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New BDL EVO-3000 Installation

Perfect Support Belt Drive System

Text by Wrench, photos by Bandit and mechanical assistance from Mailman
6/10/2010 2:23:41 PM

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20 new bdl sys. 
in box
We're going to take you through this New BDL installation from start to finish. Generally belt drive installations are straight forward. There's a couple of key issues: The inner primary is your guide to a proper running, aligned belt drive. If it's square to the engine and tranny, all else is golden. This new drive EVO-3000 helps guarantee that your pulleys are aligned through the outer bearings and plate.

1 primary 
before shot
Here's Roger's Softail just before we kicked into gear.

The only other element that needs scrutiny is the starter pinion shaft and gears. With a little care and measuring, your starter will work effortlessly for years to come. Watch the installation closely.

Let's get to work: This application was chosen for a near-stock Evo Softail with no offset. Roger won the Free Bikernet Door Prize Giveaway that we post weekly. BDL has offset insert kits for their front pulleys from 1/4-inch to 2 inches.

2 remove outer 

3 teflon chain 
Check the grease in the chain case.

4 comensator 

5 breaking 
comp. sprocket
Note how we jammed the screwdrive handle into the primary chain.

6 compensator 
sprocket apart
This compensator sprocket was backed with a heavy Fisher balancing system.

7 removing 
chain tentioner nut
The chain tensioner must go before the primary drive can be removed.

8 clutch 
pushrod adj. removed
An internal snap ring holds the clutch adjuster plate in place. It must be removed before we could reach the clutch nut.

9 remove 
clutch nut
Remember the 1/3/16 socket is turning a left handed nut.

10 clutch nut
The lefty clutch nut removed.

12 engine 
sprocket shim
We saved this shim for use with BDL pulley spacing.

We started by removing the primary cover on Roger's home-built custom Softail. For some reason, instead of oil Roger packed his inner primary with grease. The chain was loose as hell. It took a 1 1/2-inch socket to remove the compensator nut. We used the handle of an old screwdriver to jam the chain. Mailman grabbed a 9/16 socket and removed the chain adjuster nut, while I dug out a 1 3/16 socket for the clutch basket, which is left handed.

13 removing 
battery cable
It's always a good idea to disconnect the battery.

14 starter gear 

15 removing 
starter gear bolt

We stopped for a minute and removed his custom embroidered seat and the ground wire from the battery to the frame. You don't want to touch that starter drive with the battery connected--it will engage.

11 primary 
drive removed

16 mailman 
removing starter
Mailman jumped to the right side of the bike with a long extention and an Allen socket to remove the two bolts that hold the starter in place.

17 starter 
Here's one of the starter installation bolts.

We removed the driveline as one piece and set the greasy bastard aside. With a screwdriver or wedge we bent the tab on the starter drive gear and with a 5/16 socket removed the long bolt from the starter jack shaft. We set this stuff aside in case we might need it for the installation, although the BDL kit comes with a complete starter pinion shaft and gear.

18 inner 
primary bolts
All the bolts left over from the stock inner primary.

19 starter shaft 
and parts
Here's his starter pinion shaft parts up to the coupler for the Compu-Fire starter.

Here's the catch. If you're not running a stock starter, you may need some versatility when it comes to the installation. We did since Roger ran a Compu-Fire starter. Next, we removed the starter Allens from the right side and set them on the lift. The starter didn't need to be removed or disconnected, just backed out.

Note from a reader: First, the BDL installation guide is GREAT! There is, however, one VERY important part missing and I hope you can add a notation to the web.

After successfully installing my BDL, I notice a few drip of oil after every ride. Nothing major at all, but annoying. After pulling the drive train several time, I finally called S&S and learned that the Sprocket Shaft Seal needs to be installed the opposite direct as with wet primaries.

The Harley Part number is 12026B. It's an easy install, but a real pain to pull the entire primary, so this would be a very good tip to include EARLY in the guide. 

Hope this will help anyone else installing an Open Primary...

21 checking 
rotor for loose magnets
Checking the alternator rotor for loose magnets.

Next we bent the locking tabs down around the inner primary bolts, then removed the bolts. Mail man saved Roger's engine sprocket shim and pulled the alternator rotor for inspection to see if any magnets were loose. It was golden, so we moved immediately into the installation phase.

39 bdl 
BDL supplies all the fasteners you need.

First we placed the pulley/shaft insert into the front pulley. Here's where you'd be forced to find an offset insert for an offset drive line. We installed the Allens in the holes to hold the pulley in line (not permanently). There's a reason why they use roll pins and bolts and we discovered it later. If you need to remove the pulley, a puller is necessary and the Allens will need to come out. The roll pins hold the pulley securely in line. Using a drift punch we started the roll pins, then used a vice as a press, then finally finished the job with another punch. These slip into the unthreaded holes from the back.

front pulley 

26 attaching 
engine drive insert

27 driving pins 
into back of sprocket

28 pressing 
pins in drive sprocket

Here's a key we forgot. It's easy, but don't forget to install the polished alternator cover onto the backside of the pulley with the three supplied button-head Allen bolts, with Loctite. We forgot and had to remove the pulley later.

29 punching 

At this point I crawled around Roger's bike loosening up all motormount bolts with 9/16s sockets and wrenches. Bandit has one wrench, heated and bent to a 90 degree angle for the left rear nut under the frame. Works perfect to get a grip on that sucker. Mailman removed the two bolts holding the top motor mount to the head, since we had a tough time reaching the top motor mount bolt above the carburetor. With the engine loose we checked the alignment of the rear pulley to determine whether we felt we needed to loosen the transmission. We eyeballed the rear belt to transmission alignment and the belt for wear.

23 loosen 
motormount bolts
Here's a shot of the front motormount bolts. Don't forget to loosen the rear and top.

24 exhaust 
pipe spacers and bolts
I forgot to mention to remove any exhaust pipe mounting bolts to allow the engine full flexibility.

With supplied Allens I bolted the inner primary securely to the transmission, after cleaning a rusty residue off the main shaft preventing me from slipping the bearing and inner primary into place.

22 cleaning 
main trans shaft
I used 400 wet and dry to clean rust off the mainshaft.

25 bolting 
down inner primary

With the inner primary securely in place we looked at the engine. It looked seriously out of line. We installed the front inner primary Allens and the engine sucked right into line. It fit like a glove. We checked it top and bottom, side to side with feeler gauges and tightened the Allens all around, then I tightened the engine back to the frame and Mailman tightened the top motormount down.



In the instructions from BDL they pointed out that no engine shaft splines can protrude from the front pulley. We dug around and found a .190-inch spacer and used Roger's .010 shim for pulley spacing. Suddenly the pulley seemed to be in just the right position.

30 spacers for 
front pulley
Coupled together we had .200 spacing which worked like a charm.

31 famous 
bikernet pulley spreading tool
This simple tool held the driveline in perfect position for shaft alignment. I turned the makeshift turnbuckle while Mailman eyed the fit on the front pulley.

With a wire brush we cleaned the splines on the transmission mainshaft and slipped the entire clutch package into place. We checked the alignment with the front pulley with a straight edge. It was cool so we removed it partially and slipped the belt into place and attempted to install the front and rear pulley/clutch. It was guitar string tight and we fought it until Bandit stepped up with a handmade spreader tool made up of two 2-by-2 pieced of 3/4-inch thick wood to protect the pulley surfaces. Pressure came from a large coarse thread, 5-inch, 1/2-inch bolt and large washer stuffed in a 3/4 deep socket. It worked like a dream to hold the pulleys aligned while spreading them slightly.

32 new clutch 
nut in place
Remember this is a left handed giant.

33 checking 
alignment w straight edge
This is a key measurement. That angle iron needed to touch the front and rear of both pulleys equally.

We slipped the entire driveline in place then discovered that we forgot the rotor cover. We used a common puller for the front pulley (with Allens removed) and a JIMS puller on the rear for the clutch. Slipped right off. We installed the polished aluminum rotor cover and replaced the driveline (don't forget to dab the mainshaft splines with red locktite to prevent vibration wear on the shaft or pulley), then using a straight edge we double-checked pulley alignment. It was golden.

34 pulling front 
pulley off


35 jims puller 
removing clutch
JIMS puller is use. JIMS makes every tool you need for Harleys.

36 installed 
polished rotor cover
There's that puppy (the polished alternator cover) in place behind the engine pulley.

bolt in clutch 
basket assy
The BDL line drawing of the clutch basket and components.

Mailman installed the left handed clutch nut with seal, clutch pack, pressure plate and clutch springs, then the snap ring and pushrod adjuster. We installed the engine pulley nut (right-handed threads) and snugged it down for final alignment checks.

37 mailman 
adj. clutch pushrod
Mailman adjusting the clutch lever pull with the clutch pushrod.

38 close up 
adj. clutch pushrod
After it was adjusted properly we tightened the locknut for secure operation. He adjusted the clutch using the dime adjustment procedure. He screwed in the adjuster making sure to maintain some slack in the cable at the lever on the left handlebar. When he was close he checked the lever for a dime thickness of cable slack. When it was perfect, he tightened the adjuster locking nut.

43 red 
BDL supplies builders with tubes of red Loctite.

44 installing 

With every thing in place and running cool we installed the clutch cover with supplied Allen countersunk socket heads and the front pulley cover. Both these beautifully polished aluminum billet covers come with bearing races pressed on the noses. Mailman made up the bearing plate, aluminum stands with threaded studs and screwed them into place.

40 clutch cover 
w rase
Here's the clutch cover. Note the bearing race on the nose.

41 attaching 
clutch cover

42 installing 
stud in cover stand
I was concerned about the tightness of the stand studs, but Mailman focused on half the threads slipping into the stand and half into the inner primary.

45 bikernet 
instruction flyer
Quite a compliment from BDL. We appreciate their support.

46 installing 
front pulley cover with rase

"The stands tighten themselves," Mailman said who is an avid racer of dragster Sportsters. "They're tightened from both ends."

47 new outer 
Here's the piece that holds the shafts in line and reduces pressure to each shaft under a performance load.

48 attaching 
cover bolts
We polished the cover bolts.

Next we installed the stylish polished aluminum outer cover that contains two massive bearings. It's held in place with four stainless doomed Allen bolts that Bandit polished for a chromed look. Bandit made a comment about how he liked the original BDL system without the outer cover, but Mailman straightened him out.

49 bearing 
Polished bearing caps.

"This system is similar to top fuel systems," he said. "It supports the entire driveline with this plate and bearings. Adds alignment and strength."

50 attaching 
bearing caps

We installed the final bearing caps and turned to the Starter pinion gear from BDL which is designed for stock Harley starter motors.

51 stock starter 
gear assy

52 inserting 
starter gear sleeve
This is called the pinion gear tube.

They also supply two long bolts with every belt drive, 1/4-20 by 2 1/2 inches long for '90 to '93 starters and a 10-32 by 2 1/2 inches for '94 and up. It comes (in order from the starter out) with a spring seat, then a spring, the pinion gear (or jack shaft), then a pinion gear tube (small diameter first). It fits into the pinion gear from the outside, then a bolt collar and the bolt (don't forget Loctite).

53 bolting 
starter gear

With all the elements slipped over the starter drive shaft, we tightened the bolt down. Giggie from Compu-Fire taught us how to check the drive play or air gap between the starter drive gear and the clutch ring gear. The gap is intended to be between .075 and .125. We learned to check it with Allen wrenches. A 1/4 Allen is .250, so a 1/8 is .125 a 1/16 is .062. We checked it since, if it's too close the starter doesn't get a chance to muster full momentum. If it's too far the starter gear is flying and doesn't want to engage with the ring gear. We slipped various Allens between the two gears and checked the clearance. It wasn't right (there's shots of this operation in the Shrunker FXR tech on installing the latest Compu-Fire Starter).

54 bolting on 
starter gear cover

Here's where we ran into a glitch since Roger's bike was installed with a Compu-Fire Starter. We ultimately used the coupler and drive gear from his original jack shaft and it worked out fine. We greased the brass bushing in the starter gear cover and slipped it into place and bolted it in with the supplied 5/16 Allens. This monster fired right to life.

55 bolting on 
starter gear cover

The EVO-3000 is also available as a retro-fit through a BDL kit. It will retro fit to all BDL Softail and Dyna drives. The support plate keeps the engine and trans shafts from flexing. This plate is a must for all large engine, wide tire applications. The BDL Retro Kit includes a polished custom billet support with bearings pressed in, polished pulley covers with races, new pressure plate and hardware. Modifications must be made for fitment.

56 final shot

There she is. A thing of beauty. It's not only cool, but strong and supportive for performance, wide tire bikes, or any bike for that matter. Bandit pointed out that it's happy hour.

Let's Ride.



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Reader Comments

Glad to see that yall are helping people with questions! I would like to get open primary kit 3000 for 2inch belt

James Burke
Gray, TN
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Editor Response Hey James,

BDL got right back to me: Hey Bandit, No Problem. The EVO-3000 is an outer bearing support kit. This kit mounts to the Belt Drives Ltd. AKA BDL EVO-9S 3” wide open belt drive.

The EVO-3000 is not intended for the 2” wide version as the support is for Larger engines with a lot of Torque and Horsepower and the outer support helps limit or stop the transmission mainshaft flex caused by the weight at the end of the mainshaft that the wider belt drives have.

There is a special bolt pattern that is pre drilled and tapped into the outer face of the 72-3EX basket for the rear pulley cover to mount to, this is a special machined pulley cover and requires a special pressure plate to be used for operating clearance.

The rear pulley cover has a boss machined into it for a Nylatron bushing, that bushing rides in the outer support bearing. There are standoffs and a front pulley cover as well. The bolt pattern in the motorplate must match the bolt pattern for the EVO-3000 as well. You can call BDL direct if you like at 714-693-1313 Ext. 227 or Ext. 232 are how to reach the two tech guys. T
i have this primary belt drive on my 1994 Softail custom, I am having trouble finding a replacement starter can you help. I just swapped out the 5-speed for an Ultima 6-speed transmission, and i took a picture of the starter. If you email me I'll send you a copy of the picture. Can you help please?

MSG US ARMY Steve Ruiz retired

steve ruiz
Lubbock, TX
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Editor Response Hey Steve,

I'm sure we can help. Drop me a line to Have you tried Spyke Starters? Are they still around. Billy can always help.
I have a BLD an noticed a trans leak under my bike took off the clutch basket and there was no oil but after it was removed i notice trans fluid leaking out of the spline.

darrin bennett
Fayetteville, NC
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Editor Response Check the seal and your oil level. Most of the time over-filling a trans is the issue.
I have the same bdl belt drive, how do I remove the clutch basket from the primary

will schmidt
frenchtown, MT
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Editor Response Take out the spring pins and the basket will slide off, although you may need to loosen the pulley on the engine shaft. Remember, the clutch hub nut is left handed
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