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Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion (Read 319 times)
stewmills
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Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
01/18/17 at 22:18:51
 
First and foremost, note that this post is not to instruct you on how to take a raw pulley and modify it.  This post is only to provide a reference on how to install a modified Kawasaki pulley after you have sourced one.  There are members on this forum that make the modifications and sometimes have the pulleys available for sale.  You can either search the Marketplace for their advertisements or post a Wanted ad and they will let you know what they have available.

Here is the stock pulley on the bike, and the new modified pulley, for your comparison:



Before you buy a pulley, it is probably in your best interest to first make sure you don’t have clearance issues with the rear tire.  What this means is that with the larger front pulley, most of your slack in the belt will be taken up requiring that your rear axle is all of the way forward.  To check this clearance, using whatever SAFE method you prefer, loosen your rear axle nut and raise your rear tire off of the ground. Loosen your rear adjusters all of the way out where your axle can then slide all of the way forward. Lower the rear tire back on the ground and check for clearance primarily on the rear swing arm and fender bolts as well as any bolts you may have added for saddlebags, etc.  If you have saddlebag bolts or stock fender rail hex head bolts you can replace these with lower profile allen head bolts. If you are running the stock rear or a larger 140 90/15 proper clearance is most likely not an issue, but you need to check just to be safe.

Now that you have verified clearance, order a pulley.  Once you have your pulley and are ready to work, secure the front wheel of the bike. I suggest strapping the front wheel against a post so the front of the bike is stable but the rear wheel can be raised and lowered using a floor jack.  I also used a couple of loose straps down to the triple tree as a safety.

Next, you will need to remove the pulley cover by removing the three bolts holding it on.  DON’T clean it because the dust will help you locate any rubbing after the new install.  Be careful not to lose the rubber bushings on both ends of these bolts as well as the spacers, and take note where they come from as there are two different sizes.  If I recall correctly the longer of bolts goes on the center-right, but if you pay attention you’ll figure it out.



Now that the cover is off, you will need to remove the upper and lower belt guards. This is done by removing the two visible phillips screws (careful not to strip them…you may need an impact driver) and two small bolts about mid-way down behind the guards. You can reach them from the front once you locate them.

The lower guard will drop off, but you also need to loosen the lower spring/shock cap nut to allow the upper belt guard to slide out as it is secured into the rear of the lower spring/shock bolt.  Once loosened, you should be able to maneuver the upper belt guard off the bike.



Now you should have the upper and lower belt guards and pulley cover removed, and an exposed pulley.  First, locate the folded over edge of the locking washer and carefully “unbend” it.  I used a screwdriver to carefully get it started, then a flat punch and delicate hammering to get it fully opened up.  Careful not to abuse this washer as you may need to reuse this washer if your kit didn’t supply a new one.



With the washer opened up, place the bike in neutral with the rear tire on the ground.  Get a helper to sit on the bike and depress the rear brake pedal. If you are doing this right after you loosened the rear axle and adjusters to check for clearance, tighten the adjusters back temporarily to take up the slack in the belt and to ensure that you remove any slack in the rear brake cable as moving the rear axle forward puts more slack in the cable that you need to resolve in order for the rear brake to work effectively.  Using a 32mm or 1 ¼” socket (less than $5 at Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply), turn the pulley nut counter clockwise (lefty loosey) to break it loose.  It is on there with red thread locker so it will be tough to break, but when it does it will start getting easier the more you loosen it.  Some use an impact wrench if available.  If your bike is strapped against a wall or post this should be relatively easy as the bike can’t really move much, and allows you to not have the bike in gear which is preferred since you want to minimize racking the shaft against the gears with this amount of force if you can avoid it.

Once you get the pulley nut loose, remove the nut, washer, and pulley but remember to hang onto the nut and washer.  Clean the nut and threads of the shaft of residual thread locker but don’t use oil, WD40, etc. as you will need to secure this back with thread locker and you want a clean dry surface. Just brush off with a clean wire brush.



Now, that the pulley is out of the way, you will need to replace the upper shaft cover bolt with an allen head screw to reduce the height of the head and minimize the possibility of the new pulley rubbing it. Make sure to use blue thread locker.  Do the same replacement with the upper-right transmission bolt which will be very near where the belt will run after the new pulley is installed.  The belt will run very close to this new allen head, but should be ok.
Replace these two:


Replaced


Next, you will need to place the pulley on the shaft and make sure it is pushed all the way in. Take note where the pulley rubs the middle-right shaft cover casting.  Remove the pulley and dremel off a margin of the casting to allow for clearance of the pulley.  It may only require a few mm, but make sure it is free on the backside as well and that you trimmed deep enough.

Before trimming


After trimming (sorry for the blurry pics)




Once the casting is trimmed and spins freely, you will need to loosen the rear axle nut and raise the rear tire off of the ground and also loosen the rear adjusters so you can push the rear wheel full forward.  FIRST install the belt around the rear pulley, and then sit the new front pulley into the belt and carefully maneuver the new front pulley (with belt) onto the shaft. It’ll be tricky at first since there is not much slack in the belt, but you will figure it out.  Once you have the pulley in place, temporarily place the lock washer and nut on the shaft and tighten hand tight.



Now install the pulley cover but tighten it down slowly while occasionally spinning the rear wheel (CAREFUL not to catch your fingers in the rear pulley).  As you tighten the cover you will most likely feel and hear the pulley scrubbing on the cover.  Push the cover on just a bit more while purposely spinning the rear wheel so you can locate these marks and know what to trim.  Remove the cover and locate your marks, and using a dremel carefully trim the obvious areas.  The most obvious is usually the post that corresponds to the same casting post that you had to dremel off.  Be patient and do this as many times as it takes until you can snug the cover down securely and have no scrubbing or scraping. If needed, you can use a crayon or marker to color the areas you trimmed to see where it is continuing to scrape, etc. You may not need to trim as much as I did. I went a bit overboard to err on the side of "plenty".  Once this complete, remove the cover to temporarily get it out of the way for other tasks.



Next, you may also need to trim the lower belt guard.   Others have not had to trim their lower belt guard, but mine was close and I had the dremel at hand so I trimmed mine. To determine if yours really needs trimming, simply install it and look at the upper front edge and if it rubs or is extremely close, dremel off a bit to allow for clearance. Note that about an inch or so of this front edge is covered by the main pulley cover so any trimming work will likely be hidden. Here is mine trimmed about 3/8”.



Double check your pulley clearances on the upper casting bolt that you replaced with the allen head as well as the casting post that you trimmed with the dremel, and after you have confirmed all clearances it is time for permanent install.  Remove the pulley nut and apply blue or red (stronger) thread locker to the shaft threads and nut and install the nut to 95 ft/lbs torque.  Remember, it helps if the rear wheel is on the ground and you have a helper holding the rear wheel brake, but note that you may first need to tighten the rear brake cable since you pushed the rear wheel forward and created more slack in the line.  Once the nut is tight, bend at least one (some do two) edge of the lock washer flush against the nut. Sometimes it helps to get it started carefully with a screwdriver and then get it nice and flush using a good flat punch or comparable tool.



Once the pulley nut and washer are secured, replace the upper and lower belt guards.  Use some blue thread locker on the two screws and two bolts that hold the belt guards on.  Remember on the upper belt guard to also insert it into the rear of the lower spring/shock mounting bolt and tighten back to 22 ft/lbs. Next, replace the pulley cover (but DON'T use thread locker on these three bolts as they have rubber bushings to account for vibration) and again raise and spin the rear wheel once more just to be certain that you don’t have any scrubbing. With the rear wheel still off the ground and rear axle still slightly loose, you can make any necessary adjustments to realign the belt in the rear pulley while spinning the wheel forward.  You may not have much slack to work with, so you may have to find the balance between the belt tracking close enough to the center and not too tight on the belt. You should be able to twist the belt 90 degrees with two fingers for proper slack.

After the rear wheel is where you want it, tighten the axle adjuster lock nuts, and tighten the rear axle nut to 65 ft/lbs.  

Tighten the rear brake cable and adjust accordingly to remove any added slack caused by moving the rear axle forward. Make sure to test the rear brake while rolling and before getting out on the road!

Unstrap the bike (careful not to drop it after all of that hard work) and go for a spin.  Listen carefully for any odd scrubbing noises and if you missed a spot in the pulley cover, address accordingly. If you don’t hear anything, you did a good job, but still offer a visual inspection for any obvious signs of rubbing. Remember to look at that lower allen head bolt that you replaced which will be right below the belt if your alignment is similar to mine. Inspect for any harsh rubbing. A little bump here and there isn't critical, though if you have a lot of aggressive rubbing here you can consider replacing this bolt with a countersunk allen bolt which will require that you countersink that casting hole. This is a delicate procedure and should only be done if you have the right tools and know what you're doing as you can damage the threads if you aren't careful.




Hope this helps!  Before you ask, YES, I am extremely pleased with the outcome and the overall cruising performance as well as torque are a perfect balance.  You won't regret it.  Cool Cool Cool
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« Last Edit: 03/21/17 at 13:20:05 by stewmills »  

2008 | 152/52.5–Air Mix 3/4 | RT6 w/Redline | Seat Lift w/Sheepskin | Speedo Rattle | Rear Pulley Shim | 140/90-15 Rear | Kaw Front Pulley | Blinker LED | Relocated Rear Signals

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Kenny G
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Re: Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
Reply #1 - 01/18/17 at 22:39:10
 
Good Job Stew!

Kenny G
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Dave
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Re: Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
Reply #2 - 01/19/17 at 05:27:22
 
Stew:

Great job on the documentation, and installation.  I have installed 2 pulleys on stock bikes, and I have never had to trim the chrome belt guards - do you have longer than stock shocks?

Also I recommend using the threadlocker on the screws that hold the belt guards in place (but not on the pulley cover screws).  The Savage vibrates a bit - so I use the threadlocker on anything that attaches to the frame.

Dave
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stewmills
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Re: Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
Reply #3 - 01/19/17 at 06:32:55
 
Thanks, Dave and KennyG!  

I appreciate you letting me ask you a question or two along the way as well, Dave  Wink

My bike shocks are stock. I probably could have gotten away with not trimming the lower belt guard, but it was sorta close and I had the dremel out so it was just a quick nip just for my sanity. I did use thread locker on the belt guards as well, just failed to note that.  I'll add a quick note to the original post so it isn't overlooked.
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2008 | 152/52.5–Air Mix 3/4 | RT6 w/Redline | Seat Lift w/Sheepskin | Speedo Rattle | Rear Pulley Shim | 140/90-15 Rear | Kaw Front Pulley | Blinker LED | Relocated Rear Signals

FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!
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stewmills
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Re: Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
Reply #4 - 01/19/17 at 07:47:36
 
Dave wrote on 01/19/17 at 06:52:36:
This definitely is a worthwhile update for any of you who keep trying to find a 6th gear while riding on the highway.  It drops the cruise rpm 8.7% - and that is a noticeable difference and the engine feels much more relaxed.


No doubt.  I was running around town at 45mph in 3rd gear and the bike wasn't even sweating it, and I was drifting around 55 - 60mph in 4th gear and never needed to get into 5th gear. Can't wait to open it up to 75mph on the highway and use my new overdrive!
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2008 | 152/52.5–Air Mix 3/4 | RT6 w/Redline | Seat Lift w/Sheepskin | Speedo Rattle | Rear Pulley Shim | 140/90-15 Rear | Kaw Front Pulley | Blinker LED | Relocated Rear Signals

FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!
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Rodger
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Re: Guide to Kawasaki Front Pulley Conversion
Reply #5 - 04/15/18 at 18:20:00
 
After extended procrastination, I completed the pulley upgrade. This write-up was a BIG help.

One tip: if, like me, one has no assistant, a small ratchet strap from right passenger peg mount to the rear brake arm will hold the wheel for torquing the front sprocket nut. I have a photo, but the forum rejected it for being over the 2048 KB limit.

Kudos to stewmills & Dave!!  Smiley
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