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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to understand how the two adjusters work together so that I can understand the adjustment procedures better. For instance, turning the right adjuster in tightens the belt but why does it change the angle of the rear tire? Turning the left adjuster in does what to the tire position? I've also heard that just making the axle nut hand tight is better than doing it according to the book.

I took the bike in for service a couple of weeks after I had a hand in adjusting mine. The tech came out and said I want to show you something... He showed me the tire wear marks and said I was crabbing down the road. Also said the right adjuster was too tight and the left adjuster was nearly out of the threads. Totally uneven. He fixed it but the belt chirping noise is back. I'm thinking because it was adjusted hot. So now the belt is a bit loose. The noise doesn't go away as it heats up either.

This is one of the most frustrating maintenance items with this bike.
 

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I'm trying to understand how the two adjusters work together so that I can understand the adjustment procedures better. For instance, turning the right adjuster in tightens the belt but why does it change the angle of the rear tire? Turning the left adjuster in does what to the tire position? I've also heard that just making the axle nut hand tight is better than doing it according to the book.

I took the bike in for service a couple of weeks after I had a hand in adjusting mine. The tech came out and said I want to show you something... He showed me the tire wear marks and said I was crabbing down the road. Also said the right adjuster was too tight and the left adjuster was nearly out of the threads. Totally uneven. He fixed it but the belt chirping noise is back. I'm thinking because it was adjusted hot. So now the belt is a bit loose. The noise doesn't go away as it heats up either.

This is one of the most frustrating maintenance items with this bike.

The adjusters on both sides move the wheel backward and or allow the wheel to move forward. So, to maintain proper belt tension the main wheel axle must be loosened, and both the adjusters are used to move the wheel aft or forward as necessary.

The biggest mistake most DIY owners make is follow the factory procedure, which in most cases will leave you with a wheel out of alignment. The factory procedure has you adjust the pulley side for tension, and then adjust the opposite side to make the belt ride in the center of the pulley. The issue with this is that the drive pulley side on the transmission does not have a "center belt point" and the belt could be anywhere. And you usually have the wheel misaligned to get it to ride in the center. The best way to align the belt and set tension is the universal way (same as all belt and chain bikes). Adjust both adjusters so the tension is met and that the wheel is aligned with the markers. The markings on the washers can be confusing, because the washers "rotate" when you tighten or loosen the axle nut. After loosening the axle nut, tighten it so that the washers rotated back to the "tight" position, which only takes about a 1/4 to 1/2 turn. This way the alignment markers are true and match each side. Since the adjusters do not actually move the wheel forward like every other manufacture. You will need a rubber mallet to tap the wheel to get it to move on the non-pulley side forward or aft. The trick is to tighten the axle nut slightly so the wheel can be moved, but not too tight that it cannot.

With the wheel perfectly aligned, the belt will not ride in the center of the pulley. It will ride to the inside of the pulley but won't ride up against it.
 

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@virginiaJim, sorry for the laborious response, but it’s impossible to discuss belt alignment with brevity. Yes, the adjusters are the same length (L and R both have the same part #). Adjusting an IM belt can be tedious, but gets easier each time you do it 😂🤣. IM could have certainly come up with a better system, that’s for sure. Don’t worry about getting the belt to stay in the center, that’ll only happen once in a blue moon.

It’s not uncommon for the belt to move from side to side as the belt wears. How finicky is the adjustment procedure? I spend a couple days determined to defeat the alignment process and get the belt to ride in the center. I’d make a micro adjustment, go for a ride, then come back and make another tweak. The belt was riding on the right side of the rear pulley and I moved the left adjuster about 1/64“. That was enough for the belt to move to the inside of the pulley. After a few days of riding, it was back on the right. 10k miles later, it’s back on the left. Lastly, the belt needs to be at room temperature before it’s adjusted. This is one problem when riding your bike to a dealer for an adjustment - it’s still hot and has contracted (Kevlar belts contract when hot, expand when cold).

As @Baron58 mentioned, the oval alignment indicators on the left and right need to both be oriented in the same direction (in order to accurately use the alignment indicator marks). The “front” of both oval pieces need to be oriented up as far as they’ll go in the recessed area. If you can’t visualize this, it’ll become clear once you start. After getting the belt aligned, I’d mark the adjusters with a bit of paint so you have a starting point the next time. Good luck.
 

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The adjusters on both sides move the wheel backward and or allow the wheel to move forward. So, to maintain proper belt tension the main wheel axle must be loosened, and both the adjusters are used to move the wheel aft or forward as necessary.

The biggest mistake most DIY owners make is follow the factory procedure, which in most cases will leave you with a wheel out of alignment. The factory procedure has you adjust the pulley side for tension, and then adjust the opposite side to make the belt ride in the center of the pulley. The issue with this is that the drive pulley side on the transmission does not have a "center belt point" and the belt could be anywhere. And you usually have the wheel misaligned to get it to ride in the center. The best way to align the belt and set tension is the universal way (same as all belt and chain bikes). Adjust both adjusters so the tension is met and that the wheel is aligned with the markers. The markings on the washers can be confusing, because the washers "rotate" when you tighten or loosen the axle nut. After loosening the axle nut, tighten it so that the washers rotated back to the "tight" position, which only takes about a 1/4 to 1/2 turn. This way the alignment markers are true and match each side. Since the adjusters do not actually move the wheel forward like every other manufacture. You will need a rubber mallet to tap the wheel to get it to move on the non-pulley side forward or aft. The trick is to tighten the axle nut slightly so the wheel can be moved, but not too tight that it cannot.

With the wheel perfectly aligned, the belt will not ride in the center of the pulley. It will ride to the inside of the pulley but won't ride up against it.
You have written a great explanation on belt and or chain tension. I have followed the Indian procedure to got the belt running in the center. I was skeptical as well about the wheel being out of alignment but it has seemed to work. I guess the out of skew hasn’t been significant.
 

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Honestly of all the bikes I owned or worked on that ran belts I have yet to see the marks on the swing are be anything close to accurate for the bike tracking straight. My old bike, a Kawi Vulcan 2000 , ran a 2 inch drive belt. Adjustments were very critical on that bike to get the belt to track correctly. In my experience the marks a just a rough starting point. The procedure in the shop manual does work pretty well also. The big key here as others have stated is to have the axle nut tight enough to keep the pulley, spacers and such in good contact but just loose enough to allow movement of the adjusters. The torque the manual refers to is pretty good for that. If anything, if you are fighting belt noise is to run a slightly looser tension on the belt, tighter belts will always bring out more belt noise. That is why some hear the noise after riding a while and not when the first start out. Most shops do not take the time to adjust this belt properly. I have done it more times that I can remember and it still will take two or three attempts to get it right before I take the bike of the lift. Also gravel dust brings out the belt noise, keep the belt and pulley clean.

The pitiful adjusters that Polaris uses don't help things. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the adjusters on the inside of the swing arm should be shot! A belt that is tracking properly will ride to either side eventually, that is just the way belts are but like the manual state tension with the right adjuster. I keep the left adjuster trailing slightly behind (meaning that I will have the axle slightly forward on the left side). Once you are close on tension adjust the left very slowly until you see the belt start to work outward on the pulley while continuing to spin the tire. Stop and torque the axle nut. The spin the rear wheel and see where the belt settles. Even spinning the rear wheel you can feel and hear if the belt is tracking good. Many times on the first try the belt will settle on the inboard side, loosen the nut, make a small adjustment on pulling the left adjuster out a bit more, retighten and try again. I still use the original 15 rear pulley, they changed the design a couple years after mine came out to help address the noise, never needed to go to the newer type. If you are anywhere close to the Omaha, NE area I'd be more that willing to set it up for you and show you the little tricks to get this done on your own. Dean
 

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I've tried this alignment and tension several times myself. Tension is pretty straight forward, the alignment is sketchy. I had the left adjustor set so the belt tracked close to center per the manual, even ran the bike with rear wheel suspended adjusting once. But ever since my bike was new it has tracked to the left. I went back to basics and made an alignment tool (old clothes hanger) measuring center of axle to a fixed point found on both sides of the bike since I couldn't get to the swing arm pivot point within reason. I measured from the bottom saddle bag protector bolt, then ended up using the rear top hole on the passenger floorboard bracket. I did this multiple times and had to move the left side of the axle forward at least 1/4" or more and the OEM marks on the swingarm are not matching up now at all. Bike still pulls to the left slightly, and not sure it's any better than it was before. I'll need a new tire soon, so I guess I'll give it another go then when I have it all taken apart for that.
 

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Thanks to everyone adding their experience and comments on this drive belt adjustment.

Here in a few days I am going to be snugging up the belt on my ride as I do an oil and filter change. I was about to dive into the this thinking I knew what to do. I now realize this may be a learning experience for me and I better slow down and pay attention.
 

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I'll try to keep my 2 cents short. Found an issue when I was adjusting the belt on my brand-new bike. Dealer said that it was fine, but the belt kept tracking hard against the outside of the pulley and that made me uncomfortable. I spent a long time to try and improve the location of the belt on the rear pulley because I noticed very, very minor abrasion starting on the outside edge of the belt teeth. The tension was good and met the manual's parameters. So the tension scale embedded in the frame was marked with white paint for belt reference and I left the right side adjuster alone. Set the tracking according to the manual. I marked the left adjusting nut with black marker so I didn't lose track of the adjustment. Rotated the wheel until I thought it was tracking fine and torqued it to final torque (plus a pound or two). Then rotated the wheel again and here is where I found the issue. Upon rotation now, the belt soon returned to the outside edge. I loosened things up to the adjustment torque and made an incremental (approx. 22.5 deg. or 1/16 turn, seriously!) clockwise in this case. I had to do this a few times as each incremental turn slowed down the belt's movement to the outside after final torque. Finally got it to a point that it quit gravitating to the outside. I've left it alone since and find that the belt will wander from side to side (noticed whenever I think to look at it after parking) and even sometimes tracks in the middle. This is about 500 miles since last playing with it. No noise and no hard riding on the pulley sides.I'm not concerned if it moves around as long as it is not staying up against either side all the time. I assume that the frame/swingarm/axle mounting flexes somewhat when fully torqued vs. just the adjustment torque and affects the alignment to a degree. I added a note to the manual to remind myself to check the tracking after final torque, not just the adjusting torque. Hope this might save somebody some time.
 

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Honestly of all the bikes I owned or worked on that ran belts I have yet to see the marks on the swing are be anything close to accurate for the bike tracking straight. My old bike, a Kawi Vulcan 2000 , ran a 2 inch drive belt. Adjustments were very critical on that bike to get the belt to track correctly. In my experience the marks a just a rough starting point. The procedure in the shop manual does work pretty well also. The big key here as others have stated is to have the axle nut tight enough to keep the pulley, spacers and such in good contact but just loose enough to allow movement of the adjusters. The torque the manual refers to is pretty good for that. If anything, if you are fighting belt noise is to run a slightly looser tension on the belt, tighter belts will always bring out more belt noise. That is why some hear the noise after riding a while and not when the first start out. Most shops do not take the time to adjust this belt properly. I have done it more times that I can remember and it still will take two or three attempts to get it right before I take the bike of the lift. Also gravel dust brings out the belt noise, keep the belt and pulley clean.

The pitiful adjusters that Polaris uses don't help things. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the adjusters on the inside of the swing arm should be shot! A belt that is tracking properly will ride to either side eventually, that is just the way belts are but like the manual state tension with the right adjuster. I keep the left adjuster trailing slightly behind (meaning that I will have the axle slightly forward on the left side). Once you are close on tension adjust the left very slowly until you see the belt start to work outward on the pulley while continuing to spin the tire. Stop and torque the axle nut. The spin the rear wheel and see where the belt settles. Even spinning the rear wheel you can feel and hear if the belt is tracking good. Many times on the first try the belt will settle on the inboard side, loosen the nut, make a small adjustment on pulling the left adjuster out a bit more, retighten and try again. I still use the original 15 rear pulley, they changed the design a couple years after mine came out to help address the noise, never needed to go to the newer type. If you are anywhere close to the Omaha, NE area I'd be more that willing to set it up for you and show you the little tricks to get this done on your own. Dean
I reset my alignment last night using your procedure, seemed to work really well as far as the work goes. I’ll be riding the Natchez trace today up to Tupelo and we’ll see how it does.


All of these tips on the adjusters are great! But I want to understand something here, turning the adjusters inward moves the wheel rearward, correct?
yes sir, the adjusters, when tightened, pull the axle to the rear of the swing arm.
 

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Honestly of all the bikes I owned or worked on that ran belts I have yet to see the marks on the swing are be anything close to accurate for the bike tracking straight. My old bike, a Kawi Vulcan 2000 , ran a 2 inch drive belt. Adjustments were very critical on that bike to get the belt to track correctly. In my experience the marks a just a rough starting point. The procedure in the shop manual does work pretty well also. The big key here as others have stated is to have the axle nut tight enough to keep the pulley, spacers and such in good contact but just loose enough to allow movement of the adjusters. The torque the manual refers to is pretty good for that. If anything, if you are fighting belt noise is to run a slightly looser tension on the belt, tighter belts will always bring out more belt noise. That is why some hear the noise after riding a while and not when the first start out. Most shops do not take the time to adjust this belt properly. I have done it more times that I can remember and it still will take two or three attempts to get it right before I take the bike of the lift. Also gravel dust brings out the belt noise, keep the belt and pulley clean.

The pitiful adjusters that Polaris uses don't help things. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the adjusters on the inside of the swing arm should be shot! A belt that is tracking properly will ride to either side eventually, that is just the way belts are but like the manual state tension with the right adjuster. I keep the left adjuster trailing slightly behind (meaning that I will have the axle slightly forward on the left side). Once you are close on tension adjust the left very slowly until you see the belt start to work outward on the pulley while continuing to spin the tire. Stop and torque the axle nut. The spin the rear wheel and see where the belt settles. Even spinning the rear wheel you can feel and hear if the belt is tracking good. Many times on the first try the belt will settle on the inboard side, loosen the nut, make a small adjustment on pulling the left adjuster out a bit more, retighten and try again. I still use the original 15 rear pulley, they changed the design a couple years after mine came out to help address the noise, never needed to go to the newer type. If you are anywhere close to the Omaha, NE area I'd be more that willing to set it up for you and show you the little tricks to get this done on your own. Dean

I have measured the alignment markets both on both my Indians and both my Yamaha V Starts and they were dead on. The adjusters on Indians are pretty much the same as most bkes. The difference, in most bikes, the axle runs through the adjuster assembly, so you can move the wheel either forward or aft. This eliminates the problem of having to tighten the axle nut to adjust the alignment.
 

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All of these tips on the adjusters are great! But I want to understand something here, turning the adjusters inward moves the wheel rearward, correct?
Just remember…turning the adjusters clockwise will move the rear wheel back. But, turning the adjusters counter-clockwise will not move the wheel forward. For instance, if you had to move the left side of the wheel forward, you’d loosen (turn counter-clockwise) the left adjuster and manually push the wheel forward (or hit it with a plastic/rubber mallet). All this may sound convoluted, but when you start the procedure, it’ll become clear.
 

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I went round and round with my dealer about the chirping belt on my 2015 Roadmaster. They tried to align it. I tried to align it. I know my bike was crabbing down the road because if I let go of the handlebars, it would make a right turn. I had my father follow me in his truck to observe the bike and he said it was not running true.
I finally made the adjustment myself. Only to get the wheels straight and the bike running true. I accomplished that but the chirping was much worse. But resolving the crabwalk was more important to me.

My solution?
I tiny shot/sprits of WD40. Just on one spot. I teeny quick burst of spray.
The belt and pulleys would carry it around and spread it, and even with that tiny amount, the chirp would silence.
It was my only way to get it right. I don't know why it was so difficult to set the belt tension and tracking.

I eventually traded in the 2015 for a 2017.
The pulley design is different at the rear wheel and it helps eliminate the chirp.
My belt on my 2017 has not chirped until this year.
It only does it on cool mornings. It stops after about a mile.
So I haven't gone to the WD40 method on this bike yet. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A friend of mine suggested beeswax to rub on the sides for about an inch or two. I'm taking it out tomorrow morning and its going to be in the 50's so the belt will be extra cold. I'm going to try the beeswax and see what it does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The chirping is an annoyance and I only hear it now when the pulley isn't 'loaded' as much and at lower rpms. Is it possible to make micro adjustments as in maybe a quarter turn in on both sides?
 
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