Thursday, December 17, 2009

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Wise words indeed, and their meaning was beaten into me today as I decided to swap out my pusher tire for a new tire I got from a Ural dealer. The middle portion of the pusher was worn to the point where there was no more thread you see and there's a possibility I might be riding to Arizona near year's end.

The removal of the rear tire, or pusher tire in sidecar parlance, went pretty smoothly. You remove the castellated nut from the right side of the final drive, then loosen the bolt holding the left end of the axle , from there you just pull the axle out. A BFH comes in handy here by the way. You insert a suitable tommy bar or thick screwdriver in the provided hole and hammer the axle out!

Removal of the tire is not difficult, just have to move it around, squeeze it past parts of the rear fender and left side swing arm and voila....the tire is off.

Yeah, I didn't like the look of that grease dripping out either, cleaned it up, will monitor. On the plus side, verified both the pusher brake pads and the sidecar brake pads have lots of wear left.

Using instructions I found on the Ural sites I frequent, I used my tire irons to remove the tire from the wheel. It was a bit difficult at first but I managed without any blood being spilled.

This was attempt #1

As you can see, it was quite worn....though some Uralistas would have gone further since apparently the Uralshina tire is quite thick. Me, I don't think it was safe anymore.

I was reusing the inner tube since that was still good. I put the new Duro tire (apparently you can't buy the Uralshina tires easily anymore) on with minimal fuss, inserted the tube, and used the tire irons to put the tire back into position prior to inflation.

I inflated, and the tire seemed to puff out as expected. I bounced it a few times and it felt good. Damn I thought to myself, this is not too hard really! Yep, hubris was committed at this point.

I put the tire back on, put the axle back on and tightened things down as required. I pushed the Ural off the centerstand and the rear tire went flat immediately! Dammit!

Here's where thing just went downhill at a high rate of speed.

After some cursing, I took the tire back off, did the tire iron thing and got the inner tube out to examine it. Yep, I'd caused some small holes in it with the tire irons! Dammit!

Ah, but I had bought a spare inner tube, so I was not too dismayed. Yet. I got the new inner tube semi-inflated, just enough to hold its shape, got it into the tire and once again used tire irons to put the tire under the rims of the wheel. Went to inflate it and it would NOT HOLD PRESSURE! Dammit!

Again came off the tire and I got the new inner tube out. Found it after some checking, a small hole in the damn tube! More than likely, I caused it AGAIN with my ham-fisted tire iron technique! Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

Enough was enough, I swallowed my pride and took the tire and wheel to the local Honda dealer where the tech put a new inner tube in and seated and balanced the tire in less than 15 minutes. Cost? $42 including the $11 for an inner tube.

So, that's the reason for the title of this posting. I could have, ridden Natasha to the Honda dealer, taken the tire off in the parking lot (it's really a simple operation), have them change out the tires and probably reusing the original tube and been on my way shortly afterwards! Instead, I wasted the whole afternoon putting holes into two inner tubes and getting really good at spooning a tire over and under a wheel's rims!

Here's the new tire, mounted and positioned on the final drive hub

The last debacle, and probably was Natasha displaying her displeasure at all my dinking around, was when I could not alight the dang hole in the left swing arm through which the axle went! It was misaligned by less than a mm but it was enough to stop me from driving it home. Much struggling later, finally got my small bottle jack in the right spot to leverage the swing arm itself up a little and I pounded the remaining portion of the axle into place. What a pain.

Here you can see the axle finally in place. That's the swing arm which was slightly too low for the thicker portion of the axle to get through!

So, that's my experience with Natasha's pusher tire change. Definitely a Penny Wise and Pound Foolish experience relearned. I could have been done in about an hour if I'd only gone to the Honda dealer first. Oh well, now I know I can do it if I have to but will just pay to have it done in the future.

I also learned, according to the guys at the dealer:

a. Don't go past vertical when using tire irons on tires with inner tubes.
b. Use small bites, not large chunks when working the tire over or under the wheel rims.
c. Use dishwashing detergent and water to form a lubricant for easier installation of the tire. (I knew this one from before, just got lazy and stupid).

The whole experience was par for the course this week. My work contract was terminated unexpectedly so I found myself out of work with no prospects for new work anytime soon. My clutch lever assembly did not show up today as expected, maybe tomorrow but I suspect the Post Office is overwhelmed as usual this time of year; and of course this lesson in tire removal. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Still I am hopeful I'll find work in January, and I have the rest of the month off. Got to look for that silver lining you know.

The pusher is now ready for hopefully many thousands of miles of riding. No one got hurt except for my pride and I found out that the Honda dealer will work on my tires for really very little cost. It's all good. Oh, and I now know how to change out two of the three tires on Natasha.


irondad said...

Penny wise and pound foolish is a monetary measurement. What value do you place on the experience and satisfaction of at least being man enough to tackle it yourself? I mean, it sounds like you could do it yourself successfully sometime. Like on the side of a road?

Hope the work situation works out real soon for you, my friend.

SonjaM said...

Sorry to hear about your job situation. Hope you'll find another engagement soon. Wish you luck!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

It never rains, but it pours. The thrill of changing tires has escaped me as I have always used a mechanic (or a skilled Mac Pac member as the club has a tire machine in garage complete with a beer tap) for this task. Tom Cutter replaced my tires last summer.

I have taken steps to guarantee never getting a flat on the road. These include carrying a repair kit, a pump, CO2 cartridges, and tools. If I didn't carry this crap I'd have a flat every week.

I am very sorry to hear about your job. I lost 80 percent of my annual income in one fell swoop last week. This is a sign of the times, I'm afraid.

Good luck in January.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Dan said...

That "nasty" grease you see on the splines of the Final Drive and the inside of the hub should be meticulously cleaned out and a new, high quality grease, such as molybdenum, should be applied.

1) Cleaning the crud out removes future abrasives that will grind the splines nice and smooth. (Not a good thing.)

2) Fresh grease reduces the metal to metal friction, thus more grinding and wear on the splines.

Dan, owner 2006 Ural Tourist LX with >51K Km on the clock.

Unknown said...


at least you know how to change the tire, it's just the tubes that are the problem. solution is to carry more inner tubes with you.
This does not come with practical experience but I was thinking that before you use the tire tools to mount the 2nd ridge, that you should inflate the inner tube a little to minimize the "flap" and then most of the tube will be inside the tire but not near the rim (and away from the tire irons). I'm thinking that the "little" air will keep the rubber from getting "pinched" so easily.

Hope you find some work soon, doesn't sound fair to leave you in this position with no warning at this time of year

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

cpa3485 said...

Hope, job-wise, that you land back on your feet soon. We have been very slow around my office the last half of '09, but we will be very busy again just after the first of the year.
I constantly debate whether to pay for stuff to get done or do it myself, and I can appreciate your thoughts about the indecision that happens. Anymore, I usually have someone else do it, but in the current economic times, it can pay to do a lot of things yourself, even if the time involved becomes ridiculous.

Canajun said...

Reading your post was deja vu all over again. I pinched more than a few tubes in years gone by until I learned this trick - slightly inflate the tube before having a go with the tire irons. It will hold the tube a bit off the rims so the chances of a pinch are reduced (but not completely eliminated).

redlegsrides said...

Irondad...yeah there's some "experience gaining" to be had, but I got all I needed the first iteration, doing it three times was a bit much.... : )
But yes, I can replace a tire on the side of the road now, I can also swap out to the spare tire with no issues. Thanks for your well wishes re work.

Sonja, thanks for the well wishes, I am sure it'll get better in January, nobody hires during Christmas!

Jack, sorry to hear you're also experiencing economic downturns...hope things get better for you soon.

Dandapani, thanks for the info/tips, good to hear from experienced ural owners on such issues. I examined the drive splines for the sidecar shaft, and they looked fine. Next is the driveshaft from the transmission.

Bobskoot, such is the life of a consultant...I really must look into fulltime work that might be steadier though I see fulltime guys being laid off all the time partially inflating the tire, tried it on the second inner tube....actually put two holes in that one! Only one in the first inner tube that was fully deflated. Go figure!

redlegsrides said...


yes, tried the partially inflated thing....see my answer to Bobskoot...I just have to practice more I guess but for $21, I think I'll just let experienced guys do it right the first time.

FATTKAW said...

sorry to hear about the job problem, thats never good.
If you do your tires again, I've had the same tube popping issues. I got rid of my motion pro tire irons and switched to moose tire spoons. haven't killed a tube yet.