How to Remove the Drive Belt on a Harley-Davidson

Updated February 21, 2017

Drive belts, also knows as serpentine belts, are wrapped around a series of pulleys on the engine. You will know right away if your drive belt is becoming cracked or worn by the loud squealing noise. Once you hear this noise, it is important to replace your drive belt as soon as possible. The good news is, drive belts are made to last a very long time. So you may only need to replace one once during the lifetime of your Harley.

Open the left saddlebag. Hold the bail wire and turn the stud 1/4 turn counterclockwise. Remove the studs, washers and saddlebag. Repeat on the other side.

Remove the socket screws and lockwashers on either side of the motorcycle, holding the footboard to the swingarm.

Remove the left side muffler by opening the clamps to the heat shield in the front of the muffler. Tie the muffler to the lower support rail with a bungee cord. Loosen the clamp between the muffler and the pipe.

Roll the motorcycle onto a centre hydraulic stand. Place a piece of wood underneath the oil pan for support. Remove the E-clip from the end of the axle on the right side of the motorcycle.

Take off the cone nut and the adjuster cam. Tap the axle towards the left side to loosen it. Pull the axle away from the wheel and the rear swingarm.

Separate the brake disc and the caliper by pulling the wheel. Remove the caliper. Move the wheel aside and take the belt off the sprocket.

Remove the two rear screws from the belt guard. Loosen the front screw. Push the belt guard forward and remove it from the motorcycle.

Locate the bolt holding the rear swingarm and shock absorber together. Remove the bolt. Repeat on the other side of the motorcycle. Remove the two bolts holding the rear swingarm in place. Take off the decorative plug.

Open the cable clips with a screwdriver to free the rear brake line. At the end of the pivot shaft, remove the locknut on the right side. Tilt the pivot shaft toward the left side of the motorcycle.

Pull the entire pivot shaft assembly out of the transmission. Work the swingarm out of the transmission and brackets. Remove the spacer from the swingarm tube. Remove the rubber mount from behind the swingarm bracket.

Remove the chaincase. The drive belt will now be free from the transmission sprocket.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • Bungee cord
  • Center hydraulic stand
  • Wooden board
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
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