Sunday, November 18, 2018

More Power

Even with the new battery, you only have a couple of attempts for the engine to start when it's cold. By cold, I mean somewhere around 0°F not simply a cold-ish 40°F.  So I went ahead and installed the group 24 automotive battery in a marine battery box into the sidecar. This is the same setup that I've been using for years. The battery still seems to be in good shape or at least good enough for the Ural. After sitting around since last April, it still had 95% charge or at least that's what the display on the battery charger claimed. In the past, I removed the sidecar seat bottom for the battery box but even with the battery located here in front of the seat, the weight of the battery is still (barely) within the triangle formed by the contact patches of the three tires. I do have the three gallons of gas near the rear of the sidecar body. And that is behind the triangle.

3:32PM and the sun has already set. This was just shot from our back deck looking towards the southwest. I rode the Ural this morning and it sat out at 8°F for about five hours. It started up on the first compression though the enrichers had to be left on for about 30 sec. Normally, I only leave the enrichers on for a couple of seconds. The automotive battery is nice insurance to have.

The forecast for tomorrow is snow flurries but I do have some running around to do. I think I'm starting to get used to the temperatures again. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fragile Heated Gloves

The wires in one of the Gerbing gloves broke again. This time, an inch from the last failure at the end of the heat shrink tubing supporting the previous repair. The next time, battery-powered gloves. I was all set to solder the wires back together and use heat shrink to support the wires when I remembered that all of my heat shrink tubing and the heat gun is in the RV. At least I did remember to bring the soldering iron and solder back with me but that's only because I needed them to install the OLED display onto the DMR hotspot.

Since I only needed the repair to work for a couple of weeks of occasional riding, I just insulated the repair with vinyl electrical tape. Tonight, I will be at the church for a couple of hours. This will be a good test of the battery. I will throw in one of the old (heavy) jumper boxes into the sidecar as the nice, compact LiFePO4 jumper pack is in the RV.

I took the rig out for a ride today and without the studded tires, it was more squirrelly when riding through deeper snow and 2WD was needed to get back up our subdivision road from the main road. Once on the main road, the rig ran fine. My temporary repair of the heated gloves seems to be working as are both heated grips. With both of them on, I had very warm hands in spite of the +1°F temperature.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Getting Ready for Winter Riding

A few more tasks done to get the Ural ready for cold weather riding. Added the gauntlets which cover the handlebar ends. They do a great job of blocking the wind from your hands and dramatically improve the effectiveness of the heated grips and/or heated gloves. The gauntlets do prevent you from seeing any of the handlebar controls so you do have to do everything from memory. The wiring for the left heated grip had come loose sometime this summer. Probably when I installed the horn as that involved running wires under the tank. It was a simple task to lift up the tank, locate the connector and plug things back together. Since I just replaced the battery last April, I'm going to try relying on that battery instead of installing the group 24 battery that I've used for the last couple of winter.

I swapped the two rear tires (and wheels) so the tire with the almost new tread from the sidecar is now the pusher. The last time I removed the rear wheel was to replace the rubber boot on the driveshaft. At that time, I noticed that one of the brake springs was broken again. In the picture, it's the spring on the lower right. The entire assembly was replaced under warranty about 25k km ago and that included the brakes.

Raceway didn't have any springs in stock when I was in Oregon so I ordered a couple from Ural Northwest. The shipping was almost as much as the parts and they were sitting on the counter when we arrived back in Fairbanks. I used the nice brake adjustment tool that I picked up from an independent Ural mechanic in Maryland who goes by Gobium on the Soviet Steeds Ural forum. This homemade tool made it a snap to adjust both shoes to provide even braking. BTW, the way Raceway had the brake shoes adjusted, one of the pusher brake shoes wasn't even touching the drum. It still looks brand new. Maybe Ural needs to add this tool to their tool roll.

I'm still debating whether to replace the front tire. I still have another brand new tire on the shelf. But the front tire still has some life left so, for now, I’ll leave it as is.

I think the last couple of months have made me feel the cold. I used to be able to work in the garage for hours at a time. Not any more. What should have taken one afternoon has taken me several days...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Alaska Statewide DMR Net

Yesterday, as on most Monday evenings while we were on the road, I participated in the Alaska Statewide DMR Net hosted out of Homer, AK. Since Fairbanks does not have a DMR repeater, I use my Raspberry Pi hotspot. While on the road trip, I generally paired the hotspot with my iPhone. I probably could’ve actually used it while on the road as the Pi is powered through a micro-USB port. There were only ten participants on the net including two people from out of state. Ohio and New York.

One of the original justifications for the FCC to support amateur radio was to encourage skills that can be used during an emergency. The nets are for the same thing. Develop skills that can be used to maintain organized communication during emergencies. To me, this is less applicable to some of the digital modes such as DMR, D-Star, Fusion, etc. as these need Internet connectivity to function. Granted, very little bandwidth is needed but connectivity is still needed for use outside of the range of the local repeater.

This afternoon, I took the Ural out just up and down the unplowed subdivision road several times to warm up the engine oil. It's draining right now as I write this. After messaging Dom about the newer oil viscosity recommendations from the Ural docs, I picked up a gallon 5 qt jug of 5W40 full synthetic oil. It took three quarts to fill up the deep sump. I'll include the Ural graphic here so I don't forget. 31k km on the replacement odometer which means the rig now has a shade over 55k km.

After changing the oil, I ran the rig up and down the snow covered road a few more times and the engine really runs quiet and smooth. I don't have very many of the carbide studs as I had not ordered any this year. So I'm thinking of not studding the tires and just rely on 2WD to get up the hills. And just not riding when conditions are less than optimal. Such as now...