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

Friday, March 03, 2017

New Regulator in Town

New to me that is, a Voltage Regulator that is....for Fiona, my '99 Bural Patrol with the Beemer engine.

Beemer Airheads, as Fiona and Brigitta are known affectionately by the riding cognoscenti (don't listen to the K-Bike Riders, they're just jealous); are also known to have anemic charging systems.

280 Watts of electricity is what they  put out I believe and it's barely enough to power all the needs of the motorcycle and perhaps one extra electrical accessory.

The voltmeter I used on Fiona had always reported a maximum of 13.2 Volts when at charging RPMs (higher than 2000 rpm).  13.5 volts, I've come to learn, is basically "float charging" voltage used by battery chargers to keep a battery "topped up".

This 13.2 voltage, wasn't really enough to keep the battery charged up during slower riding and with frequent stops; especially in cold weather which is hard on batteries.

RichardM, Alaska Rider and Wrencher, upon hearing of me complain of this, offered me the voltage regulator he'd upgraded his Beemer to before completely upgrading his charging system with something even better.

The more modern, solid-state, voltage regulator from RichardM.
Note the small screw in the blue square.  You can adjust the output
from 13.6 to 14.5 I believe.

Its a Transpo IB301A  and its available for $19 +$5 shipping from Amazon here: LINK


You can get the Enduralast Version of this item for $29 + $5 shipping: LINK

For the BMW purists out there, the BMW part which I replaced (mine had a 12/83 date stamp on it), BMW wants $128 for one.  Just saying...

The regulator got here today and within minutes was easily installed in place of the stock BMW Voltage Regulator which was larger and less reliable and only apparently putting out 13.2 volts for charging!

Usually, the voltage regulator on an Airhead is mounted under the gas tank.  However, the previous owner of Fiona had displaced the regulator and a relay onto a bracket mounted on the bolt that secures the upper front support bracket of the sidecar frame.  This made it very easy to remove the old and install the new regulator.

 View of the old regulator in situ, it was wrapped in silver tape,
hinting it had been taken apart before?  Note its bulk.
The smaller rectangular box on top is just a relay 
far as I can tell.

 New to me voltage regulator installed, much smaller eh?

I fired up Fiona's engine and revved it up to charging RPMs.  I was getting between 14.2 to 14.3 volts!
Success!  About a whole volt more involved in the charging process, hopefully this along with cutting out the main headlight and sidecar running light; will help keep the battery charged up when doing frequent stopping for pictures in cold weather.

 Views of the cheap plastic cover used to keep water away
from the relay and the voltage regulator.

My thanks to RichardM for his generous donation of the voltage regulator!  Until I can really justify the expenditure of around $500 for an upgraded charging system with more output wattage, this will have to do.

One test ride later, I realized I had been getting the 14.3V in the garage because I'd disabled the headlight and sidecar running light.  Doh.  Still, at cruising RPMs I was getting 13.7-13.8V!  A gain of over half a volt and with peaks to 14V at one point in the ride.

I was even able to turn on the auxiliary headlights that came with Fiona and the voltmeter still registered below 20 mph....good stuff.

Later on, I decided to turn the adjusting screw clockwise to increase the output.  I was only able to turn it perhaps 1/8 of a turn and then it stopped so I think I've reached the upper limit.  I started Fiona's engine and revved it up to about 2500 rpm and saw 14.5V after a few seconds.

RichardM recommends I monitor the battery's temperature, making sure it's not hotter than ambient temperature after a long ride.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Minor mods for Fiona

Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 Beemer R80 engine, aka the Bural Rig didn't come from the factory with a lockable trunk on the sidecar.

Let me preface that in all the years that I've been riding URALs, not one instance of theft has occurred.

Having said that, I prefer to keep honest people, well, honest by locking things whenever possible.

Real thieves, if they really want in, will get in.

Anyways, today I installed a couple of flat corner braces from the hardware store ($3) to the lower back of the seat back cushion in the sidecar to prevent it from being removed from the inside of the sidecar.  It's designed to be removable you see, a fact not known by many folks.

Removing said seat back, even with a newer Ural's lockable trunk, obviously bypasses the minimal security provided by locking the trunk lid itself.  Now, that's not easily done on Fiona:

The upper edge of the seat back came with two metal tabs that prevent forward movement.  Everything depends on your being able to pull up the lower edge of the seat back, now it's not easily possible.
 Lower left corner of seat back

Lower right corner of seat back

I had also recently added a tow hitch lock to the trunk on Fiona.  It prevents easy movement of the handle which is used to secure the lid of the trunk on the sidecar

Unlocked position, the handle can pivot upwards to release
the hooks which hold down the trunk lid

Right: locked position, handle cannot pivot upwards to release the hooks.

The above idea I got from a posting on sovietsteeds about securing the older model year trunks.  There's many ways to do it, this is just the one that struck me as simplest.

In areas where my paranoia is really active (areas I'd tend to avoid anyways), I also carry a bike chain/cable that loops around the spare tire cargo rack, spare tire/wheel and part of the subframe.

A different and very temporary mod is the addition of a small "Slow Vehicle sign" sticker to Fiona's spare tire rack.  Just a visual cue for the cager who might come up behind me and not realize that I'm only going 40 mph for the next 1500 miles or so as I break in the rebuilt gearbox on Fiona.

Do you think they'll notice, and get a clue?

Lastly, the stock position of the mirrors that came with Fiona were not good for my being able to easily see to the rear of the rig while driving.

I got these extenders from amazon ($17) which raise the mirrors 27mm and extend them outwards by 40mm.  The mounting screws they come with were too short for Fiona's application, but I had some onhand which did the trick for now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Farkle and Cushioning the Battery on Fiona (and a Sunset)

Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig with a Beemer engine awaits the return of the Ural gearbox.

Richard Winter, to whom I sent the gearbox, reported it seemed to be OK besides needing a new input shaft due to the previous one being damaged when Fiona experienced the clutch disk splines destruction issue.

Hopefully, I'll get the gearbox back soon along with at least one if not two of the older versions of the /2 clutch disk that were built with sidecar usage in mind.

In the meantime, I had received an electrical farkle before the trip to Europe and today I got around to installing it on Fiona.

Installation was easy, no fuss, no muss, hooked directly to the battery since it's got a lighted on/off switch.

While I was working near the battery, decided to add some more cushioning material (from an old foam camping mattress) to not only cushion the bottom of the battery, but the sides and back as well.  No movement now by the battery.

 View of battery from left side of tug, main function of this
cushion piece is preventing lateral movement by the battery.

 The cushioning under the battery is to hopefully prolong its life

Metal plate in place to prevent contact from the end
of the clutch actuating lever's adjustment nut.

Update:  Went out for sunset shots:

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Fiona Modifications

Improving the front braking performance.

Fiona, my '99 URAL Patrol Sidecar with the '84 R80 Beemer engine has drum brakes on all three wheels.

Stopping power, as you can imagine, isn't as good as Scarlett's, my 2014 URAL Patrol with disc brakes on all three wheels!

Richard Winter, aka BURAL on Sovietsteeds, had mentioned to me he'd found a Triumph Motorcycle Clutch Cable (Mfr #T2047048) that fit the bill as a replacement for the stock front brake cable on the older Ural motorcycles with drum brakes.

I had him modify an old style brake perch he had, to accept the cable which I ordered and had shipped to his home, he coupled them together and sent them out to me.

First attempt to install, I ran into a problem with the brake actuating arm that came with Fiona, it was not wide enough in the groove area to accept the Triumph cable and also the hole one uses to anchor the cable end wasn't wide enough.  Richard said it's a sad fact but consistent manufacturing specs on the older URALs were somewhat "lacking".

He then sent me the brake actuating lever he'd used to test the cable assembly he'd sent before, and I got it before MOAB, only just today getting around to installing it.

It took me a while as you have to unmount the actuating arms and move them from the existing six o'clock position on the hub to the 430-5PM position to allow for the extra length on the Triumph cable.

This was the first time I'd done this so it took me a while to figure out how each piece interacted with the rest of the brake cable assembly!

This is the sequence that worked for me after much trial and error.

1.  Remove cable end from anchor point on actuating arm.  Remove barrel screw, as the cable came with one.

2.  Remove grip, controls, brake perch and pull the attached stock brake cable off the tug.

3.  Unmount and reposition both brake actuator levers, leave the link between them unhooked on one end.  Yes, it'll be a slight PITA to align the splines on the arms.  However it is INFINITELY easier to mount the arm onto the splined end before attaching the new cable to it!!!    Ensure you have enough slack by moving the barrel screw forward.

4.  Put the new perch in place, secure it, tie it off in the forward position to push all the slack to the hub end of the cable.  Route the cable to the brake hub and insert the barrel into the repositioned forward brake actuator lever.  You'll have to use a large screwdriver as lever to push the assembly back so the cable can be inserted, it should be a tight fit.

5.  If you got the new angle of the brake actuator arms correct, it should be a tight cable end to end, with little to no slack at the perch end of things.

6.  Reconnect the linking rod between the two brake actuator arms last.  You may need to twist the loose end to account for the new angles.  It helps to use a large screw driver to lever the rear actuator arm closer to the front arm so you can insert the locking pin.

7.  Use the barrel screws to adjust tightness and test effectiveness of brakes by lifting the front wheel into the air with a hydraulic jack, rotating the wheel while pressing the brake lever.

End result.  Note the arms now point to about 5 o'clock, they
used to point straight down or at six o'clock before with the stock
URAL brake cable.

Took Fiona out for a test drive around the block, getting up to about 35 mph.  She stopped much better while using only the front brake!  Much better stopping performance is my initial impression.  You could not stop Fiona fully just using the front brake before.

Repositioning the Reverse Lever.

Since my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, Valencia, I've gotten in the habit of shifting the transmission into neutral when stopped at lights, to hopefully minimize the pressures of the clutch on the clutch throwout bearings assembly.

Usually, not a big deal, I would use the left side of the right boot heel, and kick/nudge the lever rearwards, effectively putting the transmission into neutral, or into reverse if I kicked it too hard.  I would then push the lever forward with the heel and wait for the light to change while freeing up my clutch hand.

However, in Fiona's case, due to the Ceet tubing and the positioning I had to use for the 2014 type airbox, the right side carburetor air tube was in the way and there remained only a very narrow gap in which to insert the side of the heel of my riding boot to engage the reverse lever!

Saw on sovietsteeds a thread on what others had done to modify their reverse lever to enable easier access.  One stood out to me, it'd been posted by silberman and was an idea taught to him by Mr Cob.  You basically unmount the splined reverse lever, reposition it a bit lower or towards the rear, to gain a larger gap in which to insert one's boot heel!

Taking off the lever is a bit of a trick though.  I emailed Dave H.  aka COB, and he sent me this:

With the nut and washer removed, reinstall the nut to where it just sits even with the end of the stud, place a large screw driver behind the shifter and apply pressure to force the shifter away from the bike, tap the end of the shaft with a hammer the shifter will pop loose.

Reinstalling the nut will protect the threads of the stud from damage when you tap the shaft with the hammer.

At first the above didn't work for me, the splined rod on which the reverse lever is mounted was pulling out a little bit but that turned out to be expected behavior after I checked again with Dave.

Using a bigger hammer, got the lever off, repositioned it, put it back on the splined rod and secured it.  Once again I can use my boot heel's left side to push/kick the reverse lever backwards to put the rig in neutral or reverse!  :)

 Above is Scarlett's reverse lever which is in the factory position.
You can see where the paint's worn off where my heel has hit it.

Above is Fiona's reverse lever, now in the new, further back position.
Tried finding/engaging/pushing the lever with booted foot, no problems!

One last trick if you have difficulty pushing the reverse lever into neutral or reverse.  If it's being stubborn, AND you've confirmed your transmission is in first gear (you did, right?), then place your left heel on the heel portion of the heel/toe shifter on the left side, pushing down gently.  This will release the pressure that's preventing your reverse lever from moving backwards.

Seat Back Pad.

Fiona came to me with two rubber tractor-type seats on the tug.  The rider's seat was in good shape but the pillion seat was all torn up so I removed it for now.  However, this left the pillion's grab handle in place for my lower back to hit on occasion while moving about on the rider seat!  Painful.

My lower back hit the steel mount not covered by the foam tubing.
The weirdly shaped rubber object behind the grab ring is the "cushioning"
for the missing pillion tractor seat.

Ordered a cheap seat back pad from Amazon, universal fit, for $20 I believe.  Added a narrow piece of plastic to the wood backing so I could use zip ties and voila, I've got a back seat pad.

 The bottom of the pad zippers open, I screwed on the plastic strip
and used it to anchor the zip ties.  We'll see how long that lasts!

I think I lost a smidge of leg room however, but time will tell.  I suppose I could move the whole thing back an inch but that means drilling more holes.  I think there's a bench seat in Fiona's future, just not right now.

Update 5MAY15

Added a voltmeter (used to be on Yoshie, the V-Strom sidecar rig) but this time it uses the battery tender SAE connection to read power.  This way, I can transfer it between Scarlett and Fiona as I can only ride one rig at a time!

The 2" Split Loom tubing arrived today, I removed the unsightly duct tape from both Ceet carb tubes and will try the loom material instead to protect the apparently easy to wear out Ceet material:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fiona gets an air box.

Since I bought Fiona, my '99 URAL Patrol with an '84 R80 Beemer engine, she's used a couple of "muffin top" air filters that were clamped directly onto each carburetor.  They worked fine and the previous owner didn't ride in rain he told me so he wasn't worried about exposing the air filters to foul weather.

Kind of exposed to the weather eh?

Given that I tend to ride in all kinds of weather, I'd been working on some kind of air box to shelter the air filter used by Fiona, to keep water out you know, when out playing in rain and snow for example.

Several options were thrashed about in my head over the last month of so, options were tried and discarded, and finally Bural, a.k.a. Richard Winter came up with an idea that stuck.  He'd told me, why not try the air box by the 2014 and newer URAL rigs?

I called up Randy, the URAL dealer in Fort Collins and he happened to have a discarded air box that he'd let me have to try things out!  

Got the airbox, some test-fitting and discussions with Bural, RichardM and Darrell later, I decided to try it using CEET aircraft tubing which I ordered last week and it arrived today.  

A few minutes of measuring, cutting and hose clamping later, Fiona and I headed out for a test drive.

She did great with the Ural air box!  Got her on the tollway and up to almost 70 mph with no issues with air flow to the engine!  

It's a somewhat tight fit but nothing touches it except for the CEET tubing and the bottom portion of the bike frame under the seat along with the box resting on top of  the gearbox.  There's clearance for the clutch cable, and clutch actuating lever.  The kick starter comes up just shy of the bottom of the air box.  I'll work to further secure it but really, the air box is not going anywhere.

Here's views of the air box, mark 1:

 Left side
 Right Side
closer view of the air scoop

I still have to route the crankcase hole into the air box, but first must find a suitable grommet as the tube coming from the engine is smaller than the hole in the air box.

I might, also, install a small shield on top of the Beemer engine, near the air scoop, to block water/snow before it reaches the air scoop.

I also, on Bural's advice, going to coat the CEET tubing with the rubberized undercoating spray one uses in fender wells of cars and such.  It keeps the elements from degrading the tubing.  The tubing was designed to live inside airplane engine compartments you see, not exposed to weather.

Now for some more riding to test things out further.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Fiona: Some Electrical Work and Starting Scarlett's 35K KM Services.

Today I managed to complete the following electrical work on Fiona, my '99 URAL Patrol with a Beemer engine.

Better Turn Signal Flasher:

Replaced the stock PC427 Russian Thermal flasher unit with a modern electronic flasher which is more reliable and draws way less amps when in operation.  Had to create new connectors, but minor work.

source: LINK
Russian PC427

source: AdvanceAuto
Tridon EL12

Bought a relay, 12 gauge wire, connectors, a plain switch to wire up the auxiliary lights on either side of the main headlight correctly.  The auxiliary lights had come disconnected with Fiona from the previous owner and there were no obvious connections to use for them.

My first attempt to install a relay resulted in melting the "hot wire" due to stupidity on my part, I had followed the wrong instructions that I found using google.  The relay didn't come with wiring instructions, go figure.

Following a short tutorial on youtube to remind me which connectors on the relay did what, it was then just a matter of wiring things up, taking care to use shrink tubing to secure connections.

screen capture from youtube video: LINK

Second attempt went well enough, though I ended up having to troubleshoot the ground wire for the relay, I used the same ground cable as the one used by the horn, and that didn't work as expected. Once I switched to a different grounding point, it all worked as expected.

Electrical work is something with which I struggle at times.  The concepts are simple, it's the actual wiring of connections that trip me up at times.

Here's Fiona with her headlight in high beam mode.

The switch is mounted on one of two pre-existing holes on the headlight bucket cover.  I am unsure what the previous owner used the holes for, now one holds the switch for the auxiliary lights.

Can you see me now?

Sadly, even all these lights will fail to prevent the many unwary cagers out there from executing a left turn in front of you!  Always assume they don't see you, especially if you're on two wheels.  Sidecar rigs are wide enough that most cagers perceive them as a threat since they're nearly as wide as cars; that leaves usually only the a-holes that like to cut in front of traffic to make a turn.

The auxiliary lights ought to come in handy when off road and in dark conditions, not sure I'll be using them on paved roads as they're quite bright.

Scarlett's 35K KM Service Interval Notes:

Today I swapped out her engine oil and filter, transmission oil (which came out clean I am glad to report) after being rebuilt by IMWA's Sergey, and the final drive oil.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Fiona Facts and Mods

Mostly as a reminder to myself in the future, here's some of the known facts and changes done to Fiona so far.

Here's how I came to be her owner:  LINK

Based on the VIN number off the motorcycle from which her BMW engine came from, it was a 1984 BMW R80 RT (800cc) that came off the factory floor in 12/83.  Below is what the motorcycle looked like, in fact, RichardM has one up in Alaska!

source: theboltguy
Specifications for the R80 RT: LINK

The URAL itself was a 1999 Patrol, with a blown 650cc engine that the previous owner, Bud P., had found neglected under a tarp in someone else's back yard when he was seeking a sidecar for his RT.

Long story short, Bud encountered issues with the clutch after some time of ownership and after it had been converted into a Ural/Beemer rig.   The link above explains it in more detail if your curious.

The conversion of the URAL gearbox was done by Richard Winter aka Bural on sovietsteeds.  He's a master mechanic and known for his knowledge and vast experience in doing these conversions.

The flywheel on the '84 R80 engine had to be removed and the 1976-1980 heavier flywheel installed by Bud.

Then, the clutch pack from a /6 model BMW engine is used along with the clutch disk from a /2 BMW clutch because it's got the coarse splines that mate up the to the input shaft splines on the URAL gearbox.

More details and pics here on the clutch parts involved:  LINK

The wiring work involves three wires from the URAL harness to connect to the BMW engine.

There's wiring that was done by Bud P. that I have to someday research and explore in order to understand what was done, but its not your standard URAL wiring harness I believe.  Suffice to say for now, all the lights work as they should.

The URAL frame blocks access to the cover behind which is the engine's oil filter, so each time that filter is replaced, one must drop the front end of the engine in order to get a the cover.  It's not supposed to be a big deal, just a bit of a pain.  I'll let you know how that goes in a future post.

The main drive shaft is the original one from '99 with the fine splines which is connected to the transmission donut by the yoke piece.  Newer URALs have coarse splines for more durability and the connection point is closer to the final drive instead of the donut.  I am ordering a newer drive shaft as Richard Winter has cautioned that the fine splines currently in use will inevitably wear out.

The rest of the rig is all URAL components.  So, the final drive, which is the 2WD version, is only designed to handle the torque delivered by the 650cc engine, or about 27 HP I think.  The BMW engine has 50 HP, so the rig must still be driven like it's a URAL or expect to be replacing the final drive in a very short time.

1984 BMW R80:
Power: 50 hp @ 6500 rpm 
Torque: 42.8 ft/lbs @ 4000 rpm

1999 URAL 650cc:
Power:  35.00 HP @ 5600 RPM
Torque:  33.1 ft/lbs @ 4800 RPM (according to the manual)

2014 URAL 750cc:
Power: 41 HP @ 5500 RPM
Torque: 42 ft/lbs @ 4300 RPM

So, 15 more HP and almost 10 more ft lbs of torque than the original engine and 9 more HP and same torque output as a 2014 Patrol!

Basically, she can do 60 mph all day, with Beemer reliability, and not break a sweat.  Probably can go faster but URAL rigs tend to get a bit squirrely at speeds above 70 MPH in my experience.

One does not own a URAL, if one wants to go fast.  Period.

There were fuel issues, most likely due to the engine sitting unused for a long period of time, that had to be dealt with once I got her home.  Carburetors had to be cleaned out, fuel lines unkinked, old fuel removed and replaced with fresh gas and different clutch parts and cable components sourced/modified by Richard Winter.

Her stock petcock on the URAL gas tank apparently doesn't flow enough gas to feed the two thirsty 32mm BING carburetors the engine came with from BMW (Bing V 64/32/353-64/32/354).  So Bud had run a fuel line from the bungs normally used for a crossover tube between the two halves of the gas tank; directly to each carburetor, installing a small valve/petcock to shut off fuel flow when desired.

Today, I got all the components needed to ensure either petcock can supply fuel to both carburetors simultaneously.  This is to avoid blockage of the unfiltered bungs in the fuel tank by fuel contaminants, tank rust, what have you.  While dealing with the fuel delivery issues, that had been a main problem, one bung would get blocked temporarily, leading to one cylinder getting fuel starved and the engine running like crap, with no power.

 Brass Tee Adapters used to allow either petcock (red handles)
to feed both carburetors.

The above arrangement is similar to what is on my '87 BMW R80, Brigitta, who's fuel tank has a petcock on each side of the tank.

Oh, and I got Fiona registered today as a Colorado motorcycle, so she's a Coloradan now!

Re-mounted the base mount for the pillion seat so I could use the pillion's grab handle, but removed the torn up pillion tractor seat for now.  I added some padding to the handle, now it's comfy for my lower back.

The journey continues to build up trust between myself and this URAL/Beemer Patrol Sidecar Rig.  She's running good, tested the new fuel distribution setup by closing off one petcock and running for about 3 miles then switching over to the other, and running the same 3 miles.  She did great.

Upcoming tasks:

  • Replace her turn signal flasher with a modern electronic one vice the existing thermal/mechanical one to save on electrical consumption.
  • Fabricate an air box to shelter her air filters from the weather, as you can see above, she's using cone shaped air filters or "muffin tops" to prevent stuff from getting sucked into the carburetors.
  • Replace the NGK spark plugs with BERU spark plugs which should last much longer.
  • Maybe, get better 6 Volt coils to get a hotter spark, presently getting a yellow spark from them.
  • Check the greasing of the sidecar and front wheel hubs.  Repack with grease as needed.
  • Hook up the auxiliary lights to a relay and drive them off the battery.
  • Route the crankcase relief tube to ground.
  • Etc....Etc...Etc....wrenching is one constant of URAL ownership.  :)