Todd was getting stoked for this tech tip!
You can drastically alter a Harley-Davidson Sportster's look with some very minor changes such as replacing your handlebars, gas tank, and or even the seat. One of our favorite things to do that is extremely easy and takes a Sportster to the next level is getting rid of that pesky belt drive and changing it out for one of our chain conversion kits. The pulley works wonders but its really bulky and doesn't nearly look as cool as a sprocket pulling a blingin' oily chain. So get out your tools, your jack and follow along with Todd as he walks you through how easy it is to change out this 2003 Harley-Davidson XL883 belt drive to our chain conversion kit. Step 1 - Remove the brake line clamp on the front pulley cover. Remove the two bolts from the rear master cylinder. Remove the three bolts that hold on the front pulley cover on. Move the cover out of the way.
Remove the brake line clamp.
Remove the two bolts from the rear master cylinder.
Remove the three bolts holding on the main pulley cover.
Move the cover out of the way.
Step 2 - Remove the 2 socket head screws from the lock plate on the front pulley nut. Use an impact to remove the front pulley nut. Note this is a left hand threaded nut.
Remove the two socket head screws from the lock plate.
Remove the lock plate.
Using an impact remove the front pulley nut. *This is a left hand threaded nut*
Step 3 - Remove the cotter pin from the rear axle. Loosen axle adjusters on both sides. Remove the axle from the rear wheel. Push the wheel forward to allow you to move the brake caliper and belt out of the way so you can remove the rear wheel completely from the bike.
Remove the cotter pin from the axle.
Remove the axle nut completely.
Remove the axle.
Push the wheel forward to allow the belt to pull off of the pulley.
Remove the wheel completely from the bike.
Step 4 - On a work bench or table remove the 5 bolts from the main drive pulley. You can use an impact to remove these bolts. Helpful tip, if the pulley seems stuck you can use a 2x4 piece of wood and put it between the tire and under the pulley. Push down on the 2x4 and it will pry the pulley off easily.
You can use an impact to remove the 5 bolts from the main drive pulley.
You can use a 2x4 to pry the pulley off easily.
Step 5 - Using a 7/16 -14 tap, run the tap into all 5 holes to clean out any Loctite. Use brake clean and some air to clean out any left over residue from the tap.
Most threads look like this when you take your wheel off. Clean that Loctite out! Do not reuse old bolts.
Tap out each of the 5 threads to get rid of any Loctite.
"SOOO MUCH LOCTITE!"
Spray the wheel's bolt holes with brake clean and blow out any extra residue with air.
Step 6 - Place the rear sprocket onto the wheel hub, make sure the grooved line that goes around the outside of the sprocket by the teeth is facing out towards you. Place each of the washers down on the sprocket and then match up the holes with the locking tab washer. Using red Loctite, thread each bolt down evenly. In a star pattern torque the 5 bolts to factory specifications for your model. Do Not use an impact for any reason to torque down the bolts. After bolts are torqued properly bend over the locking tab on each bolt.
Align the sprocket with the grooved line that goes around the outside by the teeth faced towards you.
Use washers provided.
Align the locking tab washer over the five separate washers.
Use red Loctite on provided bolts.
Snug each bolt down.
DO NOT USE AN IMPACT TO TORQUE BOLTS!
Using a torque wrench torque each bolt in a star pattern to your wheels correct torque specs.
Bend each locking tab over the bolts for extra security.
Step 7 - To remove the belt from the bike all you have to do is remove the bottom bolt from the rear shock. Move the rear shock out of the way and pull the belt off of the bike.
Remove the bolt holding the rear shock on the right side of the bike to allow the belt to be removed easily.
See ya belt! Bada-Bing Bada-Boom.
Step 8 - Remove the front pulley. Clean off any rust or dirt off the main drive splines. Use a wire brush, brake clean, and air to blow off any residue.
Remove the front pulley.
Use a wire brush / brake clean to remove any rust from the main drive splines.
Step 9 - Slide on the new front sprocket, the beveled end should face in towards the motor leaving the flat side with small edge facing out towards you. Hand tighten the nut on the front sprocket. You cannot torque this nut before putting on the chain, all it will do is continue to spin.
Slide the front sprocket on to the main drive splines.
Install the front sprocket nut by hand.
Step 10 - Reinstall the bolt on rear shock. Reinstall the rear wheel, making sure the brake caliper and wheel spacers are all lined up correctly. Liberally apply anti-seize on your axle before reinstalling. Make sure to loosen axle adjusters completely and move the wheel as far forward as it will go in the swing arm.
Reinstall the rear shock on the right sides bottom bolt.
Don't forget to put a ton of anti-seize on your axle.
Reinstall your axle.
Loosen axle adjusters completely and move the rear wheel forward as far as it can go in the swing arm.
Step 11 - Place your chain on to both sprockets feeding from the rear to the front and back around. On the rear sprocket lay the chain over top of the other end of the chain pulling it as tight as it can go. Determine which link needs to be removed paying attention not to remove the wrong link so you will be able to put the master link in. Use a maker to designate which pin you will need to remove.
Feed your chain over the top of both sprockets to make it easier to measure.
Pull the chain tightly and determine which link you will need to remove. Mark it with a marker.
Step 12 - Use a chain breaker at the spot you marked to set the right length. Once broken use the master link that comes with your chain and slide the larger part in from the back side of the chain. Install the side plate on the front side of the chain. Some chain master links may need pressed on like the one we are using. Using a small socket and channel locks you can press it on easily. Install the clip with needle nose pliers, be sure the clip’s closed end is facing towards the direction of rotation.
Use a chain breaker on the spot you marked to set the correct length.
Put the large side of the master link on the inside.
Install the side plate on the outside.
You may need to press on the side plate depending on what chain you have purchased.
Make sure the close end of the master link clip is facing towards the direction of rotation.
Step 13 - Tighten chain in order to be able to tighten the front sprocket nut.
Todd tightening the chain's tension.
Step 14 - With the wheel on the ground use your torque wrench to torque the front sprocket nut to your model’s torque specification. (Remember this is a left hand threaded nut) If the wheel wants to move have a friend hold down the rear brake pedal. Install the locking plate for the front sprocket nut, use blue Loctite on the screws.
*Left hand threaded nut* Torque the front sprocket nut to your motorcycles correct torque
Reinstall the locking plate for the front sprocket nut.
Step 15 - Reinstall your cover, master cylinder bolts and brake line clamp.
Reinstall your cover, master cylinder, and brake line clamp.
Step 16 - Check your axel alignment. Sportsters have a hole in the swing arm that you can use a coat hanger with a 90 degree bend inserted into the hole and then with a small zip tie that can slide, check from side to side from the hole to the center of the axle. It should be the same on both sides.
Check your axle alignment.
Make sure both side of your axle line up the same based on your measurements.
Step 17 - Adjust free play on bottom run of chain with rider weight on bike. Then proceed to torque the axle nut and reinsert your cotter pin.
Thats it! You’ve done it, your bike went from ordinary to extraordinary in less then an hour! Now get out there and GO FOR A RIDE!