Today I bought my fourth URAL Sidecar Rig, a used one, from a gentleman in Kingman, Arizona.
She's a 1999 URAL Patrol with a key difference from my other rigs. She has a 1984 BMW R80 (800 cc) engine crafted together with a BMW /2 Clutch and mated to the stock URAL transmission to retain 2WD and Reverse gear.
The engine transplant/conversion was done by SovietSteeds member: BURAL, aka Richard Winter. He's done several of these conversions for other Ural owners over the years and now I have one of his babies.
It all started with a phone call between myself and Richard, seeking information on what I need to find/source and finances to budget for someday replacing Scarlett's engine with a BMW engine. The idea at the time was that once the warranty was over, and if/when her engine blew up, I'd put a Beemer engine in its place.
Turns out, there's a lot more to it and it would have run an estimated $4K to mate Brigitta's R80 engine to Scarlett's frame.
However, Richard mentioned that he knew of one of the owners of one of his converted rigs, a Bud P. who lived in Kingman, AZ. Apparently, he might be willing to sell his as he wasn't riding it enough.
Long story short, I called Bud and after several calls between all concerned; I agreed to purchase Bud's rig. The rig had been sidelined by a damaged clutch disk, then he got hurt in an unrelated incident so he hadn't been able to replace the clutch disk.
I drove down to Las Vegas on Friday, overnighted with friends there and this morning met with Bud P. at his home in Kingman, AZ.
Bud P. and his former rig
1999 URAL Patrol with a '84 BMW R80 Engine
I'll be re-installing the stock air tubes and air box
Pre-1976 /7 Flywheel (heavier) which will be mated to a /6 Clutch Pack
except for the clutch disk which is from a /2 with the coarse splines
Not sure I'll keep the Red Star
odometer reading at time of sale.
I was with Bud P. for about 90 minutes as he described items on the rig, gave me some parts he had, and generally we chatted about stuff related to the rig. I left his home at Noon and spent the rest of the day driving Martha's X5 with the rig on the trailer in tow to Albuquerque, NM where I will spend the night. This will leave me about 7 hours of driving tomorrow before I get home via the I-25 slab.
Hopefully not much to do to get this rig operational. The clutch pack replacement should be pretty straightforward and Richard Winter has promised tech support via phone. All the fluids have be drained and replaced with fresh oils. I'll drain the gas tank and put fresh gas in and re-connect some of the wires that go to the auxiliary lights.
As its a '99 Patrol, I'll be replacing any fasteners with "lacking" metallurgy with modern equivalents, using Nylocs where appropriate, etc. The pillion tractor seat is "toast", not sure I'll replace it, instead perhaps installing a cargo rack from a Chiang-Jang rig?
So, why do all this? It's in the hopes of having a spare sidecar rig with a reliable engine even though the rest is pretty old in terms of components. The BMW R80 engine has a great reputation for reliability and the rest of the URAL components, I can deal with easier than the Ural engine.
Perhaps, I'll try sourcing a more modern gearbox with Herzog manufactured gears but I think the one that comes with this rig will be fine for now.
We'll see if the above assumptions and hopes prove out, I'll definitely learn/relearn a lot of things along the way I am sure! In my opinion, the major weakness of these URAL rigs was the engine and its associated "Russian grenade" alternator which tended to take out the associated timing gears when the alternator "grenaded". This happened with my '96 URAL Sportsman, Natasha.
More power/torque from the R80 engine but you still have to "drive it like a URAL" since the final drive wasn't designed to handle the power/torque the BMW engine can generate. Drive it over 55-60 MPH for long periods of time and I'll be buying a new final drive!
As my goal is a reliable engine, not racing the rig, I think it's quite a realistic goal.
Update: some corrections/notes after I sent pictures of parts to Richard Winter. Turns out I will need a pressure plate and a pressure ring, as the ones I got from Bud are either damaged or wrong one. Richard is going to see if he's got the parts, used but in good condition, if not, it'll be a trip to the BMW dealer for /6 clutch components.