Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stripped Splines on the pusher hub, made it home anyways.

Note: This posting is also located on examiner.com. So what's the difference?  I get paid per # of hits on that site, so if you feel like helping my fuel budget, read the article there instead:  LINK,  Thanks!

Back when I did the wheel swap to put the regular DURO tire back on Natasha as the pusher wheel, I'd noticed that the gear splines within the hub were kind of worn down.  I remember thinking to myself that I needed to start shopping around for a replacement wheel hub.

I guess I didn't move fast enough for Natasha however.  I was riding on Deer Creek Canyon Rd to shoot a video of the curves and twists offered by this nice road.  I had stopped to mount my son's video camcorder onto the grab rail on the sidecar.  I went to start moving and there was this dreadful metal rubbing noise!  I stopped the engine immediately and did an inspection of the transmission area, the drive shaft and the final drive assembly, no obvious damage or leaks of any sort.  Hmmm.

I started the engine once again and gently eased off the clutch, again there were the dreadful metal rubbing and clanking noises!  Damn.  I started walking her down the slight incline where I had stopped, all the while watching the drive shaft.  I noticed it turned just fine but I noticed that the sidecar drive shaft was not spinning.  The noise was coming from the final drive area....damn damn.

Then, a light went off in my head and I remembered an article on sovietsteeds.com where a fellow rider had a similar situation and it turned out to be worn spline gears within the pusher tire's hub.  In his case, they had worn down to the point where the gears from the final drive were not engaging the pusher tire's spline gears and so no power.  Here's a link to the article:  LINK

Hoping against hope, I started working on taking off the pusher tire so I could see if that was the problem in my case as well.  It took me over 90 minutes to swap the wheels out.  It's really hard to swap wheels when you're on a slight incline, have to dig a channel in the hard rock encrusted dirt to allow enough clearance to pull the old wheel out and put the spare wheel in. (It really helps to have a helper when swapping wheels).

Still, I had managed to get the old wheel off and sure enough, the spline gears were worn almost completely away!  I put the spare tire on as pusher, and was hammering in the axle when a good samaritan stopped to offer help.  Good timing on Bruce's part, that was his name, since I was having the usual issues getting the final third of the axle to go into the frame's suspension arm.

Axle in place, Bruce said goodbye with my thanks.  I wish he'd have shown up about 30 minutes before when I was struggling to pull the wheel out but hey, he stopped.  Unlike the many cagers who simply went by as I worked on Natasha.

Got the spare wheel buttoned up and secured.  Put away my tools, secured the bad wheel onto the spare's position on the sidecar.  Used some of the Goop I carry in my toolkit to clean the grease and dirt from my hands and washed them in the snow.  Brrrrr!

I geared back up, started the engine and damn if she didn't start moving as expected, with NO noises!  A good self-recovery experience for today!  A new wheel will cost me $311 and I pick it up tomorrow.  (I was thinking this was pricey but it turns out to be a good deal)  It's got a black rim vice a chrome rim like my old one but again, beggars can't be choosers.  I might, in the long run, find someone who can take the hub from the new wheel and install it onto the old rim with the old spokes but it won't be tomorrow.

After all this, I decided to shoot the damn video I'd come all the way to Deer Creek Canyon for anyways.  I hope you enjoy it.  Sorry, no pics of the repairs, was to busy repairing and fighting to get the old wheel off!

After all, I can't let Bobskoot do all the videos can I?

Here's a picture of the old pusher wheel's hub and the stripped splines therein.  Looks pretty bad don't it?

Here's my pusher wheel's hub
The threaded rod in the center is the support rod that holds the spare tire
not much left of the splines eh?

The wearing of the splines is apparently a common issue with Urals, sigh.  Russian metallurgical skills can sometimes be "lacking" apparently.  Oh well.  Things made by Man will break or wear down, that's life.

It's good to have a spare wheel/tire!


Unknown said...


nice video. I notice the roads are mainly bare with snow on the sides. Your mount seems very smooth, not much vibration. It made me feel like I was sitting in the sidecar.

I was wondering if you could have a flange welded to the end of the driveshaft with perhaps 4 or 5 holes to match the flange you weld onto the wheel to be attached by nuts and bolts. That would eliminate having splines that wear out

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, thanks for the comments on the video....

the way the wheels are designed on the Ural, I don't see a way to do what you suggest, good idea though...I sure wish they used bolts instead of spline gears! You don't see this problem with Beemers! Oh well.

Of course, with Beemers and other makes, you can't take the front wheel and put it in the rear or vice versa or swap it out with the sidecar wheel either! I guess that's the price of having wheels that are interchangeable.

RichardM said...

I think this is a "issue" at least on airheads like my '83 R100RT. I pull my rear wheel regularly to clean and re-grease the splines between the drive and the hub. It looks very much like the Ural. I doing that item this week along with lining the transmission input spline.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

You are a glutton for punishment. I have the pleasure of telling you that your time purgatory has een eliminated by riding a Ural.

Consider this patagraph. You wrote:

"It's really hard to swap wheels when you're on a slight incline, have to dig a channel in the hard rock encrusted dirt to allow enough clearance to pull the old wheel out and put the spare wheel in. (It really helps to have a helper when swapping wheels)."

If this had happened to me, the first line would have read, "So I took the flame-thrower out of the side car, and hosed the Ural from stem to stern."

I'm doing basic maintenance on the K75 for the first time this year. Actually, I'm cooking dinner and mixing drinks for a few of my friends who will be doing the basic maintenance on my K75 this year.

Necessity is the mother of desperation.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

Richard, hmmm, my R80 is due her transmission input spline lube in a about 2K miles. I've always had the local indie mechanic do it as I've doubts on pulling the transmission to do it....how difficult is it for you to pull the gearbox to the rear so you can access the input shaft? Or do you remove the transmission entirely?

redlegsrides said...


for a nanosecond, that flamethrower thought fleeted through my mind, then I got down to the business of self-recovery. Just a fact of life with Urals, or at least, my Ural!

I was all bummed at the $311 price for a new wheel, till I priced what a new rear wheel would cost on my R80: $927! Yeah, I know apples to oranges, but still....at least Ural parts are somewhat more affordable, then again, their "quality" is less as well sometimes.

RichardM said...

I found the basic procedure is here http://www.webbikeworld.com/t2/spline/ and it takes an afternoon. I removed the rear wheel at the same time to clean and lube the final drive spline using the same moly 60/grease mixture. The procedure isn't too difficult. I purchased a machined down 27mm socket for the swingarm locknuts on eBay. Other than that, no unusual tools.

Chris said...

The spare tire to the rescue! :) I love the fact that Ural planned for some regular failures and included a spare and tools to get nearly any job done.

I'm wondering if the '96 and the '09 are different on the pusher tire? Mine is easy to do with one person once I figured it out and practiced a few times - just a pull, lift, twist, pull.

redlegsrides said...

Richard, thanks, I knew of that procedure, was just hesitant to do it I guess but since you say it's doable, will try it!

redlegsrides said...

chris, don't know what to tell ya....on my 96, there's about 1/4 inch of clearance needed to pull/twist the tire out of the well....will try and remember to compare vice the 2007 Urals I ride with on occasion.