Primary belt drive

Post Reply
Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Primary belt drive

#1

Post by Times Welding »

Gentlemen,
On my '59 Duo Glide, my compensating sprocket and primary chain are badly worn. I've been thinking about running an enclosed primary belt drive in lieu of the stock set up. I've read all that I could find debating the pros and cons, and have decided to run a BDL 8mm x 1.5" set up. If anyone has any advice I might need or just comments in general, I'd live to hear them. Also, once I've done the swap and have accumulated a few miles on the new setup, I'll be reporting my opinion of the supposed upgrade. Thanks



panhead george
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:13 pm
Bikes: "48 panhead,"06 streetglide,
"97 sportster
Location: california
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#2

Post by panhead george »

You have read the pros and cons so you know what you are getting into but I used a BDL enclosed setup on a 93 softail and the only issue I had twice was one of the shoulder bolts that they were using to hold the pressure plate and clutch together snapped off right at the shoulder and the large sealed roller bearing they were using in the clutch hub failed. I am sure by now that they have addressed those issues and made improvements as I see there product used for many builds but it would not hurt to ask about it. I first used a Primo back in '73 or '74 when they first were coming out with it on a 56 pan and it was also inclosed and never had any problems and punished that system like any chopper riding 22 year old would. I built a '48 pan 7 years ago and used the Primo version of what you are thinking of getting and have not had one issue but alignment is critical and keeping the oil off the belt as best as possible will keep things purring along. The belt will eliminate some vibration and will make the motor rev a little quicker when you whack the throttle kind of like a light flywheel will act on a car. You are removing a good amount of weight when the steel sprockets, chain and and clutch hub are removed. As far as venting I have only spaced the inspection cover in the center of the primary about 1/4" to let some heat out and all has been fine. I prefer to have about a 1/2" of play cold when I push up on the belt because it will tighten up when all comes up to temp. I took an aftermarket chain oiler nipple (trying to save the original parts when possible) and modified it with a 90 degree bend and run a 4' piece of vinyl tubing with a simple one way flapper valve on the back side of the inner primary to relieve pressure in place of the stock chain oiler pipe. It is really up to you and if you just want a change. The belt drive will not transform your pan into the bike of bikes but IT has been around long enough where it has a good track record on 1000's of motorcycles so you should not be afraid to use it. But if you have had many years of luck with the chain setup then why throw the baby out with the bath water if you know what I mean. Plus you The Motor Company still uses a chain to this day so they must have their reasons. Gearing choices being one... Hope this helps,

caschnd1
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:45 pm
Bikes: 1949 FL Chopper
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#3

Post by caschnd1 »

I've put well over 100K miles on my panhead with a belt drive. Started out with a Primo 1.5" wide, 8mm pitch belt drive. Didn't like how fast the pullies and belt wore. After 10K miles, I switched to a SuperMax SilentDrive. It's the lightest and most quiet belt drive in the market. It uses a 1.5" wide belt with a 14mm pitch (same pitch size as HD uses today on final drives) that is belted with carbon fiber. After over 90K miles the pullies show no signs of wear at all (polyurethane pullies). I have worn out a couple of belts.

General advice for belt drives... 1) Your alignment between engine and transmission shafts needs to be spot on. 2) Belt tension needs to be setup carefully. Too little or too much will kill your belt in very short order. 3) Keep the heat down. I do the same as "panhead george" and space my primary cover out 1/4" from the inner. Heat kills belts (weakens them).

-Craig

old.wrench
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:29 pm
Bikes: '54 FL and a mini-bike
Location: in the garage
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 82 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#4

Post by old.wrench »

My experience with the BDL's has been limited to setting a couple of of them up. They seem to be well made and the price is really reasonable. On my bikes I've always used the Primo's, but I suppose the real reason I've used the Primo's is because I got good deals on them (never seems to be much spare change in my pocket, especially these days!), not to mention it was the best system available back then. It looks like the market has caught up to Primo nowadays though. But anyhow, I'm convinced (and I've seen the evidence) that the problems people encounter with belt drives stem from alignment problems, but you seem like a pretty conscientious individual and would be rewarded with many maintenance free, trouble free, and clean miles by setting your belt drive up right. Pretty much set it and forget it. I've been very happy with belt drives, but I still have 2 bikes with chain primary drives. When those wear out, I'll see what's available and check the condition of my wallet before replacing with chain or going to a belt - you never know! Take a look at the chain versus belt poll at the top of the page for some other opinions. Best of luck with whatever you decide to run.

Geo.

Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#5

Post by Times Welding »

old.wrench wrote:My experience with the BDL's has been limited to setting a couple of of them up. They seem to be well made and the price is really reasonable. On my bikes I've always used the Primo's, but I suppose the real reason I've used the Primo's is because I got good deals on them (never seems to be much spare change in my pocket, especially these days!), not to mention it was the best system available back then. It looks like the market has caught up to Primo nowadays though. But anyhow, I'm convinced (and I've seen the evidence) that the problems people encounter with belt drives stem from alignment problems, but you seem like a pretty conscientious individual and would be rewarded with many maintenance free, trouble free, and clean miles by setting your belt drive up right. Pretty much set it and forget it. I've been very happy with belt drives, but I still have 2 bikes with chain primary drives. When those wear out, I'll see what's available and check the condition of my wallet before replacing with chain or going to a belt - you never know! Take a look at the chain versus belt poll at the top of the page for some other opinions. Best of luck with whatever you decide to run.

Geo.
I was going to go with a Primo setup, but their available ratios were too high: akin to a 25/37 tooth ratio. BDL offers a 39/62 steup that is much closer to the 23/37 ratio that I was after. That was the determining factor in choosing brands.

58flh
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:54 pm
Bikes: 1958flh 1969sporty,had a knuckle but sold back to original owner
Location: NEW JERSEY
Has thanked: 195 times
Been thanked: 265 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#6

Post by 58flh »

TW!---I have put beltdrives on many bikes over the years!--You will instantly notice how QUIET & smooth the bike runs!--I have always stayed with a COMP. & Chain!--Just my preference!---I will tell you to carry a spare!!--Seen many bikes on the side of the road with a belt laying undrer it!---& the ratios are Limited. But guys have put over 100,000 miles on the same belt!--(must be set-up correctly!)& those belts that are run unside the cover work very well!--CRAIG has mentiond that a little ventilation goes alongway!---& the mist of oil that always finds its way in the primary will not hurt a modern belt!---just my 2--& GOOD-LUCK!---RICHIE

jjohnson1177
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:42 pm
Bikes: 1959 XLH,1960 FLH,1961 FLH,1963 FLH, all stock, 1979 FXS, 1979 FXE, 2007 FXSTB, 2013 Ultra Classic
Location: Meers, Oklahoma

Re: Primary belt drive

#7

Post by jjohnson1177 »

We've had great luck with primary belt drives for years and the Karata has always been the one we recommended. Careful set up and be real careful not to let the motor kickback when starting and you will be very happy. :D

58flh
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:54 pm
Bikes: 1958flh 1969sporty,had a knuckle but sold back to original owner
Location: NEW JERSEY
Has thanked: 195 times
Been thanked: 265 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#8

Post by 58flh »

I would like to add another negative thing about beltdrives!----When guys started running them at 3-inch & I have seen a few at 4-inch--(STAY AWAY from these wide belts)---Reason --theres a lot of x-tra pull on the tranny-shaft & motor shaft!---Trannys leaked very quickly after installing 1-of these Wide-belts!--Yea I like them & the artwork on them!--But unless your just trailering a custom showbike or Bar-Hoppin & 1-time a week at that!,-Then by all means if it tickles your Fancy -Do it!--But you wont make 3000-miles without the tranny pouring oil out the seal & the motor will leak to!/-Im sure some of us have a busted one laying around maybe displayed on a wall for the artwork on them!---The ones that are skinny-not bigger then your chain in width LAST a VERY long time!--Todays matierals in belts are far suppiour to when they first hit the scene!---Just my 2-----RICHIE 8)

Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#9

Post by Times Welding »

Gentlemen, I installed my BDL belt drive tonight. I have to say they have quite a nice product. I also have to say that their Customer service SUCKS! I left 4 messages with their one and only tech guy, and have yet to speak with him. Problem was that the kit came with NO paper work. None. So, I just followed my gut for the installation. Anyway, I said that I'd report my experience to you. It was a fairly straight forward installation. I paid careful attention to pully alignment. After the installation, I fired it up with no primary cover and it seemed to track well. I did notice, however, that in spite of my careful alignment, the clutch basket would walk out approximately .05" when the clutch was disengaged.... just as Mr. Cotten predicted. I've only put about 5 miles on it so far, but the lack of noise and vibration was immediately noticeable.... just as 58FLH predicted. Also, so far I really like the gearing. I have a 39 on the engine, 62 on the clutch and 24 on the trans. Once I've had time to thoroughly evaluate the system, I'll report my findings.

Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#10

Post by Times Welding »

Gentlemen, I found another issue this morning unrelated to the BDL drive, but something we all need to look for none the less. I noticed that my clutch hub was worn, so against my better judgement, I replaced it with a V-Twin unit. Upon assembly, I Noticed some play between the hub and basket (the roller bearings). For whatever reason, I dismissed the issue as unimportant. This is entirely my negligence for not exploring the issue further, but I didn't. I tossed and turned all night as I began to wonder what was causing the play. This morning I pulled the hub apart and started measuring. After measuring the hub OD and the basket ID, I determined that the rollers should be sized at 0.21875". I measured the rollers from my old hub and they were just that. I then measured the rollers supplied with the new Taiwan Tedd hub assembly and they measured, now get ready for this, 0.201"! That's 0.018" undersized and could allow for an eccentricity of 0.036" at the clutch basket (and rear primary sprocket). Needless to say, I reinstalled the old rollers onto the new hub. Boy does it fit better! I know its inexcusable for me to overlook such a terribly sloppy fit, but I did. The moral of the story is: beware of the reproduction parts, and if you must use them, double check EVERYTHING!!!. Even the seemingly unimportant! We all know this, but this really drives it home for me.

bangkokbob
Posts: 225
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:52 am
Bikes: 94FLSTN
63FLH
Has thanked: 39 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#11

Post by bangkokbob »

Probably the closest metric rollers that "Taiwan Ted" could lay his sticky little fingers on!

amiabledave
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:06 pm
Bikes: 1957 Panhead, First HD was a 1969 Sporster w/factory mag,
Location: Florida
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#12

Post by amiabledave »

Install the big bearing kit. 52 long needle bearings.

Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#13

Post by Times Welding »

amiabledave wrote:Install the big bearing kit. 52 long needle bearings.
I don't have a problem with the stock setup. Its fine now. The problem was the .018" undersized rollers no doubt from Teddwan ROC.

Times Welding
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:27 pm
Bikes: 1959 FLH
2006 FLHRSI
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#14

Post by Times Welding »

Times Welding wrote:Gentlemen, I installed my BDL belt drive tonight. I have to say they have quite a nice product. I also have to say that their Customer service SUCKS! I left 4 messages with their one and only tech guy, and have yet to speak with him. Problem was that the kit came with NO paper work. None. So, I just followed my gut for the installation.
I did finally reach BDL's tech rep on the phone. He basically said that everything I did during my conversion was spot on. I may have been a bit hasty forming my opinion of their customer service (sorry, BDL), but it still would have been nice to be able to reach them before the install, just in case I was about to do something wrong they could have set me straight. Also, I've got about 50 miles on the belt drive, and so far, I love it.

Omarine
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:58 am
Bikes: '49 FL project
Location: San Diego, CA
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Primary belt drive

#15

Post by Omarine »

Mine came in the mail last week. It will be a while before i can attempt the install. Have yet to mock the bike. One question for alignment. Can you use spacers or shims on tapered shafts if the pulleys need aligning?
Thanks

Post Reply

Return to “Chains & Belts”