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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Bike is a 2009 950. 17k miles. I just bought it with a bit under 16K and a belt that was WAY too tight IMO. I ran some routine maintenance and a valve adjustment, did a quick interstate shakedown and hit the road yesterday morning.










Got a few bearings and seals on order from Ron Ayers for the fix. Now I have a good excuse to go buy a 20T press from Harbor Freight.
 

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That's a bummer, Glad you didn't go down. The only time I've heard of rear bearing issues has always been caused from belt tension being too tight and you confirmed it again. Hope you get it fixed quickly and back on the road.
 

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Wow, and from searching on this topic it seems I'm actually late to the party. Maybe I should have done more research before buying the 950...
It's not an issue with the belt tensioned on the loose side of specifications. Unfortunately some people ran their belt too tight and had issues. There are many here that have not had any issues, I'm sure they will chime in. Don't get discouraged, the 950 is a great bike with just regular maintenance. Get it fixed and watch that smile come back to your face when you're on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's not an issue with the belt tensioned on the loose side of specifications. Unfortunately some people ran their belt too tight and had issues. There are many here that have not had any issues, I'm sure they will chime in. Don't get discouraged, the 950 is a great bike with just regular maintenance. Get it fixed and watch that smile come back to your face when you're on the road.
Well, hopefully so. I've lose a bit of faith in a motorcycle when it leaves me stranded.

I bought the 20T press from Harbor Freight today and the bearings/seals should be here late next week. I'll get it all back together and running, then go from there.

She was running great up til that point. Getting almost 50 mpg at 75. I would like to convert to the Stryker pulley too, I'm on the interstate a lot.
 

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the overtightened belts come that way from the factory and reiterated by dealerships. even the recommended specs in the manual are too tight. it suggests 3-5mm of tension at 10lbs. but most of us have found that 5-7mm is pretty much the sweet spot. i'm also looking to do the stryker pulley swap on mine, but haven't had any look getting a stryker owner to swap. our pulley actually benefits them. and a used one is hard to come by on ebay. so i will probably have to just buy a new one if i really want to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Even 5-7mm still seems too tight. 6mm is barely 1/4".

I normally push up with my finger oriented horizontally but held rigid. When my finger bends at the base knuckle, I like to see about 1/2" to 3/4" deflection.
 

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i had to have my belt replaced at 30K miles, most likely because of this belt tension. since then i've kept mine at about 7mm and it's still going good more than 60K miles later on the 2nd belt. i did run into a squeak with it a little over a year ago but that was resolved with some chain lube on the outside edge of the belt. so you use your finger instead of a belt tension gauge? how accurate is that?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's worked well for me over about quarter million miles and 20 different bikes.

You really think when it come down to millimeters on belt tension that 7 vs. 9 is gonna put a mushroom cloud over your bike?

The bandwidth between too tight and too loose is about 1/2" IMO. 5-7mm is on the cusp of too tight to me. All the HD's I've ever owned were on the order of 3/4" minimum and they've had belts since the early 90's. I guess it ultimately boils down to the pivot angle of the swingarm compared to the pulley centerline and whether or not the axle is moving away from the front pulley during shock actuation or towards. With HD's, it's moving away until a certain point, then back towards, but only at suspension ranges that bottom out most shocks. I should check this on my VStar.
 

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1/4" increments is a lot less accurate than dealing with mm. there are 6.35mm for every 1/4". 1/2" is 12.7mm. and i think the difference between a belt with 3mm versus just 5-7mm tension over time could mean having a timely, costly, and inconvenient repair like yours or several other 950 owners that have posted similar experiences online. you may have had a good run with your previous 20 bikes, but every bike is different and it doesn't sound like any of them have had this issue before. since you're having it now, i'd recommend getting a belt tension gauge. it's $10. and you can be sure exactly how much belt tension you have instead of guessing. plus, there are markings on the belt cover sightline that are marked in mm so it's easy to be more accurate than guessing in 1/4" increments.
 

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Bike is a 2009 950. 17k miles. I just bought it with a bit under 16K and a belt that was WAY too tight IMO. I ran some routine maintenance and a valve adjustment, did a quick interstate shakedown and hit the road yesterday morning.

I was on my way up to the Smokey Mtns from Tampa for the week to play a few days. Just south of Macon I felt a change in the bike. Like a light switch all of a sudden I was feeling a LOT of vibration in the whole bike. I slowed down and took the next exit. 1st gear was really notchy, it wouldn't pull cleanly, like the belt was slipping. Turns out it was. The whole axle wore into the axle adjusters in the swingarm and ended up seizing inside them. Took a lot of WD-40 and whacking with a large brass hammer to get it out.









Got a few bearings and seals on order from Ron Ayers for the fix. Now I have a good excuse to go buy a 20T press from Harbor Freight.

Pretty common on the 950 and 1300 series especially using the factory belt specs. For anyone else, when changing the rear tire, have these bearings inspected and replaced if in doubt. Usually the first indication if your lucky is squealing noise from the rear hub. But most just get the locked up rear wheel with the whole rear wheel hub assembly damaged. Luckily at least that we know of, no one has been killed yet.

Interesting note is Yamaha changed the part number of those bearings back in 2011 on both bikes. And interestingly most of those bearing failures like yours occurred on 2009 models. Not all but most.

But like others said, the belt specs are dangerously too tight
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pretty common on the 950 and 1300 series especially using the factory belt specs. For anyone else, when changing the rear tire, have these bearings inspected and replaced if in doubt. Usually the first indication if your lucky is squealing noise from the rear hub. But most just get the locked up rear wheel with the whole rear wheel hub assembly damaged. Luckily at least that we know of, no one has been killed yet.

Interesting note is Yamaha changed the part number of those bearings back in 2011 on both bikes. And interestingly most of those bearing failures like yours occurred on 2009 models. Not all but most.

But like others said, the belt specs are dangerously too tight
Thanks for the feedback.

Mine made zero noise until about 100 miles before the failure. I remember audibly hearing three distinct metal-on-metal squeaks at three different locations in the last few miles, but each time I thought they were just some other source as I was in close proximity of potential noise sources each time so I dismissed it. Now, I know better. I'll button it all back up when I get the parts, then each time I get off the bike I'm gonna put my hand on the swingarm to feel for temps, at least for the first few miles anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So I got it all back together last Sunday but I think the belt's knackered. The teeth on the belt only embed into the pulley like they're supposed to only partially around the pulley. To visualize this, imagine the belt rides onto the belt at the 6 oclock position and leaves the 12 oclock. Well, the teeth on the belt only fully go into the pulley teeth from like 4:30 to 12:00. The bottom portion the belt rides up off the pulley as if the teeth are too far apart (belt stretched). Considering the state of the belt, and alignment of the axle in relation the swingarm, it doesn't surprise me why the belt's shot...

Y'all know how expensive belts are for these damn things???
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've counted teeth, I got 157. I've also counted teeth on pictures of VStar 1300 belts on eBay, 156. I'm probably gonna just go that route. One tooth only scoots the axle up about a quarter inch.
 

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$280!! That sounds nuts but I guess considering the longevity of a belt vs a high end o-ring chain it's pretty cheap. However I would expect that they can be had for ~$160 since that's what the belts for my Sporty's run.
 

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You're not kidding. I decided to look into this and am surprised at how elusive the belts are... I can't even find the dimensions to cross-reference offerings from various manufacturers.
There have been other forums and here trying to search for compatible belts for years for the 950 and 1300. They are made by Gates who pretty much makes everyone's belts. But the Yamaha belts are unique in that there are no other belts that will match up. So you are stuck paying for a new OEM or hopefully can get a decent used one.
 

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The drive belt industry seems to thrive on misdirection and secrecy. Supposedly Gates and Goodyear branded belts are supplied by the American company BDL (Belt Drives LTD), depending on where you look, yet according to that company's web site they don't manufacture belts. Both Gates and Goodyear don't appear to be very forthcoming with any info on drive belts and I can't find any motorcycle drive belts with more than 140 teeth... talk about frustrating! I spent less than an hour on this and have already resigned myself to the notion that $280 isn't all that bad. ;)
 

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I've counted teeth, I got 157. I've also counted teeth on pictures of VStar 1300 belts on eBay, 156. I'm probably gonna just go that route. One tooth only scoots the axle up about a quarter inch.
uhm... sounds like a red flag there

why would there be OEM belts for the 1300 that have different number of teeth?!

If you are going to spend that kind of money, I would get it from a bike parts online sales website, like Bikebandit, Revzilla, or any of the other big sales sites that sell OEM parts.
 
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