Your Harley-Davidson Touring model’s secondary drive belt is meant to be checked and/or adjusted at every service interval (every 5,000 miles). To check the belt tension, you will need a specialty tool, but fortunately for you there are a few options out there, including some that are not all that expensive. The tool you’re looking for is appropriately named a belt tensioner gauge, The good folks at Motion Pro make a version that works for Harley-Davidson Touring models, and Harley-Davidson itself offers one as well. We found one from KiWAV on Amazon for $20 and it works just fine.
To tackle this specific job correctly, you will need to remove at least the right-side muffler to gain access to the axle nut. Sure, you could get away with using two wrenches to loosen, adjust, and tighten the axle, but you would not be able to torque the axle nut with a wrench, thus the reason for removing the right-side muffler. Before you jump in, check your 36mm wrench or crescent wrench to see if you can fit it between the left-side muffler and engage the axle. If not, you will need to remove that muffler as well. If you would rather not do that, go ahead and order a rear axle wrench from Amazon. They have a few different options, which vary in price, but we ordered the Pit Posse version for $20. It is a simple tool that’s designed to be thin, specifically for this job.
The job itself is simple; you just loosen the axle nut enough to where you’re able to move the adjuster on the left side of the axle, then check adjustment at the belt using your tool and the lower belt guard’s window gauge. Deflection needs to be between 3/8 inch and 9/16 inch at 10 pounds of force for all except FLHX, FLHXS, FLTRX, FLTRXS, FLHRXS, and FLHTKL models, and 1/4 inch to 7/16 inch at 10 pounds of force for those FLHX, FLHXS, FLTRX, FLTRXS, FLHRXS, and FLHTKL models. With the belt adjusted to spec, tighten the axle nut to 100 foot-pounds and reinstall the muffler.
If you are an at-home maintenance kind of guy or gal and add this step to your service regimen, you’ll end up saving lots of money in the long run. It is a very important step in your bike’s regular maintenance schedule, and one that can easily be done at home.