Showing posts with label Fiona Maintenance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiona Maintenance. Show all posts

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Changing out Fiona's Oil Filter and some windy riding

Friday, December 13, 2019

A very windy day today.  Even on three wheels, you could feel the wind trying to push the rig around as I drove Patrick over to Pickens Technical College for his computer classes.

I'd done all the prep work involved with accessing Fiona's Beemer engine before taking Patrick to school this morning:  Separating the two upper and front lower sidecar mount points along with loosening but not disconnecting rear lower mount, removing the engine's front cover, removing the header pipes (better access to oil filter cover screws), removing the front engine mounting bolt and easing the engine down with gentle levering using a crow bar.  (90 minutes)

Some notes for the next time.

Yes, removing the front engine cover AFTER disconnecting the ground wire, makes things easier, but there's still some coaxing involving a crowbar to get the engine to dip down enough to access the top screw holding the oil filter cover.  (Its so much better using counter-sunk flat screws as modified by Richard Winter).

Putting the sidecar wheel on a small dolly helps a lot when it comes to swinging the sidecar away from the tug in order for the right jug to clear the sidecar frame mount point. (just don't try and lean your weight on the nose, it'll dip easily)

Jack stands under the rider pegs make sure the tug doesn't tip over; but remember to remove the right side jack stand when trying to align the sidecar upper mounts back onto the tug anchor points.

When replacing the oil filter cover, its much easier to put the o-ring on the cover instead of the engine case hole.  If you have to remove the cover again for whatever fitment reason, nudge the new oil filter in to ease the pressure on the cover.

A floor jack is quite handy to lift the sidecar wheel, tilt/lift the tug as needed to enable separation from the sidecar frame mounts and to ease the engine back up so you can reinstall the front support engine bolt.

The whole thing was pretty straightforward and painless and best of all, a solo operation not requiring one of the boys to help tilt/wrestle the tug around.

Took her out for a 12 mile test ride and all was well.  I think Fiona's the rig I'll take glamping next time as it is her turn.

I must be getting better at changing the oil filter on Fiona, the '99 Ural Patrol sidecar rig with the '84 R80 Beemer Engine; it only took me a total of about 135 minutes vice over three hours last time and 5000 kilometers ago.


As I near the departure date for the next glamping trip, I went ahead and rode Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer for almost 30 miles of riding in the windy conditions.  She did just fine, and I was reminded how its really no fun to ride when there's strong winds blowing one's motorcycle around.


Busy day today, and no negative effects from doing it all during a Friday the 13th!   There's a todo in my future involving the replacement of the rubber seals for the push rod tubes, the seepage is getting worse despite some half-assed efforts to reseat them tighter before today.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Maintenance: Scarlett's 50k Km Service Interval

Since the original purpose of blogging was to record maintenance work on my motorcycle (only one back then); figured this post was fitting.

Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, has reached the 50,000 kilometer mark and so it was time to do the 10K service as listed in her owner's manual.  The 10K service is the most complete one so I use that checklist.

Scarlett's reaching 50K km is a milestone for me, as I've not gotten above 40k km on any of my other rigs before they were either sold or traded in.

Of course, her engine's crankshaft was replaced at 41.7K km, and the gearbox was rebuilt by Sergey at IMWA before that so it's not like she made it to 50K km in one piece!

Still, the engine (which was also rebuilt by Sergey under warranty) remains working with no leaks or seepage, the gearbox continues working smoothly so I shouldn't complain.

All oils were swapped, air filter replaced, oil filter replaced, spark plugs replaced though they were working fine.  Also replaced the original spark plug cables that the rig came with, with the improved connection at the coil cables from IMWA. 

Note: if you ever find your rig "missing" at low speeds, and if you've the original stock spark plug cables that you basically press into the pin on the coil side, cut off a bit, press it onto the coil connector both cables this way.  When you can, get the improved cables with the metal connector on the coil end which ensures a better connection which makes for smoother engine performance.

One of the two compliance fittings, the round black object shown below, was starting to show cracks on the inside.  The checklist says to replace both at 10k km intervals and so they were.

  Note the nice caramel color on the ceramic tip just
under the electrode, it's what you want to see

Hopefully you can see the ragged crack evident
on the inside wall of the port side compliance fitting.
At $30 each from the dealer, I wish they'd last longer
but what are you going to do right?

Nothing major was found, and I also greased all three u-joints on Scarlett, checked the tightness of the spokes on all the wheels and tightened where needed.

Coincidentally, it was also time to replace the gearbox oil on Fiona, my '99 Bural since it had a new input shaft.  The oil came out dirty, after only 200 km since the installation, as expected, and with shiny particles floating in the oil.

The shiny particles are just the "final machining" done by the owner of the gears.  You swap the oil way more often than once the gearbox is broken in, to avoid the accumulation of this swarf in the gearbox bearings and such.  I'll do another oil swap of the gearbox in another 200km.

Both rigs are road-ready.  Stay tuned for more travels.  Though Fiona will be quite limited for a bit as I need to "break in" the new input shaft and so cannot exceed 45 mph until she goes past 1500 km (give or take) from 4257 km mark on the odometer.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Last Day of Spring Sunset

I used the title Summer's Eve Sunset on Facebook to originally post these pictures, then I was reminded of the feminine hygiene trademark.  Doh.

It was a record breaking day yesterday in terms of temperatures.  99°F (37..2°C)!   Definitely a scorcher, but it did produce nice cloud formations and lighting conditions for this Spring season's last sunset:

As you can see, Fiona my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 R80 Beemer engine is back on the road.  I received the replacement Final Drive mounting studs yesterday and replaced the two outer studs, leaving the two inner studs for the next time I have the final drive unmounted from the swingarm.

I also replaced the engine oil/gearbox oil on Fiona and Scarlett's engine oil.  It was a bit early for both but the oil was looking dirty and this way I can now use their respective odometers to schedule future maintenance.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Scarlett Update and Fiona Maintenance Notes

Got an update from Jason, the VP of Operations/Support for URAL in Redmond, WA this week:

Sergey, the master URAL mechanic/guru had diagnosed the issue as a bad/failed connecting rod bearing which had locked up on the right side.   Ilya, the president of URAL, also piped in on FaceBook that they'd changed to updated standard roller bearing used in the crankshafts for 2015 URAL engines and that he didn't recall any issues reported yet on those.

From URAL's online parts catalog:

 Above items highlighted in green are the parts replaced.
The black arrow points to the connecting rod and the red
arrow points to the big bearing for the connecting rod which failed.

Both cylinders and heads, the left one shown above,
will be replaced.  Only item not replaced in above picture
are the #7 push rods and associated camshaft, lifters and gears.

The above items are based on this from Jason:  Sergey did a complete rebuild on the engine including new crankshaft, pistons, cylinders, heads, clutch w/flywheel, and all misc. gaskets, seals and bearings.

I'll have to ask Jason if he meant the entire clutch pack was replaced.

The rebuilt engine was supposed to have been shipped on Friday, February 10th and should be at Fort Collins, Colorado by the 17th, hopefully.

Kudos again to URAL for standing behind their product.  I wish it would have lasted longer but then again, I am glad it happened while the engine was under warranty!


Fiona, my '99 Bural with the '87 R80 Beemer Engine got her gearbox and final drive oils changed out today, about 200 km late.  Switching to the new speedometer with its new odometer readings had thrown my calculated service intervals off a bit you see.

The engine oil was changed a little over 1100 km ago and really wasn't due till the 22,000 km mark on the old odometer but it had been looking dirty.  In order to sync things up, I'll be doing the gearbox/FD oil changes at the 2500 km mark on the new odometer (early) and proceed onwards from that point.

The beauty of the Beemer engine is that oil changes aren't due every 2500 km like on the older URAL engines, or even 5000 km like on the newer EFI engines but every 4500 miles or 7200km!  Still, I'll probably use the 5000 km interval for the engine oil as well, cheap insurance eh?

Monday, May 02, 2016

Fiona gets new oil filter


One of the minuses of converting a Ural rig to use a Beemer engine is that the oil filter cover on the engine is blocked by the frame of the Ural rig.  One has to drop the engine enough to clear the frame and access the oil filter cover.

Yep, you have to drop the front end of the engine to get at the cover.  Though it turns out in the case of Fiona, drop is not the right word.

Today was the first time I did it, seemed a pretty straightforward proposition and I'd talked it over with Richard Winter aka Bural on the phone before.

First, you remove the exhaust pipes from the cylinder heads and the mufflers.  This was easy, the finned nuts came off easy and I was able to tap lightly on the header pipes to remove them.  Oh, I also had to remove the horn to get it out of the way.

 The weird looking tool is called a pin wrench I believe, 
used in this case to loosen the clamps on the exhaust muffler pipes.

Spent some time positioning a stack of wood blocks and the hydraulic jack because I thought that once I removed the front support rod for the engine, the engine would plummet downwards.  That turned out to be not the case.

I removed the 19 mm nut from the right side of the front support rod and used it to double-nut the left side of the support rod so I could use a wrench to remove it from the engine case.

 This is as far as it would come out using the socket wrench, I then used
vise grips to pull the rod out from the engine case.  No big deal.

The next hour or so was spent trying to figure out why the engine would not lower on its own.  Much head scratching but no cussing ensued, tried loosening the lower bolts on the rear shocks thinking there was something binding things there, nope.  Finally, I noticed that the right cylinder fins were resting on the front lower attachment arm linking the sidecar to the tug!  Arrggh.

Glad I noticed that before I removed the swing arm pins, that would have been another PITA*.

So, I loosened the ball clamp holding the lower support arm to the tug, removed the lower mounting screw on the clevis joint for the front upper support arm and lifted/pushed the sidecar's nose away from the tug.  Now the cylinder had room.  Still no movement of the engine.  Hmmmm.

I left the wood blocks in place and removed the jack.  Due to what is a tight, tight, tight fit, I had to use a crowbar as a lever and carefully nudge the engine downwards. I inserted the crowbar from the front of the tug's frame, using the crossbar on which the horn is mounted as the fulcrum.   Finally got movement, I was then stopped by the raised rim on the right side push rod tube.  Still, it proved enough.

Now I was able to see the engine serial number on the left front side of the engine:

You can see below, the max amount I was able to lower the engine.  Looks like a tight fit for that top bolt eh?
Yes, very dirty, you'd think this rig had been riding in Moab or something.

Some judicious use of a large flat tip screwdriver enable enough space between the frame and that upper front bolt on the engine oil filter cover to be turned and removed.  

Note: I found the gasket and rubber o-ring but not the metal washer.
The washer that was missing is #6 below.

source: realoem

The replacement oil filter I'd bought came with the complete set of gasket, o-ring and washer so no problem.

When I went to reinstall the oil filter cover, I realized you have to be a bit crafty when putting the engine oil filter cover back on, the top edge has to go in first then you gently nudge the cover in to place on the new oil filter and align the paper gasket properly.

Yep, had to use the large screwdriver again to ease the top nut into place and screw it in, the other two were easy.

I used the hydraulic jack to raise the engine back up and spent perhaps a good thirty minutes getting the holes aligned correctly.  This aligning was a medium sized PITA* by the way.  Finally got things lined up and I used a weighted mallet to hammer the rod in once I got it about 3/4's of the way into the engine case. Secured both sides with their respective 19 mm nuts.

Next I remounted the ball clamp mount onto the frame, tightened it and reinstalled the bolt holding the lower clevis mounting point for the front upper support arm.  This required some wrestling with the sidecar but no muscles were pulled that I can feel anyways.

Reinstalled the header pipes onto the cylinders and mufflers.  I applied anti-seize on the cylinder threads and muffler seal on the exhaust pipes to hopefully stop the backfiring I'd heard from the pipes.  No major drama with this part of the job, though I did have to loosen the rear bracket on the left muffler to get it to mate up correctly.

Now cleaned up, you can see what a tight fit it is between the frame
and the engine oil filter cover!

It's a very tight fit overall for the engine within this particular Ural frame.  Now I know there's no need to fear it dropping too far when removing the front support rod!  Next time I do the oil filter change, it should go much smoother, I hope.

Filter change done at 16,374 Km.  OAK, of the Airheads forums said its OK to change out the oil filter every 10K miles instead of every 5K miles, so next time I need to swap the filter is at 32k Km!  :)

Note to self, wash the rig first before working on it.

Took Fiona for a test ride in the evening, she ran great though there's still a bit of backfiring going on when slowing down to a stop.

24.8 MPG this last tank.

PITA* - Pain In The Arse

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fiona Work Notes

This post is to track ongoing and finished work done to bring Fiona, my '99 URAL Patrol sidecar rig with a BMW R80 engine.

Yes, Fiona, as in Shrek's wife, who is also green.  We arrived at the name today.

1.  Clutch:  Turns out the PO had the wrong pressure plate/cover.  He'd been referencing what turned out to be the wrong diagram of a BMW Clutch Assembly from the Clymer's Manual:

The above diagram shows six spacers, #6, which are for the "lighter"
duty motorcycle such as the R65.  This is NOT the one to use.

this is the diagram I am using.  
Basically, the conversion uses a /6 clutch pack but with a /2 clutch disk

I ordered the correct Compression Ring from Richard Winter, #5 above along with a replacement Pressure Plate, #2 above as the one that came from the PO looked worn and damaged.  Once I get those two pieces, I'll be able to re-assemble the clutch pack and put the drive train back together.

Update: Got email from Richard Winter the day after we talked about the parts above and how I had the wrong pressure ring.  Got email with pics from Richard the next day, he's got the parts and shipping them to me.  Payment via Paypal.  No fuss, no muss, damn quick service!

 The right, /6, pressure ring aka cover plate

By the way, the major work in the conversion by Richard Winter is the welding/cutting and modifications needed to mate a URAL gearbox to the BMW engine.

Stock URAL 750 Gearbox

Richard Winter-modified URAL gearbox.
Note how the opening for the URAL starter was removed and filled in.
Mounting holes were added to match the BMW Engine's case
The diamond plate can be removed to inspect the clutch screws

2.  Wheel Bearings.  I removed the wheel bearings and associated hardware from the pusher wheel since I had it off anyways in order to dismount the Final Drive.  They are the old type bearings which need to be repacked at set maintenance intervals.  I checked with URAL and I ordered one of the new wheel bearing kits that come with the sealed bearings to replace the old bearings.

3.  I've ordered a used R80 Air Box from eBay, hoping to be able to modify it later on to provide a sheltered area for a stock BMW air filter for the carburetors.  In the meantime, I'll ride Fiona with the "muffin" air filters directly attached to the carburetors.

4.  The U-joints on the sidecar drive shaft are the old type, lacking grease zerks, so I'll arrange for their replacement with newer models that have the grease zerk.  They do feel nice and smooth and tight so they're still usable in the meantime.

5.  The drive splines on the Final Drive and on the pusher wheel look "OK", better than I thought they'd look like, but still not in new condition.  New would be a small flat tip instead of pointy triangles.

I was happy to find grease on the splines on the pusher's wheel hub.

6.  Main drive shaft U-Joint:  Turns smoothly, no play and I injected the zerk with new grease.

7.  Now I understand why Bud P., the PO, made the comments about how stupid it was that one has to move the sidecar over to the right a bit in order to be able to unscrew one of the four nuts holding the Final Drive to the swing arm.  Looks like someone else basically unscrewed the studs free of the FD case, not just remove the nuts securing said studs to the swing arm.  Doh!

Found two studs loose and one missing out of a total of four.  I then found the missing stud in the box of stuff Bud P. had given me.  Sigh.  I reinstalled the studs into their respective mounting holes in the case along with some blue Loctite, hopefully that does the trick.  Update: will add lock washers as well.

8.  Checked the spark plugs, type: NGK BPR5EGP, both showed black and oil, so the engine was running "rich" before.  I put in new versions of these plugs.  Might swap for Bosch W6DC plugs later.

Gap on the old plug was set at .037
The Clymer manuals states is should be .024-.028 !!!
I set the new plugs at about  .0265

9.  Drained the fuel tank, the gasoline came out a bit darker than I usually see it.  Kind of like the color of urine?  Anyways, I will be putting in fresh gas.  While I had the carburetor bowls off to inspect for crud or water, noticed that both carburetors were missing the small screw that caps the vacuum port on them!  Starting to wonder how it ran well before.  For now, bought some 5.5mm Rubber Caps to seal these openings.

Red arrow points to vacuum port which is missing a screw/cap

10.  Drained the engine oil, black as night.  Bud P. says he put in a new oil filter 1500 miles ago, so based on the odometer reading, roughly at the 13,000 Kilometer mark.  I'll just plan on replacing it at the 15,000 Kilometer mark with a new filter.  I put in two quarts of Castrol 4T Synthetic 20W50 oil, will see if it causes any "leaks", if so, will switch back to Dino version.  I'll probably swap the oil out anyways at the 15,000 mark just for GP.

11.  Battery Hold Down Strap.  It's missing, will try and get one from the URAL dealer.  Presently, it's being held in place, mostly, via a rubber strap.

12.  Found the ground wire for the stock horn but not the power wire, mounted the horn and ran a new wire to the battery for power.  Now I have a working horn.

13.  Tapped into the high beam power wire  to provide power to the auxiliary headlights that are mounted below the main headlight; they only come on when I turn on the high beam setting.

14.  Found a broken wire connection for the auxiliary headlight mounted on the sidecar fender, fixed,
it now comes on with I switch on the ignition.

15.  Previous owner had positioned both a relay and the BMW Voltage Regulator on a bracket anchored on the stud used by the upper front arm securing the sidecar:

Checked with Richard Winter and he confirmed that it's probably not a great location for these items where they're exposed to the weather.  The PO never rode in rain (rare as it might be in Arizona) so I guess he wasn't worried.

Temporarily, I removed both the relay and the voltage regulator from the bracket and repositioned them under the fuel tank:

Took a bit to find the right spots so that the fuel tank could still be fitted where it belonged, but it wasn't too bad.  Found a broken ground wire on the connector going to the regulator so, bonus repair!

Now waiting for the arrival of the clutch parts, hopefully tomorrow afternoon.

Ready for the clutch parts to arrive...

Oh, and good news about Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol sidecar rig.  The repaired gearbox arrived at Randy's place today and last word I got was he was assembling it this afternoon!  I will be taking the trailer up there tomorrow to pick her up after an extended test drive up in Fort Collins!