Showing posts with label Tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tools. Show all posts

Friday, July 24, 2020

Changing my preconceptions of Preload Settings

Preload:  Preemptively adding a load, in this case compressing the spring  on a Ural's shock absorber to "stiffen" or "harden" the ride.

Background:  When I first got Scarlett, my 2014 Patrol, she wallowed like a old Cadillac and didn't feel safe to ride her home from the dealer.  I stopped shortly after leaving Fort Collins and using the pin wrench in the assigned tool kit, turned the preload to the full position.

The "new to me" Scarlett rode much better with stiffer settings!  And so, I would forget about it and always set the preloads on all my Ural rigs to the max setting, not wanting to "wallow".


I'd been messing about with the shock absorbers on both my rigs, the 2014 with the German Sachs Shock Absorbers and the 1999 rig with the old style shocks made by Ural (I think).

Most if not all had displayed signs of seal failure and oil leakage, and the Sachs shocks showed the springs compressed more than normal while just parked.

 Scarlett's rear shock absorbers, from a rig that was parted out,
showing what I think is "good" spring separation distance.

Scarlett's front Sachs shock absorbers, showing the
narrower spring separation gap of what I believe are
failed or worn shock absorbers.

In the last few weeks, I've replaced all the seals on the "rebuildable" shock absorbers for Fiona, the '99 Patrol.  Of course, you know, the two front shock absorber pistons on her broke during the last camping trip.  So now, Fiona is sporting the "used" and believed failed Sachs shock absorbers from Scarlet's pusher wheel position.

 Scarlett's rear shock absorbers, now used on Fiona's
front wheel's suspension.

Old style shock absorbers with new seals on
Fiona's pusher wheel's suspension.
Note the spring separation gap is wider.

I've got two supposedly new shocks, old style, coming from Belarus....they'll get put on Scarlett's front wheel and I'll see how they work out:

image source: ebay


I set the preload on all the shocks but the sidecar shock on Fiona to lowest setting.  A test ride revealed NO wallowing behavior and a more comfortable ride.  Hmmmm.

Then, I thought I'd do the same for Scarlett's shocks and a test ride revealed only a slight wallowing behavior.  Upon returning home, I adjusted the preload to the first position and will test that for the next few rides.

Amidst all these changes, I realized that one the combo pin wrench in the tool kit isn't suitable for the sidecar shock absorber.  No room to turn the wrench you see.  Previously, it had led to frustration and even removal of the shock absorber in order to change the dang preload settings!

In the picture above, the rightmost pin wrench or spanner is the combo wrench I thought was meant for all the shock absorbers.  I was, as usual, wrong.

The left most wrench is the one that came with the 2014 rig's toolkit.

The center wrench is the one that came with the 1999 rig's toolkit.

Why the difference?  The center one is also used to loosen/tighten the center piston's cap within the shock absorber's body.  The Sachs shocks not being rebuildable, no provision is made for their being taken apart.

Turns out, the center or leftmost wrench is the only one suitable to adjust the sidecar's shock absorber's preload within the tight confines involved!  I was trying to do it all with the rightmost combination wrench and failing miserably when it came to the sidecar's shock absorber!  Doh!

Going forward:

The day's of my Ural rigs being used to attack rough mountain trails and passes are over.  It's forest roads only when not on pavement I think.  Yagi, my 2006 TW200 Dualsport will get me to the top of mountain passes and down the rough stuff.

Depending on how the "new" shock absorbers do on Scarlett, I might get a similar pair for Fiona.

Also exploring finding shock absorbers of similar specifications on Aliexpress, perhaps finding a cheaper alternative for future use.

I might even explore the use of "heavier" or "stiffer" springs, but some research needed on that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Self-Recovery Box

A recent question from CCjon reminded me of a previous posting about training to recover one's rig from a position it cannot remove itself from, by itself.  Link to post: LINK

In other words, it's stuck, can't power out, and you're by yourself.

The Maasdam Rope Puller mentioned in the post is a bit awkward to store/carry.  So I'd resorted, shortly after buying it, to disassembling it slightly so it'd fit onto the storage box under my sidecar.

After a while, I decided to carry it instead in a box I'd found at Home Depot, along with other associated gear needed to pull a vehicle out of a predicament.

I got it out, both to show you the contents and to do a practice re-assembly of the rope puller.

 Disassembled Maasdam Rope Puller along with contents of
self-recovery box.

 I keep the "manual" that came with the rope puller as a reference
on how to put the puller tool back together.

 The bolt used to secure the two parts together.
Remove for reassembly.

 Make sure the tube that centers the retainer wheel is positioned
so that it's flush with the bracket on both ends.

Using the picture as guide, place items together, add the bracket, slide the bolt through all components and voila, you have a rope puller ready to use:

You reference the manual on how to thread the rope through the puller mechanism and with a bit of luck, pull your rig out of its "predicament" with minimal effort.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Floor Jack

My old but trusty Maasdam Pow'rLift 3 Ton floor jack gave up the ghost yesterday, right after I had finished using it to raise Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol, onto the car ramps.  I've had this jack for so long, I can't remember when I bought it!

I figured the jack was low on fluid as it had been taking a lot more up/down strokes than usual to raise vehicles lately.  Also figured there was a blown o-ring or seal somewhere in the system as there was little to no resistance when pumping the handle anymore.  Sigh.

I put some motor oil into the system (since I figured the jack was toast) and got enough pressure to lower the rig back onto the ground safely after doing the work I needed to do on Scarlett.

The Maasdam jack did fine, still took a lot of pumps to get things done though.  Time for another jack it seemed.

Today I went by Harbor Freight during lunch and picked up another 3 Ton Jack, a beefier one for $6 more than the replacement cost of a Maasdam floor jack.  Why?  Because it was local and it was low profile so I can use in on #2 son's car, an Acura Integra which sits pretty low to the ground.

I rode Fiona to Harbor Freight, to rack up a few more "break in" miles for the gearbox.  I did draw some stares from the other customers there, pushing along a cart with the new jack in its shipping box, in riding gear and a helmet in the shopping cart.  :)

The new floor jack is a Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton Hydraulic Floor Jack: LINK

For $99 and the low profile gain, it seemed the best choice for me.  The box weighed over 76 lbs so it was a slight struggle for me to load it into Fiona's sidecar but I managed.  I'm experiencing a rather painful episode of plantar faciitis on my left heel, which causes me to limp when walking.

 The new floor jack, after I used it to easily put Fiona onto the 
car ramps, just as a test of the jack.

The Maasdam Pow'rLift that's retired now.  I think it's usable but 
since I've got the new one....I'll keep it as a last resort item.

Some notes:

The new floor jack is HEAVY.  Max lifting height is 19.75", 1.25" less than the Maasdam Jack but enough for what I need it to do.  I supposed I can get some lifting blocks to add a couple of inches, or use suitable blocks of wood in a pinch.

There's  a metal spring, under tension, holding down the portion of the jack that the pump handle inserts into.  Be very careful removing the spring, the handle portion will snap up to a vertical position once you remove the spring, and it hurts if it hits your wrist.  DAMHIK.

Otherwise, assembly is pretty straightforward, assemble the pump handle, remove shipping spring, insert assembled handle into socket after loosening set screw and re-tightened set screw.  Done!

The whole thing maneuvers around the garage pretty easily and the handle moves to the vertical position for storage.  You turn the handle to loosen'/tighten the mechanism which locks/unlocks the pump for lifting operations, easy and rather a nice feature.  Before, I had to remove the handle from the Maasdam, tighten/loosen a set screw with the handle and then replace the handle for pumping action.