with the frame. They should be the same on both sides as confirmed by the service manual from Kawi. Belt should track on the outside of both front and rear pulley's as you say. On my bike, tick marks are exactly equal and belt runs as it should. I suppose quality control could be different on other bikes and your marks may not be true. Or maybe it is me that has the odd ball. Obviously neither of us can say for sure, but that was the intent of those marks.
 

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I will respectfully disagree. Unless your frame is bent, the entire purpose of those marks are to align the geometry of that axle with the frame. They should be the same on both sides as confirmed by the service manual from Kawi. Belt should track on the outside of both front and rear pulley's as you say. On my bike, tick marks are exactly equal and belt runs as it should. I suppose quality control could be different on other bikes and your marks may not be true. Or maybe it is me that has the odd ball. Obviously neither of us can say for sure, but that was the intent of those marks.
Yeah, it would make a lot of sense for it to be that way. In my case, at least, they are off. I had to adjust by 'feel' to get it tracking as it should. Your mileage may vary, I guess :D
 

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I am not saying try this at home, but it's what I did. I measured my friends Harley and set my belt by it as close as I could. I think the Kawasaki belt tension OEM is just too tight.
 

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I am not saying try this at home, but it's what I did. I measured my friends Harley and set my belt by it as close as I could. I think the Kawasaki belt tension OEM is just too tight.
With reasonable force you should be able to turn the belt to a 45 degree angle with finger pressure.

It comes from the factory so you cant even turn it at all. I loosened mine so that I can turn it to about a 25 degree angle with finger pressure.

It is a "feel" thing even with the gauge. I also think there's a big window between too tight and too loose.
 

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I had all sorts of belt noise from mine from new. I asked the dealer to loosen it, but they insisted it was correct. Then I had a new rear tyre, and I asked the tech to set the belt loose just a bit, which he did, and all the belt noises went away.

As for wheel alignment, I use the string method. Have done for as long as I can remember, and I've never found a set of swingarm marks that have been less than .5mm out.
 

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With reasonable force you should be able to turn the belt to a 45 degree angle with finger pressure.

It comes from the factory so you cant even turn it at all. I loosened mine so that I can turn it to about a 25 degree angle with finger pressure.

It is a "feel" thing even with the gauge. I also think there's a big window between too tight and too loose.
Thats how i check and adjust mine too. Even with a tensioner tool I ended up using the finger method. So far so good.
 

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Learned a few things about belt adjustment versus how it rides on the front pulley. And, I agree with everyone who says the Kaw book adjustment is too tight. I got a small crack in mine when it was book tight. So, I loosened it quite a bit. But, I heard the belt ratcheting as I slowed down, mostly after riding at ~50 mph. After riding at highway speed, I didn't hear it. When the belt is too loose, it rides on the inside of the front pulley. When it's tighter, it'll ride on the left side of the front pulley until you slow down below 30 mph. At that time, it'll drift to the inside of the pulley. When it's just right, it always rides on the outside of the front pulley, i.e., the left side. It'll drift to the right, to the inside of the pulley when you back up. But, it'll always drift back to the outside of the front pulley when you go forward, not quite to the outside lip. And, there's a wee bit of squeek, but not near as much as when it's tightened by the book.
 
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