The Electra Glide is one of the most popular motorcycles within Harley-Davidson’s Touring series, providing a high degree of comfort that makes long-distance rides as easy on the backside as they are on the soul. A carbon-fiber and Kevlar drive belt transmits power from the Electra Glide’s V-twin engine to the rear wheel, which requires little maintenance beyond regular belt tension checks and adjustments. Proper belt tension, or deflection, allows the belt some slack to compensate for changing road conditions. Harley-Davidson recommends a belt check after the motorcycle’s first 1,000 miles, then every 5,000 miles thereafter.
Belt Tension Check
1. Place the motorcycle on a service stand to hold it in an upright position with the rear wheel elevated off of the ground. The motorcycle may be parked on its side stand if a service stand is not available, but the belt measurements will be different.
2. Open the left saddlebag lid. Remove the quick-release pins, located along the inner wall of the saddlebag, then pull the saddlebag off of the motorcycle.
3. Fill the rear shock absorbers to 10 psi with compressed air if the motorcycle is parked on its side stand.
4. Apply 10 pounds of upward pressure on the lower portion of the drive belt, using a belt tension gauge placed at the belt’s midway point. Measure the distance the belt deflects while sustaining pressure. Ideally, the belt should have 3/16 to 1/4 inch of deflection with the rear wheel lifted off of the ground. Alternatively, the belt should have 1/4 to 5/16 inch of deflection with the motorcycle parked on its side stand.
5. Reinstall the left saddlebag if the belt deflection is within the correct range.
Adjusting the Belt
6. Place the motorcycle on a service stand to hold it in an upright position with the rear wheel elevated off of the ground. The motorcycle may be parked on its side stand if a service stand is not available, but the belt measurements will be different.
7. Open the left and right saddlebag lids, then remove the quick-release pins from the inner walls of the saddlebags. Pull the saddlebags off of the motorcycle.
8. Loosen the clamp attaching the heat shield to the muffler, located on the right side of the motorcycle, using a screwdriver. Tie the muffler to the lower right saddlebag support using a bungee cord. Loosen the clamp attaching the muffler to the exhaust pipe, then remove the muffler mounting bolts using a Torx driver. Pull the muffler off of the exhaust pipe, then remove the bungee cord. Pull the muffler away from the motorcycle.
9. Remove the E-clip from the right side of the rear axle using external snap ring pliers. Loosen the nut from the right side of the axle using a socket and a socket wrench, then tighten it to 15 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.
10. Turn the hex-shaped head on the left side of the rear axle clockwise, using a socket wrench, to loosen the drive belt and decrease belt deflection as needed. Or turn the rear axle counterclockwise to tighten the belt and increase belt deflection.
11. Check the belt defection and make adjustments as needed. Tighten the rear axle nut to 11 foot-pounds, once the belt deflection is within 3/16 to 1/4 inch with the motorcycle placed on a service stand, or 1/4 to 5/15 inch with the motorcycle parked on its side stand.
12. Lower the motorcycle onto its side stand if using a service stand. Tighten the rear axle nut to 105 foot-pounds. Place a new E-clip into the groove cut into the end of the rear axle.
13. Reinstall the muffler onto the exhaust pipe and tighten the muffler bolts to 25 foot-pounds. Tighten the exhaust clamp and the heat shield clamp.
14. Reinstall the left and right saddlebags.