Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Fiona Modifications

Improving the front braking performance.

Fiona, my '99 URAL Patrol Sidecar with the '84 R80 Beemer engine has drum brakes on all three wheels.

Stopping power, as you can imagine, isn't as good as Scarlett's, my 2014 URAL Patrol with disc brakes on all three wheels!

Richard Winter, aka BURAL on Sovietsteeds, had mentioned to me he'd found a Triumph Motorcycle Clutch Cable (Mfr #T2047048) that fit the bill as a replacement for the stock front brake cable on the older Ural motorcycles with drum brakes.

I had him modify an old style brake perch he had, to accept the cable which I ordered and had shipped to his home, he coupled them together and sent them out to me.

First attempt to install, I ran into a problem with the brake actuating arm that came with Fiona, it was not wide enough in the groove area to accept the Triumph cable and also the hole one uses to anchor the cable end wasn't wide enough.  Richard said it's a sad fact but consistent manufacturing specs on the older URALs were somewhat "lacking".

He then sent me the brake actuating lever he'd used to test the cable assembly he'd sent before, and I got it before MOAB, only just today getting around to installing it.

It took me a while as you have to unmount the actuating arms and move them from the existing six o'clock position on the hub to the 430-5PM position to allow for the extra length on the Triumph cable.

This was the first time I'd done this so it took me a while to figure out how each piece interacted with the rest of the brake cable assembly!

This is the sequence that worked for me after much trial and error.

1.  Remove cable end from anchor point on actuating arm.  Remove barrel screw, as the cable came with one.

2.  Remove grip, controls, brake perch and pull the attached stock brake cable off the tug.

3.  Unmount and reposition both brake actuator levers, leave the link between them unhooked on one end.  Yes, it'll be a slight PITA to align the splines on the arms.  However it is INFINITELY easier to mount the arm onto the splined end before attaching the new cable to it!!!    Ensure you have enough slack by moving the barrel screw forward.

4.  Put the new perch in place, secure it, tie it off in the forward position to push all the slack to the hub end of the cable.  Route the cable to the brake hub and insert the barrel into the repositioned forward brake actuator lever.  You'll have to use a large screwdriver as lever to push the assembly back so the cable can be inserted, it should be a tight fit.

5.  If you got the new angle of the brake actuator arms correct, it should be a tight cable end to end, with little to no slack at the perch end of things.

6.  Reconnect the linking rod between the two brake actuator arms last.  You may need to twist the loose end to account for the new angles.  It helps to use a large screw driver to lever the rear actuator arm closer to the front arm so you can insert the locking pin.

7.  Use the barrel screws to adjust tightness and test effectiveness of brakes by lifting the front wheel into the air with a hydraulic jack, rotating the wheel while pressing the brake lever.

End result.  Note the arms now point to about 5 o'clock, they
used to point straight down or at six o'clock before with the stock
URAL brake cable.

Took Fiona out for a test drive around the block, getting up to about 35 mph.  She stopped much better while using only the front brake!  Much better stopping performance is my initial impression.  You could not stop Fiona fully just using the front brake before.

Repositioning the Reverse Lever.

Since my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, Valencia, I've gotten in the habit of shifting the transmission into neutral when stopped at lights, to hopefully minimize the pressures of the clutch on the clutch throwout bearings assembly.

Usually, not a big deal, I would use the left side of the right boot heel, and kick/nudge the lever rearwards, effectively putting the transmission into neutral, or into reverse if I kicked it too hard.  I would then push the lever forward with the heel and wait for the light to change while freeing up my clutch hand.

However, in Fiona's case, due to the Ceet tubing and the positioning I had to use for the 2014 type airbox, the right side carburetor air tube was in the way and there remained only a very narrow gap in which to insert the side of the heel of my riding boot to engage the reverse lever!

Saw on sovietsteeds a thread on what others had done to modify their reverse lever to enable easier access.  One stood out to me, it'd been posted by silberman and was an idea taught to him by Mr Cob.  You basically unmount the splined reverse lever, reposition it a bit lower or towards the rear, to gain a larger gap in which to insert one's boot heel!

Taking off the lever is a bit of a trick though.  I emailed Dave H.  aka COB, and he sent me this:

With the nut and washer removed, reinstall the nut to where it just sits even with the end of the stud, place a large screw driver behind the shifter and apply pressure to force the shifter away from the bike, tap the end of the shaft with a hammer the shifter will pop loose.

Reinstalling the nut will protect the threads of the stud from damage when you tap the shaft with the hammer.


At first the above didn't work for me, the splined rod on which the reverse lever is mounted was pulling out a little bit but that turned out to be expected behavior after I checked again with Dave.

Using a bigger hammer, got the lever off, repositioned it, put it back on the splined rod and secured it.  Once again I can use my boot heel's left side to push/kick the reverse lever backwards to put the rig in neutral or reverse!  :)


 Above is Scarlett's reverse lever which is in the factory position.
You can see where the paint's worn off where my heel has hit it.

Above is Fiona's reverse lever, now in the new, further back position.
Tried finding/engaging/pushing the lever with booted foot, no problems!


One last trick if you have difficulty pushing the reverse lever into neutral or reverse.  If it's being stubborn, AND you've confirmed your transmission is in first gear (you did, right?), then place your left heel on the heel portion of the heel/toe shifter on the left side, pushing down gently.  This will release the pressure that's preventing your reverse lever from moving backwards.

Seat Back Pad.

Fiona came to me with two rubber tractor-type seats on the tug.  The rider's seat was in good shape but the pillion seat was all torn up so I removed it for now.  However, this left the pillion's grab handle in place for my lower back to hit on occasion while moving about on the rider seat!  Painful.

My lower back hit the steel mount not covered by the foam tubing.
The weirdly shaped rubber object behind the grab ring is the "cushioning"
for the missing pillion tractor seat.

Ordered a cheap seat back pad from Amazon, universal fit, for $20 I believe.  Added a narrow piece of plastic to the wood backing so I could use zip ties and voila, I've got a back seat pad.


 The bottom of the pad zippers open, I screwed on the plastic strip
and used it to anchor the zip ties.  We'll see how long that lasts!


I think I lost a smidge of leg room however, but time will tell.  I suppose I could move the whole thing back an inch but that means drilling more holes.  I think there's a bench seat in Fiona's future, just not right now.

Update 5MAY15

Added a voltmeter (used to be on Yoshie, the V-Strom sidecar rig) but this time it uses the battery tender SAE connection to read power.  This way, I can transfer it between Scarlett and Fiona as I can only ride one rig at a time!


The 2" Split Loom tubing arrived today, I removed the unsightly duct tape from both Ceet carb tubes and will try the loom material instead to protect the apparently easy to wear out Ceet material:



7 comments:

BMW HACKER said...

Looking good! Always fun to "dial in" the little items to improve function and performance. PS...don't be afraid to "double up" zip ties. (I'm sure you carry spares anyway....my bike would nit function without zip ties....lol)

RichardM said...

Nice additions. I like using the Raceway 2WD lever for reverse. Very convenient put into neutral.

Charlie6 said...

quite agree with you on the raceway lever....pricey.

Charlie6 said...

Added some more stuff today, RichardM. Post updated.

RichardM said...

I didn't realize that they made the plastic split loom that large! 30+ years ago I found some flexible air hose that was a whole lot more durable than the Ceet tubing that others seem to like. The plastic gets soft when it heats up and, as you discovered, isn't that durable. I don't remember where I found the hose but a heavy equipment shop pointed me to a source. They used it as ducting for stationary engines.

Charlie6 said...

I've seen loom-like tubing about the same size, for pulling fiber within, I think 2" is the largest you can buy without having to go into bulk quantities.

Charlie6 said...

BMW Hacker, why yes, I do carry spare zip ties. :)