Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Uraling back to Colorado - Day 57: Repairs at Raceway Services and later, new noises.

So, I'd mentioned before the annoying clutch dragging issue when sitting at stop lights and such, especially when the engine was hot.  This posting was supposed to be an account of another great day of great customer service by Raceway Services but it will end in a low note due to other issues.

Today I rode Valencia over to Raceway Services, in Salem, Oregon.  After the initial greetings, Robert who is one of the shop's mechanics jumped in and started taking Valencia apart to get the engine/transmission out of the motorcycle and onto the work bench for analysis.

The clutch kit that was overnighted to the shop arrived as Robert was finishing removing the engine from the chassis.  Robert soon had the transmission off and the clutch parts disassembled and here's what he found:

 Above is the flywheel which came with my Valencia, note
the shiny "gouges" along the channels.  These are points where the steel
plates and clutch plates could "hang", preventing clean disengagement of the clutch

The above picture is a new flywheel and gives you an idea of 
what the channels should look like.

 Above is the transmission input spline from Valencia, note
the gouges on its splines, below is a new undamaged input spline

So here was the rub at this point in time, both the transmission input spline and the flywheel needed to be replaced.  Neither part is part of the clutch kit that had been sent to the shop.   Damn, I thought to myself, another night in town while more parts are ordered.

Robert went away for a bit and consulted with Kurt who handles warranties and parts.  The decision was made to take the flywheel from an existing engine which had been mounted on a test stand for a previous project; and to get the input spline from an in stock gearbox!  How's that for taking action to get a rider back on the road?

Plan made, Robert worked through the day to make it happen.  I tried to take pictures, learn things and tried to stay out of the way.  I even got invited to lunch with Jim and the new owner of the shop: Frank.

Frank, the new owner and Jim who's staying on as he's
the "soul" of Raceway Services.

 Here's Valencia's new clutch, freshly installed.  Note this time
I got the new clutch plates from URAL.  They're supposed to be more
robust and heat-dissipating.

 Above is the old input spline component
Below is the one removed from another gearbox

 The new input spline installed, the gears re-assembled and
ready to be mated with the cover

 The engine and transmission, back together again.

 During re-assembly, it was found that the clutch actuator lever's stub which
pushes the clutch release rod was worn way down!  The lower one
is the one I had on the motorcycle when I arrived this morning.

 Above is the worn down clutch actuator arm that came with Valencia
Raceway Services didn't have a new arm in stock, but instead of making me wait
for a parts order, Robert welded new steel onto the existing arm.

The above would be buffed and smoothed out a bit more
and then installed.  It worked great.  I will however, be ordering
a new part from URAL.

So, 5:30 PM comes along, Robert was done and Valencia awaited me.  I paid my portion of the bill ( under $100) and the rest was covered by the URAL warranty.  Such a deal.  I was once again a happy camper, with another great experience at Raceway Services helping me continue on my trip.

As I left Salem behind and approached Portland on I-5 and neared the I-205 interchange, I thought I started hearing noises coming from the engine area.  I'd heard them before this morning but had attributed them to the clutch issues, just things getting worse I thought.  

Well, it's not the clutch issue, the noise (which sounds like metal rubbing together) is evident and sometimes quite loud when at idle or moving slowly.  It's there whether in gear or not, so not the new clutch.  Still, she seemed to run fine, I should have turned back at that point but foolishly thought I'd swing by the URAL dealer in Boise, ID tomorrow.

At 8:30 PM, I checked in at a Motel 6 in the town of The Dalles, the noise seemingly much louder now.  DAMMIT.  Now I have to return to Salem in the morning and have them try and figure out what's causing this new noise!  I've never heard this type of noise before from any of my motorcycles.

After discussing it with Martha, it doesn't make sense to continue forward to the new URAL dealer in Boise; they're at least six hours away from my present location, whereas it's only three hours to get back to Raceway Services.  Sigh.

I hope whatever is wrong is also covered under warranty.  Keep your fingers crossed for me sports fans, and hope things hold together to allow me to get back to Salem in one piece.


Canajun said...

Dom, you're going to know that bike inside-out by the time you get home. Hope this is a relatively minor matter and you're back on the road ASAP.

Bob and Sharon said...

Sorry to hear about the ongoing problems. But thank goodness Ural is standing behind its products. They probably pay for part of your trip, and write it off for research and development.
Watching to hear how this turns out

Ride safe

Unknown said...


I was so happy that you got sorted out with the new clutch and other parts and then now I feel bad that another problem has surfaced.

Makes more sense to turn around as you have a trusted mechanic in Salem. I hope you get there without incident

Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

It would be challenging to pull the engine and trans and put it all back together without forgetting something. Without hearing the frequency and character of the sound it'll be difficult to guess but it'll probably be straightforward for the Raceway group. They sound pretty competent.

Good job extending the trip a couple of days ;-)

redlegsrides said...

Thanks all for your comments, something went "bang" inside the engine as I tried to return to awaiting tow on roadside.... :(

RichardM said...

Oh, oh. Sounds like a new engine. Forgot the oil?

SonjaM said...

Dang. Sorry to hear about your continued troubles. I hope it is something minor, and something covered by warranty. Good luck!

redlegsrides said...

Well folks, here's the skinny on the engine issue this morning.

The noise I'd been hearing was apparently the bearing that is used by the right side crankshaft control arm going south. It "appears" the race (which is the metal material that holds the needle bearings in place)disintegrated so that its metal pieces got into the needle bearings, thereby destroying the bearing and basically the control arm "became one" with the crankshaft. Nothing I could have done to prevent this. More to follow tonight. Looks like I am stuck in this area of the world for the next few days.

Martha said...

Can you file a claim for PTSD? The motorcycle gods just love to torment you on the homeward bound segment of travel (recalling the issues of our trip to MT). Grateful you listened to the wife and headed towards the experts at Raceway. It will all be ok, you just gotta have faith.

Unknown said...


I keep thinking IF you had not taken the Alaska Marine Highway, you would be stuck somewhere on the Icefields Parkway, and all because your Hack had problems, so you had to cut your trip short and have to come up here again.

Hope they have the parts in stock to get you rolling home

Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

PTSD! That's pretty good. Nice to have someone with a sense of humor. I don't think that I would be very happy at all by this time...

Is this a known problem or something really unusual? Given the frequency of your oil changes, that can't be an issue unless the filter was clogged or something like that.

redlegsrides said...

Hi Bob, good points you my calculations I would have been somewhere north of Vancouver at best when the engine imploded.....that would suck.

redlegsrides said...


It was a low point last night....but am feeling much better now, details in tonight's post.

Martha said...

Last night you just had a mystery noise and road fatigue. Today you have a diagnosis and a treAtment plan. All is going to be ok, but do you think that Oscar will feel sad that he was left out of the retrieval phase of the breakdown? Giggle giggle.

I think the Gremlins are trying to send you a message.,,just not sure what that message is?