Friday, October 16, 2009

Putting Natasha back together.....test ride tomorrow afternoon!

Yesterday, Andre and I had put things back together enough to the point where I could work towards trying to start the engine. Here's the new timing gears, installed by yours truly with a minimum of cursing and damage; and with tons of help from Andre.

The hole on top is where I will put the damaged alternator back in, sans gear, to act as a cover until I either get a rebuilt or some other option pops up.

Closeup of the crankshaft timing gear, yeah, I buggered up the bending of the disk to lock the nut in place. Oh well, it's not pretty but it'll work

The new cam shaft gear, which was pressed onto the cam shaft while it was out by Andre's mechanic friend. Note the new allen headed screws holding the cover behind the gear, almost all the rpoc flathead screws got replaced by allen head steel screws.

Andre had to leave for home before I was ready to try and start the engine and so he missed it when I went to hit the starter and NOTHING happened.

Dammit! There I was, getting close to 11PM by that point, and I could not get the starter to do anything. Very frustrating. Called it a night after posting the issue on the online forums asking for guidance. So close!

Today I went to work, and hurried home after 4PM to start troubleshooting what I believed to be an electrical problem. Andre joined me soon after I got home and together we worked with voltmeters and visually checking connections.

Here's Natasha, sans gas tank(which is a pain to remove when it has gas in it), so we could examine the whole wiring harness.

A closeup of the two relays which control the starter and alternator, we initially thought one of the relays was bad, then perhaps the individual wires leading to them.

The two black thick wires that used to lead to the bolt on the rear of the alternator, now joined together and taped up to complete the circuit for the lights and the starter.

After maybe an hour, we found that by jiggling the wires leading to the two relays, we could hear the relays clicking when the ignition was on! Aha!

We concentrated then on the relays and their connectors, tightening things, cleaning connections and so on. We thought we had narrowed it down to a bad relay but after we put the new one in, more jiggling of wires caused sporadic loss of power to the starter circuit! As an indicator, we knew we had good connections when the battery low indicator light glowed. When it blinked, problems.

Andre then noticed that the small green wire which had been connected to the back end of the alternator, and which the online guys told me could be left disconnected, also kept moving as he shook the relay wire cluster and occasionally grounding out on the engine case! He'd found it!

So in spite of the general wisdom online, you do have to ground the small green wire from the 35amp Russian alternator. Once we secured it, the starter engaged just fine. Heck, we even started the engine! She started just fine and ran very smoothly. We'd hear this weird squeaking noise while it ran though. Took a couple of tries but we finally found it:

Air was escaping at the top right corner of the front engine cover, causing the paper gasket there to vibrate and emit a squeaking noise!

So after Andre left today, I went to the auto parts store, got some high temperature gasket sealant and removed the front engine cover again to apply it. I'd decided not to use it the first time because its use was not mentioned by the source I was using as a guide. My fault. What a pain, specially after the engine ran so smoothly and quietly when compared to before....almost beemer-like!

Still, it had to be done, can't be squeaking can we? :)

I sure hope the gasket sealant does the trick, the gear damaged the case somewhat and I found a couple of hairline cracks near the top. I applied a little JB-Weld since it's not a high stress area of the engine. If it ever gives out though, I'll have to replace the front cover, and that's if I am lucky and the main engine case does not have issues as well! Damn grenade alternator!

So that's why I must wait till tomorrow afternoon, I want to give the sealant a good 18 hours to cure and seal.

Still, she's back together, just have to put the front wheel fender back on tomorrow morning, sort out a few things and she'll be ready for that test ride. Wish me luck.


Learning to Golf said...

Here's hoping Natasha likes the upgrades to her innards. Good luck on the test ride.

Chessie (Chesshirecat) said...

Man, I can hardly wait to read the next segment of this saga!

Thanks for the visual walk through with pictures and commentary...I found the entire process extraordinary and followed like an addict.

cpa3485 said...

Sounds like you are on the tail end of the process. Your determination is inspiring! I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Unknown said...


I'm crossing everything I can for you too. Hope you've solved the problem. I think you're nearly there. Soon, time for another riding adventure. by the time you are finished you will have the best, most bullet-prooffed Ural in the country.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

FATTKAW said...

glad to see your running again!!

redlegsrides said...

chessie, thanks for the kind words and for reading this non-riding stuff....I hope to get a good ride in tomorrow

cpa3485, not inspiring, I'm just a cheap stubborn wannabe wrench....thanks for your support k

thanks for your support too bobskoot, I sure hope you're right about Natasha being more reliable from this point on.

fattkaw, thanks for your comment and support as well.

redlegsrides said...

Natasha lives! See blog ...

Allen Madding said...

heck, this is better reading than riding stuff!

Hope you find a reliable altenator soon.