Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Scarlett gets towed home

Yesterday, I rode out with Patrick, my oldest son, to take him to his training class this morning just before Noon.

We were riding in Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol.  I dropped him off and headed on home by way of the auto parts store where I wanted to pick up some consumables.

Got what I needed, then geared up and went to start the rig.  Nada.  No lights on the dash, no headlight, no whine of the fuel pump.  Sigh.  Off came the helmet and riding jacket and then I spent some time doing the basic checks, nothing.  Did find a corroded terminal in the fuse panel that was related to the parking lights but not related to the lack of ignition power.  The terminal was so corroded, it came apart when I touched it.

Tried swapping out relays, nothing.  Found a relay that I'd not been aware of in the headlight bucket but that turned out to be a turn signal relay.

Enough was enough, since I was close to home I just called my insurance company and asked for a tow truck.  1.5 hours or so later, it showed up and we got Scarlett loaded with no issues.

While waiting for the tow truck, I texted a fellow Uralista, Darrell and ran things by him.  He thought it was a failed ignition switch as there was a lack of any lights.  He described to me the procedure to hot wire the ignition to test but at that point the tow truck had made its appearance.

Couple of miles later, Scarlett was home.  I tried the hot wire procedure which involves connecting a jumper wire on the brown wire next to the hot wire on the ignition switch.  The other end of the jumper wire goes directly to the battery.

Back side of the ignition switch.  You can just barely see
the red wire, which is always hot; and the brown wire
next to it is the one you connect to the battery.

Note: Connect to the wire first, THEN,  the battery, you will get some sparks.

Once connected, I turned the key in the ignition switch to the ON position.  Dash lights came on, headlight came on and I could hear the fuel pump's whine!  I cranked the engine and it of course worked.  Sigh.

So, failed ignition switch, easy replacement.  Scarlett is still under warranty so I talked to the URAL dealer  and Randy's going to order me a replacement, along with a new fuse panel.

At this point, I decided to take apart the ignition switch to see what had broken.  I know, I can't leave things well enough alone sometimes.

Dismounted the switch (held in place by a metal ring) and pried up the plastic cover and this is what I saw:

The brass plates on the right sit on top of a small spring,
otherwise they're just loose.  Kind of a weird setup, I guess they're
supposed to pivot.

The round contacts on the left had a light coating of grime so I cleaned them off and re-assembled the switch.

I am unsure that it was because I cleaned the contacts or my re-assembling things placed the contacts once again in right position vis-a-vis the brass plates; but the switch worked again once I put it back on the motorcycle!

Tried several times, worked every time.  Go figure.  Of course, it'll probably fail again so it's good that I have a replacement switch coming under warranty.  In the meantime, Scarlett is fully functional again in the meantime.


SonjaM said...

On the plus side... What now looks like a minor issue could have turned into something big had you been somewhere far out. Lucky that it happened to you while doing errands... ;-)

RichardM said...

That's kind of disappointing. But, you now have a spare ignition switch.

The ignition switch could've been a lot simpler since it is only switching two circuits. And the second one is only for the parking lights to remain on when stopped. I've heard of replacing the ignition switch with one that is designed for use in wet conditions. Like personal watercraft.

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, Martha has always remarked that my rigs tend to break down in good spots where recovery is doable. I must have done something right in a previous life.

RichardM, it's overly complicated in my opinion. Some guys have just replaced the whole thing with a simple on-off toggle switch and done away with the key. The third position is for parking lights, and who uses those? Note, when I had it jumpered, you still had to switch the key to the ON position before the lights came on.

Learning to Golf said...

Life and times of a the stories, not so much all the things that break. But, I guess, that adds to to what makes a Ural a Ural. Being close to home was a bonus!

redlegsrides said...

Definitely part of the vicissitudes of being a Uralista AZ-HD! Are you now going to be AZ-HD/Guzzi? :)

Trobairitz said...

At least you were close enough to home for a tow, and have a back up sidecar rig when necessary.

redlegsrides said...

Trobairitz, more of an annoyance than anything else. With what I know now, could have self-recovered. Oh well.

BeemerGirl said...

How long would you estimate it took to remove the switch, eyeball it, and put it back together? And do you normally carry those tools with you? Because looking on the bright side, I would say that you are learning so many hacks for the bike! And you know if you carry the tools, it will never happen again. ;)

redlegsrides said...

Sadly I do carry all the required tools. Just never had cause to hot wire a rig.

VStar Lady said...

Hurrah for the auto club!

redlegsrides said...

Funny you should say that VStar Lady, the driver told me they quit towing cars for AAA due to low money involved, they just hadn't changed the paint job on the truck.

Greybeard said...

Retired VN Vet Army Aviator here.
I've been lurking with interest here for some time, watching your experience with the Russkie bike. I even went to the dealer in Phoenix, AZ last year where they had a test-track and rode the rig around for 20 minutes to see if I'd be interested when my sense of balance started South.
I was sort of charmed by the sledge-hammer crudeness and simplicity of the machine, and the only thing that troubled me was the 62-mph suggested cruise speed.

Your narrative and indication the factory is striving to modernize the Ural, coupled with your service/parts experience, ALMOST had me sold.
But I used to ride H-D's.
I got to a point where I want to "put the gas in this hole, check the oil, and drive away". It's been Japanese, German, and sometimes Italian machinery since.

Tell me...
Knowing what you know now, would you get involved with this thing again?
(Seems to me you may now be in the mode of actually enjoying seeing what happens next!) :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Scarlett needed a piggy back ride, but glad is was a relatively simple fix!

redlegsrides said...

Greybeard, thanks for commenting and glad I was hopefully a source of amusement. :)

To answer your question. Given my experiences with URAL and other rigs, yes, I'd do it again since really there's no real option out there that's not more of a set of compromises than a Ural rig which is designed from the factory to have a sidecar. Riding on snow, while its snowing, in sub-freezing temperatures is something I've acquired a taste for, and no other rig within the price range involved can do what a Ural can do, stock.

They're fixable by most folks, even me! I've got a great dealer somewhat nearby which helps a lot and the online forum sovietsteeds helps a lot as well.

I will say this again. If you don't like talking to complete strangers while stopped for gas or errands while riding a Ural, don't get one. I've never seen such a people magnet. People wave and smile, kids stare in wonder, and most encounters are quite positive. You do end up telling the story of the Urals over and over but that's OK.

If you don't mind turning wrenches, you should be fine if you ride the rig within specs. That 62 mph max cruising speed lower than what the manual on the 2014 I have says. That one says 70 mph but I guarantee you'll shorten the life of the engine if you run it at that for long periods of time. These beasts are happy at 55 mph, happier at 45 mph. So, if you're in a hurry, don't get one.

It's a love/hate thing with my Ural rigs. Mostly love though. :)

I'd love to find something similar that is just gas and go but until then....

redlegsrides said...

motoventures, it's all part of a Uralista's experience.

easy fix, now that I know how. Could have self-recovered then if I'd known beforehand.

warrantied replacement is inbound and my "fix" keeps the rig running in the meantime.