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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2015 Chieftain. The bike has 5,000 miles on it. I have been fighting the belt squeal a lot lately. I have it aligned , the tension is good, and I've scrubbed it with soap and water. The problem comes from the 1 1/2 miles of gravel I have to travel to get to a hard surface road. I can't get 300 yards down the gravel without the chirping starting. I always head to town to spray the belt off, and then it's good to go the rest of the day until I get on the gravel road again. This is obviously an annoying ritual (PITA) I would like to avoid.

I bought this bike last summer with 1800 miles on it. The squeal has definitely gotten worse since then. I called the service department and made an appointment . They seemed to think it needs a new belt due to gravel road riding. I hate to think I need a new belt every couple thousand miles cause of the little bit of gravel I travel. Is it possible a new pulley could be a solution? Anything else?
 

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My dealer lubed the drive and belt. Don't know what they did, it worked. Sorry I didn't get more information. The forum has topics on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My dealer lubed the drive and belt. Don't know what they did, it worked. Sorry I didn't get more information. The forum has topics on this.
Thanks, I did search the topic and spent a lot of time reading but ultimately I didn't find the gravel road angle discussed. I have tried the bar of soap on the belt but for the most part , I'm afraid anything I put on that belt will cause dust to stick even more. Again, I have no issue as long as I wash the belt once I get to hard surface roads. It doesn't start the squeal again till I drive the gravel road, and then it is almost instantaneous.
 

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Drive belts are a mysterious and new thing to me.
Your second picture shows the outer sprocket flange side is scraping somehow.
Whether that’s from touching that flange or from something getting between the belt and the flange, you might have to guess at.
Maybe check to see if that side has a gap or not, and that could give you a clue about the reason.
It almost looks to me like a particle of rock or large sand grain wedges in there momentarily before grinding away.
I’m sure it would also help you to check the other side of the belt, gap on the other side found or not.
 

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I think your belt looks fine and doesn't need to be replaced. How is the surface of the sprockets? I believe that your belt is probably just needing a little alignment. The fact that when your belt is cleaned you don't have chirping, but you do after riding on a gravel road makes me think that the dust is just collecting on the belt and rubbing where a tolerance is already too tight. You won't get your belt to ride perfectly down the center of the pulleys. But you don't want it running too tight up on one side.
 

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There are specialized belt lubes out there that should not attract dust. I've heard of people using a candle to rub wax onto their belts, which also should not get gummy and attract dust.
 

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I have successfully converted numerous Harley's from belt to chain drive over the years.. A couple of them for ease of tossing a variety of gearing at them, one for xtra strength provided after dropping a gear driven supercharger on it as well as secondary gearing advantages.. In all cases, due in big part to how far down the road the industry is in chain technology, the results were awesome!! It may be worth the effort to dig around and see if any after market or even something from Polaris in belt/chain conversion for the Chief is out there..
 

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IMO,for what it's worth, lol ,and assuming the swing arm and rear wheel bearings are in good shape,the gravel road has nothing to do with the chirping.Either the tension is too tight,and or, it's NOT aligned properly.It's one or both of those things.I can't tell how many guys I've bumped into that had that same problem with their belt driven machines,and I was one of em when I owned my Triumph which was the first belt drive I ever owned.But after countless attempts and trial and error ,I finally "FINALLY" broke the code and have applied it to this machine too and it worked.Dummy Dave!!!
 

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The belt is not properly aligned. The gravel dust just makes it worse. Proper alignment is a bit of a tricky thing on these bikes. First the marks on the swing and are useless. The secret is to have the axle but tight enough to keep the rear pulley seated against the wheel but still allow adjustments to be made. Very few shops spend the time to do this correctly. Set tension on the right side then slowly adjust the left side out till the belt just starts to come off if the side of the pullet. Then lock it down and spin the wheel some more. You may find you need to make small corrections to get it right. I have had my belt chirp from excessive gravel riding but a few hundred feet on gravel should have on effect on this. Dean
 

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Adj your belt while turning your wheel forward only.doing it how the book says will drive you crazy,as it will track differently with direction change.get it in the middle as best you can,than lock it down.
I travel a dirt road every day on a 15 vintage,and it runs great..
I run an aggressive tread tire,and that grabs gravel and flings it inside the fender,that's noisey lol
 

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I assume your rear tire is a CT.If so,what size is it and just how many miles are you getting out of it??? Thank you!! Dave!!!
 

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Its too bad they don't make a sprocket set that is a bit wider than what the OEM are. Therefore, would have a bit more clearance from side to side without rubbing.

--
Gordon
 

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Sounds like a hassle with the dirt/gravel road. You might try a can of compressed aerosol spray used to clean keyboards, computer fans etc. You could toss that in the bag. At the end of the road spray it off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the replies! I'm glad to hear others are driving on dirt roads and not having this problem, gives me confidence that it can be fixed.
 

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I assume your rear tire is a CT.If so,what size is it and just how many miles are you getting out of it??? Thank you!! Dave!!!
This is a 195 60 16,I'm changing from a 180 55 16.
My spedo was off 4mph,so I'm going bigger on the tire.
I have about 20000 on the existing tire,and still looks good,but now the front Dunlop wears out way before the rear.and now that the front is bald I figured I might as well change both.
I'm also changing style of front,as the Dunlop is a little loose on dirt,so I'm going with the same style tire I run on my hd rear.
 

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I'm not telling you to live with the chirp, so please know that upfront.

I ride on gravel, not everyday but more than most and I know the chirping gets worse for a bit after I do, so I get your issue. However my bike always "Chirps" for the first couple miles every time it's sat overnight or all day if the temps are cool or I ride on dusty gravel road(Hard packed Gravel = no issue). So pretty much every time I start my riding day my bike chirps, then stops after a few miles and doesn't do it again the rest of that day.... I did try many things in the early days to stop this because honestly at first I was a bit embarrassed by the sound, but nothing permanently "fixed" the chirp... So for the last several years and thousands of miles later, I've accepted it as part of my bikes character and have zero issues with it. It has done it basically since new and I have had no mechanical issues related to the sound, so to me that is acceptable.

My point is that in my opinion it does not cause any mechanical issues and honestly you may not find a "fix" for it.
 

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This is a 195 60 16,I'm changing from a 180 55 16.
My spedo was off 4mph,so I'm going bigger on the tire.
I have about 20000 on the existing tire,and still looks good,but now the front Dunlop wears out way before the rear.and now that the front is bald I figured I might as well change both.
I'm also changing style of front,as the Dunlop is a little loose on dirt,so I'm going with the same style tire I run on my hd rear.
Thank you for the info!! (y)
 

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You can buy belt dressing at an auto parts store...comes in a spray can. However, I think living on a dirt road would just cause the dust to stick to the belt. Worse thing that could happen is if it doesn’t work, you’d have to clean the belt. When my RM belt starts squeaking, it’s gotten too loose.
 
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