Friday, January 15, 2010

Repositioning the Standby Battery

Yesterday, after a 255Km ride in which Natasha performed flawlessly, I had written that I had to use the standby battery to get me the last 9 miles or so home as I'd depleted the main battery down to 8 volts.

Later that evening, as I hooked the chargers up to both batteries, I discovered that the support bracket I had installed to help hold the weight of the ammo box containing the standby battery had broken! Yep, right below where the bolt secured it to the motorcycle's rear fender support frame.

So I bent the bracket some more, drilled another hole, and re-secured it as it had been before, with the exception of adding a rubber buffer to hopefully prevent another breakage.

That was last night, this morning I woke with the idea of repositioning the ammo box onto the rear fender instead since the previous owner had removed the pillion tractor seat when installing the large Harley Davidson solo seat. I'd been thinking of buying a cargo rack but the idea I had was to "create" mounting points for the ammo can and secure it to the fender.

I removed the four plastic caps over the pre-drilled holes on the rear fender. The Russians really use thick steel/iron for the fenders by the way, it was a good 1/8" thick! Well able to support the weight of the battery ammo box.

I rode to the hardware store with Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer and got myself some nuts and bolts for about $5. Add to this a small plastic cutting board from my loving wife (yes, I asked first) and lots of measuring, drilling (and still more drilling since I didn't get the holes lined up quite right on the cutting board or ammo box).

I replaced the battery box which had been resting on the 2WD protector frame (which is really unsuited for such a heavy object) with a smaller ammo can I had in storage. Inside this ammo can are the cable connections linking the main battery to the wiring on the motorcycle and the heated grips.

The battery ammo box now sits on the rear fender, very securely. In fact, when I got to shake it, it shakes the whole motorcycle!

Views of the battery ammo box's new location, from left and right

The smaller ammo box, used as a wiring junction box

A side view of the battery ammo box on the rear fender

Tomorrow will be a good test of the robustness of the above mountings. I am hoping to meet with three other Ural owners at O'Brien's Cafe in Sedalia. The idea is to go find some decent amounts of snow, and see how easy the Urals are to get stuck and unstuck. All this in preparation for planned participation in the annual Elephant Ride this coming Valentine's Day.

The Elephant Ride, named either after a same named event in Europe where cold weather riders gather to rally and party or to celebrate Hannibal crossing the alps on Elephants or both. Here in Colorado though, the object is to ride up Guanella Pass from Grant, CO. The pass is NOT plowed during the winter, so there should be deep snow and ice to be negotiated. It should be interesting.


msh group said...


Chris Luhman said...

the elephant ride sounds fun!

Cleophus said...

I am seriously looking at purchasing a Ural in the near future, and would like to know why your Ural's alternator can't keep the primary battery sufficiently charged, necessitating the use of an auxillary battery?

Charlie6 said...


to see why I am running an auxiliary battery, you'll need to read the series of postings I made on, to get the whole story.

Here's the first one:

Basically though, mine is a '96, it came with the 35amp Russian alternator - which is nicknamed the Russian Grenade - due to its habit of tearing itself apart and usually taking the Ural's timing gears with it.

Newer Urals don't have this alternator anymore, they use one made by Nippon Denso. They're better I hear but they're also hard to source, hence the nickname: unobtanium. They also have their issues and some folks have gone through several. Some are quite happy with them. YMMV.

The Densos are pricey too. I am running total-loss (No alternator) until either the Denso's are available or a more permanent solutions is found. Or perhaps not, and keep going total-loss, works for my riding so far on the Ural.

Finally, the word on the new models is they're leaps and bounds better than the ones made in the mid-90s when they started to be imported into the USA.

Strongly suggest, if you've not done so already, join and read the stuff put out by other Uralisti re their Urals at these respective discussion forums:


HTH, these machines are a BLAST to ride, specially in conditions which keep two-wheeled motorcycles stashed in the garage. You'll find yourself wishing for snow.

Chris Luhman said...

Cleophus, I purchased an 09 Ural Patrol last year and it has been great to ride as Charlie6 said with no regrets. Go take one for a ride.

Everyday Riding