Saturday, August 4, 2018

Yet Another Steering Damper

Thank you to Dom at Redlegs Rides for having a link to the VW Beetle steering damper that can be made to work on the Ural. The rig originally came with a friction damper. The damping force was linear and, in my opinion, it was better than nothing but just barely. I installed the new style (2014) hydraulic damper that Ural sold in their store to retrofit onto the older models. Much better as the damping force was proportional to the turning rate. It was worn out when the rig was getting worked on by Raceway a year later so they replaced it under warranty. It had worn out again as there is almost no damping.

I was able to reuse the bracket from the Ural hydraulic damper at the sidecar strut clamp and just needed to fabricate an upper mount. The right-hand thread Heim joint is a tie-rod end from some car and I found it on Amazon. The aluminum angle is left over from my top box installation. From all reports, this should be a huge improvement over the Ural steering dampers. And the VW part was only $29 on Amazon (with free shipping!). A fraction of the price of the Ural part.

A test ride showed that there is increased resistance to turning the bars and I couldn't get the steering to wobble at all no matter how hard I tried. Low-speed steering wobble is something that many sidecar rigs deal with. This steering damper is fantastic. I will probably fabricate an upper mount out of steel as I believe the aluminum may fatigue and fail unless I weld in some gussets. The forces are not that great so maybe it'll be fine...


  1. Glad to be of help...and glad you like it, mine is working fine so far and yes, there's some expected resistance when turning the wheel at rest.

    1. When I took off the old hydraulic damper, I tested its resistance. Almost none. It was a nice attempt and the adjustability was cool but it didn't last long...