Author Topic: Primary belt to chain conversion  (Read 468 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Primary belt to chain conversion
« on: September 27, 2018, 05:44:53 AM »
So I went from pushing a Shovelhead with a broken primary belt, to contemplating how to adjust a primary belt that's too tight, to now... down-fit an aftermarket belt drive to stock chain drive.

Of course the starting point is rounding up all the parts needed to do this. I found a pretty complete primary drive on ebay for a "1983 FLH", or so it was advertised. When it showed up, the parts were all in very good shape, other than the lobes on the compensator looked a bit worn. But the chain was only 76 links, so this must have come from a rubber mount model. It also had a .230" think spacer behind the compensator. What the...???

I bought a new 82 link diamond primary chain, and also a "OEM NOS Starter Housing" to replace mine that had some pretty bad chain contact damage. With the belt drive, who cares, but for a sealed chain with oil, would be a major gusher.

I went to set up the sprocket alignment and had some conflicting measurements. Measuring the stator face to the clutch hub face, I got 1/4", so a .060" spacer on the compensator, yes? I put the drive together and measured from inner primary gasket surface to the chain itself at the comp sprocket and as close to the clutch sprocket as I could get, and found at the comp the chain was about .060" out too far. WTF??? I checked this multiple times, and then decided to pull the .060" comp spacer, reassemble, and measure again. Then I was getting about .010 diff from the chain front & back. So no spacer at all on the compensator.

Does that sound right to you? Should I believe the stator face to clutch hub face measurement, or the chain measurement?

Anyway, I had replaced the starter housing with the "new" one and had the starter on the inner primary. I went to button it up with the outer primary, and then found the bolt holes would not line up with the inner primary. After eyeballing it a bit with Bobc, it was pretty clear that the starter jackshaft was not in the correct location, and pushing the outer primary forward about .050". So lucky me, I get to tear it apart again and replace the starter housing. As far as "OEM NOS", what a load of BS. Has to be a V-Tiwan POS landfill fodder. I contacted the ebay seller, awaiting his response...

I had used some JB weld to "fix" my stock starter housing, hopefully can get back to it this weekend and get the bike back on the road.

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline Ohio HD

  • Professional Cat Herder
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19518
  • Country: us
  • OH CRAP!
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 06:43:41 AM »
Are you using the manuals method, measuring to the edge of the inner primary? That gets you pretty close. I used to also double check by measuring after the shim was on, and the chain assy from the outer chain link to the inner primary edge at the crank area and the clutch area. I used a straight edge across the inner primary edge when measuring. I would see some variation there, but never anything I remember as a lot.


The 0.010" you see is well within acceptable.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
For the best deal on bike parts, call Calif Phil
     www.harleypartscheap.com

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 04:55:16 PM »
Yes, exactly like the book as you describe.

My measurement at the stator flange and clutch hub was 1/4", so I used a .060 shim per the manual. After installing the comp, clutch basket, & chain, and measured the chain as you described, it was about .060" too far outwards at the comp. I took the comp off, removed the shim so no shims at all, reassemble, and measured at the chain again. THEN, I got .010" diff between at comp and at clutch. Yes, that seems reasonable, I'm just a little concerned that it does not follow that what the manual said to do. With no shim, it should be .060" to short at the comp, but it's not.

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline Ohio HD

  • Professional Cat Herder
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19518
  • Country: us
  • OH CRAP!
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 05:06:24 PM »
If the clutch basket or hub is aftermarket, hard telling if that may effect the actual arrangement of the chain to the crank sprocket. Also "if" the edge of the inner primary really isn't true....

All of these questions have made me just wonder years ago when I was on Shovels. I also used to lay a narrow straight edge across the crank sprocket, and visually see how well it lines up with the basket sprocket. The straight edge laying on top of the basket / sprocket.
Another idea. Straight edge across the crank sprocket, measure to the clutch hub from the straight edge inside. Then measure the clutch basket surface that sits against the hub, to the sprocket of the basket. Will take a few more than normal measuring tools. Need an indicator on a transfer stand to measure the basket.
For the best deal on bike parts, call Calif Phil
     www.harleypartscheap.com

Offline friday

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 141
  • Country: nz
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 05:16:30 PM »
lets not forget after market alt rotors have splined centre and dont have that lip/step like in the diagram

Offline guppymech

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 174
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2018, 06:50:25 PM »
My one prior owner FXE  didn't have a spacer installed and measured out per the manual to not needing one (just less than the measurement that called out for a .060 spacer) but then the chain tended to rub on the inside of the tensioner frame and the inner surfaces of the primary chain links had wear indicating it wasn't meshing with the sprockets cleanly.  I changed the primary chain and went with a .090 spacer.  The chain runs on the center of the tensioner shoe and no longer has witness marks on the inner links from the sprockets.  I guess my moral is the gasket surface on the inner primary may not be true, look the completed installation over for the final evaluation.
'84 FXE, '02 883R

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 06:54:49 PM »
All back together. Had to replace the "OEM (V-Tiwan)" starter housing, and bolted it all back up. I tried dry fitting the  '70 outer primary, and it would not fit right with that '83 compensator. After a little investigation, the problem was an injection mold gate bug interfering with the compensator that I machined away with a dremel, and then all was well. I went to pour some oil in, but it started pouring back out immediately. I had forgot to plug that engine oil return fitting hole right above drain plug! Easy fix, and after that, oiled it up, fired it up, and all was well.

So I had put 8oz of Type F ATF in it, kind of rememering that's what somebody else (Mark?) had advised. It didn't come anywhere near the chain, but definitely was up to the clutch basket level and into the starter gear teeth. I figure that while it was running, the starter gear would throw the oil all over the place and lube the chain. I fired it up, then shut it down and pulled the derby cover. Sure enough, everything inside the primary was covered with oil.

So, just to easy my worried mind, youse guys that have sealed off the primary with dry clutch, how much oil do you advise to use?

Tomorrow, test ride and see how the clutch likes the ATF.

thanks,
JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline david lee

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 651
  • Country: au
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2018, 02:02:04 AM »
i cant remember how much oil my mech put in my trikes sealed primary when he installed a new barnett clutch but i do know its just up to the clutch hub

Offline guppymech

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 174
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2018, 02:34:05 AM »
8 oz. engine oil, ATF (type F) made my clutch slip in 3rd at peak torque WOT using old type gray Barnett fibers.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 02:38:16 AM by guppymech »
'84 FXE, '02 883R

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2018, 02:18:36 PM »
So far so good. I did a 10 mile or so spin on the freeway, all seems well. Got back and parked it, not a single drip. Yay! The clutch could use an adjustment, takes a bit too much lever to get it to release but no biggie there. Also, this has one of the "clutch retainers". When I installed it in this 'new' clutch shell, the A position was too loose, but the B position was a little tight. I had to tap the snap rings down to get them into the groove. So maybe it's dragging a little and needs to wear in a bit?

Also, the gearing is now different. With the belt primary and a 24T trans sprocket, it was 3.16:1. Yes, a bit tall, and if this was a highway-only bike, probably fine. But it isn't, more like an in town commuter and occasional joy ride in the hills bike. Now with stock primary and a 23T that I swapped on since it was apart, have a 3.42:1 overall ratio, and it really does feel a lot happier around town and even on the highway, but I think I chopped about 10mph from it's sweet spot. So it's now "in the zone" around 65-70 at cruise.

So Guppy, what's wrong with ATF? I have it in the primary of every other bike I own, including a 130HP TC, and no slippage at all. To me, ATF is made for exactly this, to lube gears but allow friction clutches/bands to grab. I guess I don't have anything against using motor oil exactly, as that is what stock Shovels use, but not in a sump. It's sucked out as fast as it's dribbled in. In fact, on my last Evo, it developed a blown sprocket shafe seal adn allowed motor oil to get into the primary. I could tell something was up, as the clutch started slipping. I would drain the primary, fill back up with ATF and all was OK until a cup or so of motor oil got back in. Had to live with it like that for a short while while til I had time to fix the seal.

Thanks for the confirmation, 8oz it is! Back in the wind until the next thing F's-up!
 :hyst:

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline guppymech

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 174
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2018, 03:56:47 PM »
"What's wrong with ATF?"...Nothing! I agree with your reasoning on why it should be perfect, in fact I used it in my Norton Commando's primary 30 yrs ago.  All I know my clutch slipped even after new Barnett Blue springs.  I recently installed some Alto Red Eagle friction plates and am happy for now using engine oil, I may try the ATF again in the future.
'84 FXE, '02 883R

Offline rageglide

  • Site Supporter
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3451
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2018, 04:49:27 PM »
Hey good to hear it's back on the road!   I always ran 8oz ATF in my sealed shovel primary, zero issues.   Ran ATF in my hotrod 95" twin cam, zero issues!  Works great.  (ATF does NOT work in a late model TC)   My only concern with ATF might be the unknown-ness of those frictions.  They were weird in look and feel, but hey, ATF will clean em up I'm sure.  If it's not slipping and not grabby I'd say Ship it!    REgarding that retainer, I think IF it's dragging it might show up at a stop with the clutch in and in gear, or, during neutral to 1st shift.   Tweak the screw adjuster if you want to shrink the throw, could be these frictions(or steels) are thinner than what you had.


Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2018, 07:36:37 AM »
Well it didn't creep with the clutch in at a light, so must not be dragging. And in truth, I didn't actually adjust it when I put it back together, just twiddled the adjust screw in until it 'felt' OK at the lever. But now need to do due diligence, and adjust it by the book. Am totally stocked that after a night of sitting in the garage, no pools of oil under it.
 :baby:

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline rageglide

  • Site Supporter
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3451
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2018, 09:37:05 AM »
 :up:

Now the pools of engine oil have a new home... Maybe you should add a sight glass to your primary ;-)

Online 76shuvlinoff

  • Thread Locker
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16172
  • Country: us
  • 76 FLH -93" 12 FLHTCU, 103" Michigan
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2018, 05:44:40 PM »
I have ran ATF in my shovel and TC primaries along with a multitude of other fluids including multi and straight weight engine oils. I think the ATF led to premature compensator wear in the TC but I heard so much bad news about TC comps, who knows?  My shovel has not had a compensator for 30,000 miles. I upgraded the TC to an SE comp last year.  I switched to Redline MTL in both a several years ago. So far I don't seem to have any issues with it.

 edit to add: As far as the amount goes, my bikes are usually upright on a lift when I am adding primary fluid.  On the shovel I peak in there with a light and add enough to where it's just breaking over the lip on the shell.  On the TC I dump in a quart. Works for me.  :nix:
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 05:57:21 PM by 76shuvlinoff »
Being defenseless does not make you more safe.

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2018, 07:37:39 PM »
Quick update. So far so good. Am really enjoying how "quiet" the maching is now with a buttoned up primary.

One issue though. I readjusted the clutch, but being an aluminum release disk, can't do it to the book. So I set the pressure plate to release disk to 1/2" gap, which I did before the swap with the prior set of clutch plates. I noticed that the clutch springs were getting near coil bind, but not quite. Clutch level goes all the way back to the bar. It does not creep at a stop in gear, but shifting to 1st from neutral makes the bike lunge a little. The real issue is, it now takes a noticeable amount more force on the foot shifter to change gears. Like it does not want to come out of the gear that it's in. Push hard enough and it does shift, but with a pretty authoritative KLANK. Clutch drag? Pressure plate tighted too far?

I'm going to back the pressure plate nuts off a bit and see what that does.

The other thing that crossed my mind, it was a dry clutch, now it's a dry clutch running in 8oz of trans fluid. Stiction on the clutch plates from oil?

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline guppymech

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 174
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2018, 11:34:08 PM »
Could be the plastic ram jet retainer you put in, you said you had to tap in the circlips.  It could be causing drag between the hub and the basket.  Try using a looser hole setting or  installing the stock steel bearing retainer plate.  If the primary chain is running true there is no need for the ram jet retainer.
'84 FXE, '02 883R

Online 76shuvlinoff

  • Thread Locker
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16172
  • Country: us
  • 76 FLH -93" 12 FLHTCU, 103" Michigan
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2018, 03:11:57 AM »
It may be dragging due to the oil but I've think you'd have to overfill it quite a bit for that to happen. 

 Side note: When I first installed the Rivera Pro it was grabby as all hell. After all the praise I read and the money I'd spent on it I was pissed.  I had soaked the discs and plates in ATF before installation. As the clutch seated in and seasoned (200-300 miles) all of the sudden I had the clutch I read about.   
Being defenseless does not make you more safe.

Offline JW113

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1396
  • Country: 00
  • San Jose, California
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2018, 11:55:33 AM »
I played around with clutch adjustment and spring preload, didn't make any difference, still high effort to shift between gears. So pulled the cluch apart for a look-see. The clutch shell seemed to have about the right amount of end play per the Ram Jett instructions, but I pulled the retainer out anyway and tried the A position. WAY too loose, B seemed to be the best fit. I did notice the stock metal retainer was still in there, so I removed it. I don't think that was the issue though, as the belt clutch shell (which was where the retainer came from) had it in there also, and the shifting was fine with that.

What I DID notice though, was when I went to remove that most inner clutch disk, it did not want to come out. I had to use a 90deg pick to get under it, and break the suction between it and the inside surface of the clutch shell. Hmm. Got me to thinking that these clutch plates do not like the oil and a dragging.

These disks have a black friction material, are perfectly flat. I nabbed the disks from the belt clutch shell, which are Sonnax kevlar, and the friction surface is a criss-cross hatch pattern. I put those in, buttoned it back up and just went for a spin. Fixed! Shifting is back to it's old self, easy as pie. I'm thinking the hatch pattern prevents the wet disks from forming a vacuum stiction to the plates.

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline david lee

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 651
  • Country: au
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2018, 04:00:20 PM »
makes sense. like tread on a tyre to let the water out.

Offline rageglide

  • Site Supporter
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3451
  • Country: us
Re: Primary belt to chain conversion
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 08:41:51 PM »
The material was weird too, besides the lack of "sipes".  Good to see the problem sorted out though   :up: