Monday, 20 June 2011

Mystery Solved...I think

Over the week end I took apart the final drive piece by piece.
I was trying to find the source of the lose bearings I found inside the case.
The problem was all the bearings in the final drive seemed to be intact.

The one thing I did not take out was the shaft drive from the engine where it goes into the final drive case.
So I started to take that apart and found a bearing that was lose.
Gave it a wiggle and several ball bearings feel out that were the same size as the ones I found inside the case.
This got me to thinking and I remembered Dom had sent me all the spares he had when he sold me the bike. This also included several replacement bearings.
I took a look and found one that was the same size as the prop shaft bearing.
But the new one was a double row bearing. The one on the bike only had one row of bearings and was very lose. I looked at the parts diagram and the part was called “Thrust bearing -Double row”
I also notice the u-joint on the axle was stiff in one direction also.

Keep in mind this bearing is right in front of where the prop shaft and final drive gear meet.
Think of an egg beater going in two different directions at once. What I think happened was the last row of bearings failed and when it did it got chewed up and spit out into the case. The bearings were held in with a inner brass piece. Which would explain all the little brass flakes all over the inside of the case.
When the bearing got chewed up I think it sent the ball bearings spinning around inside the case like a frag grenade. Which probably also tore up several seals in the process.

What's amazing it he fact that the wheels kept turning after all of this had happened.

I called Holopaw Ural today in Florida and ordered new seals, a u-joint and I hope all the parts I need. Once I get them I'll start putting it all back together and hope it works.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Gears for Dinner

I spent a perfectly nice day inside tearing apart the final drive.
It wasn't too hard but it raised more questions than it answered.
Where did all the brass flakes come from?
Where did the lose Ball bearings come from?
Why are there 3 small mangled springs laying inside the case?
What ate the brass washer and left the crumbs all over?

What do I have to replace to fix it all?

Something bad happened and the only thing I can think of is one of the bearings
in the gear driven hub, if it has any, failed badly.

If you want to see a step by step photo break down
head over to my Flicker page

I also posted the questions to the Soviet steeds Tech forum to see if I can get any
Info there.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Cavemen and Dinosaurs

I've had the bike now for a few days. The first few days I had to spend just getting basic tools. I recently moved to Michigan from London U.K. where I was working the past 2 years. Needless to say I didn't bring any tools with me on the aeroplane.
The Ural comes with a very basic set of tools but no socket wrenches.
Also I needed to get cleaning supplies.
Yes first thing I did was wash it.
For some reason people think rust and grime is Russian Lock-tite
It aslo gave me a chance to look over the bike and see what was where.
Once I had that done I started the bike and the engine ran fine with a battery charge of 11.2.
Pretty good after sitting in storage for a month.
Yesterday I started on the major repairs I have to do to get it back on the road.
The two big things to fix are the broken front brake cable and find out what happened in the final drive.

I started on removing the final drive which means:
remove the rear axle
take off the back tire
unbolt the final drive from the frame and remove it

More detail on the steps can be found here

It has several more minor steps but I hit a snag from the first.

The rear axle would not come out.
It should just slide out but didn't.
I know the bearing inside the final drive had screwed up.
One look at the oil out of the final drive told me something bad had happened inside.
This is a shot of the rag I had just wiped on the final drive drain plug.

I thought maybe the bearings were binding the axle.
It started to rain so I quit for the day.
I was afraid I may have to cut the axle off like Dom did before.

I thought If I could just hit the right hand side of the axle
with a hammer it would come out.
But there is a U-Joint in the way. I had to remove that.
Emailed Dom and he told me how to get it off.

Got that removed and whacked the axle with a rubber mallet and it came right out.
Looks like there is no damage to the axle which is good.
Once that was done I removed the wheel and was able to get the final drive out
…..with several more whacks of the hammer.

At this point I felt like caveman killing a dinosaur.
I wanted to grunt, beat my chest and have a steak afterwards.

I settled for a bologna sandwich and a cookie.

You did What ?!!?

Before I go much further I'm sure some people are questioning my sanity and why I bought a used Ural Motorcycle.
There are several reasons. The main one is I now live in Northern Michigan.
The motorcycle riding season up here is from May to maybe late October.
It snowed 8 inches on April 20th here.
I can't afford to buy a car just yet and when I do it will have to be an all wheel drive.

The past two years I was living in London, U.K.
Had a great time, saw a lot and made some great friends.
Killed my bank account though.
While I was in England I had a 500CC Royal Enfield. Great design that hasn't been changed since 1955.....literally. Single cylinder, carburettor, coil, wet oil gear box, 22 Horse power, drum brakes, right side gear shift, left side brake, top speed 55 m.p.h. and got 75 M.P.G.
You had to constantly fiddle with it but it was simple to work on.
It was made in India. Great design but the quality of the metallurgy in the parts had a lot to be desired. Sounded like a tank engine and parts fell off but it always got me home.
My favourite moment will always be coming around a bend and seeing the sunset behind Stone henge......just before the engine died from vapour lock.

So I'm back in America and need a way to get around.
Look around and all I see for sale locally are Harley Davidson and Sports bikes.
Can't afford a Harley or a sport bike and both are only good for 6 months riding at best.
I was looking at a BMW R80, which I may still get in case I need to run to the next state over to get milk or something.

So I'm still looking at Urals. A brand new one is $11,500 out the door.
Used one is still anywhere from $4,000 and up.
I saw Natasha for sale for $2,000. But it was broken and I would have to fix it.
Well it's a used Ural I'd probably have to fix it at some point anyway.

Plus Dom kept a blog so I knew the history of the bike and everything that had been done to it.
That makes a big difference.
Anything that could go wrong with a Ural had pretty much already
happened to this one.
Alternator grenaded, broken side-car shaft, etc etc.
But it did have a 750 engine and a total loss system installed.
Even with all those problems he logged over 15,000 miles on it.
That's like going across America 4 times.
Pretty impressive for only owning the bike a few years.

I also knew that a certain dealer in Florida wanted to buy it
and break it up for parts.
I'm a sucker for homeless animals and lost causes.
So I decided to buy it.
I have no idea if it was a good idea or not.
But I figure you'll never know deep the water is till you jump.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Hi, my name is Mash and it seems I bought a motorcycle that has a certain amount of a following going for it.
Thanks to the previous owner, Dom C. Of Colorado

He's an avid motorcycle rider and kept a blog of his experiences riding it.

This blog is my attempt to keep people up to date on whats going with the bike, Natasha, and hopefully post my adventures with it here in Northern Michigan.
Also post a little bit of history and other odds and ends I run across.

In follow up posts I'll cover why I bought this bike, some history of the bike and Ural and sidecars in general. Also repairs and mechanical things and what I learn in the process.
Hopefully you will learn something, or at least get a good laugh out of it :)