How to Convert a Chain Primary to a Belt in a Harley Davidson

Written by christina teter
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All stock Harley-Davidson motorcycles come equipped with a chain driven primary. A Harley owner with a desire to spend less time and money maintaining his Harley should consider converting the chain to a belt driven primary. To convert to a belt drive, you must purchase an aftermarket belt drive as Harley-Davidson does not offer a belt drive. Belt drives are reasonably priced and you can install one with simple hand tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Drain pan
  • Allen wrench
  • Standard wrench set
  • Standard socket set
  • Grease
  • Solid bar
  • Rag
  • Loctite
  • Torque wrench

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  1. 1

    Remove the magnetic drain plug with a wrench from underneath the outer primary chain case on the left-hand side of the motorcycle. Drain the fluid into a drain pan.

  2. 2

    Remove the 14 bolts that hold the primary chain case, inspection cover and clutch cover in place with an Allen wrench.

  3. 3

    Remove the clutch pulley assembly by removing the retaining clip, clutch pulley adjuster and clutch basket. Remove the retaining clip with a pick took and pull the pulley adjuster and basket out by hand. Remove the primary chain adjuster by loosening the bolt holding it in place with a wrench. Remove the compensating sprocket with a wrench and socket. Once you remove these units, the chain is removable by hand.

  4. 4

    Install the new support bearing and seal by greasing and inserting it in the inner primary chain case. Press the seal into place with a solid bar slightly smaller in diameter than the seal.

  5. 5

    Clean the inner primary chain case with a rag to ensure no foreign material enters the new pulleys or transmission oil.

  6. 6

    Apply Loctite to inside splines of the clutch hub.

  7. 7

    Install the new belt drive pulleys -- one is the new compensating sprocket pulley and the other is the new clutch pulley -- with the belt wrapped around the pulleys onto the clutch hub. Ensure the pulleys have adequate clearance inside the inner primary chain case.

  8. 8

    Rotate the compensating sprocket with a wrench and socket to ensure the belt tracks straight and not in towards the motor.

  9. 9

    Install and tighten the hub and compensating sprocket nuts with a torque wrench according to the torque specifications in your Harley-Davidson owner's manual.

  10. 10

    Reinstall the outer primary chain case, inspection and clutch covers, gaskets and bolts -- with an Allen wrench. Refill the primary with transmission oil according to the owner's manual.

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