Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Digging Into the Ural

This evening, after talking to Mickey, the Anchorage Ural dealer, I started in on the Ural. I removed the exhaust headers, crash bar, valve cover, left carb, rocker arms, push rods and the head. After tapping on the cylinder with a rubber mallet, the base of the cylinder broke free from its gasket and I was able to slowly pull the cylinder from the engine. The piston is at TDC (Top Dead Center) to maximize how far I could pull out the cylinder without exposing the piston rings.

This is what things looked like at that point. The lifters can be seen in the center of the picture with the exhaust lifter the one on the left. The push rod tubes with their rubber seals are in the bottom of the frame. If you look carefully, the flat headed screws that hold the lifters in place can be seen. To remove these flat headed screws, I used a hand impact driver to loosen the screws without damage. Then pulled the lifter and follower from the block.

The damaged follower can be readily seen in this picture. I believe that the follower is hardened steel and this one (or batch) was insufficiently hardened. I thought about removing the intake lifter and follower just for comparison but thought that I should wait until I hear back from Mickey.

This photo is the best my son could do at trying to get a picture of the cam surface. Just wondering if the cam was damaged by the follower. If it was worn much more then it would be more likely. This morning, I got approval to pull the rest of the lifters.

The following PBC video is the debut of the BMW. I didn't ride into work this morning due to the temperature but by the afternoon it had warmed up to -28°F. As it was last year, the BMW is a pain to get up the driveway. But after that, no problems at all. The BMW is much harder to steer but is much less "tippy" than the Ural. And I really have to watch my right hand as I frequently found myself going much faster than at the same engine rpm and gear on the Ural.

Monday, January 26, 2015

You Ever Have One of Those Days (Weeks?)

No, I did not ride to work today. That would be silly, crazy. Though I still may take the rig out later today for a test ride just not shutting it off or venturing too far from home.

Worked on the Beemer a bit more today. This the the crankcase vent fitting and normally the two small hoses are connected into the "Tee" feeding the moist crankcase air into the two air horns. I just disconnected the two small hoses so any water will just go into the air box and not directly into the carbs. 5w30 oil is now in the engine and I had to fix the wiring for the heated gear. It was sharing the ground connection with the GPS wiring that I moved to the Ural.

I had thought that I was done with the screws in addition to the studs. The BMW just doesn't have as good of traction with just the pusher as the Ural and with our snowy conditions, the screws are needed in addition to the carbide GripStuds.

And the most important thing, I have the GoPro mount on the sidecar windshield support so the camera is about at "eye level" if you were sitting in the sidecar.

Something that I didn't expect to happen was being left stranded by the truck. I guess there is still some remnant of the gelled fuel left in the fuel system as it died as soon as I got to town this afternoon. It would restart but as soon as you try and go beyond an idle, it would shut down. We have real winter weather now with still air temperatures in the -24°F range. I had it towed to the Diesel Doctor, a reputable non-dealer.

The first video is very short PBC ride. Just the regular commute home along the shortest path. This was when there was a loose valve noise so I just headed straight home. I believe it was 7km.

The second PBC video is the test ride on Saturday morning after adjusting the valves. After only ten short miles, the same exhaust valve was rattling again.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Bad Sign

The BMW is next to the garage door, battery is being charged, studded tires are being installed, winter oil is going in and the crankcase vent tube is being removed from the air horns within the air cleaner housing. What can this mean...

I think the Ural is having an engine problem. As part of the 22,500 km service, I had adjusted the valves. On the way home from the university on Friday, I noticed that there was valve noise from the left head. On Friday night, I readjusted the exhaust valve as it was really loose. On Saturday morning it started up easily and it ran great. I rode about 10 miles and the exhaust valve was loose again. Plus one of the cylinders was popping like it was running lean.

George Rahn suggested that I check the compression since it may be a result of a stuck valve. Compression was 135 psi on both cylinders. Which is good. When I restarted the engine, I could hear a random "clanking" sound coming from the engine when the rpm is raised a little past idle. Not good.

So the Ural is parked until I can get it to the dealer in Anchorage. What I need to find out is if he needs the whole bike or just the engine. I suspect the whole bike...

Putting on the Heidenau K60 tires in a warm shop is hard enough. When things are near freezing, I'm just glad that my son was here to help. It took most of the evening to just change the tires. BTW, the oil mess on the floor in the picture is from the Ural weeping oil out of just about every engine gasket when the temperature is around or below 0°F.

I still have three more PBC videos in the queue. Here is #28 that I just uploaded today.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter is Threatening

A couple of days ago, the fire alarm went off in the building and the building that we get to move to is the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Not a bad place to get stuck. This bear is at the entrance to the exhibits and has been there for as long as I've been at the university. I didn't take advantage of the emergency "free admission" (the crowd entered the museum through a normally locked door) and wander around much but I think the gift shop sold a whole lot more coffee than usual.

It looks like winter is finally arriving here over the weekend with low temps ranging from -35°F to -55°F depending on what weather app/site you choose to believe. I don't really intend on riding much at those temperatures but it'll be a good opportunity for a picture. Plus a way to really blow the PBC stats. If it were -55°F, I would be getting 8.7 points per mile so a short 10 mile ride to the temperature sign and back would be equivalent to an 87 mile ride at freezing.

Below, I have two more PBC videos. The first is a not very interesting commute though not on the most direct route. Taking 51 km to travel 8 km is not very fuel efficient. The second video is a "short" ride to College Coffeehouse. Since I saw the crossing lights start up on University Ave, I headed out to the railroad crossing on Sheep Creek Road Extension and caught the train on the video. This was also not the most direct route as 1 mile turned into 34 km.

At College Coffeehouse, I met with a local airhead who has put a deposit down on one of the 2015 Urals. He was concerned about the lack of a local dealer. I mentioned that if was planning on getting a Ural, he also better plan on learning to work on it himself. Kind of like a BMW airhead. Apparently the dealer in New England has two sales pending in Fairbanks as they are looking into possibly shipping two fully assembled rigs to Fairbanks. I mentioned that I would be happy to help with the maintenance as it isn't much different than with the old BMWs.

BruceW, the Ural rider from southeast AK, and I are still having issues with the breather freezing up. He sent this picture of the breather after only a half hour ride at -3°F. I have added some closed cell foam between the engine and the leg guards against the fitting and the hose to block airflow to the fitting. The jury is still out on whether it has helped any. BruceW and Simon, his British monkey, are riding back to Fairbanks today so Simon can catch his flight out tomorrow.

You may have noticed that my speedometer is broken due to the cold temperatures. A call to Mickey in Anchorage and a replacement unit is on it's way up from Ural. Just as Charlie6 has said, a great warranty. Unfortunately, I only have about 7 months left.