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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

URAL Tech Day

I hosted a gathering of Uralisti to hold an informal tech day for anyone who wanted to show up.  Seven fellow Uralisti showed and we had a great time, changing tires, balancing carburetors, lubing and greasing splines and u-joints, learning about cool new tire tools, exchanging tech tips, ride stories, and generally having a great time!

My HarborFreight tire changer got quite the workout, with my Mojo Lever emerging as a good tool for the removal of tires from wheels, but it was very much eclipsed by the tool brought by Dan K.  It's quite the tool, makes the mounting of tires very easy and impressively fast.

I only managed one photo the whole day, and that was the group shot below, shot by my loving wife Martha.

 The Star of the Tech Day
All who saw it operate came away impressed.  I believe
I'll be part of the next group buy for this tool.
LINK to product site in Estonia
Photo courtesy of Spat

 From right to left:
Greg P., Dave S. Steve C., Spat, Liz S., Dan K., Tim L., and yours truly

 Showing Dave S. the operation of the Harmonizer Carb Balancer
I bought from Darrell S.
Photo courtesy of Spat

Here's me injecting some grease into the main driveshaft's u-joint.
I also made sure the drive splines were greased and I am happy to
report both the driveshaft and coupler splines were well lubricated.
Photo courtesy of Spat

 Spat and Dan K. work on Dan's tire
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

 A view of Valencia, sans pusher wheel, and final drive on the floor.
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

Dave S. ties down his rig in preparation for trailering it
back to Colorado Springs.
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

A great day of camaraderie, re-connecting with friends, meeting new ones with a little bit of wrenching on the side.  Martha had left us a pot of chili that was completely consumed for lunch.  Spat had brought burritos for breakfast.  Coffee flowed and there were no injuries caused by the wrenching, which is always a plus.

My thanks to my fellow Uralisti for your attendance, good cheer and helpfulness where needed.  

Note:  I discovered before everyone showed up, that I am missing the tool roll that contains my extra set of large wrenches and more to the point, my tire irons.  For the folks I stayed with  during my trip to Alaska, if you see the below, please let me know.


The image above is not the actual tool roll I am missing, but shows you how it looks like.  Thanks.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Repairs, Roosters and Services for Valencia

Over the last seven days, have been providing all of the listed items in the post's subject line to my 2011 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig, Valencia.  All part of the post-trip maintenance that she required after riding over 10,000 miles over the last three months.

First the repairs.  You'll recall that a bearing failed on the right side control rod for Valencia's engine, allowing its piston to strike the right side head.  A flurry of repair activity later, it was discovered by Raceway Services that they should have also ordered a new left side cylinder as the existing one was "scored".  To get me back on the road and not wait another day, they honed the existing one enough to get me home; the idea being I'd have the Fort Collins URAL dealer swap it out once I was home.

That day was this past Wednesday, once the parts had arrived from URAL.  I rode up to Fort Collins to Unique Rides where Randy and Tammy run a URAL dealership.  It is the same dealership where I bought Valencia, by the way.

Valencia and I arrived at 10:30 AM and would not leave till after 5:30 PM, long day, mostly due to difficulties encountered by Randy in the installation of new u-joints for the propeller shaft leading to the sidecar wheel.  The replacement of the left cylinder, the portion of the jug through which the piston travels, went well.

 The old jug removed, ready for the new cylinder

 A view inside the engine, I was glad to see no metal particles anywhere
on any of the internal surfaces!

Here's a picture of the old cylinder, note all the scoring ...

The rest of the day was spent wrestling with uncooperative u-joints.  I was glad I had Randy do the work, I would have been extremely frustrated. The old u-joints were worn you see, to the point I could move them upwards and sideways way more than allowed.  It's usually a pretty straightforward operation, I've done it before, but something about the u-joint in question caused "issues".  Randy finally ended up chucking the American-made u-joint and putting in a Russian u-joint instead.  Ironic, but it did work, finally.

So, that's the repairs, hopefully the last of them for a long, long, long while.

Yesterday, I visited Darrell, a fellow Uralista....to borrow the use of his Harmonizer Carburetor Synch tool.  Lovely thing, I must buy one for myself soonest.  On the way home, I stopped Valencia across the street from this person's house to capture his roosters.

 Why did these tall metal roosters catch my eye, that's obvious....why
take pictures of them?  Martha likes Roosters as decorative items.


Finally, today was the day for finishing the 40,000 Kilometer service for Valencia.  Fluids had been changed earlier in the week and now it was time to grease the drive shaft spline and grease the small u-joint connecting the drive shaft to the final drive.

You have to remove the pusher wheel, disconnect the sidecar wheel propeller shaft, rear brake rod and 2WD engagement rod to free the final drive.  Once the above is done, you unbolt the four 17mm bolts and the final drive unit slides off for easy access.

 I believe the manual says to grease the splines at least every 10,000 Kilometers, I 
was quite please to see the splines above still had some Honda Moly Grease on 
them after more than 20,000 Kilometers!  The trip to Alaska, with its intervening
episodes of unexpected repairs required had thrown my schedule of maintenance off.

 Here's the final drive, mostly cleaned up with the u-joint grease
renewed and the spline socket grease renewed as well.

 A view of the drive shaft spline, all cleaned up, note the lack of any
wear or damage.

 Well coated with Honda Moly Grease, the spline is ready for
installation back onto the final drive's u-joint assembly.

 One of the consequences of using a Russian u-joint on the sidecar propeller shaft is
that the clearance between the grease zerk and the nut holding the right
side of the pusher wheel's axle.

The tool that comes from URAL is of course a bit too thick, a
bit of grinding with my power grinder though and I had all the clearance
necessary to secure the axle nut.

So, maintenance and services are done.  Some more tests are required to restore my full faith in Valencia of course.  Riding in a pouring rain with explainable rough-running issues is one, the theory is that the air filter gets waterlogged, but until I do the ride......

Today is supposed to be a scorcher in terms of temperatures.  The second test is to simulate stop/go slow riding conditions to see if the PowerArc's electronic control module passes muster.  I replaced it on Monday with a new one from Raceway Services after it experienced heat issues last week.

There's always something to do on a URAL it seems, and still it remains a very fun rig to ride.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Uraling through Alaska - Day 47: Tok and New Friends


At Talkeetna, we all pretty much started waking up around 06:30 or so, it was a bit cold but bearable for the most part, especially once I got a fire going in one of the campsite grills with the aid of some Marvel Mystery Oil.

We all wandered over to breakfast at the Roadhouse Cafe.  The place was doing a booming business and while service was a little slow due to the crowds, the food was very good.


Breakfast over with, it was time to pack up the rig and say goodbye to everyone.  I was on the road by 9:30 AM and was soon heading south on the Parks Highways heading back towards Wasilla.  Once past Wasilla, I got back on the Glenn Highway for the third time this trip.  Everything of course looked familiar so I didn't take as many pictures as the two prior times I rode this beautiful highway.

Still, there were occasions demanding me to stop and take pictures.

 Views along the Glenn Highway


As I approached Glennallen, I could see that Mount Drum was not hidden by clouds today as it had been the last two times I'd ridden near Glennallen!



Looks like it's floating in the sky above the valley

27SEP13: a picture of Mt Drum from Bob Peek aka AlaskaHack

I then got on the Tok Cutoff road, heading for Tok which was the night's destination.

 The mountain next to Mount Drum from the Tok Cutoff Road

A view of the mountain range one sees when approaching Tok
from the south.

I got to Tok around 6:30PM I believe, made pretty good time covering the 310 miles or so from Talkeetna to Tok.  I looked around and found some engine oil for the 35000 Kilometer service for Valencia.  She's at 34542, but am doing it early as it was convenient to do it tonight.

As I got the oil, I noted a rider on a Wee-Strom and his wife on a Suzuki DR650 pull up for gas at the station I bought the oil at.  I approached them and asked them for a recommendation for a good camp site.

After introductions, Gary and Deb, not only clued me into a local motorcycle camping spot but also invited me to have dinner with them at a local eatery called Fast Eddies.  We had a nice dinner, I published yesterday's posting using the diner's wifi and then we adjourned to the campground.  The place is called Thompson's Eagle Claw and it caters to motorcyclists with an assorted collection of campsites that include small cabins, a tepee, and the unit I ended up with, the walled tent:

My accommodations for the night


We'd gotten a six pack of beer before going to the campsite and we spent some time just chatting and getting to know each other before everyone retired for the evening.  The leftover beer was left in the communal area for the next riders to enjoy if they so desire.

 Deb and Gary, with their motorcycles at their cabin

Gary and yours truly

I must say, while a bit rustic, the Thompson's Eagle Claw Motorcycle Campground is outstanding value for the price!  It's basically $10 a person and while there's no electricity or wifi, the amenities are great.  Vanessa, the owner, even let me use the shop facilities to do the oil changes on Valencia, no fuss, no muss.  This place is highly recommended if you're ever thinking of camping in the vicinity of Tok, Alaska.

 The communal center where one can get/heat water, the outhouses and dispose of gray water

 The most eclectic of the housing accommodations, an ambulance!

Near the junction of C Street and Borealis in Tok

In a further happy coincidence, both Gary and Deb are heading to Haines as I am.  They're taking the same Tuesday ferry that I am scheduled on, heading for Bellingham.  They're headed on a month long tour of the states, though destinations remain relatively vague for now.  You can follow them on advrider, their handles are Arwenalaska and GaryAK.  So, I'll be transiting the inner passage back to the lower 48 in the company, how great is that?

Today we head for Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory, probably getting a room.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 26: Improving the Crankcase Venting

So, the bad news is that I heard from URAL today, their shipping clerk sent my parts via GROUND instead of Overnight.  Dammit.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I feel sorry for RichardM and family as they're stuck with me an extra day or two, the part is not slotted to arrive till Friday now.

On the positive side, based on some brainstorming on the part of RichardM and I (mostly RichardM as he's the smart one), we came up with a mod to the crankcase vent mode done to Valencia by Raceway Services.  It's a mod which many Uralisti have done, to avoid having oil and water mix spit out by the crankcase from ending up in the air box and air filter.

What Raceway did was to route the hose coming out of the crankcase fitting, down to a small air filter which was inserted into the 5/8 inch rubber tubing.  So the oil is collected at the filter and the system vents to the atmosphere.

Not a bad system per se, but in really cold/wet weather as I'd been riding in, it tends to freeze and clog up and cause breathing issues for the crankcase, which lead to rough-running and worst case, cause oil leaks as the engine tries to vent and can't via the usual path.  This usually means leaky seals, etc.

So for now, I've got the following setup on Valencia:

 The red lines indicate the path the rubber tubing connected to the 
crankcase fitting takes, looping down and below the left side jug
(The bottom arc is where the small air filter put in by Raceway used to be)

 You can clearly see the white plastic Y junction adapter
Check the text in the pictures for the flow.  Basically,
Air will flow to the top branch going to the air box and
the oil/water will continue down the tube towards the
back of the transmission where the small air filter has been relocated.

 Coming up from the Y Junction, the hose then terminates in the 
stock air box's input tube.  This is where the crankcase breather tube
normally terminates out of the factory.  It's also the cause of oil and water mix
getting inside the air box and contaminating things.

A view of the rear underside of the transmission box, the
small air filter is visible and acts as a vent and collection point
for oil/water spit out by the crankcase.  Periodic removal
of the filter for cleaning will also allow for accumulated oil/water
mix to be drained out and disposed of.

So, bad news re parts arrival, but still a good day overall!  A fellow Airhead and his wife have invited me over for dinner so RichardM and his family get a few hours break from having to look at my face.  :)

UPDATE: 16JUN13:  Above design is now believed to be flawed due to two factors.  1.  If you lose the collection bottle which replaced the small air filter above, you're now possibly sucking in unfiltered air.  2.  Routing some of the air into the airbox means your sending in hot air from the crankcase into the left jug....cool air is of course better.

So, I've gone back to a plugged hole in the airbox itself.  The crankcase hose is now venting to atmosphere for now till I figure out a more secure collection system that's still easy to clean out.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 18: Maintenance Lessons by RichardM

Today, Richard and I spent the day finishing off the remaining maintenance tasks for Valencia's 30,000 Kilometer Service interval.  No issues there and I learned a couple of helpful hints from RichardM in the process!

Turns out, he was a mechanic for a while before going to college and ending up in the IT field!

Major lesson of the day for me:  Know your tools and their capabilities.  To Wit:

 My 2 Ton bottle jack, which has been in my sidecars' trunks since I've had sidecars.
I'd always lamented how they really didn't have much lifting reach, and so carried a small 
block of wood to add height.

 Here's the jack, fully extended, not much right?

Well, today RichardM pointed out to me the top cap
screws out and adds like three inches to the reach of the jack!

Second lesson, instead of spending lots of time and paper rags cleaning out my plastic funnels after using them, just do a quick wipe and then store in large plastic bags!  Much simpler and faster:


Part of the day we spend fixing the toe-in adjustment on RichardM's rig.  He'd graciously allowed me to take his rig out for a short ride to see how it felt.  I thought it needed just a small inward adjustment as I felt a slight pull to the right when going straight on his rig.

So he pulled out his measurement devices (2x4s and tubes) and we discovered his rig a toe-out of 2"!  Not good.

So we worked on fixing this and inducing a toe-in instead.  Some time later, we got everything lined up and got it to a toe-in of 1/2" which is "mo better".

RichardM took his rig out for a ride and said he was still feeling a bit of a tug to the right when going against the wind, and, a neutral feel when going with the wind at his back.  Some head scratching later, we decided to remove the plastic portion of his sidecar's windshield and he went out for another ride.


He came back and reported a much better feel when going against the wind, almost neutral which is what you want!  So it was the drag of the windshield that was causing the pull to the right!  I was glad to hear this and we'd followed what we knew to be the right measurement procedures for toe-in adjustment!

Uraling to Alaska - Day 17: Maintenance

Spent the day with RichardM and we worked on doing some of the tasks associated/mandated for Valencia's 30,000 Kilometer service interval.

The major task was putting on new tires for both the spare and pusher wheels, the pusher was pretty worn down and the pusher was a close second.  It looks like I may have to order two more tires soon as the new ones are not predicted to last very long given Alaska's pavement.


We also checked out several items trying to chase down a sporadic stumble in the idle after a long day of riding.  Everything checked out so far:  air filter, compliance fittings, carburetor bowls (replacing the mounting screws with allen head screws), got new screws for the main tail light lens, greased the u-joints on the prop shaft to the sidecar, applied grease to the hub splines for the pusher wheel and the spare, checked the spark plugs colors, looked great.

Determined that the oil burning smell I'd been smelling is most likely coming from the crankcase vent tube that now flows a small air filter!  So that was a red herring in terms of troubleshooting.  The plugs didn't have oil on them so no blowby/oil getting past the piston rings.

RichardM took my two wheels, new tires over to his friend Dave aka Solar Moose on advrider.  Dave graciously let us use/and helped swap out the old tires for the new tires and we were done in perhaps an hour.  Quite the enjoyable time, thanks Dave!

Once we had Valencia buttoned up, a quick test ride was in order and RichardM sat in as the monkey.  No thing fell off, especially the new pusher tire so it's all good. Tomorrow is the changing of the fluids, checking of fasteners and spokes and lubing of several linkages and pivot points as per the service list.

Installing the new tire onto the pusher made me feel better about the riding ahead.  Having a new tire as the spare is also good for confidence.  Once I get to Anchorage and the Ural dealer there, I'll probably pick up two more tires.  The loose plan is to depart for Wasilla, AK on Wednesday then in sequence: Anchorage, Homer, Seward, Valdez, Denali and back to Fairbanks for more maintenance.

Then, it'll be Cold Foot and Deadhorse next.  The prediction is for snow all week for Cold Foot and Deadhorse which is why I am bypassing them this week.

RichardM, his lovely wife Bridget and one of his sons, Kyle took me to dinner at the Silver Gulch Brewery.  Very nice meal and conversation.  Thanks Bridget and Richard for picking up the tab as well!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Ready for the 2013 Elephant Ride

I spent a few hours today, making sure Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig is ready for this year's Elephant Ride.

What's the Elephant Ride you ask?  Longtime readers will know its a yearly event, held on the Guanella Pass Road starting from the small settlement of Grant, Colorado.  This year, the even is on February 10.

The objective is to see how far one can take one's motorcycle/sidecar rig up Guanella Pass Road, which is not maintained by snow plows in the Winter.  I've been attending this event since 2010 when four Ural rigs including my first Ural, Natasha, a '96 Ural Sportsman model:  LINK-2010 Elephant Ride.

It's a whole bunch of fun, even when one is stuck as everyone nearby pitches in to help you get moving once again.  Last year, we made it to with rock throwing distance of the gate the National Forest Rangers put up to block the way for vehicles to reach the summit of the pass.

February 2011, Spat's Rig with Cookie in it.
You can see the gate in the background.

So, today I put new Heidenau K37 Tires on both the pusher and front wheels on Valencia.  The slightly worn Heidenau K37 that had been the pusher for the last 1700 KM got swapped to the sidecar wheel, so now I have Heidenaus all around.  The spare is what used to be the sidecar tire, a somewhat worn Duro 307.  I must say, the Duro 307s were not very long lasting.  The front Duro lasted 5732 km, though I think I could have gotten 6000km on it.  It was too worn though for the expected miles and miles of snow covered road at the Elephant Ride next month.

Two sets of eight snow chains are ready to be fitted onto the tires for extra traction if needed, though they're really for icy conditions.  I'm expecting a layer of ice under the snow, especially after the top layer is churned up by the dirt bikes and dual sport motorcycles that usually go ahead of our rigs.

All fluids were changed a bit over 1000 KM ago, air filter cleaned at that time.  She ran beautifully yesterday so I believe she's ready.  Got my cold weather gear all sorted out so I'm ready. We have tow straps and even practiced manual winching techniques.  Bring on the snow, Motorcycling Gods, bring on the snow!

Elephant Ride 2010, 2011, 2012

Frazier's account of the Birth of the Elephant Ride: LINK

Previous post: Getting Unstuck

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Carb Sync Tech Day

No, not trying to synchronize the carbohydrate intake in my diet, Martha feeds me just fine, thanks.

Today I hosted a Carburetor Synchronization Tech Day for my fellow Uralisti in the Denver Metro Area.  Scheduling conflicts however resulted in only two of them showing up: Darrell S on his wife's '07 Patrol and Tim L on his Patrol Sidecar Rig.

Before we got down to business, Tim and I kibitzed and "assisted" Darrell as he used my Harbor Freight tire changer to change out the tire on his spare wheel.  The weather today was in the low 60s and sunny and we all remarked that we should have been out riding instead of doing a tech day!  The tire swap went with no issues in spite of our kibitzing.

 Darrell puts a bit of air into the inner tube so it has somewhat of a 
shape before he uses the mojo lever to mount the tire.

Tire mounted and seated on the beads, its now time to insert the
ceramic beads that will balance the tire without the use of wheel weights.

Tire swap done, Tim took off on his rig to warm the engine up to operating temperatures.  He was soon back and we tried the spark plug shorting method of synchronizing his carburetors.  His carburetors were actually pretty close already and all it took was a slight turn on his right side carb idle screw and they were in sync!

A view of Tim's rig's left jug, with the shorting stick attached.

The shorting plug method involves the metal stick you place between the spark plug and the spark plug connector.  You lay your insulated screwdriver, carefully making sure you only contact the stick and the jug with the metal portion of the screwdriver, and note your tachometer reading.  If you're shorting the left jug, you're reading the performance of the right jug and vice versa.  You keep doing this back and forth till the tach readings are the same on both side and your idle tach reading is where you want it.  I like mine at 900 rpm.

Once you got the idle speed sync dialed in.  You do same procedure but while holding the throttle open as steady as possible at 2000 rpm.  You don't want any change in between the carbs, they should be rock steady.

We didn't get to do this bit with the shorting sticks as we were getting arcing from the left side spark plug for some reason.  We tried some insulating electrical tape to no avail.

So we switched to Darrell's Harmonizer which use readings of the vacuum being pulled by each carburetor.  It showed Tim's idle sync darn near perfect so it matched what the shorting plug results had been, which validated in my mind the method I'd been using.  We went to 2000 rpm's and the digital indicator on the harmonizer was steady in the middle, just like you want it.

The LED displays tachometer-like rpm readings based on the vacuum, and 
a bar with digital number readouts tell you how far off you are from 0 or dead center.

Next it was Darrell's and my turn at the synchronization operation.  We both took off, leaving Tim watching things and when we returned we hooked up the harmonizer to Darrell's Patrol  We found his idle a bit low so he adjusted for that and he did adjustments to the idle screws till the harmonizer indicated 1 off from 0....good enough!  You're apparently allowed up to +/- 25 from center and still be in sync.

Revving up to 2000 though, we found the right side carb pulling too much vaccum as the bar went too far to the right on the LED.  We tried going counterclockwise on the adjusting screw on the cable but that proved to be the wrong direction.  Reversing the turns plus one bit more got us back to center at 2000 rpms and Darrell was happy.

Next it was Valencia's turn, we found the idle at +13, still within spec mind you but about a quarter turn on the right side idle screw brought things to the center.  At the 2000 rpm check, no adjustments needed, she was rock solid in the middle.  Good to go.

It was past 4:00 at this point so tools were put away, stuff secured and goodbyes said.  A good tech day, that harmonizer device is the cat's meow!  I like the spark plug shorting method but it does require the presence of a tachometer as my ears are not "trained" to use just them to judge the sync of the carbs.  The Harmonizer removes the guess work and I think is better than a Twinmax as I've found the bouncing needle to move too much.

 Check out the big lights on Tim's rig!
I think he's smiling as he poses by his rig before departing.

A happy Darrell and his stepson Nikari who played video games
with my sons while we wrenched in the garage.  The rig above is his
wife Piper's rig.  Both rigs are green.  His and Her Rigs!