Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Replacing the Speedometer on Fiona and a new GPS mount

Talk about fast service, I asked Unique Rides, the premier URAL dealer in Fort Collins, CO yesterday to send me a replacement speedometer for Fiona and it arrived today!

Background: Fiona's speedometer needle had gone into "windshield wiper" mode at the start of the last cold snap we had a week or so ago.  And while it still kept mostly accurate record with the trip meter and the odometer, I'd been forced to use an old iphone4 as a GPS speedometer.

This arrangement allowed me to verify what the odometer was displaying in the old speedometer was mostly accurate.

Kilometer reading on the old speedometer 

It only took a few minutes for me to remove the old speedometer (and managed to do it without dropping the small nuts that hold the speedometer bracket in place, into the rats nest that is the headlight bucket).

Installation of the new one was straightforward as well.  I put the headlight back on, geared up and went for a test ride.  The new speedometer works very nicely and matches the GPS pretty closely from what I was able to see during the short test ride.

New speedometer in place, after the test ride.

I had thought, instead of using the old iphone, to use Martha's TomTom GPS that we'd bought a while ago for her car.  She doesn't use it anymore, preferring to use the Waze app on the iphone.

We'd used a similar sized GPS unit while renting a rig in Ireland this past summer and I'd liked the waterproof case the rental company provided with the rig.  So I bought one via Amazon:

Big GPS and case isn't it?  

This TomTom XXL is a nice unit but I discovered after I bought the case that it doesn't have a trip meter!  I mean really, every GPS I've ever owned has one to record mileage driven, why not this unit?

So, I won't be using the TomTom, for speedometer/trip meter functions.  Just for navigation perhaps on trips.

The case though, will hold the old iphone just fine for those rainy days.

I'll keep the iphone GPS mounted for a while longer to gauge the accuracy of the replacement speedometer, then it'll go back into storage I think.

Scarlett Update:  Randy of Unique Rides has pulled the engine from Scarlett, now waiting on word from Ural in Redmond as to whether to ship it whole to them for analysis/repair or just the engine case minus the jugs and such.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

After the Snow Day

It started snowing very lightly on us here in the Metro Denver area this past Sunday afternoon, by Monday about two to three inches of snow would accumulate by the end of the day under very overcast skies.

I elected to wait till Tuesday morning, to venture out under clear blue skies and warm-feeling temperatures that ranged from 25°F (-3.8°C) to a balmy 33°F (-.5°C) at the end of the ride.

The main roads were clear for the most part, the only part I had to engage 2WD on Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '87 Beemer engine was ironically on my uncleared driveway and in the cul-de-sac!  

Fiona, you see, is not equipped with the Heidenau K37 Knobby tires that I'd fitted on my primary snow riding rig, Scarlett.  All Fiona has is the Duro 308 Street Tires so traction is sometimes less than desirable.  It still is pretty good, mind you, just not as good as knobbies on snow.




We've got warm temperatures forecasted for the next few days so all the snow will likely be gone by the weekend.  Next snow fall is Tuesday of next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Speedometer alternative for Fiona and Scarlett

Probably precipitated by the recent cold weather, the speedometer for Fiona had begun to exhibit the dreaded "winshield wiper" effect this week.

Attempts to lubricate the cable seemed to make it worse.  Now the speedometer pegs out at the far right limit of travel when moving at any speed.

So today I did a proof of concept, using the Ram mount I had onhand for the Garmin Nuvi GPS (which had been serving as a speedometer anyways for long trips) and my iPhone with a free speedometer app.


The test was successful, it worked great.  I'll postpone the taking apart of the wonky speedometer for now since the odometer and tripmeter appear to be working fine, it's just the needle that's OTL (Out To Lunch)

I've this more secure RAM mount coming from Amazon for the long term:

source: Amazon

Update on Scarlett: Randy, the URAL dealer up at Fort Collins has started looking at it, but it appears he's going to have to remove the engine from the rig.  That's all I have for now.

Update: Re-purposed an old iPhone4 to do same thing.  Works fine but not tested for extended time in sub-freezing temperatures yet.  iPhones tend to shutdown when on battery power when it gets cold enough even though there might still be life in the battery.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017