Friday, August 31, 2018

Three Sunsets

Here's a bunch of sunset pics from three good sessions since I returned from the URRV trip to Wisconsin and back.


August 27:

Today, I rode Brigitta about 70 miles, giving her some extended exercise to make sure the previous day's maintenance didn't break something else.  I'm glad to report she's doing great.

The day's riding finished with the final set of sunset pics for this posting:

It's the Labor Day Weekend, hope you have a good one and get some riding in!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Brigitta's 100,000 Mile Transmission Input Spline Lube

Nov 01, 2013 was when Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer motorcycle, went over 100,000 miles and I did my first transmission input spline lube:  LINK

Sadly, it's taken almost five years to rack up another 10,000 miles on Brigitta to meet the next spline lube interval.  Her odometer read 100168 (actually 00168 as there's no spot for the 1) and has been there since August 01, 2018 when she was last ridden.  Pitiful, I know.  I've no excuse.

As before, I followed this guide from  LINK and the whole thing took two hours this time as I was more comfortable with what is involved AND as suggested previously by RichardM; I removed the air tubes within the air box before attempting to remove the three screws contained within the box.

This makes things easier re the bolts, but the tubes are a bit of a PITA to put back in later, still, it was progress of sorts.

Note: On Brigitta, one has to remove the shock's upper mounting bolt in order to be able to move the transmission back away from the engine.  Also had to loosen the left footpeg in order to allow backward movement of the gear box.

Here's what the splines looked like when I got the gear box far enough:

 As you can see, no evidence of any of the Honda Moly 60
I had used in the previous lube operation, five years go.\

There's also some minor damage to some of the splines that I could see.  Hopefully not too bad.

I used brake parts cleaner spray to hose off the splines and the area around it.  Lots of black dust came out.

Then, using regular cotton swabs and a plier to hold it, I applied Honda Moly 60 to the splines, making sure to not over apply the stuff so it doesn't get flung off and onto the clutch plates where it would do no good.

Freshly lubed splines before re-assembly

Re-assembly was basically doing everything in reverse order.  No major issues, just some fiddling involved with the air tubes within the air box and some creative maneuvering of components to get everything lined up again in terms of the swing arm, gear box case and shock absorber.

No cussing, no blood drawn, and I didn't have to wake either of my sons to help with the work.  I must be getting better at this.

Took Brigitta out for a ride on the usual test ride loop and everything stayed together!  She shifted just fine and ran well.  I think I'll take her for a longer ride later or tomorrow just for some more exercise.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Maintenance Weekend for Fiona

Engine oil and filter changed out on Fiona at 7500 km on odometer. 

Gearbox oil replaced, old oil looked clean, no "sparklies".  Perhaps this will be last one I do post-gearbox rebuild.


Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig with a '84 R80 Beemer engine can be interesting to perform maintenance tasks on.

Case in point, it was time to replace the engine's oil filter.  Due to the PITA factor (4/5) of this task, I do it every other oil change or around every 14,000 kilometers or around 8400 miles.

I do change the oil out at below the prescribed interval of 4500 miles or 7200 kilometers; usually at the 7000 km mark, using Mobil 1's 20W50 Oil.  But I don't, as mentioned above, replace the oil filter each time I replace the engine oil.

This oil filter change, I replaced the oil filter cover with one I'd gotten from Richard Winter, where he'd replaced the stock hex head screws with flat Allen head screws, countersunk into the cover for additional clearance.

Additional clearance?  Why you ask.  Well, The BMW engine had to have its front half lowered enough to allow access to the oil filter's mounting screws and remove the cover/filter.  Yep, that's one of the several compromises one must live with when riding a Russian rig with a Beemer engine.  Things are close, but not quite.

New oil filter cover in place.
You see how the frame tube blocks easy
access to the cover and it's three screws.

In Fiona's case, not only are the header pipes removed along with the front engine mount rod, but I must also disconnect the two upper sidecar support struts and the front lower connection mount so I can swing the front of the sidecar away from the tug and then the  right side engine cylinder has clearance to move downwards.

Not much clearance from front/lower sidecar
support mount and the engine's right cylinder's cooling fins.

As a bonus, the fins on the left front edge of the Beemer engine come into contact with the left side frame and must be "coaxed" away with a pry bar, while pushing down on the top of the engine to get it to move.  Simply removing the front motor mount has no effect, sadly.   I managed to introduce a break in the front cover, dammit.

Looking down, you can see the left
frame tube and how little clearance there is between it
and the finned forward portion of the Beemer engine.

When lowering the engine, the fins come into contact with the frame tube and must be "coaxed away" for downward progress.  You can see the damage I did to the front cover.

After all that, one still gets to "coax" the engine filter cover out from behind the frame portion that still blocks its easy off/on path.  Sigh.

Replacing the filter, takes less than 5 minutes.

Taking things apart and putting things back together?  About 3 hours, and the help of my sons at intervals.

Now you know, why I don't replace the oil filter each time.

Is it worth it?  Yep.  The Beemer engine is smoother and has more torque than the stock Russian 750.  I expect it to outlast all other components on Fiona.  Especially the Russian 650 gearbox, that remains Fiona's weak point.

I think the next time, in about 14,000 km, I will try to raise up the forward half of the engine (after removing the gas tank) and see if that's any easier.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Uraling to the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles

During my lunch hour today, I rode Scarlett about 15 miles down from the the nearby town of Cozad, NE to the town of Lexington, NE.

It's the home of the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles.  Not a big museum but a nice collection of military vehicles, most from the U.S., but with a few here and there from WWII Germany and this one motorcycle from Great Britain:

 BSA W-M20

 Kawasaki Military KLR 250-D8
Military designation: M1030

 German Army Schwimm-Wagen Type 166
Amphibious version of the Kuebelwagen
With a life expectancy of 4 weeks, very few survived WWII

Airborne Scooter
Cushman Model 53

 M3 Bradley CFV 
Cavalry Fighting Vehicle

 The cramped interior of the CFV

 The Mule 
designed late in WWII but deployed in Vietnam
here carrying a 106mm Recoiless Rifle

 M16 Halftrack with a quad .50 caliber gun assembly.
Designed as an anti-aircraft weapon, it was deadly against
ground troops as well.

There was a large assortment of Jeep models, belonging to all the services, but am showing just one here:

 The M151A2 model which was the one I rode in as a 
young Lieutenant back when there were still two Germanies.

Amphibious Truck
I bet this would be a fun vehicle to have around.

 M2 Bradley IFV
Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

 M4A3 Sherman with a 90mm Cannon I believe

 M110A2 8" Self-Propelled Howitzer.
I trained with one of these in the Artillery Basic Officer Course.
Took two of us to manhandle the shell next to the breech!

As I headed back to the URRV to resume work, I stopped at this marker:

Apparently the town of Cozad was established along the 100th Meridian.  and they make sure you know it here in Cozad.  More info here:  LINK

The 100th Meridian has been considered the dividing line where east meets west. It has also been known as the dividing line between the moist portion of the eastern half of the United States and the dryer western half.  Source

The original sign placed by the Union Pacific Railroad alerted passengers 
that they were crossing the 100th Meridian
source: LINK

And, here's the sunset for the last evening of boondocking for this trip, I return home tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Checking out WMAs in Nebraska

WMA: Wildlife Management Area.

So, long day driving the URRV today.  The plan had been for a short day of driving and boondocking at the Twin Lakes WMA near the town of Bassett, NE.

However, once I got within 5 miles of it, the road became loose sandy dirt, not great for a RV as you might imagine.  Heck, I would have had reservations on some of the spots about using the Ural!  Still, I was committed once I started down this road as there was no way to turn the URRV and trailer around, not without surely getting stuck.

4.5 tense miles later, I made it to the MWA, only to find Extended 1x signal for Verizon.  So, the site wasn't usable by me for work.  Not a bad site overall though, space for 2-3 big RVs anyways.

So, another 4.5 (less tense, but still a bit worrisome) miles later, we were back on pavement and headed south to the next candidate boondocking site.

These were the Blue Hole West and East WMAs.  Blue Hole West was basically just a boat launch with a small cul-de-sac for parking or car camping I suppose.  The URRV would have taken up a lot of room.

Then, after getting lost for a bit due to user error on my part, I found the site for Blue Hole East.  Narrow trail leading up to a small parking area surrounded by private property.  Crappy signal, 1 bar LTE but not usable for work.  Sigh, and this was pretty close to the I-80 highway too.

So, number 4 candidate was the Dogwood WMA, but Waze, my GPS app failed to route me correctly (and I failed to check it beforehand), leading me instead in a 52 mile loop (26 miles to next exit and back) on the I-80 Super Slab before I realized the mistake.

I did end up locating the right route but was now tired and I just headed west instead to the next WMA located close to I-80.

WMA #5 proved to be the charm.  Located just south of the town of Cozad, NE.  Easy access and no one camping.  Got myself a primo spot by the pond:

The first two sites one comes to had OK cellular data signal but this site was four bars and high speed.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Flowers along the hiking trail nearby.

As you can see, thick overcast skies overhead.  No sign of the sun.  Hopefully it'll be a clear day tomorrow.  I am within 5 hours of home, and plan to arrive there sometime around Noon on Friday.

Thursday, I'll just work from Cozad WMA, perhaps visit the nearby (15 miles) Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Boondocking at the Mulberry Bend MWA, Nebraska

I rode out of North Dakota soon after 8:30AM and headed straight south and through South Dakota using the I-29 Super Slab.  Boring ride as expected.

Exited at the exit for Vermillion and Yankton and soon was setting up camp south of Vermillion, just across the Missouri River, along the shore in Nebraska's Mulberry Bend State Wildlife Management Area.

The boat launch at the WMA, that's the Missouri River
in the background

 Tonight's campsite

Spent the rest of the day with paperwork and a couple of chores involving the URRV.  Also doing some research on tomorrow's boondocking site.  I plan to make my way back to the SW corner of Nebraska by Thursday afternoon; leaving me a 4 hour ride home on Friday Morning.

Then it was time to catch the sunset.  It wasn't too bad though the sun itself dissapeared into smoky haze as it approached the horizon.