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Old 10-31-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
SkiFastBadly OP
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Ulysses: How to change a belt

First, break a belt. Without this crucial step, the rest of the instructions are useless. How one goes about breaking a belt is up to the individual. In my case, I was taking a lovely ride near Issaquah, WA about 2pm on Halloween, thinking that I had about 20 minutes to do the 35 minute ride back home to Woodinville. As my mind drifted over the events of the past two weeks, I realized that the Buell is actually a fine machine, and certainly I've had a problem or two, but bikes are like women, if they're not somewhat troublesome, you'll soon be bored with them, and then...WHAAAAA the acceleration that I had been enjoying as a function of twisting the throttle ceased. My first reaction was that I must have hit the rev limiter, but several more twists resulted in movement in the tach but not that delicious torquey fix we all love. I knew before I was fully stopped the belt had gone, and looking down at the bare sprocket only confirmed that of which I was already certain.

Even though it's the last day of October, and it's the Puget Sound area, it wasn't raining (swear to God) so that's one break I caught. Second break was that I actually have been carrying an extra belt with me for about a year. So I thought to myself "I have a belt. I have tools. I have hundreds of suddenly not so useless hours perusing the advrider and badweb sites on the intertubes. I'm golden."

So I did what any red blooded adventure rider would do, I got off the bike and stared at it for about five minutes, hoping something would occur to me. Nothing did. I had chosen an unusually quiet road to break the belt on. Even though I could have thrown a rock (and there was one lying there, more on that later) and hit I-90, the parallel road I was on was completely empty. I remember thinking during my illicit acceleration "I bet there are cops around" but if there were, they vanished as soon as I could have used a hand.

Anyway, I figured out that since I was working only in three dimensions, and the belt was not a mobius strip, that some topological change would have to be affected on the bike in order to get the new belt on. The old belt had vanished, so extra dimensions were not out of the question, but I haven't the capacity to access them. There's a piece in the frame with four hex head screws in it, and I figured out that removing those screws would allow that piece of the frame to come off, and allow the belt to be fit on. So I took it off. Now I say that like it took a minute, but those bastards were tight, and hard to reach, so it was more like 20 minutes, but nevertheless I got the thing off. I took off some other plastic bits too, stuff that made accessing the sprocket in the front easier. This leads me to an editorial comment. The Buell tool kit (99.99, available from your dealer, no relationship, etc.) is really a very useful kit. The only thing they really don't have is THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL OF ALL, which is a torx head the size that would fit 95% of screws holding the body work of the bike on. How they missed this is beyond me. Fortunately, the little blue bag (you know the one) has a little tool in it that does fit. If there were a bit in the toolkit the right size, one's labor would be reduced by a great amount, but apparently somebody didn't bother to think about that FUCKERS. Sorry.

Anyway, back to the story. I've got the plastic bits off, I've got the belt in the general location, and now I see that SOMETHING has to be loosened to get the belt on. Let me tell you what it is not. It is not the belt tensioner. That fucking thing (sorry, oops...language, I know..) that DARNED thing may seem like it's in the way, but if you take it off in order to give yourself some slack, it'll be...well, take my word for it, that's not the right way. The RIGHT way is to loosen the rear wheel. Which takes me to ANOTHER flaw in the aforementioned tool kit. While the blue bag contains the nut for removing the wheel, it does not contain a socket that fits the nut, nor does it or the toolkit (99.99, available from your dealer, no relationship, etc.) contain a long bar which is needed to turn the thing. Fortunately, I've had both under my seat for awhile, awaiting just such a disaster.

Now that I've sussed out the fact that I have to loosen the wheel, it occurs to me that loosening the wheel with the weight of the bike on it is probably a lousy idea. I have, of course, no jack with me. That rock that I could have thrown onto the freeway wasn't big enough to shove under the muffler. Flummoxed, I stood for awhile pondering my next move. Using my great brain and my advanced mechnical ability, I soon hit upon a solution, and pushed the beast over on it's side. You know, the way the cowboys used their horses for sheilds. (Get the Uly sidebags if for no other reason than this). With the mule lying down, it was a simple matter to loosen the axle which provided enough play to get the belt on. If only I hadn't loosened the damned tensioner. But I did, so I had to get that back on. Unfortunately, by this time the belt was cocked on the top of it, causing great difficulty in getting it back onto the bike. Remember the rock? That and a tire iron and voila, all lined up.

Now the first denizen of the road comes by and stops. Nice fellow with a pickup truck and an attempted goatee. I explained it was a belt, I was covered, putting it all back, he laughs, and holds up a belt. Must be a Harley rider. Thanks, pal, I'm set and off he goes.

Another twenty minutes of putting all the bits back on and of course while I'm there with tools and bits lying all over the side of the road Mr. R1200GS pulls up and looks down his Touratec nose at me asking if I need help and desperately hoping I'll say no. I tell him I'm cool, he should take his final drive of the fall. Get it? Final drive? I kill me, I really do.

Anyway, two hours into it, everything's back together and I'm riding again. Not that bad really if you have the time, the belt, the tools, the accumulated wisdom of the interwebs, and it's not raining.

Let's see you fix your damned F800GS by yourselves. HA!
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SkiFastBadly screwed with this post 11-01-2009 at 10:41 AM
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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Think I'm going to throw a few more tools into the kit. Made the $99.00 kit up myself for under $10.00 at the local pawn shop. Also added a few things that I'll check against your story. Maybe I should get a spare belt, too.
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
Fire Escape
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Question How many miles?

How many miles did the original belt last? I am very pleased to hear that they at least provided a way for the belt to be changed without a total disassembling of the bike. Pretty sure that when the belt goes on my Super Glide I will be removing the swing arm and the primary drive to change it, not going to happen on the side of the road - raining or not! Guess I should re-read that part of the service manual.

Bruce
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Escape
How many miles did the original belt last? Bruce
23K
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:35 PM   #5
vwone
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Great write up! I just bought an XB12XT and you just sold me on the tool kit, but I was wondering where you stored the belt on your bike for the last year? I read on badweatherbikers that the belt cannot be bent to tight or it will break. Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwone
Great write up! I just bought an XB12XT and you just sold me on the tool kit, but I was wondering where you stored the belt on your bike for the last year? I read on badweatherbikers that the belt cannot be bent to tight or it will break. Thanks!
Side case.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:38 PM   #7
soewe812
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The cheesy aluminum wrench in the blue kit used to adjust the preload on the forks also fits the axle tool.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:32 AM   #8
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wow

Ski-That was a good read.
Just bought my 09 Ulysses.
Sean
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:09 AM   #9
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Thanks for posting this. Guess I'd better shore up the tool kit and get a spare belt. I have 20K on my "lifetime" belt.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:18 AM   #10
Hughlysses
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Tips for next time-

1. You can safely back out the axle the ~25 turns necessary to loosen the belt without a support under the bike.

2. A used belt is slightly stretched and is much easier to install than a new one. When you buy a replacement for your broken belt, go ahead and install it in the comfy, clean, well-lit, tool-stocked, chilled liquid refreshment available confines of your garage and save the pre-stretched old belt for your spare.

For those of you that have never broken a belt, some seem to last forever and some break at low mileage with no evident warning. Check the belt for cracks or other obvious signs of problems when you change rear tires. Several people on Badweb have noticed that their belt seemed to lose tension shortly before breaking. Make a habit to occasionally push up on the lower side of the belt in front of the wheel between the belt guards. If the belt's not fairly taught there, yours may be getting ready to break.
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Hughlysses screwed with this post 11-01-2009 at 08:28 AM
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:24 AM   #11
larryboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtwin
Thanks for posting this. Guess I'd better shore up the tool kit and get a spare belt. I have 20K on my "lifetime" belt.

Put a new belt on right now and keep the stretched out used one for a spare. You don't even have to loosen the rear wheel to remove the old belt, that translates into an emergency belt that can be installed without loosening the rear wheel.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:50 AM   #12
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Nice write up. This is kinda off topic but could someone describe what a good touring tool kit would have in it.
Also how do I store the belt on the bike so I don't damage it. Anyone have a picture of how too store it?

Thanks, Murf
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #13
adkranger
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Nice write up ski-badly. I like your handle too.........describes me to a tee at the beginning of the season. Sometimes middle and end as well....

I have been assembling my own travel kit, you've given me some more motivation and ideas too. Along with a couple of laughs. Had more than a few backroad strandings on some of my older, more abused rides. Not the Uly yet.....knocking on wood. This thread brought "fine" memories of a particular KZ650 that had a habit of dieing in the most unfortunate times/weather. Fixing blown main fuses with foil gum wrappers, missing master link sideplate with fence wire (thanks farmer), duct tape seal on broken points cover in the rain, etc.... Ahhh, the memories. Course my story(s) would have been X-rated with graphic violence, foul language and that rock would have been thrown a great distance immediately upon dismount from my dead ride...
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:19 PM   #14
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Great write-up

Now when's someone going to come up with a chain conversion
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BikePilot
Great write-up

Now when's someone going to come up with a chain conversion




Saintly Cycles Chain Conversion
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