Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How's the Rig Doing?

I received this inquiry today from Dom in email and thought that I may as well write a short post answering the question.

When the carbs were initially installed, it felt like the throttle cables shrunk somehow and even after backing out all of the cable adjustments they seemed to be barely long enough. This seemed odd but I sort of managed to get the carbs balanced. I was anxious to hear it run. After riding around yesterday, the engine would only slowly return to idle. This suggested that the throttle wasn't resting on the idle stop screws. By the afternoon, I also noticed that the left cylinder head temperature was consistently much higher than the right and the exhaust sounded "off". My hunch was that the left cylinder was working harder than the right due to unbalanced carbs.  Last night, I pulled the throttle cables off the bike and after messing around with the splitter, they seemed to be a be a bit longer. After reinstalling them, I checked both carbs and now there was slack in both throttle cables as there should be.

After starting the engine, the idle speed was too low so I adjusted it up using the idle set screw on the right carb. Using the TwinMax, I then adjusted the idle set screw on the left carb until it indicated that they were balanced. After making sure that there was still play in both throttle cables, I tightened the cable down that had less slack, twisted the throttle to about 2500 rpm and adjusted the cable on the other carb until the TwinMax indicated that they were balanced.

On this mornings ride, the engine was very smooth, and ran better than it ever has before. Almost no vibration, quiet and sounded like a sewing machine just like a boxer should. It felt really good riding around trying to follow the break-in procedure listed in the manual. Now that the engine has been running some (80 km) and the oil filter and passages were full, I checked the oil level again and added about 150 ml to get it up the "full" mark with the dipstick not screwed into the block. Oil capacity is now around 3 1/4 quarts. I like that better.

So I'd say that the rig is doing good so far. No oil leaks. Starts on the first revolution. Smooth and quiet. Clutch feels good. I like the new location for the reverse lever. And I'm tending to run the engine at higher rpms. Now that I know how the lubrication system really works, I don't simply shift into a higher gear when the load is light. E.g. in the past, I would shift into 4th when cruising down the road at 35 mph. I figured, no load, why not. Now, I'll just leave it in 3rd and not go to 4th until mid to upper 40s. The engine needs RPM to keep oil flowing.

No pictures as I couldn't think of anything appropriate. No blue skies or pretty white snow. Just rain, sleet and black ice. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Finally Done!

Jed arrived at 9 this morning and even with a couple of breaks for coffee and lunch, we had the Ural on the road by mid-afternoon. Initially, after it was all assembled, it wouldn't crank and it turned out that one connector to the alternator wasn't plugged in. After it started, we ran it for a bit then adjusted the idle, balanced the carbs and took it out on the subdivision road. BTW, that's Jed's 2015 rig in the background.

Jed took the photo above after the first test drive. In the middle of the first test drive, the clutch cable had so much slack that I couldn't shift into second. During the assembly, we redid the linkage from the Raceway shift levers. We reverted the 2WD linkage back to the stock setup with the lever down near the parking brake. The benefit is that there is a mechanical lock preventing the lever from moving accidentally into 2WD. And the Raceway 2WD lever is now reverse/neutral. Much more convenient than reaching under the tank.

After heat cycling the engine, I pulled off both valve covers again and torqued the heads to 35 ft-lbs and adjusted the valves to 0.003" after the engine cooled down.

A big thanks go out to Bruce White for the use of his specialized Ural tools, Mickey Sherfield the Ural dealer in Delta Junction, Jed Reagle for all of his assistance removing and assembling the rig as well as hauling it down to Delta to let Mickey listen to the engine, Van Le from Soviet Steeds for his extremely helpful videos and suggestions, and many others for their advice and moral support. And especially Bridget for putting up with all this and working three jobs to keep up with Ural repairs. ;-)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hello everybody.

Richard didn't mention that he also cooked an awesome Easter dinner after church today.  Ham, scalloped potatoes with three kinds of cheeses, asparagus, rolls, and cole slaw.  He then cleaned up the kitchen while I was juggling lesson plans on my home computer since the school one broke yesterday.  Have a great week everyone!


Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Weekend Update

In my last post, I had mentioned that I may remove the sidecar from the bike. After removing the wiring, the bolts from the upper strut mount and the bolts most of the way out from the lower ball mounts, I simply put jackstands under the sidecar frame and pulled. It came right off.  then slid the bike over still resting on the center stand and front wheel. I suspect that it may take a bit more to get it reconnected but access is much better to both sides of the bike now. Maybe it'll make it a little easier to install the engine into the frame.

I removed a few more bits and pieces such as the right leg guard (or whatever they call that piece of plastic) and the coil. I also tucked all of the wiring and cables out of the way. I just noticed that the springs from the rear brake pedal and the center stand must have been attached to the engine or transmission somewhere. That may have contributed to the difficulty getting the engine out of the frame initially.

On Friday, Jed was going to come by to help get the engine installed into the frame but I had to cancel due to being flat on my back with a health issue. It's okay now but I really need to try and stay hydrated. Many times while travelling, I won't drink enough water. Especially while flying.

Saturday morning and early afternoon was spent moving and helping to set up sound equipment for Easter Sunday service at the Herring Auditorium. This is just a snapshot showing the setup after we were mostly done. This is a once per year setup and I find the process of setting up for an event like this enjoyable. Back in the late 90s, I volunteered at the Networld/Interop shows in Las Vegas and Atlanta. They used to provide housing and food for the volunteers doing the network setup/troubleshooting/teardown. It's amazing how much you learn working 16 hours per day for a couple of weeks. The sound system setup is a lot simpler but has the same "event" feel though it's a lot smaller.

My youngest son stopped by in the afternoon and he helped me get the engine into the frame. For future reference, it goes in very easily even with the deep sump pan installed with plenty of room to spare. Right now it's resting on the rear engine mounting bolt. I just need to install the driveshaft into the rubber "donut" before installing the mounting bolts. Then it's just a matter of reinstalling all of the external pieces (starter, alternator, carbs, ignition, etc.) as well as setting the ignition timing and reconnecting all of the wiring.

I just put in the engine mounting bolts and a couple of the larger accessories this evening and called it quits there. It's starting to look like a bike again. Easter is usually on the busy side but I'm pretty confident that on Monday the Ural will finally be back together.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another Bike at College Coffeehouse

For the first time in a long time, I wasn't the only bike at the coffee shop this morning.  That's Brett, the owner, with George Rahn looking at the rig. It's an R69S with a leading link front end which two settings. One setting moves the front wheel forward about an inch to reduce the trail for use with a sidecar. The bike comes with sidecar mounts from the factory. The sidecar is a Jawa but he has the body off and a flatbed installed. Yesterday, he used it to haul an engine stand and now it's setup to haul sheets of plywood.

This is the same R69S that I had seen last October at the auto parts store. He has been riding on/off all winter but with barely enough alternator capacity to run the headlight, heated gear is out of the question. So even today in the mid-20s was a cold ride. Since this is the high horsepower "S" model, it was rated at 42 hp compared to the 35 hp of the non-"S" model.

Most of the dirt and caked on grease on the frame has been cleaned off. Still not spotless but a lot better than it was. I was thinking about removing the sidecar tomorrow thinking that it might make it easier to install the engine. The bike has the final drive removed so it isn't going anywhere but I did leave a little room next to the sidecar. I think that it should be pretty straight forward.

I ended up removing the heads again today as I found two locating pins in the bin with all of the old parts. I was wondering why the locating pin wasn't on the new cylinder or the old ones. It turned out that they just popped out. Anyway, removed the heads, installed the pins, retorqued the heads to 28 ft-lbs and adjusted the valve clearance to 0.003". It's so easy with the engine sitting on the workbench. Installed the transmission after greasing the input spline with a mixture of Union 76 arctic grease mixed with Honda Moly 60.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I'm judging science fair projects. But on Friday, Jed is coming by to help muscle the engine/transmission into the frame. The Ural may be on the road this week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Favorite Dish

I think I found a new favorite dish at one of the local sushi places called Tokyo Express. The dish is just called the Big Bowl. It starts out with rice with sesame seeds on about half of the width and shredded lettuce on the other side. This is topped with seaweed salad, avocado, pickled daikon, an assortment of sashimi and topped with fish roe. It was served with a container of chili sauce and you just added it to taste.

The Ural hasn't been abandoned. I cleaned off the front timing cover and installed it as well as the pieces of the PowerArc system. I can't really adjust it until I have the engine back into the frame and the wiring reconnected. I also installed the oil pump with the extension from Terry Crawford. This can be seen in the lower photo. I had originally thought that it would be a machined block that would actually lower the oil pump deeper into the pan but that wasn't how he chose to do it.
 Above is a shot of the deep sump oil pan sold by Ural. The cooling fins on the bottom are a lot longer and there is supposed to be an additional quart of oil capacity. The drain plug threads on the original pan were kind of "worn" I think from someone over tightened the drain plug in an attempt to stop an oil leak. All it does is mess up the pan. I'm hoping that I can still get the engine into the bike frame with the deep sump pan installed. It may be kind of a pain to install the oil pump extension with the engine installed. I wanted to clean off the frame before installing the engine, There is a lot of dirt and caked on dirt. After all, it does have about 30k miles.

After installation into the frame, all that's left are all of the accessories such as the alternator, carbs, starter, wiring, etc.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

First Day of Spring

On Saturday afternoon, we headed back to Baltimore due to forecasted storm warnings. It did snow, visibility was less than optimal but not too many issues though there were still a number of drivers who thought that 80+ mph was just fine. After all, they had AWD or 4WD what can possibly happen. But, they were in the minority. I'd say that most of the vehicles on the road felt that 5 under the limit was just fine. The slickest roads were as we were leaving Pennsylvania and heading into Maryland.

There was some thoughts of exploring Baltimore last night and this morning but the weather, both precipitation and temperature, put a damper on that. No rain this morning but the temperature was in the mid-30s. Cold enough to take the fun out of exploring. But at least is isn't snowing anymore. This is just the view out of the hotel window this morning. We didn't see much of a view last night as it was getting dark when we arrived at the hotel.

At noon on Sunday, we met Kathy aka Toadmama and Mike at a Mexican restaurant near the Baltimore airport. It was another wonderful moto-blogger visit and it was great to meet Mike and get to know him a little better. No Victory at the meetup but then again it was snowing yesterday. Lots of topics ranging from other blogger meet ups, Ural reliability, long distance touring, kids, grandkids, dogs. You name it.

One last photo thanks to a willing stranger. I was messing around with the iPhone and trying to use the AppleWatch as a remote though I didn't realize that the camera was zoomed in. More messing around is needed.

Thank you both for being willing to drive out to meet us.

BTW, it's snowing again…


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Scooter in the Sticks

On Friday afternoon, we drove from Elizabethtown, PA, to State College, PA. It was less than 100 miles and a fairly pleasant drive on a multilane highway following the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers for a good part of the trip. The only thing I can say about PA roads and drivers is that tractor trailer rigs like to cruise in the left lane and too many cars drive at 1.000000 mph under the speed limit or 25 mph over. And more than a few at speeds well above that. But I did not spot a single deer along the highway. Something that is always a concern on roads with trees and brush running almost up to the shoulder. After arriving in State College, we were given a brief walking tour of the more historic part of campus. Penn State is much larger than I ever knew and they have this eclectic mixture of building architectures. This is the administration building.

I thought that the sundial looked pretty cool especially since it was located within sight of the clock tower on top of the admin building. I like all of the old stonework on some of the buildings then just to throw you off, there is the ultra modern IT building. I think I prefer the older to the swooping curves of the new building.

Here is Steve of Scooter in the Sticks in his photographer pose. Note the lack of riding gear as he came to meet us with the minivan due to other commitments that day. He had considered swinging by the house to pick up the Vespa but thought that idea kind of silly. I can see why the scooter is the preferred mode of transportation. Lots of traffic in town with people everywhere. Free parking for two wheeled transport such as where Steve is currently standing.

A posed shot of the well known moto blogger at Duffy's Tavern in Boalsburg. He said that Dom should recognize the place. The food was excellent as well as the company. Their sign claims that it's been around since 1819. And they claim that it is the best restaurant in town. A lot of topics were discussed and we both agree that this whole "working thing" is overrated. I liked his comment about starting to wear white pants and shoes were in the same category as getting a Ural. A sure sign that he has lost his mind...

I couldn't resist a food pic as I have never had fries on top of my salad. It was tasty, kind of like the steak and potato salad at the Silver Gulch in Fox, AK. I had this with a wonderful French onion soup and some hot tea. We did try the homemade pretzels with honey maple butter. More honey maple than butter.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Break (cont.)

After seeing the temperature back in Fairbanks, PA is starting to feel a lot more Spring Break worthy. Even with the drizzle, low clouds and cooler temperatures, it still isn't "Winter". At least not yet. The forecast is for 3-5" of snow on Saturday night so we are heading back to Baltimore on Saturday afternoon. Why risk dealing with snow with the rental car. Later this afternoon, we will be heading for State College to visit Steve of Scooter in the Sticks. It looks like it'll be a nice drive.

Today was a good day for a walk outdoors. T-shirt temperatures, a few gentle, rolling hills and a lot of walking paths. Behind the flowering trees that I posted about yesterday, I noticed a field of solar panels on a south facing hillside. Quite a large array but probably only a small percentage of what the facility needs.

I must admit that the walk was motivated more by the Apple Watch nagging me to get moving than any sort of real desire to exercise more. As you can see, the only one that I actually complete on a daily basis is the blue inner circle. You get credit for simply standing up at least one minute per hour. The red outer circle is activity. The green one in the middle is for exercise. And by "exercise", your heart rate has to be elevated to above some threshold. This afternoons walk was 35 minutes but only 17 minutes qualified as "exercise". The goal is to get a screenful of full circles. I really need to get out more.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Break

We are spending the week in Elizabethtown, PA, aka E-Town visiting with Bridget's dad. Last week it was over 70°F. This week, it's been drizzling. But there are still a few traces of Spring hanging around. I'm not sure what kind of tree this is but it is one of the few bits of color in the somewhat dreary landscape. Most of the buildings at this facility are made of stone with slate roofs. The newer buildings use brick that's about the same color but it's not quite the same.

These (I think they are daffodils) were growing on the hillside behind the hospital offering a bit more color to the grey background. I just heard that Fairbanks is enjoying a new round of winter with -11°F and snow. So this is starting to look pretty nice.

WeatherUnderground is forecasting snow here starting on Sunday evening so we are thinking about heading towards BWI, our exit point, on Saturday late afternoon just to avoid the weather. 

BTW, the pictures in this post aren't "clickable". That is a limitation of BlogTouch Pro on the iPhone.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Travel Day

This is the wonderful view that I had for much of the day today (Monday). The middle seat on a couple of Alaska Airline flights. Wonderful. Like most flights leaving Fairbanks, you have a choice of right after midnight or a bit more after midnight. We were on the more after midnight flight through Seattle and onward to Baltimore. We are here to visit Bridget's dad in PA . Some people spend spring break in a location to escape Alaska's winter-ish weather but that's not us. It has been cool and raining for the drive from BWI to our hotel near Hershey and the forecast isn't looking much better later in the week.

I had never driven through Baltimore before. There are a lot of brick! Brick wasn't a common building material in the earthquake prone areas that I lived in. And that would include Alaska. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ural Assembly - 1

No longer just engine assembly so I figure I can start again at "1". No matter what I do or say, it's still going to be a ten part series.

Since I was riding just a short distance today, I grabbed my old Kilimanjaro jacket with a fleece liner this morning. There was a bit of fluffy snow but not enough to accumulate. And even though the distance was really short, 10°F still felt cold. I'll blame it on the high humidity.

I didn't do very much on the Ural this afternoon. I replaced the clutch throwout rod and inspected the throwout bearing. I had ordered a replacement but I think I will just keep it on the shelf. The old one is in great shape. I then installed the transmission onto the engine. The clutch throwout rod has a square end that fits into the clutch pack so I installed this initially onto the clutch. I then fed the rod into the center of the input shaft which I inserted into both of the friction discs. Then bolted them together with 3 of the 4 bolts. The fourth one also attaches the starter. The engine/trans combination is heavy enough.

No more Ural posts for a week or so. We are headed south and east for a week.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ural Engine Assembly - 6

We are well on the way for this to be a ten part series. Van Le, the author of the YouTube videos aka Gobium on SovietSteeds, a Ural forum, suggested that I check axial runout at the edge of the flywheel. I mounted the clutch tool to the engine case then clamped my caliper to it. Using the depth gauge, I can measure the distance to the flywheel at various points around a complete revolution. This is one way to see if the crankshaft is true after installation in the engine case. Obviously if all of the readings are the same then the crankshaft is true. I was originally thinking that I would needed a dial indicator on the front of the crankshaft. This method isn't perfect as it assumes that the flywheel is perfect. I don't know what the range of acceptable runout is but I measured 0.3mm runout. In his video, he measured 0.004". In another video, the runout on a new install was 0.28 mm.

With this latest concern addressed, I went ahead and installed the cylinders, heads, pushrods and rocker arms. Torqued the heads initially to 28 ft-lbs until I do a little research and find a better number, did an initial valve adjustment to 0.003 on all valves and threw on the valve covers just to keep things clean. I had initially torqued the flywheel bolt to 140 ft-lbs as this was the limit of my torque wrench. To get just a little bit more, I tied the engine down to the work bench and with the help of my son, I managed to get another 5° of movement with a 18" long breaker bar. I figure that it's close enough to 170 ft-lbs. There is a washer on the bolt that is bent up against one of the flats to keep it from loosening up.

The next step was the clutch and thanks to Bruce from Ketchikan, it was a straightforward job to install the clutch plates and friction disks. New screws were supplied in the clutch kit. Blue threadlock was applied and the screws were torqued to 15 ft-lbs (no specs are mentioned in the repair manual) as a reasonable guess. The picture shows the clutch alignment tool. It is also a crank that can also be used to rotate the engine.

The next step is to change the clutch rod and the throwout bearing. Since the clutch was replaced, those parts should be replaced at the same time.

This afternoon, there was an Airhead tech session at Bob's garage where work continues on the '78 R80. The cylinders, pistons and heads have come back from Porter's Beemershop, the same place that I had my heads reworked. The parts look like new. The owner is still waiting to get his transmission back. While the pistons were being installed in the cylinders, a quick check of the lifters revealed one bad lifter with some pits in the lifter surface. This would start to wear the cam if left so yet another part needs to be ordered. This bike has been on the lift for quite a while with parts just dribbling in from a variety of sources.

Anyway, this is how Saturday went. Not a bad day...

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Non-Ural Post!

Yesterday afternoon, we went to the 2016 BP World Ice Art Championships here in Fairbanks. The Single block competition is finished and those are the first ten or so pictures. Work was still being done on the huge ice sculptures. The weather and sun have been making the task difficult and you can see some of the sun blocks that have been setup to block the sun.

My favorite is the ice sculpture of an ice molecule...

Here is the gravel pit on the other side of the parking lot where many of the blocks were harvested from. Gravel pit ice is preferred due to its clarity and lack of air bubbles.