Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Natasha, not quite dead, and feeling better.

As my steady readers know, a bit over a couple of weeks ago I had another "repair challenge" set on my by Natasha, my '96 Ural Sportsman Sidecar Rig.  It was initially, apparently the death knell of my relationship with this beast of a motorcycle but things have gotten better since then.

Much like the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the guy is seen hauling a cart through a plague-ridden medieval town, yelling: "Bring out your dead, bring out your dead";  I too was in that situation two weeks or so ago.

source: Google
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I thought the Final Drive on the Ural was toast and not worth further investment of time or treasure.  I was the guy carrying a body to the death cart which was not quite dead yet.  It was Natasha who spoke to me as I took her final drive apart and said: "I'm not dead yet".  Further disassembly and research intimated that she might be "getting better".

Since then I've had quite the "crash course" I've had in basic disassembly of a Ural fulltime 2WD unit, diagnosis of problems of which there were two major ones, and the eventual replacement of same.  Ready help came from a fellow SovietSteeds member: Ron C aka n3303j online.  He'd rebuilt this model final drive before and offered me guidance, help, info, and tips on taking things apart, checking them and then putting things back together.

Thank you Ron, I am in your debt.

I'll spare you the boring technical pictures and details here.  If you're really curious, there's a picture series on picasa which details the disassembly I did and what parts got replaced:  LINK

After receiving the final part this part Saturday (and not realizing it till Sunday morning due to it being buried in snow on the porch) and spending Super Bowl Sunday working on her with my youngest son's help; Natasha was back together.  Monday, my wife and my youngest son helped me mate the tug back to the sidecar, Natasha was whole once again.  It was dark by the time I got her wired up to the battery in the sidecar and figured out some minor issues.  Went out for a very short ride, less than 1/2 mile in the snow-packed neighborhood but she seemed fine!  Those short few minutes riding about were glorious!

Today, we woke to a good 5-6 inches of snow and I used Natasha to take my oldest son, Patrick, over to school.  Man, it was fun sloshing about the deeply rutted neighborhood streets for the whole mile to the school.  We both got quite cold in that short ride, as I'd not fitted the windshields back on to the rig or the heated grips!

Here she is, mated back onto the sidecar and ready for more test rides

So far so good, no leaks from the final drive, the rear wheel remains with no wobbles and nothing has fallen off.  The windshield is back on, heated grips are wired up again, and soon she'll be ready for the forthcoming Elephant Ride on Guanella Pass this weekend!


RichardM said...

Congratulations! Nice photo series of the 2WD final drive. After this a spline lube on the Beemer should be a walk in the park.


Murfs Spot said...

Good to see her back together again Dom.
I`m in the process of considering your offer to the join the Elephant run.

Jus when i'm ready to leave Colorado............Dey pulls me back in !!!!

Circle Blue said...


bobskoot said...


I was feeling so sad for you. I'm smiling now. I'm very glad you are whole again

happy trailblazing, and the snow has come back just for you

Wet Coast Scootin

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, yeah no kidding....lubing the splines on the transmission input shaft really should not be that bad....though I am seriously considering getting some kind of motorcycle stand to elevate things....my knees are killing me from working on the Ural.

Murph....c'mon, you know you want to be the monkey and freeze your ass off while we try and ride up to Guanella Pass.

CircleBlue, thanks for visiting and reading.

Bobskoot, this last round of snow was pretty good. My cage had more trouble getting out of the cul-de-sac than the Ural. Rode to work in -8°F this morning, it was chilly.

RichardM said...

Pretty soon we'll be reading a post on how to search for a nice shop with some sort of house attached...


Allen Madding said...

Once again I am thoroughly impressed at your acquired mechanical fortitude. Glad to see you got the old girl back together and are having fun with her in the snow.

I continue to think that once you have been through every piece on the bike and rebuild it with higher grade hardware and components, you will have a very dependable bike.


motoroz said...

Glad you got her back together. Sounds like a fun ride to school.

Mike said...

Congratulations! Tis a good feeling fixing an issue like that then enjoying the fruits. Well done!

Mike said...

Congratulations! Tis is a good feeling fixing an issue like that then enjoying the fruit of your labor. Well done!

Brady said...

I'm damned happy to hear you go her back together again. My heart really went out when I first heard about all of your troubles - probably mostly because I envy the hell out of your sidecar rig. If I ever get one, it'll probably be a fair bit of 'never meet your heros' but for the moment I'm happy to see one more sidecar staying on the road. I hope you're happy with that machine, cause some day I think I might just have to get one.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Chris Luhman said...

Congrats Dom! I'm glad you got the old beast fixed up. The elephant ride should be exciting this year with all the snow we've been getting.

Chris Luhman said...

Steel bike stand on sale...


SonjaM said...

It's alive! Good job on this. I wish my hubby would be half talented as you on fixing stuff (well he has other qualities...).
And I had some hopes that you would train Brigitta to become your future hack ;-)

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, I do find myself wishing for more garage space....hmmm...

Allen, there's a guy currently riding a thoroughly rebuilt Ural in North Africa right now...Hubert Kriegel, quite the character...on his sixth year of a ten year ride around the world.

Motoroz: I'll admit it was quite chilly, but fun!

Mike, Thanks, but it was thanks to the advice of Ron and others that I accomplished what I did, we'll see how long things last.

Brady, yes...a sidecar rig should be in your future, you like to wrench, but there's that trip to Germany in your future. They have some serious rigs in Germany....

Chris, oh yeah, lots of snow....I don't think we're going to get very far before we hit the deep stuff. It should be fun.

Thanks SonjaM, am sure your hubby has great qualities...as to Brigitta someday being a tug, no go, turns out her being a single sided swingarm model is not suitable for the lateral stresses of a sidecar.