Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Motorcycle Parking

Beautiful day, no rain, and still the only one using the motorcycle parking spaces. There was a Yamaha C3 earlier this morning but it was gone by mid-day. Usage of the spaces has been pretty light all summer where there were, at most, only four bikes. I suspect that we will lose them next year as there are a number of people clamoring that they should go away.

The Ural has been running well after changing the carburetor jets. Not enough miles to see if there has been any change in gas mileage. I did readjust the idle adjustment turning the set screws CW ¾ of a turn to smooth out the idle. Cold (50°F) starts no longer need the use of the enrichener which should help when it gets really cold. I also painted the fog light mount that I made on the front of the sidecar with Plasti Dip. It is a spray-on, synthetic rubber coating that has a nice, flat black appearance. I'm thinking of moving the LED driving light from the Cozy this weekend but haven't decided where to install it on the sidecar.

Today was the first day of school and Bridget asked to be driven to the school in the sidecar. After all, the cool teachers ride sidecars. It was a cool 50°F this morning and I think Bridget will need to find some riding pants to keep warm on our upcoming road trip. (Labor Day weekend to Anchorage)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Richening the Mixture

I had pulled the spark plugs when I first picked up the Ural and they looked brand new so I couldn't really assess whether it was running too lean. Now that I have put on about 2k km, I pulled the plugs again and the center electrode was still a bright white. This indicates that it is running lean. Mickey, the Anchorage Ural dealer, recommends changing both the idle and main jets to larger ones as he feels that they run too lean due to emission requirements which cause the engines to run hotter. i.e. Running richer may help the engine to last longer.

The Keihin carbs have this handy drain on the bowls but use phillips screws to hold the bowls on. Most of the screws came out without issue but one needed vice grips to break it free. I don't think the bowls have ever been taken off. That's probably a good thing. In the picture below, the main jet is on the left, the pilot jet is in the hole just below and to the right and I believe the on on the right is for the enrichener.

After the bowls were off, the pilot and main jets were removed. The original pilot jet was #40 and the original main jet was #122. The recommended pilot jet is #45 and the recommended main jet is #130. I went ahead and put these in. The previous owner has been running this setup for several years and suggested that I also follow Mickey's recommendation. The bowl screws were replaced with SS allen head screws to simplify removal of the bowls in the future. Buttoned everything up, put the petcock on the prime position to allow the bowls to refill. Hit the starter and it started right up. Since it's still raining, I didn't take the rig for a test drive but it should be running a little bit cooler. It no longer "pops" when first started so this is a good start. I gotta admit that the "popping" was annoying. Hopefully the mileage won't be impacted too much.

I checked the idle mixture adjustment just to see what it was set to and it was 1½ turns from a soft seat. This, I believe, is the default setting.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Little More Light

Now that darkness is threatening again, it's time to light up the sidecar a little bit. These are the LED fog lights that I had put on the Cozy sidecar. I just used an aluminum angle fastened to the sidecar bumper. They are mounted a little bit higher than they were on the other sidecar. I roughly aimed them so they don't blind oncoming traffic. The purpose of the lights is to make the rig a little more visible rather than really lighting up the road.

I found this cheap handlebar switch on Amazon. It is designed to fit on a ⅞" handlebar and is labeled "Lights". The quality of the switch is okay i.e. cheap, but is probably more than adequate given the very low amperage of the fog lights. They are only 6 watts each or a total of 1 amp for the pair. I powered them off the headlight switch that I had installed a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


It seems like I was just here a couple of days ago. I'm on my way to Barrow again and it looks like a windy 34°F today. No longer summer but no snow yet! This is going to be a really short trip as I should be back by the weekend.

Actually, I'm not complaining about the temperature. It has been so nice the last couple of days in Fairbanks after the heat of Southern California. It has been really nice to be out riding again, even for the boring commute.