Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Natasha is going to the shop

Well, I gave it the old college try but was in the end defeated by two rpoc screws I could not remove in order to be able to remove the engine's front cover.

My Russian friend Andre and I tried for hours on Monday and did not even budge them. Penetrating oil failed to loosen them, we tried various ways to apply pressure while the other tried turning the screwdriver using joy. Heck, the tip of my craftsman screwdriver bent without managing any movement on the screw itself.

Today, I tried screw extractors, all I managed to do is break two drill bits trying to create a hole for the extractor! That's when I decided the motorcycling gods were telling me to let the professionals take it from here. Coincidentally, as I was putting away my tools, Dennis of Linden Engineering called me to ask if I wanted him to come get Natasha and take her to the shop.

He'll be here tomorrow afternoon, after 4 PM so I can get a full day of work in and then meet with him at my home so he can trailer Natasha away. Sigh.

Here's some pics of where I ended up giving up this repair effort. Now, I'll be stimulating the economy in Golden instead.

The view of the engine front cover, the round part with three notches on it is where the Ignition Control Module mounts.

Note the damn RPOC flathead screws, located top right/left of the cover

A view of the engine, from the left side, it should give you an idea of the ackward angles we had to deal with while trying to remove the cover.

A photo from Natasha's previous owner, this is what I would have seen if I'd gotten the damn front over off. That middle gear was worn down from what I could see through the alternator mounting hole so the timing gears will definitely be getting replaced. The smaller gear on top is what got sheared off the alternator.

Hmmm, I just realized, that cotter pin holding the alternator gear, no in evidence when I took the alternator out....hope Linden finds it!

Thanks to all who offered supportive words and comments. I'm going to have Linden replace all the rpoc flathead screws with allen head steel screws so the next time the engine cover has to come off, it'll be doable by me!

Oh, and I am going with putting in OEM Ural Timing Gears and a rebuilt 35 AMP Ural Alternator. Why? The timing gears are $70 vice $230 for the aftermarket Herzog timing gears. The rebuilt alternator is $200 vice the $600 Nippon Denso Alternator which is backordered for the foreseeable future!

In other words, it's cheaper and faster to go with Ural components. Once she's running again, I'll have more options. I wanted the Denso but am unwilling to have no ETA on getting one.

One thing I've learned of all this, one must monitor the noise level coming from the alternator and adjust its position accordingly to prevent excessive wear on the gears. These motorcycles are definitely "interesting" when it comes to keeping them running.


RichardM said...

Just curious, how much faster is the alternator spinning compared to the engine (alternator drive gear ratio). It looks like well over double from your pictures. Just wondering what would cause the shaft to shear in the first place...

redlegsrides said...


Andre, my russian friend, who used to work at a structural testing company...spotted contamination in the shaft when it was created. In other words, bad quality assurance....these alternators have a reputation as "grenades". And yet, you can't get one of the "better" ones because they're in short supply and going to the new Urals......kind of makes you wonder.

mq01 said...

:( hmmm, well, hmmm... i still believe the road gods are with you. i always feel this way myself since my car and bike of choice just dont let me down either, they are my babies, they get me home...its once home that they fall apart ;) as if saying, mom im tired now, time for a nap... ah lol... sorry. you've got to laugh about it. this IS the stuff we do... yup, life and wheels...

redlegsrides said...

thanks Mq01, hopefully the mechanic will make her better soon....the fact he's willing to come pick her up decided it for me....

Mike said...

Sounds like things are looking up. Sorry about the trouble you've been having. Too bad the Russians don't make alternators as strong as their screws.

Unknown said...


sounds like very good dealer support, willing to go the extra mile to keep you happy as a customer. Hope you get Natasha back soon

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Could you get to those screw heads with an impact driver? Ther screws would be toast by the time you got them out, anyway.

Take a look at that site I sent you. The guy who wrrote it barely had a day when he didn't have to make a serious adjustment on some part of his Ural. You'll be carring a full set of tools, AND A JACK, in tha sidecar. You can obviously pull this off. I couldn't.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Anonymous said...

A full Herzog set was under $200 from Holopaw (delivered). Raceway had the Denso with Herzog at $400 in January.

The problem you run in to is the fact that the drive between the cam (big gear) and alternator has a harmonic when it is running. Listen carefully at a constant speed and you will hear a rhythmic thrumming. Touch the throttle and this stops for a few seconds.

This harmonic EATS the gears. Once the gear teeth get short enough a couple of teeth hit on their crests rather than crest/trough. This hit upon the crest bends (and breaks the alternator shaft.

Problem with the RPOC and gears is that they will begin to wear the minute they begin to run. The harmonic will destroy them rapidly.

Best Luck, Ron Cichowski

Anonymous said...

HI I'm Chuck I have had 3 Urals, currently a 2006 patrol and a 2007 Retro and would not be without one, the only way to go. My 97 rig had the "exploder" I never had trouble, keeping the adjustment is critical, I do all my own work. Keep in mind you put a big strain on her yesterday, road conditions and the super slab. I have found my rigs are in a sweet spot at 50 to 55 faster just seems to make the engine unhappy, even for a short time,ride it faster you will fix it more often, back off the fuel and she will be reliable, it is just the way they are. If speed is a issue for you the only cure is a swap to a 1000cc box Beemer. Hacks still become more unstable at higher speeds. The newer the Ural the more refined, I could even see/feel the difference from 06 to 07 mostly in the gearbox. The off roads you were on are the only roads I have except for two paved roads here in Big Bend Tx and they have not torn up my rig. Gene at Holopaw and Felicia at Wag's are the best. Gene has more parts for the old bikes then the Ural factory in Irbit. Stick with her and treat her kindly. Chuck

Kelsey said...

Hi there! I stumbled on your blog via Scooter in the Sticks, and I'm really glad to see another blogging Ural owner! I'll be adding your blog to my links list asap.

I'm also glad to see that you have an older model. I have a 1995 Tourist, and it seems like most of the folks on the forums have bikes from 2002 and upwards, so it's not quite...the same.

I look forward to reading your blog!

Also, here's my own Ural blog:

redlegsrides said...

Mike, thanks for reading this stuff, yeah...damn rpoc screws.

Jack, already bought extra tools and a jack to carry in the trunk! Will check out that link soonest.

Ron, thanks for the's my unwillingness to wait for the denso to become available in the supply channels mostly, that and the costs....I've heard from others who saw with proper care and monitoring, the ural grenade alternators can last. We'll see.

Chuck, thanks for writing in and your vote of confidence on Urals in general. I swear I did not go above 60 during the weekend ride....the damage I've seen (see today's posting) was the result of long term problems I think.

Kelsey, I'll be checking out your blog soonest! The more info we can share, the better! Thanks for the link and for reading this stuff.