Main Motorcycle: Triumph Thunderbird ABS
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Pittsford, NY USA
|Thunderbird Twin - Technical Talk Technical talk for the big Thunderbird twin|
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I am curious as to what the measurement between the alignment marks on your swing arm are.
Don't know if this helps, but the v-notch in the axle adjuster lines up under the third hole from the front on each side. This will vary depending on how much your belt has stretched. Obviously, the important thing is that they are aligned equally on both sides and I don't think you can do an accurate job of this without the alignment tool and a vernier caliper. The marks are large enough that they could appear equal but still be several thousandths out.
This alignment tool is only about $35 and I found it easy to use and accurate. Decent (good enough for adjusting belts) vernier calipers can be had for under $50 on Amazon. Fast Eddy will sell you a belt tension tool for $30. For about $115, you're good to go and I'm guessing a dealer would hit you at least $150 - $200 each time they adjusted the belt because to align the wheel properly, you need to drop the mufflers.
By the way, all of my adjustments were done with the rear wheel off the ground. I personally don't think you can get an accurate adjustment with the bike on it's side stand. I just used my trusty Sears motorcycle jack.
I'll update this thread at +500 and +1000 miles after the adjustment to let you know how the belt is performing using this technique.
I have 34K on my 2010 tbird. I tension my belt to the Triumph spec. My belt has never chirped so my guess is thats caused by being too loose. I am a mechanic and work on lots of different kinds of industrial equipment. In that environment, the belts that vibrate and make noise are too loose. I have read some posts about that spec being too tight and you risk wearing out your bearings. Think about the tension on the belt when you start having fun with the throttle. If that don't mess up a bearing I'm convinced a 14mm adjusting nut won't do it either. Getting the tension in spec is simple compared to alignment.
I started out thinking alignment was simple. Just do it the same way as a chain driven bike using the alignment marks. Now, I believe that my marks are wrong and it would be very difficult to get it correct by eyeball. This is my first belt drive bike so I just assumed if I took my time and eyeballed it as close as possible it would be ok. The belt rode constantly on the outside flange and I left it that way too long. When I realised the flange was wearing the belt I got out the calipers. Now I believe the wheel is within .040" of being straight, the marks are useless, and belt wear is an indicator of misalignment. Plus or minus .020" will drive the belt from one side to the other. I ended up adjusting till the belt moved to both flanges when ridden. I would ride a few miles then stop and check. Sometimes the belt was on the inside and sometimes on the outside or somewhere in between. I then backed off by 1/12 of a turn and the belt stays on the inside edge. I use 6 edges and 6 flats of the nut for reference so 1/12th of a turn is easy and it makes a difference on where the belt goes. Now I assume the wheel is straight enough and thats the point of alignment (not where the belt is) and if the belt doesn't wear too much I don't care where it is. Time will tell. I'm going try it for a while on the inside.
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