Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Repairs, Roosters and Services for Valencia

Over the last seven days, have been providing all of the listed items in the post's subject line to my 2011 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig, Valencia.  All part of the post-trip maintenance that she required after riding over 10,000 miles over the last three months.

First the repairs.  You'll recall that a bearing failed on the right side control rod for Valencia's engine, allowing its piston to strike the right side head.  A flurry of repair activity later, it was discovered by Raceway Services that they should have also ordered a new left side cylinder as the existing one was "scored".  To get me back on the road and not wait another day, they honed the existing one enough to get me home; the idea being I'd have the Fort Collins URAL dealer swap it out once I was home.

That day was this past Wednesday, once the parts had arrived from URAL.  I rode up to Fort Collins to Unique Rides where Randy and Tammy run a URAL dealership.  It is the same dealership where I bought Valencia, by the way.

Valencia and I arrived at 10:30 AM and would not leave till after 5:30 PM, long day, mostly due to difficulties encountered by Randy in the installation of new u-joints for the propeller shaft leading to the sidecar wheel.  The replacement of the left cylinder, the portion of the jug through which the piston travels, went well.

 The old jug removed, ready for the new cylinder

 A view inside the engine, I was glad to see no metal particles anywhere
on any of the internal surfaces!

Here's a picture of the old cylinder, note all the scoring ...

The rest of the day was spent wrestling with uncooperative u-joints.  I was glad I had Randy do the work, I would have been extremely frustrated. The old u-joints were worn you see, to the point I could move them upwards and sideways way more than allowed.  It's usually a pretty straightforward operation, I've done it before, but something about the u-joint in question caused "issues".  Randy finally ended up chucking the American-made u-joint and putting in a Russian u-joint instead.  Ironic, but it did work, finally.

So, that's the repairs, hopefully the last of them for a long, long, long while.

Yesterday, I visited Darrell, a fellow borrow the use of his Harmonizer Carburetor Synch tool.  Lovely thing, I must buy one for myself soonest.  On the way home, I stopped Valencia across the street from this person's house to capture his roosters.

 Why did these tall metal roosters catch my eye, that's obvious....why
take pictures of them?  Martha likes Roosters as decorative items.

Finally, today was the day for finishing the 40,000 Kilometer service for Valencia.  Fluids had been changed earlier in the week and now it was time to grease the drive shaft spline and grease the small u-joint connecting the drive shaft to the final drive.

You have to remove the pusher wheel, disconnect the sidecar wheel propeller shaft, rear brake rod and 2WD engagement rod to free the final drive.  Once the above is done, you unbolt the four 17mm bolts and the final drive unit slides off for easy access.

 I believe the manual says to grease the splines at least every 10,000 Kilometers, I 
was quite please to see the splines above still had some Honda Moly Grease on 
them after more than 20,000 Kilometers!  The trip to Alaska, with its intervening
episodes of unexpected repairs required had thrown my schedule of maintenance off.

 Here's the final drive, mostly cleaned up with the u-joint grease
renewed and the spline socket grease renewed as well.

 A view of the drive shaft spline, all cleaned up, note the lack of any
wear or damage.

 Well coated with Honda Moly Grease, the spline is ready for
installation back onto the final drive's u-joint assembly.

 One of the consequences of using a Russian u-joint on the sidecar propeller shaft is
that the clearance between the grease zerk and the nut holding the right
side of the pusher wheel's axle.

The tool that comes from URAL is of course a bit too thick, a
bit of grinding with my power grinder though and I had all the clearance
necessary to secure the axle nut.

So, maintenance and services are done.  Some more tests are required to restore my full faith in Valencia of course.  Riding in a pouring rain with explainable rough-running issues is one, the theory is that the air filter gets waterlogged, but until I do the ride......

Today is supposed to be a scorcher in terms of temperatures.  The second test is to simulate stop/go slow riding conditions to see if the PowerArc's electronic control module passes muster.  I replaced it on Monday with a new one from Raceway Services after it experienced heat issues last week.

There's always something to do on a URAL it seems, and still it remains a very fun rig to ride.  


Unknown said...


You've had enough repairs and breakdowns to last a lifetime but you have gained many friends up in AK

Hope nothing of consequence happens from now on. It would be nice if you could just go on a trip and arrive back home under your own URAL power

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...


yep, went a long way to get a new engine/clutch for Valencia....I think I would have skipped it had I a choice. as to going on a trip...I think long distance ones in foreseeable future will involve a trailer.

RichardM said...

I don't think I would mind the maintenance but it's the failures that would have me worried. E.g. are the new bearings better or is there another failure around the next bend. I thought it may have been a fluke until I read about CCjon's issue in Idaho. Sounds like the same thing....

redlegsrides said...

Richard, the same thoughts ran through my mind as well. Methinks URAL may want to look into the process involving the bearings...should the issue turn out to be the same. I kind of wish that the URAL dealer in Boise had torn down the engine enough to see if there was the same play in the control arm as there was in the one in my Valencia's engine.

SonjaM said...

Enough with the maintenance and repairs already, you spend more hours in your garage than the average Harley Davidson owner ;-)

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, maintenance is part of a Uralista's life...

the major repairs recently, I could have done without.

GlennandSun said...

Maintenance is one thing, catastrophic engine failure is quite another. Valencia at about 22K miles, Da'mit at around 8K miles. Are we spooked about Ural engine reliability? Yes! These are LOW mileage failures, a reason for genuine concern as a Gear Up owner.
I find myself wondering.....were these two catastrophic engine failures a fluke or is there a major weakness in the engine? Will Ural be as responsive to my mechanical needs as they have been to yours?
Your posting is very appreciated, seeing the good and the bad helps us prepare for our turn on a marathon road trip. Thanks, GlennandSun

redlegsrides said...

Hi Glenn,

Not sure I'd attribute the two failures to a flaw in engine design...more like a flaw in the manufacturing process of whomever is supplying bearings for the crankshaft to URAL perhaps? I don't know for sure, I hope that URAL's Sergey will examine both the crankshaft out of my engine and CCJon's engine and see if there's correlation.

As to supporting you if/when you have issues, I can honestly say URAL will stand by its warranty. So ride the crap out of yours while its covered!

One thing I have learned, well, actually one of many:

The engine likes being around 4000 rpm, which should put you around 55 mph +/- a couple of miles. You will be the slowest thing on the Interstates, embrace it or as I am thinking of doing now, trailer it on the super slabs.

Use a GPS and really find out what your speedometer is telling you. I had "assumed" mine was reading 5mph optimistic, it was only 1 mph!

Get a good tach (don't go cheap like me) and then verify the output with another tach, preferably from a high end induction tach used by mechanics. My cheapie tach read 100 rpms too high, kinda throws things when doing synchs and judging engine loads eh?