Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Friday Edition

Bikernet West - Belt Drives Limited Open Belt Installation

Two Weeks And Counting The Beer Cans In The Corner.....Will We Make It?

By Bandit, Photos by Markus Cuff

Share this story:

Here's the deal. With less than two weeks to go I'm praying, laughin', grinning and scrambling. The paint finally arrived from Harold Pontarelli of H-D Performance of Vacaville, California, and the dark haired beauty wanted to be at the shed when I opened it. I paced the floor waiting for her alabaster legs to bring her quiet self up the sagging stairs and into the world headquarters of We took the carefully packed boxes to the basement where we were attacked by the foam peanuts assigned to protect the polished finish. First it was slabs of pressed foam, then thousands of bouncing peanuts, yards of plastic wrap, then plastic bags and bubble wrap until we finally reached the bright candy blue finish with cream flames, silver inserts, for dimension, and gray pinstriping. Unbelievable! The perfect match for the bike. I'm jazzed. But let's explain some of the praying that's going one.

BDL Belt drives, especially this one in particular, are simple to install. Incredibly simple, but there's a caveat, a loophole or a tiny chink in the armor. It's called alignment and spacing. Hot Rod Bikes recently published a full-on BDL installation, and I read it several times. It never made any sense to my simple mind, yet it was full of very precise instructions. The key is how you install and space the motor and tranny. It turns out that your inner primary, or in our case, the motor plate, is the best alignment tool you have.

According to Frank Kaisler, the editor, you leave the engine and tranny loose, bolt the inner primary or belt plate to the engine then pull the tranny into place and bolt it up tight and start checking under the engine and tranny for gaps with feeler gauges. In the article it showed big Frank filling the gaps with spacers as thin as .010. Damn, that's getting touchy.

Recently a Bikernet reader, Breeze, sent me the following on BDL installation suggestions and I added my two cents worth to his experience:

"When I was installing the BDL 3-inch open kit (the one that comes with the motor plate) I was having a bitch of a time gettin' the belt on. So, I called and got to talk to their tech support."

Photo 1

"Anyway Buddy Bob, tech master, says, "Oooh, just file the pulley splines (Photo 1) it will go right on." Filing splines applies to S&S motors with slightly larger main shafts, like .001 so take your time and it will work out fine. If you don't and force the pulley on, you may have a serious problem taking it off. I used a handmade puller from the bottom of the tool box to get the pulley back off."

"As far as alignment I use the good ol' straight edge across the pulleys method. Check at top, center, and bottom, to get things straight on both axis. I do this without the belt and space the front pulley out so you can use feeler gauges to compare the front to back space between the rear pulley and the straight edge. Of course the ultimate alignment test is to run it and see how the belt is tracking. It should not wander and should track on the front pulleys outer flange and center on the rear pulley."

"I think they have a great design there, it is one of the smoothes clutches I've run, but you need to check tolerances for reliable running. Be sure to follow the instructions on the clutch install, the Locktite they tell you to use on the basket splines is important for the basket to seat properly."

"They call me the Breeze, I keep rolling down the road!"

Well, that's the Breeze's story. In fact Breeze has given me a couple more things to check. I put one of the polished rotor covers on, which threw my pulley alignment out of whack, so I had to take it back off. I'd rather have reliability that flash.

Before you attempt to install the belt drive check these alignment areas. Bolt your rear motor mount bolts down tight, without the top one in place. With feeler gauges check the front motor mount. Space the front ones if there is any gap.

Now bolt down the tranny plate and the tranny except for the single bolt on the right side (Photo 2.) 

Photo 2 

Check the clearance to the final stud from the frame and correct the spacing. Now with everything loosened up install the inner primary. The BDL system comes with a very heavy duty clutch bearing, so the the stock bearing race must be removed. Fortunately I had a JIMS puller for just that application.

Photo 3

That and a couple of crescent wrenches and the puppy was gone, and the new bearing installed.

Slide the clutch and front pulley on, and make one more alignment check as you rotate the motor (Photo 4).

Photo 4

Grease the starter shaft and bolt in the starter pinion gear. Next install the clutch pack as per the manual. You can now install the belt guard and adjust the clutch. I'm carrying another set of clutch studs and springs, in case the clutch begins to slip. I'm hauling along another belt for safety, also. Couple of years ago, I ate one (it wasn't a BDL, though).

Seems like a lot of work, but actually this is one of the cleanest, simplest systems out there, and once you have it dialed in, you can put it on and take it off in minutes. Damn, I running out of time. Gotta git to the wiring.

Rock and roll.




Share this story:

Back to Bandit's 2000 Blue Flame, Bike Builds

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.