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I dunno. At this point i'm at what they used to call in my day "my wits end". I recently posted about belt tension and how they get tighter when they heat up and how to deal with that. Recently tbirdDaryl had a issue with squeaking coming from the rear which i have also had and figured it was in the axl area and needed grease. There are 2 sounds that seem to be common....chirp and squeak. Chirp is definitely the belt. Happens if they aren't adjusted right. But this squeaking sound is different and sound like metal squeaking intermittently, not the steady sound like the chirp where it happens under acceleration and is a steady sound. I am not starting to wonder if BOTH sounds are from the belt, but theres at least one reason it seems with eliminate that possibility. Maybe someone will have an idea so i thought i'd post this and see if anyone comes up with an idea. Heres the list of what i've experienced lately in the order that they happened.

1-squeaking started. Shot WD40 in axl/spacer as a test area and it goes away for a month. Wanted to put of greasing everything till i installed a new tire which was coming up soon.

2-a month later again and this time i used penetrating oil since i know WD40 isn't really a lube. Went away again. Bot this time and last belt wasn't too tight, at least not that i recall.

3-new tire. hasn't squeaked sine i put the oil in a few weeks ago. Adjusted belt and this time i noticed how loose it was after i adjusted it, but before i tightened it i checked again after a ride and it was tight. So i researched it and everyone told me they DO tighten as they get hot. But no squeak right away.

4-maybe 2 weeks after new tire and VERY thorough greasing of entire rear axl area, squeak starts again. I have checked the belt daily both when cold and hot since the new tire in an attempt to see how tight it gets when hot. Today when the squesking started i checked it after the ride to work because it was squeaking badly, and it was very tight. Tighter than it's even been. Note that when cold it is very loose. The same tension it takes to move it a full inch when cold when hot this morhing after i got to work didn't even move it the 1/4" triumph specs.

So heres the deal...it seems it's gotta be the belt. I even smelled rubber like when a belt in a car goes, but if it IS the belt why did the squeak go away immediately when I shot lube into the axl area those 2 times !!! This has me really worried because i have a camping ride slated for this weekend. I will adjust it looser today when i get home, but then it's going to be crazy loose when cold which can't be right. Wheel alignmnet i'm sure is good too by the way. Add to this for the first time ever it won't start when cold and hold an idle for the first time ever in 17000 miles and i'm getting really worried about this trip. Daryl, you may have a belt issue after all !
 

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A couple of questions for ya Daz.#1- Are there anymore signs of rubber material which might be from the belt around the rear wheel area?? #2- Is either side of the belt showing any tell tale signs of rubbing??In other words,is either side shiny black verses a dull black?? Dave!!!
 

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I figured it out....pilot error, doh ! I think i may also have figured out the hot/cold thing. It was out of alignment ! Yes, i know you mentioned that but I found a new way to align it a while ago and it works perfect, but last time i did it I apparently screwed up and i think i know why. Anyways, I went home just now (thank god for schedule flexibility at work) And checked everything to find the misalignment and set it right. It was obvious right away because the bike felt more right in the way it tracked. The noise was gone too.

So I think this is why the hot/cold issue....the misalignment was causing more heat that usual so it was getting tighter when hot than usual. Whats odd tho is 1)-why just in the last couple days when the last time i adjusted it was a couple weeks agd, and 2)- when i made this noise before why did lubing the axl area with penetrating oil and WD40 rid it?

I'll tell you this....I WILL be a belt expert eventually ! :D
 

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From what I've been reading on both sites regarding guys using spray lubricant on the hub bushing/bearing, thinking that's the noise they're hearing, what I believe is actually happening is,they're getting alittle over spray from that lubricant, on the belt which in turn is acting like a belt dressing,[we do that on cars and trucks all the time to quiet down the ALT.,AC, or PS belts],hence the noise goes away,but only temporarily.When the wheel is off for whatever reason,that's when those bushings/bearings should be addressed.And usually that will last for quite some time before that service needs to be done again.But that's just a theory I have.

Now if you're hearing noises coming from the rear wheel,nine of of ten times,it's probably the belt that you're hearing because it's not aligned correctly.And the tell tale sign of that is the dark black coloring on either outside edge of the belt which suggests,it's rubbing against either inside edge of the rear cog.But "IF" that tell tale sign is NOT present,then ya have another problem which could very well be a dry or faulty bearing or bushing.Also,when ya have the wheel off,it's a good idea to lightly lube the cush drive love coupling,the rubber inserts that go between the wheel and the housing that supports the rear cog,as those too can make noise if dry.That's somethin that I've been doing everytime I have the wheel off for tire R+R,which has only been 5 times in the last year or so.DUH! So my rear wheel is as quiet as a church mouse. But again,that's me. Dave!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I cleaned and lightly lubed the cush drive when i changed the tire a couple weeks ago. I always do that. I think the issue is just misalignment, and not belt rubbing the edge because it was the left side of the axl that was too far forward which would cause the belt to rub less than usual since it rides against the right. But what i think is that the teeth on the belt and the grooves in the pulley that the teeth ride in are not parallel with the wheel out of alignment. Therefore the the overheating of the belt and the resulting noise. The noise could be the teeth being out of alignment with the grooves, OR, the teeth/groove misalignment caused excess heating which tightened the belt too much and caused the noise. Not sure which. But i can tell you this morning when i checked it hot at work the belt was tighter than ever and it wasn't that tight 2-3 days ago, and it also was NOT making this noise then. Like i said, it was tight when hot, but never THIS tight till i checked today. So the noise may have occurred because of the UBER excess tightness which has only occurred in the last day or 2, which in turn was caused by misalignment. Thats my theory till i watch it over the coming days/weeks and see. If i find the difference between hot and cold is now reduced and the noise remains gone i think i will have solved this.
 

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Daz- Everything you have outlined I experienced. On my recent cross country round trip, my squeaking worsened. At first WD40 helped, then not at all. The belt tightened so much after riding an hour or more, that it was scary. (Before leaving, I had a new tire put on the rear wheel, and that's when the problem started.) I tried adjusting tension after a few days, and after a few days more... Whenever I slowed down to going through towns etc., the noise was almost embarrassing. On the last day, heading back back from Indy to Mass, I finally hit the adjustment right, where the tension of the belt did not get seriously tighter over time, and the squeaking all but disappeared while crossing PA. So, in my case, I think it's not so much the lubrication, but rather the balance of belt tension and wheel alignment. You mentioned a new way you have of establishing/checking alignment. Care to share?

Martin
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Daz- Everything you have outlined I experienced. On my recent cross country round trip, my squeaking worsened. At first WD40 helped, then not at all. The belt tightened so much after riding an hour or more, that it was scary. (Before leaving, I had a new tire put on the rear wheel, and that's when the problem started.) I tried adjusting tension after a few days, and after a few days more... Whenever I slowed down to going through towns etc., the noise was almost embarrassing. On the last day, heading back back from Indy to Mass, I finally hit the adjustment right, where the tension of the belt did not get seriously tighter over time, and the squeaking all but disappeared while crossing PA. So, in my case, I think it's not so much the lubrication, but rather the balance of belt tension and wheel alignment. You mentioned a new way you have of establishing/checking alignment. Care to share?

Martin
Sounds like the exact experience as me. So far today after having aligned it and adjusted the tension lower it's doing fine. Tho like you i had to I had to find that balance. But thats easy enough....just adjust it when hot ! Then i should never get tighter, tho then again who knows.....maybe they tighten to different degrees depending on certain things like air temp or who knows what. In any case, i did that but when cold it's very loose. However i will just take it easier when cold for the first 3 or 4 miles and by then it should tighten up enough to ride any way i want. but i gotta tell you, i'm still stumped as to how triumph can spec the tension so frigging tight when cold knowing that it gets probably 50-60% tighter when hot ! Like i said earlier, maybe being out of alignment it would make it tighten even more due to excess heat from the teeth and grooves not being parallel. But after work i checked it and then when i got home, and the difference may have been not quite as wide after the alignment, but it wasn't a lot better. Then again it was 100 today ! So maybe the heat had some influence. I will have to keep checking it.

As to the alignment, there is a hole in the swingarm right next to the belt guard mount closest to the enging. Look just about a 1/2" form where the guard is mounted and you'll see a hole about 1/4" in diameter. On the other side of the swingarm there is also a hole. actuaklly 2, but you want to use the one that looks like the one on the guard side, NOT the one that has a little metallic collar in it. You could do this with a screw or peg of some kind in the hole and wrap a string around the peg them measure to the center of the axl and mark the string, then pull the peg and string and put it in the other side and see if the mark matches. I did it in a way that i think makes it simpler and quicker. I took a length of solder, bent the last 1/2" at a sharp 90 degree angle and put that 1/2" part in the hole and held it there tight with one finger. With the other hand i pulled the solder taunt (not so tight as to stretch it tho !) and brought it down across the axl. Then i held it in place there and let go of the part in the hole so i could use that hand to mark the solder. I put a dent in it there with a screwdriver to mark it sharply. The to make sure i put the L part back in the hole and rechecked it to see exactly where the mark was. If it's not quite in the center of the axl, no problem. Just remember if it was a littl forward of backwards from the center. Now check the other side and if it doesn't match up, adjust. Once they seem the same, adjust belt tension. Once tension is right, recheck alignment. Then when tension and alignment are both spot on, tighten the axl. By the way, 2 hints... 1-if the nut on the left side needs to come back out, after you turn it, sit in back of the bike and kick the tire otherwise there will be a gap between the nut and the swingarm because on the left side axl will not be pulled forward by belt tension like the right side. and 2-when you tighten the axl nut, do NOT pull up ! Only push down. So you will need a socket extension. Other wise the torque wrench will hit the shock on the way down. So about a 3" extension or there abouts. the put the wrench on the nut with the handle at 12 noon strait up and push it down towards the front of the bike. Only tighten it that way. If you put it on with the handle pointing to the back of the bike, when you pull up it puts pressure on the axl that forces it back away from the front of the bike and throws the alignment out. Thats why if you don't do it that way, next time you go to adjust that side you will find the nut is loose instead of tight against the swingarm.
 

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I thought I mentioned this in a post on the other site.Anyways,on the left adjuster,looking at the machine from the rear,I added a third nut with the flange or built on washer, on the adjuster bolt on the INSIDE of the swing arm,just like the one on the outside of the awing arm on the adjuster bolt.I use that nut to pull the axle foward for alignment purposes, and hold it there,then taking up on the two outside nuts[the one with the built on washer and the regular lock nut].Then I tighten the axle nut.In other words I have three nuts on the left adjuster,two on the outside and one on the inside.The right side only has the two on the outside of the swing arm.That has made all the difference in the world for rear wheel alignment.Do you understand what I just said and why I did it??? Does it make any sense to you guys??? To the best of my knowledge,I'm the only one that has done that.So again,what I'm doing is using the right adjuster to set the free play or belt tension,COLD ,and at the belts tightest point,,and the left for the wheel alignment. Dave!!!
 

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Marde:Since we both live in Ma.how far away from me are you?? If ya want,we can meet half way at a designated location,or you can come to my shop at a designated time and date and I can show you what I did,or maybe even do it on your machine,if ya want,and you can take pics if ya have a camera [I don't] and post em on here for others to see.Atleast then,ya'll understand what I'm talkin about.When I tell ya that I too had balls with this belt tension and wheel alignment thing,believe me,it drove me nuts.I spent a lot of time tryin to figure it out. But I believe I have FINALLY cracked the code.lol Anyways, it's up to you. Dave!!
 

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Do you understand what I just said and why I did it???
You aren't going to believe this, but i was actually considering doing that today ! I don't mean do it today, but i was thinking about it and that i may do it next time i have the wheel off. Funny when i read you saying that !
 

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I figured that out several months ago,tried it,and then posted about it,but on the other site.I had forgotten all about it until you just jogged my memory when you mentioned about kicking the wheel to get the left side to move forward for alignment.[I also tried that but it didn't work.lol] Anyways,I use that extra nut to do just that,[without kicking the wheel,lol,],except,it holds the position once I set it.I even tried a third nut on the right side to see if it would make any difference,but it really didn't do anything so I removed it.Infact,I even mentioned the third nut on the left adjuster to the stealer.He just kinda looked at me with this big question mark on his face.lol Hey!! When ya find somethin that actually works,ya run with it which is what I did.lol So try it.I think you'll find that it DOES make a difference while making your life a lot easier.lol

And ya don't have to pull the wheel off to add that third nut.Lift the machine so the tire is just resting on the floor,loosen both adjusters,pull the axle out,[everything should stay in place] take off the adjuster,put the nut on it,put the adjuster back in place,insert the axle,and adjust away.After ya have everything set,it should stay right where ya put it.

Once everything is set,the next time ya R+R the rear tire,it should only take ya about 15 minutes to realign everything.Just take measurements from the back of the swing arm to the outside ends of the adjuster bolts and mark em down someplace,left and right, BEFORE ya touch anything.Then using those measurements,reset everything, [ya may or maynot have to tweak the adjustment a tad according to belt wear] and you're DONE.I've been over 3000 miles now since I replaced my last rear tire and using that technique, nothing has moved.Everything is right where I set it.I got no belt noise and the sides of the belt are not shiny. Dave!!!
 

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I have more observations as of today, but first on the nut.....i will wait till i put a new tire on it. That'll be a while, but i think i'm really onto this whole belt thing and i believe i can make due w/o the extra nut. But i will do that when the next tire is due, which if this storm works out as well as i hope may not be for quite a while. But as to dealers, i know what you mean. If you could show them some magical way to rebuild an engine in 1 hour they'd pass and tell you that won't work even if they knew you weren't joking. They are just to prideful to ever take any advice from a customer. Mainly because that would mean to them that they are pathetic as mechanics if a customer knows something they don't. What really is pathetic is that most of them ARE pathetic ! It's downright scary.

Now to the latest. After the first ride i checked hot and cold and it didn't seem like there was much improvement...still quite a difference in hot and cold tension. But a few rides since then and Now it's much closer. Instead of 50% tighter when hot it's more like 20% which seems much more normal. However, heres an observation that i just noticed as i got home from work....i checked the tension and it was almost the same as it was cold when i left work, maybe even exactly the same ! BUT, and like a foodoholic, this is a big but, :D i checked it the second i lifted my leg off the seat and then checked again maybe 30 seconds later and it was much tighter ! And no, I did not move the bike between the 1st and 2nd check. So it may be that once stopped the belt tightens after sitting 30 seconds or a minute. Doesn't seem likely but i swear it was obvious there was a good bit of difference.

So i tightened it a bit more and will again check it in the morning and then again at work both when i arrive and leave and at home after work. But it's been so loose cold i really didn't want to leave it like that, plus with what seems to be less difference now it doesn't need to be loose.

And finally, i think another possible cause of squeak, and i HAVE read that it is, is contamination. And by the way, it did squeak for a block or 2 this morning then stopped completely for the rest of the day. Anyways, it hit me that the day or 2 b4 the squesking started i had cleaned the pulley with a few different cleaners trying to find something that would get the dirt out of the grey textured finish.It dripped down and no doubt got on the belt to some degree. Are you following?! Anyways, i read on a HD forum of guys saying thiers squeaked and they cleaned the belt teeth and pulley to rid it. So that may even be the entire reason for this and extra tightness or looseness or bad alignment only AGGRAVATES the situation but w/o the contamination or dirt, whatever is on the belt, it may never happen. Just a theory but one i will explore.
 

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When I wash my bike,I have learned to put the hose right down onto the belt and aim it at both cogs to wash away any loose dirt,dust.etc.that may have collected on em,then roll the machine a head and do it again and so forth until I have rinsed the entire belt and both cogs as best I can.I also use the hose to flush the brake dust out of all three calipers.A clean brake is a happy brake,lol,and might even work more efficiently when they're clean.Just remember,when ya do that,ya gotta take it easy until the brakes dry out.It only takes a couple miles and everything returns to normal.

When I change a tire,and since I have the wheel and cush drive off,I have also learned to use an old tooth brush to clean between the teeth on the belt itself and the teeth on the rear cog.If the rear cog was loaded with crap,then I have to assume that the front one is too.So I pull the front cover [four bolts with 8MM heads] and clean that front cog too. So ya might wanna get into the habit of washing those things everytime ya wash your machine.

I also just bought a rolla stand so I can place either wheel on it and rotate it for tire and or belt inspection,or cleaning the wheel without jacking the machine up or lifting either wheel off the floor.That should make life a lot easier for me.Tough to get old ya know.lol Dave!!!
 

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Daz, thanks for the explanation re aligning. Nice job!

Dave, I live in Dartmouth. Might be taking you up on your offer, if after riding this weekend that squeaking returns. Thanks for the consideration.

When the noise was at its peak, and I was pretty fed up with it, at my next stop for gas I took the windshield cleaner brush and wetted out the rear pulley and part of the belt in an attempt to clean it. The squeaking did diminish for a bit, but only to return, Maybe the water acted as a lubricant?? Anyway, how about using a belt dressing? My dealer had previously mentioned trying furniture polish on the belt. I bought a can while passing through Sturgis, and threw it away the next day. Didn't help one bit.
 

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Harley makes a belt dressing. But form everything i read most people said it's not a good thing. Dave, i always use toothbrush for stuff like that and intend to do the belt and pulley when i get a chance. But i don't use an old toothbrush....I use my current one....I think the WD40, cleaners and grease help prevent cavities. :D
 

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Marde:You're about 100 miles south of Haverhill.If I remember right,24 to 495 North will take ya right by my place.If ya decide to come up,let me know and I can meet ya at the rest area here in Haverhill or where ever you choose and take ya the rest of the way in.

Regarding belt dressing,it may work on belts in four wheelers,but because MC drive belts are exposed to road elements,it would act like a magnet which is NOT what ya want.lol So if it were me,I wouldn't use it.

And Daz.I like your "help prevent cavities" line.lol That's very good.lol lol Dave!!!
 

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You think thats good, you oughta try WD40 on hemorrhoids. :laughhard
You have squeaky hemorrhoids??? :eek:

Daz - just a fluke I caught this thread today and saw my name. I am not 100% sure my squeak is gone - I insisted they remove my wheel again and grease the works - I did not get to see what they did - but the rubber pieces in there Dave mentioned they told me were dry and they greased them up. I returned home (10 miles) squeak free, but I haven't ridden since. I have zero confidence that the rear wheel is aligned correctly, or belt tensioned correctly based on all I have read on this forum - but at this time I'm not set up to do my own maintenance like you guys are. I don't mind using a jack and plywood if that is the only way to do it - but what is this rolla thingy Dave was talking about? That sounds handy - some sort of jack system that keeps the bike upright is what I need - but in my garage I can angle it into my workbench and use tie downs to keep it upright as well.
 
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