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Buell Forum » Big, Bad & Dirty (Buell XB12X Ulysses Adventure Board) » REPAIR BILLS, REUNIONS, AND BROKEN BELTS « Previous Next »

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Hangetsu
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 12:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Some of you may remember one of my other threads where we had a vibrant discussion about the crap-tonne of oil that was spewing all over my primary case, engine space, cooling fan, and my left leg. As for the cause, there were about as many ideas out there as there were people who chimed into the thread. My initial thought was, rocker box cover, but the shear volume of oil and the trajectory in which it was spewing made me rethink that idea. And most of you had other notions as well. Well, as I possess neither the time nor the pace to get into an operation that requires an engine rotation and partial disassembly, I caved in and brought it to my friendly neighborhood ex-Buell dealer and service center, Latus Motors, for a full diagnosis. And as it tuned out, the simple answer was the correct one. My rear rocker box cover was spraying like a shower head.

I left by oil-soaked Uly there for the full repair, and two rocker box gaskets, two PVC valves, associated fasteners, other seals, two spark plug wires, one clutch cable, a $1200 bill, and three months of throwing $100 bills at Latus before they set her free, I am finally back on the road – Just in time for the Pacific Northwest winter. I don’t mind that, really. I rather enjoy riding in the cold and rain – not so much the ice – but I’m beginning to wonder if the Uly is really cut out for such environments.

I rode through the past two winters, 2015 in Colorado and 2016 here in Oregon, and the Oregon weather and climate seems to really be hard on the beast. The constant wet, strangely enough, seems to see the engine running much hotter than the cold, but dry, winters of Colorado. The fan runs double the time, and lingers much longer after shutting the engine off than it ever has. And the oil. I have never seen clean, fresh Amsoil turn so quickly into a mocha milkshake than it does in this region. It takes no longer than a matter of weeks compared to dry Colorado. But back to my short-lived celebratory mood after finally getting my ass back on that that torquey beast.

I’ve had the Uly back for just over a week now. I have been commuting to and from work and running errands around town, but I have yet to take it on a good spirited ride. And it seems it may be a while before I do.

Today after work, clad in Olympia winter gear and ready for my ride home, I started the Buell, and let it run for a few moments as I buckled the helmet and piled work stuff into my paniers. Then, as usual, I threw a leg over, clunked it into gear, and thought to ride off. The “clunk” into gear, however, was a bit heavier and more violent than usual, but not that uncommon when the temps get this cold. However, following the clunk, the tranny emitted a strange whine like the gears weren’t meshing up, and my attempts to put it into first or second gear resulted in the same grindy whine. And, in either gear, the bike refused to move when I attempted to ease out the clutch.

Now all of this might have been quite alarming had I not experienced it once before, almost one year ago during my first winter here in the Northwest. I killed the ignition, swung my right leg back over and to the ground, and took a peak over the seat. As I expected, there lie my drive belt, like a flat dead snake, on the ground.

This happened to me before almost exactly one year ago. It was a frigid morning in the low 30’s, I gave the bike only a brief warm-up, and the shift into first was more difficult than usual and the “clunk” more violent. And that clunk into gear snapped the belt cleanly across its girth. This event today was almost exactly the same, blow by blow. Another snapped belt with less than 6000 miles on it.

This belt has absolutely no fraying or abrasion on the sides, and the break is a perfect 90 degrees across the width. Even the fiber bands that run through the core of the belt have snapped cleanly with very little stretching or unraveling like I have seen on belts that simply wear out.

So now my question to all of you. Have any of you noticed any more propensity for these things to snap belts in cold weather? Any experiences similar to mine, or should I be looking for a different culprit?

As always, any and all thoughts, opinions, or experiences are welcome. If at all possible, I would like to avoid an annual $185 belt replacement bill every year I own this thing. If my problem is something other than the cold, I could use some help figuring it out.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments.

Cheers!

Alex
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Arry
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 12:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I think I've heard mention of the Amsoil "mocha milkshake" from others on this forum. I don't know if it's related to Amsoil or just the moist time of year. I haven't had that issue, but don't do much winter riding (and use Mobil 1 V-twin).
Anyway, with bad oil and your clutch not disengaging properly, you're getting a harsh shift into first - BAM and there is your broken belt. Kind of like pulling a dead car with a light tow rope, no problem, but if you have slack in the rope and take off - BAM and the rope is snapped in a blink.
With good oil and clutch adjusted and working smoothly, it should drop into gear pretty easy, even with a cold clutch it shouldn't be violent.
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Arry
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 01:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I do commiserate, as a belt shouldn't break that easy...
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651lance
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 07:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

With being a northern state dealer and we also sell Amsoil we have found all oils can turn into a "milk shake". What we have found is it will do that from a high moisture in the engine and the oil not getting above and staying above 180 degrees long enough to burn off all the moisture in the oil and cases. We have seen customers that think they are going good by starting their motorcycle once a week or month to "let it run". All they are doing is fill the cases full of moisture and by spring the have made them selves a milk shake on there engine oil. Motorcycle aren't the only engine that sees this issue cars due also, the 5-10 mile to work and home people have the same issue.
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Hangetsu
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 08:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I'm not saying my oil is currently in that condition. Honestly, I haven't looked since getting the thing back from the shop. Since they replaced my clutch cable, I had assumed they would have put in a fresh quart of fluid as well, but with the lack of cold clutch disengagement I've been experiencing since I got it back a week ago, I'm kind of wondering.

The bike is sitting in my company parking lot right now and I will be checking fluid levels today. But after the extensive work they just did on the thing, I can't imagine they would have returned it with dry cases.

I guess, I'll find out.
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Tootal
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 09:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Check the cover on your clutch cable at the adjustment. You need to have a zip tie around the top of the rubber cover. If not water gets in there and runs right into the primary making a milkshake.
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Hugie03flhr
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 12:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I would think some of that oil spray made its way onto the belt that is oil resistant but after months of oil soaking in May have compromised strength. As far as the oil turning milky, it's caused by short runs or the engine oil not getting hot enough to steam off the moister. Sorry to hear the stealer mugged you but I hope you did an O2 sensor while you had the bike apart...
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Hugie03flhr
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Also you may want to use a thinner oil or maybe even automatic transmission oil. I usuall work the clutch and rev the engine a few times with the clutch in, to work the plates loss from the thick sticky oil. I also can start my bike in gear with the clutch in and ride nice and easy until it warms up.
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Steveford
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 03:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

From my experience temperature doesn't have anything to do with belt breakage. I've had two belts go and both were during warm weather. No warning sign, they just popped.
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Dr_greg
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 01:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Northern state notwithstanding, the New Mexico winter weather was enough to "milkshake" my '92 Duc 900SS; ultimately resulting in a fragged (ball) main bearing.

I had very good luck w/Uly belts, even in winter. Obviously YMMV.

--Doc
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Ourdee
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 01:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I found more belt breakage with down shifting often. Never broke one on a downshift, but right after.
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Ourdee
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 01:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

When I knew I was riding in cold weather the next morning, I would tarp the bike with an electric heater pointing at the engine. Also would stuff a rag in the oil cooler scoop.
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Steveford
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 07:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Now that you mention it, both times it was clutch in at a stop, put it into first, let clutch out and the belt popped.
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Hangetsu
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 08:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Thanks, all of you, for your comments.

Actually, the milky oil situation really isn't a problem. I am well aware of this phenomenon with air-cooled motors in cold weather, and I change my fluids pretty frequently during the winter. My bigger concern is the frequency of my belt failures.

The failure this time, just like you Steve, occurred while at a stop, and it seems to have snapped just by putting it into gear. Strangely, the same thing happened almost exactly this time last year. I came out to the garage, started the bike, put on helmet & gloves, popped it into gear and was suddenly confronted with a clatter emitting from the transmission that made me think I blew out a case. I looked down to see the belt laying on the floor. The tranny was fine. After putting on a new belt, everything ran and worked good as new. Now, one year later, the exact same thing happened in my work parking lot, and as I haven't heard anyone else complain of similar occurrences, I am wondering what I'm not finding that may be contributing to pre-mature belt failure.

This bike is becoming the source of a bit of frustration. The first 30K of this Uly's life was flawless. Great performance and reliable as any bike I've ever owned. But this last 15K or so has been plagued with one failure after another; voltage reg., deteriorated wiring, axels frozen in wheels, 3 drive belts, rockerbox gaskets, a cooling fan etc. Friends are asking why I insist on hanging onto the thing, and I'm beginning to wonder the same.

I keep hoping for the next fix to be the last for another 10K or so, but it seems as soon as I fix one thing, something else goes out within a month. My confidence that the Buell will continue to provide reliable and economical daily transpo is on the wane.

I am open to any additional insight on how to minimize belt failures.

Thanks!
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Ourdee
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 09:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Slot the belt tensioner holes to give a little more slack to the belt tension. Do not engine brake by down shifting.
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Steveford
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 09:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

You shouldn't be going through that many belts. I'd also check the condition of the sprockets to make sure that there's no sharp spots on them. My first belt lasted 55,000 miles if I remember correctly.
The Buell can be pretty aggravating once they get above 30,000 miles. I figure one thing will screw up every 5,000 miles and then just fix it and keep on going.
Clutch is next for me when I do the 115,000 mile service but it's the original plates so I really can't complain.
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Smorris
Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

IIRC, the belt has gone thru up-dates with superceding part #'s. could it be be you had replaced belt with one that was not of the most current manufacture. Then again, i am not sure about the updated belt.
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Hangetsu
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Well, 2 new rockerbox gaskets, 1 clutch cable, 2 plugs, 2 wires, and 1 drive belt later, I am finally back on the road. The motor is running great and strong, and the bike feels solid and stable. I took advantage of the first sunny day in a while and went for a good long ride in the mountains north-west of Portland, and all went well.

Knocking on wood, I'm wondering how may mikes I'm good for before the next frustration.

Cheers!

Alex
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