Tech Tips and FAQ’s

Proper offset for a BDL front pulley:

Typically on a wide tire application, the transmission is moved over to accommodate the wide tire. Whatever distance the tranny is moved over then the front pulley must be moved over the same distance.

Example: The tranny is moved over 1″, then the front pulley must be moved over 1″. Also in this example BDL’s IN-1000 must be used on the front pulley.

Why doesn’t the BDL belt drive fit on my imported transmission main shaft?

All of BDL’s products are designed to fit stock OEM Harley parts. Some aftermarket mainshafts are oversized which will make our hub feel too tight. If you try the BDL hub on a stock OEM mainshaft you will note that it fits perfectly.

My BDL open drive has a loud rattle coming from the clutch. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. This is a bell effect, passing all the sound out in a single direction. A stock style chain drive set-up, with inner and outer primary covers, muffles the sound. The oil dissipates the sound within the enclosure of the inner and outer covers. Our enclosed unit runs dry and you can hear it, if you listen for it, but remove the covers (like on an open unit) and you hear the amplified sound(s). If you were to remove the hood and front fenders from your car, you would hear all aspects of the operating engine.

I’m running a custom frame with after-market engine and transmission. How do I know what primary drive kit will work with my components?

We build all our products around STOCK Harley-Davidson applications. The question(s) you need to ask the dealer you purchase your parts from, is what year application and for what model are the parts you’re buying for? This will direct you in determining what primary drive, related to stock application, you will need.

I want to run a Shovelhead motor with a 5spd/6spd transmission, will this work?

As far as Shovelhead, EVO and Twin Cam motors are concerned, they all have the same motor mounting collar, hole pattern and engine shaft spline. The transmission dictates which unit (related to stock H-D model year application) you will need. So, the Shovelhead and 5-speed combination will need a primary drive that matched the model year of the transmission.

I know the primary drive I need. Can I buy it directly from BDL?

Sorry, we only sell to the major distributors. Our distributors sell to dealers and the dealers sell to retail customers. We maintain our quality and pricing by only performing as a manufacturer and do not compete with our distributors and their dealers. Our web-site lists our distributors and their phone numbers.

Why am I on hold for so long, to ask a simple question?

What seems like a simple question can sometimes become an involved tech call. Because of the large volume of calls, at times, our phone system is set-up to receive voice messages. We suggest you leave your name and phone number and we WILL call you back. Please speak clearly and do not talk too fast. Keep in mind that Mondays and Fridays have the heaviest volume of calls, along with the morning hours of 9-10:30am and afternoons at 2:30-4:00pm.

BDL is a manufacturer and not a supply warehouse. As a manufacturer we fabricate our kits to the orders we receive from our distributors. We do not stock assembled kits. As a kit is assembled it is shipped out in a few days to complete a requirement on a particular distributor’s purchase order. Individual components are fabricated, on the most part, in equal quantities to complete orders. We are not set-up to ship same day on support part requests like our distributors or their dealers. If we have an extra part needed for a special order request, we are more than happy to send it to the distributor to help out. We do not take parts that are allotted for kits, we need to keep a schedule and fill the requirement with the orders we have from our distributors. These distributors have had orders made with BDL for many weeks.

I have a dealership and I want to know if I can become a distributor for BDL products.

The distributors we sell to have an established network of dealers. The volume of product they each order is huge. At this time, because of the great amount of purchase orders from existing distributors, we are not considering adding any more distributors.

My primary drive clutch basket, with taper hub, is going onto the main shaft too far and/or the taper doesn’t seat properly. What is causing this?

Verify that you have the correct hub, because we build three different hubs for different applications for 4spd & 5spd tapers. The angle of the taper cannot be cut incorrectly, as far as seating to the main shaft. However, the perpendicularity of the taper could be out of tolerance, but you would see a severe wobble in the basket when it spins. It’s not uncommon for an individual or shop to over tighten the taper hub and push it too far onto the main shaft. If this occurs, your basket may rub and you will not be able to remove the hub from the hub bearing. If over tightened, the taper in the hub “mushrooms” out and will not allow the hub to be removed without modifying the exposed part of the hub, at the opening of the taper. In some cases, the taper has been pushed on to the main shaft so far, that it has cracked the inner bearing race (if you think this has happened, you can feel a “notching” while holding the hub and spinning the basket). The components go together with ½ of 1/1000 of an inch press … it doesn’t take much over tightening to expand the taper and cause trouble. Use Harley-Davidson torque specifications, so you don’t push the hub onto the main shaft too far, and possibly damage the hub bearing.

I have 20+ years experience wrenching. Why, when I call your tech support, does the BDL tech person need to ask me basic questions I already know?

The technical support people at BDL are trained to start at the beginning. A lot of the time, people installing our units do not read the installation guide carefully, if at all. So, we ask the questions we do to get an idea of where you are at in the installation and to verify the proper sequence of progression. We’re here to help, so we need to do our job to get to the point where we can help you.

All I have left to do is to install your belt drive and I can be on my way down the road, but I’m missing a part and my distributor or dealer doesn’t have it in stock. They say it’s on back order and I want to get it directly from you. Help!!!

In the past we’ve helped out, on occasion, with detail parts. However, we’ve found we have done somewhat of a disservice to our distributors and their dealers, by selling particular items direct. Our distributors and their dealers keep a tally of how many parts they sell and bump up the order quantities by a past order history. So if we don’t sell product through them and the distributor can not see what is in demand, then they cannot have parts in stock to support the need.

I’m replacing my ring gear. How do I accomplish this?

You can just buy the ring gear, BDL part number is SG-2. Heat the ring gear in your oven at 450 degrees for about an hour and a half (making sure it’s fully heated) and put your basket in your freezer for the same amount of time. With oven mitts, drop the ring gear onto the recess on the back side of the basket. And in a few minutes the ring gear contracts around the basket. Do not press the ring gear onto the basket, or you will wedge the material and the ring gear will not have a proper grip onto the basket.

I feel a drag on my clutch while I have the lever pulled.  I am using a hydraulic clutch and have bled all the air from the lines.

All of our chain and belt drives require .080-.100 minimum movement from the pressure plate, for the clutch stack to disengage.  There is .100 of separation on a 14 piece clutch stack (bolt-in & standard 3″ open), there is .007 of clearance on each side of the plates.  Depending on the spring pressure (quantity of springs) you are using on your drive, you may not have full movement when using a hydraulic clutch.  If your hydraulic system has the smallest amount of air, the extra spring pressure will compress the trapped air, not giving you the correct amount of movement on the pressure plate. Guys use vacuum bleeders, but sometimes still have trapped air.  Use and indicator to measure the movement of the pressure plate, making sure you have the correct movement on the pressure plate, so it can operate the way it was designed to.  Our design is simple and the amount of movement depends on your cable or hydraulic setup, if it is working properly.

If I switch from the coil springs to a diaphragm type spring, will my clutch lever pull be easier?

Your clutch lever pull will be much easier, because there is less pressure.  If you are running a stock motor, the diaphragm spring will work fine.  But the purpose of our coil spring design is to allow you adjustment.  Add or subtract springs and shoulder bolts as necessary.  The bigger the motor, the more spring pressure that will be needed.  Weather it be a diaphragm or coil spring setup, the clutch needs a certain amount of force to compress the clutch stack to keep the plates from slipping.  So, the bigger you go on the motor the more pressure you will need, and that will make your clutch lever harder to pull.

Why don’t you offer your belt drives in chrome?

Chrome is an uneven surface.  And because it makes an uneven surface, the motor plate does not mount evenly to the engine or transmission, which causes belt alignment issues.  Once a motor plate and/or pulleys are chromed, it voids our warranty.

I’ve installed your 1-1/2” bolt-in kit and the belt is extremely loose.  Is this supposed to be this way?

Our pulleys are gear cut to an exact dimension within plus or minus .005 of an inch, and the belts are made to within plus or minus .030 of an inch on the circumference.  The fitment of the pulleys and belt are exact.  Usually, the problem has been after-market inner primaries which have a short center distance.