How to Adjust the Drive Belt on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles is one of the most popular motorcycles within Harley-Davidson's Touring series, providing a high degree of comfort that makes long-distance rides as easy on the backside as they are on the soul. A carbon-fiber and Kevlar drive belt transmits power from the Vehicles V-twin engine to the rear wheel, which requires little maintenance beyond regular belt tension checks and adjustments. Proper belt tension, or deflection, allows the belt some slack to compensate Vehicles changing road conditions.

Under The Hood:

 How to Adjust the Drive Belt on a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900

Place an adjustable wrench on each axle nut located on either side of the rear tire. Loosen each axle nut just enough to allow the axle to slide backwards in the swing arm. A quarter turn is usually sufficient.

Locate the adjustment bolt on the left side of the Vulcan. It is just to the left of the axle nut and runs parallel with the frame. Turn the nut a quarter turn clockwise using a wrench.

Locate the adjustment bolt on the right side of the Vulcan. It is just to the right of the axle nut and runs parallel with the frame. Turn the nut a quarter turn clockwise using a wrench.

Tighten both axle nuts using the adjustable wrenches.

Press down on the top center of the Kevlar belt between the sprocket and where the belt goes into the transmission housing. Your goal is approximately ½-inch flex when you lightly press on the belt with your finger.

Repeat these steps until you achieve the correct amount of flex in the belt if your first adjustment did not meet the required amount of belt flex.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrenches

  • Wrench set

 How to Adjust the Drive Belt in a Yamaha Road Star

Check the belt's tension and torsion before making adjustments. Park the motorcycle on its side stand, and place a belt tension gauge against the belt's lower half, below the check inspection window cut into the lower belt guard. Place 10 pounds of upward pressure against the belt, using the belt tension gauge -- the belt should have a range of motion between 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch. If the belt deflection is above or below these specifications, the belt must be adjusted.

Loosen the rear brake caliper stay bolt, positioned along the top-right side of the swingarm, near the rear brake caliper, using a 14 mm socket and a socket wrench.

Loosen the rear axle nut, located on the right side of the rear wheel, using a 27 mm socket and a socket wrench.

Loosen the belt adjuster lock nuts, located at the ends of both axle holders, using a 12 mm combination wrench. Turn both belt adjuster bolts evenly with a 12 mm wrench to adjust the belt tension. If the previous belt measurement was less than 1/4 of an inch, turn both adjusters counterclockwise to loosen the belt. Turn the belt adjuster bolts clockwise to tighten the belt, if the belt measurement was greater than 5/16 of an inch.

Check the belt deflection again, using the method described above. Make adjustments as needed until the belt defection produces a range of motion between 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch.

Measure the distance from the center of the swingarm pivot bolt to the center of the rear axle on both sides of the motorcycle, using a tape measure. The measurements must be equal, indicating that rear wheel is aligned with the front of the motorcycle. Align the rear wheel, using the right belt adjuster, if the measurements do not match. Turn the right belt adjuster bolt clockwise with a 12 mm combination wrench to bring the rear axle closer to the swingarm, or counterclockwise to move the rear away from from the swingarm.

Check and adjust the belt deflection and alignment, using the methods described above. Tighten the belt adjuster lock nuts against the rear axle holders, using a 12 mm combination wrench. Tighten the rear axle nut to 85 foot-pounds, using a 17 mm socket and a socket wrench.

Tighten the rear brake caliper stay bolt to 22 foot-pounds, using a 14 mm socket and a torque wrench.

Items you will need

  • Belt tension gauge (Yamaha part no. YM-03170)

  • 14 and 27 mm sockets

  • Socket wrench

  • 12 mm combination wrench

  • Tape measure

  • Torque wrench

 How to Adjust the Drive Belt on an Electra Glide

Belt Tension Check

Place the motorcycle on a service stand to hold it in an upright position with the rear wheel elevated off of the ground. The motorcycle may be parked on its side stand if a service stand is not available, but the belt measurements will be different.

Open the left saddlebag lid. Remove the quick-release pins, located along the inner wall of the saddlebag, then pull the saddlebag off of the motorcycle.

Fill the rear shock absorbers to 10 psi with compressed air if the motorcycle is parked on its side stand.

Apply 10 pounds of upward pressure on the lower portion of the drive belt, using a belt tension gauge placed at the belt's midway point. Measure the distance the belt deflects while sustaining pressure. Ideally, the belt should have 3/16 to 1/4 inch of deflection with the rear wheel lifted off of the ground. Alternatively, the belt should have 1/4 to 5/16 inch of deflection with the motorcycle parked on its side stand.

Reinstall the left saddlebag if the belt deflection is within the correct range.

Adjusting the Belt

Place the motorcycle on a service stand to hold it in an upright position with the rear wheel elevated off of the ground. The motorcycle may be parked on its side stand if a service stand is not available, but the belt measurements will be different.

Open the left and right saddlebag lids, then remove the quick-release pins from the inner walls of the saddlebags. Pull the saddlebags off of the motorcycle.

Loosen the clamp attaching the heat shield to the muffler, located on the right side of the motorcycle, using a screwdriver. Tie the muffler to the lower right saddlebag support using a bungee cord. Loosen the clamp attaching the muffler to the exhaust pipe, then remove the muffler mounting bolts using a Torx driver. Pull the muffler off of the exhaust pipe, then remove the bungee cord. Pull the muffler away from the motorcycle.

Remove the E-clip from the right side of the rear axle using external snap ring pliers. Loosen the nut from the right side of the axle using a socket and a socket wrench, then tighten it to 15 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Turn the hex-shaped head on the left side of the rear axle clockwise, using a socket wrench, to loosen the drive belt and decrease belt deflection as needed. Or turn the rear axle counterclockwise to tighten the belt and increase belt deflection.

Check the belt defection and make adjustments as needed. Tighten the rear axle nut to 11 foot-pounds, once the belt deflection is within 3/16 to 1/4 inch with the motorcycle placed on a service stand, or 1/4 to 5/15 inch with the motorcycle parked on its side stand.

Lower the motorcycle onto its side stand if using a service stand. Tighten the rear axle nut to 105 foot-pounds. Place a new E-clip into the groove cut into the end of the rear axle.

Reinstall the muffler onto the exhaust pipe and tighten the muffler bolts to 25 foot-pounds. Tighten the exhaust clamp and the heat shield clamp.

Reinstall the left and right saddlebags.

Items you will need

  • Belt tension gauge

  • Torx driver set

  • External snap ring pliers

  • Socket wrench and sockets

  • Torque wrench

  • E-clip