Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Boondocking in the Oil Well Flats BLM area and T-Dubing to Red Rock Canyon Park

Monday, April 27

After a good visit by the boy's maternal Grandfather: Richard, I drove Uma, the URRV, trailering Scarlett, the 2014 Patrol and mounting Yagi, the '06 Yamaha TW200 on the front bumper rack towards Cañon City.

I transited through this medium sized town and drove north towards the Oil Well Flats BLM area.

Though a bit sketchy in parts, I managed to drive Uma on BLM trail 6941 to the junction of 6941A and thence to Campsite 16.  I'd been in the area before so the recce had already been performed, negating the need to first check things out with Yagi.

There were other campers in the area but not too many and the sites are pretty far apart and secluded.

Tuesday, Apr 28

Did some coordination work and analysis with the realtor via emails and calls during the morning, relaxing in the warm sunshine and doing a couple of maintenance chores on the URRV.

In the afternoon, I rode Yagi a few miles north to the Red Rock Canyon Park, run by Cañon City's Park Department.  The restrooms and picnic areas were closed for Covid-19 reasons but the rest of the park was open for use.

There's basically one main dirt road that traverses the park and takes one past neat rock formations, picnic areas (closed) and a couple of restroom spots (also closed).  I rode all the way to the other entrance to the park, located by Seep Springs, a BLM area; then I turned around retracing my way.

Here's some pics of some of the rock formations.

Tonight's sunset was "OK":

The mountains in the distance are part of the Sangre de Cristo Range

Displacing tomorrow to a location 30 minutes NW of Cañon City.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Replacing Pushrod Tube Seals on Fiona's BMW Engine

April 18, 2020 through April 22

Another isolation period task begun.  The replacement of the leaking pushrod tube seals on Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 R80 RT Engine.  They'd been leaking pretty badly for a while now so it was time.

I used as my guide, the excellent video and tutorial put out by Brook R., Airhead Guru and fellow member of the Colorado Airheads Club:

Top End Disassembly - R100 RS

Note: it would take me about six hours to do the disassembly and five and and a half to do the assembly.  Going very slowly and consulting the tutorials at each step.

First, had to separate the sidecar from the tug so I had access room to the right jug, aka Head/Cylinder.  This proved not too problematical but it did require assistance from my son Patrick in holding things up while jack stands were positioned!

I slavishly followed the posting containing the tutorial created by Brook so I won't replicate his fine photos showing the process.  I'll just add pics that were specific to Fiona's engine:

 The right and left rocker assemblies and pushrods, labeled as to
origin/placement and which end of the rods was TOP or out to
ensure they go back same place, same way.

 A peek at the left side's connecting rod, 
supported by zip ties so it doesn't fall and
hit the side of the engine case's opening.

 Left Head ready to be removed

 The heavily carbonized piston face of
the left cylinder

 Separating the head from the cylinder

 Another view of the heavy carbon buildup on the left piston's face

 Yep, that's oil seeping past the piston.
Oil ring was examined and found to be same in terms of gap
as the oil ring on the right piston so unsure of where the oil
is coming from.

Left side taken apart and ready for cleaning.

Then it was time to repeat all above steps for the right side jug/top end:

 The right side's head's valve area, not as
badly carbonized as the left side and no oil seepage

 Right side piston face, not as badly carbonized as the 
left piston but still pretty bad I thought.

Cleaning up the engine case once the jugs were off took a bit of time as well as cleaning all the removed components.

I used Simple Green at first, per Brook's recommendation and even after two nights of soaking and several scrubbings with steel brush and other implements, there was still carbon on the pistons and left side head:

 Top piston is right side, bottom piston left side

 left head

right head

So on Day Three of cleanup, Apr 21, I got some Berryman Chem-Dip Parts Cleaner from the Auto Parts store and after an overnight soak and much more scrubbing and scrapping, finally got all the items cleaned up for installation!  So much work, the cleanup!

Today, Apr 22, 2020

Started the re-installation of the top ends on Fiona.  Did spend some time trying to ensure that the oil rings were remounted with the correct side facing up.  These were the old type apparently and not labeled with TOP to ensure no mixups as per the tutorial.  Instead, Brook pointed me to a spot on Snowbum's website on how to determine the top side.  I think I got it right, we'll see.  If not, I see new rings in my future.  

Why  just the oil rings?  Because unlike the top and middle rings, I'd removed the oil rings to insert them into their respective cylinders to measure the gap when compressed to see if the left side ring's gap was bigger....they both were the same.  So, the theory was, no new rings required.  Most likely its seeping past the left side head's valve guides but I elected to not replace them this time, both because of lacking the special tool to compress the springs and just trying to stick to main task.

Following the installation tutorial:  Top End Install - R100 RS

I started again with the left side:

 Photo verification that I put the head gasket on correctly
as you can put it on backwards and slightly askew.

Unfortunately, I failed to check the orientation of the pushrod tube seals and after I'd progressed to the point of mounting the rocker assemblies, I thought to check and found them backwards!  Dammit.  So off came the head, pulled back the cylinder, removed and re-installed the seals correctly and pushed the cylinder back on:

No matter how much I wiggled and pushed on the cylinder I couldn't get it to mate closer than below pic:

So I went ahead and installed the left head:

Once I mounted the rocker assemblies, I was able to use them to mate the cylinder base to the engine case, using slow and methodical tightening of the nuts holding the rocker assemblies to slowly and evenly mate the cylinder to the engine case.   Note: I used criss-cross pattern to ensure even contact.

I completed the assembly of the left side top end without further issues except for tightening the rocker assemblies without ensuring the push rod ends were clear of the tappet's cup.  So they ended being pressed a bit but was able to free them up by loosening the adjuster nut.  I wouldn't make this mistake for the right side jug!

Right side:

 Photo evidence re head gasket placement and condition/orientation
of the right piston before installing the right side head.

No big issues with the right side head, did have some trouble getting the wrist pin in to secure the piston to the connecting rod but finally got it in without resorting to wild hammering.  Patience is something I continue to learn apparently.

Got the right side top end installed by 2PM, started around 8:30 I think.  

Here's photos verifying placement of the pushrod tube seals, both left and right side.

 Assembled right side top end

Assembled left side top end

That's it for today, tired and back is hurting in spite of the elevated position of the motorcycle and use of a stool.  I'll put Fiona back together tomorrow after the final torque check of the rocker assembly nuts; you're supposed to let them sit overnight and check again for the final torque setting of 25 ft/lbs.

My thanks to Brook Reams, airhead guru mechanic par excellance!

Update, April 23: got Fiona assembled up and mated to the sidecar after a brief running of the engine to ensure no bad sounds or explosions.  Took her for a short test ride, only about 14 km but she did well, still no explosions and no obvious leaks yet.  I'll check her later for seepage.

Update, April 24: no seepage but found the left intake tappet way loose, the top end of the push rod was barely in the cup!  I must have not tightened the nut securely enough before yesterday's test drive.  I set the valve clearances to spec this morning, did a test ride around Noon, all seems well except for some minor oil leaking out of the left valve cover.  Applied some Yamabond sealant and we'll see.  Otherwise, all OK!

Friday, April 17, 2020

New Fork Boots for Yagi

I received replacement non-OEM rubber fork boots from procycle.com yesterday, finally removing any excuse remaining to do my first fork boot replacement.

After some research on the TW200 forum, some emails to confirm details with experienced mechanics, I was confident I could do the job.

This was the first instance of actually using the motorcycle lift I'd borrowed from a neighborhood friend:

Straps on both sides prevent side/forward movement and the jackstand
on the rear swing arm/axle nut prevent downward/rearward movement.

First was the removal of the front wheel, having loosened the axle nut before raising the motorcycle up into the air.  I disconnected the speedometer cable prior to removing the front wheel.

 Speedometer hub assembly, the cable already disconnected.

The front fender was next, I'd originally thought to leave it in place but was warned it would make things more difficult to align upon reassembly.  Sorry, no pics of the spacers.

 Top Hat spacer on right side of wheel hub.

I made careful note of the level of the fork sticking out of the top portion of the triple tree assembly.  I just had to ensure the existing marks lined up as shown below:

 Left Side

 Right Side

Yes, I am aware the manual says there should be 6 mm of the top of the fork showing, but it had been fine where it was the last few months of riding, done to increase travel clearance of the front wheel.

Once I loosed the appropriate bolts, I was able to simply twist and pull down the right fork easily enough and swapped out the worn/damaged fork boot with the new one:

Compare and contrast shot
The boots are Daystar 58 Series, $25 for two of them.

Re-assembly was the reverse of the order I removed things before.  Next time, I will remove the brake caliper assembly to make things easier to put the wheel back in place.  Re-inserting the speedometer cable into the speedometer hub was a little fiddly but finally got it done and reconnected.

The hardest part turned out to be lining the front wheel with the top hat and speedometer hub in place, and then getting everything to stay in place as the axle is inserted.  I lacked the third hand necessary, even after lowering the lift to minimize travel by the wheel to match the holes in the forks; so I had to ask Patrick to do the honors with the axle.

Oh, I also removed two of the plastic spacers on the front fender bracket to increase travel clearance by perhaps 1/4".  I just have to, as always, avoid muddy spots where thick mud tends to clog up underneath the front fender and eventually locking up the front wheel.

A view of the plastic spacers I'd installed shortly
after my first encounter with thick mud.

Before I put things away and lowered the motorcycle; I also replaced the rubber seal on the front valve cover atop the engine as it'd been seeping oil.  

No injuries, blood or too much cursing involved with this work.    I'd say it was a good task to get done.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Taking a break from Facebook

I've deactivated my facebook, instagram and fb messenger accounts.

You'll still be able to reach me via email, and this blog.

Thanks in advance for not asking why.

See you on the road....

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Isolation Tasks

I've been home since April 6.

Colorado's governor has issued, as many other states have, "shelter in place" orders but it hasn't really impacted one's movement much.  I wonder if more draconian measures are in the offing.

In the meantime though, I've several items to get done/fixed.

Task 1: (completed)
My failed attempt to stretch the tongue of the Aluma 638 trailer, caused stresses for which I continue to pay for.  You might recall, I'd had it lengthened by two feet to give some turn clearance when I had Yagi, my 2006 Yamaha TW200, mounted on a rack at the front of the trailer's cargo area.

So, the extension was taken off the tongue and its back to original length.  This was last year.  After coming back from camping this year, I found the bed had cracked where stresses of loading the Ural sidecar rig showed up.  Not to mention, I somehow managed to lose the aluminum inner cover of the right side wheel well somewhere between home and my last camping spot in New Mexico!

I took the trailer to CMW Welding and they welded up the crack as shown below, did some repair on spot welds on a rib spanning the width of the trailer where they'd separated; and now there's no more unsettling cracking noise and dips when loading the rig!

Quite a big crack of the bed and side rail eh?

Damaged section now welded up as shown above, on both sides.
And no, I've no idea what happened to the metal panel which would
be normally hiding the inside view of the tire.

As long as he was welding, I had him also reinforce the left side
That's what the missing panel on the right looks like....sigh
Task 2: (Completed Apr 22)
The BMW R80 engine used by Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol has been seeping oil from the pushrod tube seals for a while now.  I'd managed to "press in" the seals as a temporary fix but that's no longer doing the trick.  This makes for a messy engine as dust/dirt gets on the leaking engine oil and accumulates rapidly into an unsightly mess.

I'll be ordering the parts soon to replace the gaskets, o-rings and of course the rubber seals involved this coming week.  I'm debating, since I have to pull the heads, whether to also replace the piston rings or just the seals as Fiona seems to be running fine otherwise.  I'll be ordering parts 4,5 and 6 from below fiche drawing.

and part #4 the gasket that goes between cylinder and the below shown cylinder head.

In preparation, I also cleaned up the outside of the carburetors, removed the second spring I'd attached on the left hand carburetor's throttle plate lever now that I've figured out its an issue at the throttle grip side of things.  Should make it less of an effort to hold throttle while riding.

I borrowed a neighbor's motorcycle lift and did a test lift of Brigitta as I didn't want to separate Fiona from her sidecar just to test out the lift.  Took some trial and error but managed to not drop the motorcycle while learning to use the lift.  I'll be disconnecting Fiona from the sidecar to allow easy access to both sides of the engine.

The above pic shows the bike 12" or almost 30.5 cm, I could raise it 4 more inches to the max height of 16" or 40.6 cm but as you can see, it's high enough for a comfortable working position on the engine's cylinders or "jugs".  And to think, I'd been looking at a lift that would life the motorcycle to 30"!  I was nervous just going up 12"!

Straps and jack stands would be of course involved in actual repair work to ensure the motorcycle doesn't go anywhere while off the ground.

Task 3: (Completed)
Yagi, my 2006 Yamaha TW200, has been lightly seeping oil from the front valve cover.  I've seals ordered and hopefully arriving soon to remedy this.  Nothing major, just annoying.  Oh and I need to replace the fork seal covers.  The motorcycle lift will make this an easier task.

Task 4:
I've got to decided whether to replace the awning cover for the URRV's slideout or just make do without it.  There's something wrong with it causing it to fight the slideout being pushed out, like it's hanging up.  Since I removed the awning while boondocking at the Hot Well Dunes Rec Area, the slideout has operated smoothly.

Task 5: (completed on Predator Generator, not needed yet on Onan Generator)
I have to check hours but probably time to swap out the oil on both the HF Predator generator and the Onan 4KW onboard generator in the URRV.  Will also verify that it's not been 3000 miles since the last oil change on the URRV itself.

Task 6:  Completed May 22
All five shock absorbers on Fiona are leaking fluid and so the seals have to be replaced.  I've got one set of seals, awaiting four more from Russia and then it'll be time to do this task.  These are the "rebuildable" shocks from Russia, not the new style Sachs shocks from Germany which are apparently not rebuildable.