Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Side of a mountain in New Hampshire
Belt squeal redux
I been going through the archives here in my quest for Victory knowledge (and for the entertainment value).
Belt issues pops up fairly regularly. Tracking, and the noise mostly.
This is a pet peeve of mine having been down the track with it on other American motorcycles. My solution has been final and uncompromising. Post warranty, I convert all my left side drivelines to chain. Period. I don't recommend that solution here. Hell, I don't know enough about Vics to know if it's even a reasonable alternative.
I haven't had this issue with my Cross Country (yet). It's got a warranty so if it does happen I'll let the dealer sort it out with my gentle persuasion.
First thing I have to add to this conversation is ... count your lucky stars if your belt is on the right side of your bike. Your worst day replacing the belt is going to be better than the best day of any poor SOB that has to yank his primary apart to change his. For those of you who count on hired wrenches to do their motorcycle repairs, left side belt should cost orders of magnitude more than right side belt replacement. So there's that. Take solace in it. There's not a lot of good news after that.
Before I review the various things people put themselves and their motorcycles through I want to mention that some, maybe many, will state for the record that they cured the problem with sauves, balms or tweaks. OK, I'm not denying the possibility and I applaud your success. Thing is something that lasts 1000 miles or 2 or 5 and then starts in again or something that "used to happen all the time but now only happens when I slow down, or accelerate, or lean left" or whatever, these aren't descriptions of repairs, they are descriptions of sticking your finger in the dike. If you can eliminate a squeal and it does not reoccur by dialing in something or by coating something then hallelujiah. It just doesn't happen that often and it has never happened to me or the guys I know who have tackled it. Granted Victory is new to Pop but belt squeal is old news.
Adjustment/ alignment- Two different methods. Both are valid, necessary and largely futile. Belt squeal is for the most part the result of some tangible but hard to isolate conditions. Among them are tooth cut on pulleys and belts and the geometry of the two, metallurgy of pulleys and compound of belts, and a tip of the hat to humidity and the design characteristics of the assembly and its harmonics. This kind of weirdness does not respond much to alignment or adjustment. Further, peeps spend countless hours trying to get belts to ride "true", meaning staying relatively centered on the wheel pulley. Here's where I'm not buying the gospel according to Victory. Make or buy a trammel that associates a given point on the frame (any point that is identical on both sides of the frame like the centerline of the swingarm axle) and the centerline of the rear wheel axle, use the trammell to get the wheel true with the frame and that's it for wheel alignment. If the belt runs out then so be it. You did what you could with wheel alignment. Adjusting the rear wheel out of alignment to compensate for belt misalignment is not a solution. It is trading one problem for another and probably compounding both. I know it's a popular and accepted method and more power to you for doing what you are told. I won't be going that route. There's solutions to belt alignment that include straightedging the wheel to the wheel pulley and shimming as needed but that relies on the wheel being square to the frame and incidentally, the trannie being square to the frame as well. I'm flat ignorant as to whether trannie alignment is even possible on Victorys but considering the unit construction of the engine/transmission I would think that the short answer is no, short of mounting bolt slop.
Adjusting belt tension is almost as important as alignment. Again, all you get for tweaking tension beyond spec to compensate for squeal is a willful effort to insure early failure of driveline components so that you don't have to listen to your motorcycle howling about something being wrong. Parts manufacturers and by the hour wrenches will send you thank you cards but it will not improve the problem that is causing belt squeal.
Goo- Take your pick, pig fat to space shuttle technowax. It does work, for awhile. It's a band aid and there's good reason to believe it does more harm than good since it adds chemicals to the interface between a polymer and a metal in the presence of heat, friction and pressure. Goo can invite dirt and debris into the mix. The flip side is that if your belt squeals you already are dealing with a broken system and all your band aid is doing is masking/ continuing it. So lather it on Shriners if it helps you through the night. Still a good idea to put replacement parts on your wishlist for Santa because that squeal you no longer have to listen to is baby crying about things that ain't right.
Parts replacement- Now we're talking. If you spent umpty thousand dollars on a bike that is your pride and joy and it makes noises that you can't stand that there is a defect. It is not an inconvenience or something that happens from time to time so you learn to live with it. It is a defect and the manufacturer has an obligation to make it right (within warranty). If mama's Family Truckster squeals and it's under warranty how much time are you going to invest in rubbing beeswax on the serpentine belt before the dealer gets an earfull? This is a well documented issue that has plagued motorcycle manufacturers since the industry abandoned chains as the standard on cruisers and tourers. The factory pisses and moans and tries to dodge the cost of real repair, which runs them upwards of a grand in parts and dealers labor. Hey, the factory chooses these part combinations and they own making them right. If the dealer replaces the pulleys and belts it will be with the same pulley ratios. Typically the replacement parts are somehow different from the originals brandwise or foundry run or some way in an effort to not repeat the same conditions while looking for different answers. (I say that because I want it to be true but I have seen crates of replacement belt pulley kits from another motorcycle company that were the same as the takeoffs. I don't have to tell you what the results were. Those crates ended up on Ebay.)
If you are outside warranty and opt to fix the squeal then you can entertain different ratios which changes the geometry of the belt/ pulley interface, further reducing a potential similarity that may cause squeal. Different ratios change the outlay of power and how the motorcycle behaves. You might like the change. Research. Likewise if you DIY changing everything may not be necessary. Maybe replace the front pulley and the belt. Maybe the rear pulley and the belt. Point is, you can make incremental change in your own garage if that's your temperment or scorched earth the beast if you see fit. Once committed the dealer will go scorched earth regardless because he doesn't want to revisit this issue.
This issue is the result of buying the cheapest specified product and not doing the due diligence to insure that it would provide adequate service to the end user. Accepting that and trying to sort it out yourself when it is a factory issue absolves them of that responsibility and it gives them cause to think that the same thing can continue. Not good for the rider, the dealer or the brand.