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Discussion Starter #1
So, went on a 150 mile cruise today. Had a strange whine around 60 MPH. By the time I got home, it was whining at all speeds. I started looking here on Vulcanforums and found where the drive belt is too tight from the factory on most of these bikes. Mine is a 2011 w/7700 miles. How much damage do you think it's done? I'm on the fence about this thing anyway. I don't want to be stuck with a huge repair bill in the 1st week of ownership.

I did inspect the belt and found what appeared to be black sawdust under the front pully on one of the frame members. It had a rubbery consistency. I think my belt is too tight. The more I rode it today, the louder it got. When I got off the hwy was when I noticed it the most after cruising at 70 mph for an hour.

This is my 1st drive belt bike. My Suzuki is shaft driven. So how do I loosen it?
 

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JMB,
Welcome to the world of belts. I am tightening mine today if I can get someone to tell me what size the nut on the axle is.
I checked it yesterday and its way too loose. This is my 1st belt as well and probably my last. This has been the one thing I just cant get past. My bike runs hot ok. My bike sounds like running over a garbage can lid when I shift ok. This stinkin constant belt issue not ok. Dealers here simply dont get it. There are lots of threads onhere about this. Try the search or someone will chime in to help. Im still believing there is a sweet spot that nobody has hit it.

Good luck
Jimmy D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So, do you just slide the rear wheel forward? or is there a tensioner?
 

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There are tensioners on both sides of the rear wheel. I had my belt adjusted about 3 weeks ago. There are notches in the swing arm and a single notch on each tensioner. You need to loosen the axle nut. Loosen and Adjust the tesioners by loosening the nuts on the rear of the tesioner. With the bike on a lift, hit the rear wheel forward to loosen the belt a little. I have the tesioner notch lined up with the 3rd notch from the rear on the swingarm. Belt tension feels perfect now. When RacnRay did the adjustment we fou d that the wheel was sloghtly crooked from assembly. The tensioner on the right was on the 2nd notch and the left tesioner was on the 3rd. Its s pretty simple operation. The service manual calls for 3mm of deflection max. I think that is still too tight.
 

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Remove the bags.
Lift the rear end off the ground.
Note the witness mark on the each side of the axle belt adjuster.
Remove Cotter pin from Nut/Axle
Loosen the nut but you do not have to take it off.
Loosen the belt adjuster nuts just a tad on each side.
Move the tire forward. I have a rubber mallet that works well for this.

Manual says to put 45N pressure upwards on the belt and measure deflection in the window on the belt cover.
Says .2" Way too tight...

I dont have a metric force gauge so i just go with Victory spec. 10 lbs center of lower belt about 1/2"
can't exactly recall how much play I put in mine but it was way more than .2"
I'll let others chime i here... as your results may vary

Then torque nut and put cotter pin back in.
Put bags back on.

Not hard but it can be tedious..... Does not take much movement on the witness marks.
Also note the witness marks should be at the same point on each side so tire remains
parallel/centered correctly in the swing arm.

It tends to move when you re-torque the nut. Manual calls for 80FtLbs.
 

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@hockeynut52, Thank you sir!

Do I need to remove the saddlebags? It's a Nomad.
I would say you need to in order to access the axle nut and adjust the tensioners. It only takes a minute to remove the bags, at least on the Vaquero, then you will have room to work without damaging the bags. Otherwise the bike will likely have to be way up in the air or you will have to be lying on your back to adjust everything.

GGB6259 Hit it on the head. Those are perfect step by step instructions.
 

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I've attached a couple pics from the service manual. The belt can be run a bit looser than factory specs in my opinion. I have one question for you tho. When you're cruising down the rd at 70 when you hear the noise, when you pull the clutch in does it go away?. Some of these bikes, including mine have a tranny whine once you get up into 4th gear and higher Next time just pull the clutch in and listen. If it goes away (like mine) it's not the belt. I don't even hear it anymore or worry about the belt. I check it every time I change the rear tire, and there is always going to be some black rubbery residue that you talk about. Just ride it.....:smile2:
 

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JMB,
Welcome to the world of belts. I am tightening mine today if I can get someone to tell me what size the nut on the axle is.
I checked it yesterday and its way too loose. This is my 1st belt as well and probably my last. This has been the one thing I just cant get past. My bike runs hot ok. My bike sounds like running over a garbage can lid when I shift ok. This stinkin constant belt issue not ok. Dealers here simply dont get it. There are lots of threads onhere about this. Try the search or someone will chime in to help. Im still believing there is a sweet spot that nobody has hit it.

Good luck
Jimmy D
A 1 1/16 SAE wrench will fit. I'm not sure what mm that converts to. To get a socket on the nut you would need to remove the exhaust on a Nomad or Voyager, way to much trouble. Not sure about the Classic.

So, do you just slide the rear wheel forward? or is there a tensioner?
There are double nut tensioners on both sides that must be loosened to slide the wheel assembly forward.

@hockeynut52, Thank you sir!

Do I need to remove the saddlebags? It's a Nomad.
Yes, If you have never removed them it is the easiest part of the job.
Just remove the three bolts holding them in place,I usually just let them fall into the bottom of the bag and lift the bag off the bike.

After you have removed the bags and before loosening anything take a moment to locate the alignment marks on the frame just above the axle and note there position for reference. If your belt is showing wear the cause is probably here.

The belt should be riding toward the left or outside edge of the rear wheel pulley but not up on the lip of the pulley.

There is a built in tension guide. It is located on the lower belt guard right behind where the exhaust crosses under the frame of the bike on the Nomad. It is kind of hard to see behind the pipe but it has a slot with alignment marks on either side. Reach under it and push up on the belt. If it moves less than or about one mark it is way to tight.

The consensus of most of us that do our own work is about 2 notches is a happy spot for the belt. I have been running both of mine even looser than that for a good while with no problem or whine.

Something to consider, the guy's that do new bike assembly and tire changes at most shops are the least experienced. They do a lot of chain drive bikes and always set the tension on the tight side of the manufacturers range to allow for stretch and wear of the chain. They do the same thing for our belt drives which have very little if any stretch and if set up properly will not show any wear for tens of thousands of miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've attached a couple pics from the service manual. The belt can be run a bit looser than factory specs in my opinion. I have one question for you tho. When you're cruising down the rd at 70 when you hear the noise, when you pull the clutch in does it go away?. Some of these bikes, including mine have a tranny whine once you get up into 4th gear and higher Next time just pull the clutch in and listen. If it goes away (like mine) it's not the belt. I don't even hear it anymore or worry about the belt. I check it every time I change the rear tire, and there is always going to be some black rubbery residue that you talk about. Just ride it.....:smile2:
The longer I rode it, the louder it got. I was coasting into the gas station and it was making a "singing" sound that wasn't there before. I noticed it on Thursday when I would hit around 60 in 5th gear. But yesterday, it just kept getting louder and louder and at all speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got my belt deflection tool today. No bike lift yet, but picking it up tonight. I just checked it sitting on the ground out of curiosity. With the bike sitting on the ground and using the sight window on the bike, the belt deflected about 1.5 of those marks on the belt guard with 10lbs of force.

The witness marks on the axel are lined up with both sides 2.5 from the back.

Off to get the lift after supper.
 

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Remove the bags.
Lift the rear end off the ground.
Note the witness mark on the each side of the axle belt adjuster.
Remove Cotter pin from Nut/Axle
Loosen the nut but you do not have to take it off.
Loosen the belt adjuster nuts just a tad on each side.
Move the tire forward. I have a rubber mallet that works well for this.

Manual says to put 45N pressure upwards on the belt and measure deflection in the window on the belt cover.
Says .2" Way too tight...

I dont have a metric force gauge so i just go with Victory spec. 10 lbs center of lower belt about 1/2"
can't exactly recall how much play I put in mine but it was way more than .2"
I'll let others chime i here... as your results may vary

Then torque nut and put cotter pin back in.
Put bags back on.

Not hard but it can be tedious..... Does not take much movement on the witness marks.
Also note the witness marks should be at the same point on each side so tire remains
parallel/centered correctly in the swing arm.

It tends to move when you re-torque the nut. Manual calls for 80FtLbs.
If I'm not mistakes the belt deflection measurement is read at the front of the belt guard not the center. That's where the 10# force is applied. Rotate the wheel 90 degrees and apply 10# again and check the measurement at the front of the belt guard. The way I do mine is I initially set the adjusters to the same index mark. Either the 3d from the front or rear can't remember exactly but they are set the same each side. Then, I just count the numbers of flats on the adjuster nuts and set them equally until I get the deflection I want at the front for the belt guard with the 10# applied in the center. That's within a RCH I don't care who you are and is close enough for me. The wheel should be lined up and straight too. Assuming the index marks are the same on both sides of course. I think I set mine to about 6mm.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I set it a little loser that what it was. Index marks were on 2.25 before and about 2.75 afterward. I rode it to work today and didn't hear anything, but I did hear anything unit I had ridden for 4 hours before. I need to go on a long ride this weekend before I call it good.

Thank you all for the assistance. It wasn't too bad of a job once I got that pin out of the axle. :grin2:
 

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Here is the position on the belt where upward force is to be applied to measure the deflection (as per the service manual)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here is the position on the belt where upward force is to be applied to measure the deflection (as per the service manual)
Looks to be at the front edge of the rear wheel, but the instructions say "arbitrary", so that would mean at any point between the front pully and really wheel.
 

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Looks to be at the front edge of the rear wheel, but the instructions say "arbitrary", so that would mean at any point between the front pully and really wheel.
Ya, I normally just do it at the midway point and call it good.....never had any issues
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Rode for an hour yesterday and no squeak, so maybe the belt was just a little too tight. Now I need to work on the trottle.
 

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Thanks for the tips on this page.
I just finished taking a bit of tension off of the belt and the whining sound is GONE! Only needed a small adjustment!
 

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Here is the position on the belt where upward force is to be applied to measure the deflection (as per the service manual)
You're exactly right. That is the correct position where the 10# force is applied. The deflection however is measured at the front of the belt guard. Index marks there too. That's per my manual. Now I'll hear that that's wrong.:surprise:
 

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You're exactly right. That is the correct position where the 10# force is applied. The deflection however is measured at the front of the belt guard. Index marks there too. That's per my manual. Now I'll hear that that's wrong.:surprise:
Yup :grin2:
 
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