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Changing Buell Xb belt idler pulley bearings

2-12-2013 - A easy fix, can be done with limited tools

When you check you bike with a maintenance, or just a rear tyre change, it is very easy to check the belt idler pulley bearings , wiggle the pulley to feel how much play is on theme , now some play is normal , but give it a spin , when they sound like a coffee grinder or spin much to loose , it is time to replace them.

Now for almost all the XB series they used the same construction, only the real early XB9 2003 series they used a different single bearing , but I dough these are still around.

With the belt tension off ( rear axle at least 15 turns loose )

You can take off the idler support nuts , and pull off the assembly, the bracket can bind a little on the older brackets, using a drift or lever can help


Belt pulley idler assembly off , remove the locking bolt and screw holding on the Idler pulley, and take the pulley out

Now there is a front and back side to the pulley, this has to do with the locking clip and the spacers

back side pulley


front side


Now first clean off the dirt to have a good look find the locking clip


On the locking clip there is a little notch where you can start to remove the locking clip

2 flat screwdrivers will do the trick, one to rotate the locking clip , the other screw driver to prevent the clip from jumping back in the slot


Wiggle out the locking clip out off the groove

And slide the screw driver, so forcing the locking clip out the groove



Try to remove the spacers , front and rear one are different ( picture is front spacer ) , in this case the front one came out easy

the back spacer needed some more persuasion, with a drift or wrench extension or just a big bolt gently tap it out  

The spacers can be hard to remove, as they can be corroded to the bearing ,  !!! if they are really stuck and you cannot get even the front one out,               it is better to press  them  out complete with the bearings , when you have the complete bearings and spacers out, you can split the bearings and so take off the spacers



Now pressing out the spacers, while we have a very nice hydraulic press , this can be done also with a vise ,

we do not recommend to use a hammer and knock the bearings out !

Using a big round piece steel to support and give the bearing clearance to be pressed out,


Bearings out

Clean the inside off the pulley a little and get your new bearings ready, a little coat off grease on the outside off the bearings will make the bearings go in a little more easy, and protect the pulley in the long run

you can find new bearings here

Now press the new bearings in

Use some protective material not to damage the front side off the pulley , and press in the first bearing until flat level with the pulley.

Number 2 bearing pressing in use a piece off metal supporting the outer bearing race

And press it until the bearings are seated


Now put the locking spring back in

Start with one end in the groove

And follow the spring pulling a little on the loose end, and pushing it in with you thumb, works for me the easiest  way


Spring seated,


Now clean up the spacers from corrosion

Apply some neverseas on the spacers and press them back in

Long spacer is the back side, little spacer is front side

A little never seas on the mounting bolt

And tighten the bolt

Running nice and smooth, pulley in the center of the brace


Clean up the stud if they are corroded, and apply some neverseas before you put back the idler pulley assembly


Put the assembly back on, and tighten the nuts, place back the rear wheel axle and TQ down to specification ,                                                                   ! if you have the wheel off the ground,  rotate the rear wheel while you are screwing in the rear wheel axle , this helps the belt to position without less stress.

don’t forget the tighten the rear wheel axle pinch bolt