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

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Fiona is Gone

 Thursday, November 19

So, Fiona is toast.  Literally.

I was riding back from taking pictures of a beautiful sunset, after a near perfect day of riding on Yagi, and about a mile away from the campsite, I heard a "pop", looked down and the left carburetor's fuel line was on fire!

I immediately stopped and killed the engine, and attempted to put out the fire using dirt from the road.  Before I even the second scoop of dirt on the fire, I heard a "whomp" and the whole rig was on fire!

I couldn't even get near the tug to get at my tank bag which had my phone and camera...all I could do was watch it all burn.

Once I was sure that nearby vegetation wasn't going to catch on fire, I jogged/walked back to the campsite to retrieve Yagi, the TW200 and the URRV's fire extinguisher.  

The rig's front and rear tires, snowmen shock absorber rubber housings, and the spare tire were all still burning when I returned to the rig.  The fire extinguisher didn't last very long but did put out some of the fire in the trunk and sidecar.  The tires continued to burn, and eventually I got enough dirt on them that the fires went out completely.


Still, I wasn't far from the campsite and I wasn't injured except for a couple of small burns that I got while trying to put out the fire.

I got back on Yagi, rode the 3 miles to the Shell Gas Station near the I-8 exit and borrowed the clerk's phone to call 911 to report a vehicle fire and to let Martha know what had happened.

Once the Sheriff's Deputy and the Volunteer Fire Department showed up, I led them to poor Fiona in the dark.  The deputy filled out a report, and the crew from the volunteer fire station helped me push the rig off the dirt road and onto the side so it wouldn't be a traffic hazard.

The firefighters and the deputy sheriff were quite amazed at the damage, I'm sure Fiona provided quite the entertainment factor for them that night.  We all tried and make light of the situation with humor, which helped.

No pics of course, since my camera and phone were burned up.

Friday, November 20

Woke early and headed into town to search for an eventually find a place to buy a prepaid "burner" phone in order to have commo, coordinate Fiona's removal from the military reservation, and call the respective insurance companies.

Got back to Fiona to see what tools I could recover and for pics in daylight using the prepaid phone's camera.

Got hold of the insurance company, they arranged for a local shop to come out ( I met them at the highway and guided them in ) and they took Fiona's remains to be eventually taken elsewhere and I'm sure disposed of, I highly doubt they'll try to repair.

Lots of mixed feelings about this incident.  I'm going to miss the power of Fiona's BMW engine.  I won't miss her klunky Russian gearbox which was slowly going south.  Her wiring was a bit of a puzzle due to the PO having completely replaced the stock wire harness with his own wires, all the same color so kind of hard to troubleshoot.

No idea what the insurance company will pay out, I imagine it won't be much.

I also have to file a claim with USAA for the camera and telephoto lens which burned up in the tank bag.

The iPhone 6 I'd been using the last few years is of course a melted slag as well, so I'll probably be ordering a Pixel phone and switching over to Android.  Sigh.

On the bright side, I only got slightly singed eyebrows from trying to reach the tank bag, and a couple of burn blisters while trying to put the fire out.

And no, I'll not be buying another Ural to have as a "spare" to Scarlett, my 2014 rig.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Light repairs, maintenance, Ospreys and fake missiles

 Still boondocking in the Block C section of the Barry Goldwater Gunnery Range and having a pretty good time with the isolation and quiet solitude.  

Still lots of traffic by Border Patrol vehicles but they've become background noise to me by now.

Tuesday, November 17

Rode Yagi, my TW200, to the town of Roll, AZ....Just north of the nearest town to my campsite: Tacna.  I was picking up a replacement 35 white lamp for the sidecar light on Fiona which had taken a rock and then broken at the beginning of the trip.

Got the bulb just fine, and then I decided to ride west on Old US 80 to explore for possible campsites in the Block B section of the Barry Goldwater Gunnery Range.

We used the 35 E. exit and ended up in the Camino Del Diablo (devils road ) which was very sandy but still doable by the URRV. I went south about 5 miles and found a spot by the roadside which would work but wasn’t as good as the one on the block C section of the Gunnery Range.

I wandered around for a bit but didn’t really like the area too much Boondocking. I then headed back north using a road created to put in a power line.   It was sandier than I liked and caused me to go really slow on Yagi.

Made it back to the town of Wellton, AZ just fine and used Old US 80 again to return to 40 E. Then went south back to the campsite after gassing up at the gas station next to I-80.

I had noticed some flat spots while accelerating on the highway on Yagi and decided to check the spark plug in the air filter. The spark plug was fine but the air filter was filthy!

I cleaned the air filter using some dishwashing detergent and put it back in l, once it was dry thinking that it would be OK to not oil it up since I did not have air filter oil with me. This would reveal itself to be a mistake during the test ride later on!

An observation vehicle I spotted set up on a nearby hill, I went
closer to it for pics

Those sure look like cameras to me, the rectangular object was 
slowly spinning around so I figured some type of radar.

Not sure who owned the above piece of surveillance equipment, the military or the border patrol but regardless, they soon left for somewhere else.

I spent part of the afternoon taking pictures of a couple of Osprey Tilt Rotor aircraft that were zooming about.  They're much faster than the Super Stallions I saw before when in airplane mode of course but can still carry troops and land like helicopters.....pretty cool aircraft.

I didn't see them do any landings or takeoffs though and rarely did they come close enough for my telephoto lens to capture them.

By the time I did the test ride, Yagi wasn't performing well, lots of hesitation on acceleration.

Turns out there was now too much air flowing through the clean air filter and causing the bike to run lean according to RichardM.  He’s always the first one I turn to when experiencing new mechanical symptoms.

It was night by this time and so it would wait till the morning when I would get some oil from the auto parts store in Wellton.

Wednesday, November 18

I rode Fiona after breakfast to the town of Wellton and got the K&N oil kit for air filters at the NAPA store.

Upon my return to the campsite I spent some time cleaning everything up really good and oiling up the air filter according to the directions.

Once finished I went for a test ride and all is well once again with Yagi’s performance. Later on I will go out on the highway to get her above 50 miles an hour and see how she does.

I also checked the air filter on Fiona; and while there was some light dust on top of the air filter which I was able to knock out it, it seemed OK otherwise.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at the URRV, cleaning off the engine on Fiona and just reading my e-book in the shade during the hot part of the day.

As Sunset approached, I rode Yagi to the top of the telcom hilltop and spotted something I'd missed completely the last couple of days.  It was a fake missile complex, probably used in the past to train pilots in their engagement perhaps or just identification?  Not sure.

I then rode over to the missile site to get a closer view:

There were six fake missile emplacements similar to the one above, surrounding a set of six round barrel like structures in the middle, perhaps simulating missile silos?

Anyways, was a bit chagrined I'd not spotted this site before, it laying very close to the row of old armored vehicles.  I guess I focused on the armored vehicles and just rode past without spotting the missiles!

Sunrise of the distant mountains from atop the telcom hill:

Perhaps 40 minutes after the sun had set, I was sitting outside the URRV, enjoying the evening's cool breeze and relief from the hot temperatures of the day.

That's Jupiter slightly above and to the left of the moon above.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Slow Day then a Breakage Day

Monday, July 13

Pretty much a do nothing but hang about kind of day.

Did cruise the whole length of Rock Creek Hills Road in Yagi to count remaining occupied campsites and they’re down to 14. 

The day began chilly and overcast and the sun wouldn’t shine through till 11AM; I had lost all motivation to go riding by then.

Tomorrow is a ride to Fairplay about 16 miles away once I get on US 285 South. Need some lock washers and to fill up the spare gas cans for future riding.  The gas station in Jefferson which is much closer is closed for reasons unknown to me.

Tuesday, July 14

A gas run, and broken shock absorbers!

Rode Fiona to Fairplay to refill the spare gas cans and stopped for some lock washers for Fiona.

The errand went well and I decided on the way back to forego going back to camp to switch out motorcycles and kept going to the Kenosha East Campground location to check out the sites.

Within the campground they’re pretty small, suitable for truck and tent camping really.  The nearby dispersed camping area had a couple of nice sites but cellular signal was basically nonexistent!

Then I decided to explore County Road 126, Twin Cone Peak Road.   Big mistake, should have gone back for Yagi as originally planned.

The road was dirt and was quite nice at first, once you’re past the gate and past the private property access area, it got steadily rougher.

I should have turned around when I had to stop to let the clutch cool off.

The road had lots of big mounds of dirt, similar to speed bumps but much larger and steeper.  So Fiona was having to do a lot of diving on the other side of these speed bumps.

But I kept going like the stubborn optimist that I am.  Got about another mile up and then I started hearing/feeling loud metallic thumping noise from the front wheel area!  Dammit.

I kept going till I could find a flat stopping point as the noise started while Fiona was charging up yet another slope.

It was apparently one too many speed bumps for Fiona’s front shocks!

 Well that ain't can see the main piston had broken apart
(rope-like object in foreground is the camera's lens cap leash....sorry)

And the view at this spot wasn't anything to write home about either!

Note how low the front fender sits without the shock absorbers in play.
I'm lucky the fender wasn't resting on top of the tire, rendering it immobile!

After cooling off a while, and basking in the result of my deviations from plans, I decided to of course turn around at this point.

I slowly made my way back down the mountain, trying to find the smoothest line for Fiona's front wheel and lessen the amount of impacts.  Eventually, we made it back to the Kenosha East Campground area, onto US285 and headed on back to the campsite.

Made it there with no issues, taking CR77 instead of CR56 since its paved whereas CR56 is heavily washboarded.  Got Fiona loaded up onto the URRV's trailer and made some lunch.

Working with ratchet straps, a small hydraulic jack, a BFH and some cursing, I got the springs unbent and the broken remnants of each shock absorber's piston re-inserted into the shock body's top cap.

You may notice the right side shock is more askew than the left side shock.  That's because the half moon shaped retaining clips on the top of the shock cap were missing completely on the right, and one remained in place on the left:

I figured they fell off as the shock absorbers were flopping about once the center piston broke and the rig was still moving.  Dammit.

So, after some debate, geared back up and rode Yagi back to the site of the incident.  Yagi of course had no issues riding up the same rocky road!  I found one of the clips before I got to the spot where I had parked Fiona.

Passing the spot, I decided to see how much further I could get with Yagi.  Turns out, about 1.6 more miles of steadily rougher and rockier trail.  Got to one point where I stalled her while trying to climb out of a steep depression in the trail, and down we went.

No injuries to neither myself or Yagi but that was where I decided to turn around.

Got back to the site where Fiona had been parked, and walked down perhaps a max of 1/4 mile, finding the other two missing clips!  Yay.

The worsening weather had not improved the view

Rode Yagi back down the mountain, to the sound of thunder claps that sounded really loud and close by!

Got home with no issues.  I won't be able to install the clips without the shock compression tool that is at home so Fiona is out of commission for now.  I do have two old style shock absorbers coming from Belarus which I was going to put on Scarlet's front end.  I'll then use Scarlett's old shocks for Fiona's front end until I can either get the shocks repaired or buy two more old style shocks.

Ah, the viccisitudes of the life of a Ural rider.  A Ural rider who now understands perhaps leave the mountain trails to Yagi and the city street riding to the Urals.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Learning the Hard Way that Fiona's BMW engine came from a California Motorcycle

Yep, another lesson learned the hard way, the Chang way.

Monday, Memorial Day, I took Fiona out for a test drive to evaluate how the recently refurbished shock absorbers affected the ride.  In regards to this, she felt fine.

However, perhaps 3 miles into the test ride, Fiona suddenly started making a sharp snapping/tapping noise that followed the RPMs.  Dammit.

I stopped, put her in Neutral gear to evaluate while leaving the engine running.  It sounded very much like a backfire or exhaust leak.  I just couldn't spot anything amiss by the side of the road.  I then rode Fiona slowly back towards home, making quite the amount of noise as I went.

Got Fiona home and took another look, since it sounded like an exhaust leak, I concentrated on the mufflers, header pipes and such.  Found no holes that might cause the noise, this being a tip from RichardM.

I removed the headers as I realized that I'd installed one of the two metal seals backwards and not achieving a good seal at the exhaust ports on the cylinder heads.  While the header pipes were off, I cranked up the engine to see if the popping noise persisted and it sure did.

Not only that, but I could see big flames/fire coming out of the right cylinder head when I revved the engine, with nothing like it from the left cylinder head.

While it's apparently not unusual to see flames if the fuel mixture is too rich, I decided to dismount the right cylinder's head to do a leak test on the exhaust valve based on advice by Brook Reams, local Airhead Guru whom I had also called.

I could have saved myself a lot of work had I taken an even closer look at the heads before I took the sidecar off and removed the head!  Dammit.

So off came the sidecar from the tug mounts, off came the right side valve cover, rocker assemblies, push rods and cylinder head.  While doing the leak test, I rotated the cylinder head to prepare to pour gasoline into the exhaust port (this to see if the gas leaked out at the valve in the combustion chamber) and lo and behold I spotted this opening:

Quite evident that a cap was missing, isn't it?
This smaller opening was my damn exhaust leak!

Now, it was obvious why the exhaust leak noises came on all of a sudden from the right cylinder's area!  It had fallen off, backed off from its thread over time, and of course created a large exhaust leak!

The opening is for the connection from the cylinder head/exhaust manifold to the air box for the Pulse Air System used by BMW back in the early 80's to meet EPA emissions standards.  The previous owner or someone before him had removed it and capped off the openings by cutting the pipe and bending it shut.

Here's a picture of the left cylinder's exhaust manifold cap to give you an idea of what fell off the right cylinder:

The header pipes obscure one's view of these exhaust manifold caps if one isn't used to looking/checking for them.  All this time, I had thought these strange caps were for a previous dual spark plug setup on this engine; boy was I wrong!

So, I got some more practice removing the cylinder head yesterday and reinstalling everything and associated hardware this morning.  I obtained oil drain plugs that were the right size: M16 x 1.5.  I got the size from both RichardM and Brook Reams (airhead guru whose tutorials I followed to take apart and re-assemble the engine cylinders in order to replace the pushrod tube seals).

Note: I got the plugs from O'Reilly's Auto Parts, they were for Subaru cars, 2011-2017.  $4 each.

The plugs came with a composite materials washer so we'll see how they stand up to the head generated by the heads during engine operation!

Here's views of the replacement plugs:

 Right Cylinder Head

Left Cylinder Head

I waited about five hours or so and after getting confirmation from Brook, started up the engine for just a minute or so and was gratified to NOT hear the exhaust leak noise that had caused me such stress yesterday!

So now I know how to ID cylinder heads which used to be equipped with the Pulse Air System to meet emissions standards.  Now I know what the sound will be if one of the replacement plugs comes off in the future.  I also confirmed that in the case of this engine and frame combination, you can replace the push rod seals without removing the cylinder, though it's much easier that way to apply sealant during re-assembly.

I'm also on the lookout for high temperature red Loctite to secure the plugs, I am unsure the Loctite will withstand the head generated by the heads but it's worth a shot anyways.

Now Fiona is ready to go camping!  I'll double-check the torque on the rocker assembly nuts tomorrow morning, re-check the valve clearances, then mount the valve cover back on for riding.  Luckily, I had a spare valve cover gasket since I tore the one on the head during disassembly.

Previous post: Riding the Front Range with Brigitta

Friday, May 22, 2020

Replacing seals/oil on Fiona's Shock Absorbers

I returned from camping on Wednesday, May 20.  I didn't want to be out camping during the Memorial Day Weekend when seemingly EVERYONE wants to be outside seeing the sights/camping/riding/driving...etc!

Better to stay at home away from the maddening crowds surely to hit the mountains and campsites after weeks/months of "stay at home" or "safer at home" or whatever your particular state/country dictated.

Once the Memorial Day weekend debacle passes, it'll be time to go camping with Martha in the URRV, destinations are unclear as I type this.

So, with the arrival (Covid-19 delayed) of the seals from the ebay vendor located in Belarus, it was time to try and replace all the seals on all five of Fiona's shock absorbers.  All five had been leaking for a while now, and they were quite the mess.

I followed the great photo tutorial published by Bill Glaser:  LINK so plenty of pictures there with instructions.

My photos just show the differences I ran into:

On the first shock to be repaired (left front shock absorber), I put a green piece of tape to remind me of the forward orientation for the lower mounts.  The tape didn't last long.  No worries though, I learned the hard way that one side is threaded (which goes inboard) and the other side isn't.  If you mistakenly install it backwards, the bolt will not work!

Here's a view of my version of Bill Glaser's homemade shock spring compression tool.  It presses the spring down until you can access the two half moon clips that hold everything together under pressure.

I did the front wheel's shock absorbers thinking they'd be the easiest.  I was wrong.  The left side shock went just fine but the right side shock proved to be a bugger in terms of installation.  First, I forgot to put in one of the components inside the shock which I believe restrict/regulate the flow of oil through the shock assembly along with others.

the disk I forgot to put back in is the third one from the left
in the above pic

I also placed the lower legs backwards so that the threaded hole was outboard, and wasted a lot of time fighting that error, till I realized my mistake!

It proved to be such a pain to align things (had to ultimately remove the front wheel in order to see the other side of the threaded hole to align things, that I am NOT going to take it all apart to put the missing metal disk in place.

We'll see how that goes eh?

Just doing the two shock absorbers on the front wheel proved to be so taxing that I stopped and left the remaining three shock absorbers for the next day!  Just as well, as I had to tackle a failed sprinkler control valve when I went to activate the lawn sprinklers for the season!

Dale, my friend from the neighborhood, came by and showed me how to easily diagnose and fix the issue.  A $20 part later, I was back in business.  Thanks Dale!

Did incur a metal splinter while cleaning components of one of the shock absorbers.  I got through the day with it embedded in my right thumb and finally managed to dig it out, with Martha's help in cutting an exit for it, later that evening.  So yes, blood was shed.

A much magnified view of the splinter:

Friday, May 22.  Resuming work on the shock absorbers.

Started with the sidecar's shock absorber.  It removed easily enough from the frame but then proved to be very tightly screwed on, the cap that one uses the pin wrench on, and I had to resort to a vise, heat, penetrating oil and lots of effort to get it unscrewed!

After a thorough cleanup of the parts and the threads involved, everything went back together pretty well after replacing the rubber seals.  Installing it back onto the frame was easy.  Good stuff I though, two more to go.

The fourth shock absorber to be done was the left side unit for the rear wheel.  Again, it came off easily enough.  It also came apart easily as it wasn't over tightened. and once taken apart, it proved to be missing the slightly concave washer which sits on the bottom of the oil seal for the shock's shaft!  (Item 1 below).  I put in a flat washer of similar dimensions which hopefully will do the same job of protecting the deal from the spring which is below it.

The last shock absorber, the right side unit for the rear wheel proved even more difficult to take apart!  It came off the frame easily enough, but I couldn't unscrew the cap to access the inner shock components using the same methods as with the sidecar shock!

Even with Patrick holding down the shock's top eyelet to help keep pressure on the pin wrench failed to yield more than perhaps a 1/2" of movement!

We then used a ratchet strap, anchored opposite sides of the workbench and it finally provided enough downward pressure on the eyelet to compress the rubber donut seal onto the pin wrench to allow me to use full force on it.  Much grunting and effort later, the cap started turning easier and easier and finally we got it off!  Yikes.  Definitely cross-threaded!

While cleaning components and replacing seals, I noted the damage to the cup portion of the inner shock assembly:

The above damage, coupled by the fact the shock tube's threads were so damaged due to previous cross-threading either by the factory of P.O. that I abandoned attempts to use this shock absorber further.

I'll be ordering a refurbished one from ebay from the same vendor as the seals, just waiting on confirmation the one I selected is compatible.

In the meantime, I mounted one of Scarlett's old Sachs shock absorbers so that Fiona is rideable.  The shock proved to be a bit of a bugger to install, two long screwdrivers, hammers, the ratchet strap and at times a crowbar were involved in getting the upper eyelet lined up with the frame's mount point to get that sucker installed!  Yikes.

Note: I ended up using a different nut/bolt to secure the bottom legs of the Sachs shock absorber as it didn't have the threaded inboard hole to secure the stock bolt onto.  The stock bolt, and the damaged shock housing/cap along with working components will go into storage for now.

All done for now, I am beat.  My hands hurt, my knees hurt, got myself a blood blister when some tool pinched my left thumb but it's done!  We'll see if she rides better, at the very least, there won't be unsightly dripping of oil from the shock absorbers.

Previous post: Riding Penrose BLM trails with Dale and Bob

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mods, repairs and prep for more camping

Some work done on the URRV, Uma, to prep for next camping trip....probably in the Penrose, CO area.

Finally got around to examining what had broken on the URRV's TV antenna mount system after I had stupidly driven off with the mast in the up position.  Yep, part of the checklist, which apparently I didn't follow before driving off.

In the intervening weeks after the incident, since I had to climb on top of the RV to mount the weBoost antenna on occasion; I was propping the mast up manually and holding it in place with a block of wood.

Turns out, Winegard had apparently anticipated RV Owner stupidity and the part that broke was designed to break easily instead of really damaging the thin metal components of the mast!

The above part (RP-3000 Elevation Gear) engages the "worm drive" inside the housing, and it then raises/lowers the mast accordingly as one turns the lever inside the RV.  Easy replacement, and less than $7!

While on the roof, I decided to remove the unused Winegard TV Antenna:

In its place, I mounted the Yagi Antenna I use with the weBoost cellular booster.  Theoretically, I won't have to get on the roof to use the antenna.  We'll see how it all works out in the long run.

Let's see, oh I also swapped out the shock absorbers on Scarlett's pusher wheel position as the original ones had all but collapsed when the seals involved had failed.  The "new" shock absorbers I bought from someone who was parting out a wrecked rig (I think, it's been a while).

Can you tell which is which?  :)

Something I noted after doing the shock absorber swap, the left side of the sidecar seemed higher than the right side.  Hmmmm.

I loosened up all the applicable nuts and bolts and using a floor jack and the subtle tool pictured below, managed to rotate the rear "dog leg" assembly on the sidecar subframe down to make the sidecar even again:

Speaking still of shock absorbers, all five shocks on Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol Rig have leaked it seems.  The associated springs aren't as "collapsed" as the Sachs Shock absorbers on Scarlett so I think she's still rideable.  

The ones on Fiona, unlike the Sachs Shocks on Scarlett, are theoretically rebuildable.  I continue to await replacement seals from a fellow in Russia (Covid-19 restrictions have caused lengthy shipping delays) but once I get them, I'll be hopefully refurbishing them.

To that end, I've made a shock compression tool as outlined on where the tutorial put together by Bill Glaser will be followed by me.   LINK


So, am ready to do the work, just have to take receipt of the seals and associated rubber bits:

Lastly, I bypassed the wireless setup for the backup camera and used a hard wire connection instead.  Just too much interference and loss of picture when most needed.

Hard wiring the video signal pointed out a bad ground related to the turn signals.  RichardM pointed me at the solution and now there's a new grounding wire sticking out of the left rear turn signal assembly and onto the nearest grounding point.  It's ugly but does the job till I find a better way to introduce a good ground to that set of lights.