1998 Belt Adjustment

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by mc2, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. mc2

    mc2 Active Member Contributor

    I've had the Fat Boy since it was new, and I've just put on a new rear tire at 35,000 miles. Amazing, huh!

    Well, it sat in storage most of the time I was overseas, and when needed, my brother took it to a shop for tires. Contrary to the ease of my '08 FB, which gives belt adjustment specs for the bike on the kickstand, or on a lift; the '98 specs say you got to be sitting on the bike to adjust the belt. How am I supposed to do that?:confused:

    Do I need to call for a buddy or bro to come sit on it, or does anybody have a tried and true method and tension spec for doing it on their own?
  2. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    Is there any mention of using a belt tensioner gauge while performing adjustment?
    I agree that you can not sit on bike and adjust at the same time. Is statement in the factory Harley manual?
    Though according to this video you are correct???
  3. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    In the past i got my little boy or my wife to sit on the bike while I do the adjustment however I find that it is still a wee bit tight when doing it by the book with the correct tool so now I just do it by feel till I think it is right but I may touch the belt on one of my other bikes just to make sure tension is similar
    Little boy is 6ft 2" and a wee bit heavier than me so is of sufficient size and weight to compress the back suspension for the tension check

  4. dolt

    dolt Senior Member

    Don't over think it. Use the 45* twist approach and the belt adjustment should be fine. Adjust (don't have to sit on the bike) the tension so that you can grab the belt with thumb and forefinger and twist to 45*. If you can't twist to 45* that way, belt is too tight. If you can twist to 90* belt is too loose. If you can twist to 45* or just a bit past, belt tension should be about right. I have about 100K miles on two bikes, a softail and a touring model, and have never used a tension gauge to adjust the belt on either.;)
    Breeze3at, HDDon and dbmg like this.
  5. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    Now that's some great, simple common sense advice dolt. Thanks! :)
  6. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Dolt has you covered here. On my 94 FLSTC the hardest part was getting the measurement the same on both sides. A little lose is better.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    I too Believe in Old School Adjustment. @ 116,500 miles on the original belt, on my 09 FLHR... Installed a Baker DD7 , I thought to put on a new belt... Looking at it closely, Not Needed...

    Most belts on new bikes sitting at dealers are in need of Loosening when I check them (habit to look n feel)... Too tight is Worse than Loose IMO

    I like that 45* adjustment dolt...
    I am so used to the setting For My Bike... On the side stand, Cold, Unridden, I can press up about a full 1 1/8 inch Eyeball measurement, looking into the measure window.
    Always ride it easily until it is warmed up ? about 15-20 minutes into ride... By then all things are warmed for the ride INCLUDING Me... LOL

    I do need to loosen mine a tad after having new tires put on monday. Close but not close enough...

    Just My Way...

  8. mc2

    mc2 Active Member Contributor

    I'll buy into that 45 degree logic.
    I'm a stickler about their adjustments and carry a tension gauge in my took kit! But belts are strong. Although I'm always observant to the tension of other people's bike's belts. I see come flopping and others running tight as a guitar string; but I've never heard of anyone breaking one. Still, for longterm concerns to wear on bearings & pulleys, I keep an eye on mine. AND, it's my bike, I take care of it & it takes care of me.:D Thanks guys
  9. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    They can and do break. A small pebble or piece of metal can destroy a belt. Running them a tad loose is the thing I always try to remember.
  10. tourbox

    tourbox Senior Member

    Back 2012 a few of us were in the Texas Hill country and a friend went to Gruene(sp) HD and bought a new 2012 Road Glide on Saturday. Well coming home on Sunday the belt broke in Hondo,Tx. Had to put it in the back of someone's pick to get it to Caliente HD for repair. Said belt was to tight from factory, no rocks or punctures. Only 300 miles on it, warranty covered it.
    So it can happen.