Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Scarlett gets towed home

Yesterday, I rode out with Patrick, my oldest son, to take him to his training class this morning just before Noon.

We were riding in Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol.  I dropped him off and headed on home by way of the auto parts store where I wanted to pick up some consumables.

Got what I needed, then geared up and went to start the rig.  Nada.  No lights on the dash, no headlight, no whine of the fuel pump.  Sigh.  Off came the helmet and riding jacket and then I spent some time doing the basic checks, nothing.  Did find a corroded terminal in the fuse panel that was related to the parking lights but not related to the lack of ignition power.  The terminal was so corroded, it came apart when I touched it.

Tried swapping out relays, nothing.  Found a relay that I'd not been aware of in the headlight bucket but that turned out to be a turn signal relay.

Enough was enough, since I was close to home I just called my insurance company and asked for a tow truck.  1.5 hours or so later, it showed up and we got Scarlett loaded with no issues.

While waiting for the tow truck, I texted a fellow Uralista, Darrell and ran things by him.  He thought it was a failed ignition switch as there was a lack of any lights.  He described to me the procedure to hot wire the ignition to test but at that point the tow truck had made its appearance.

Couple of miles later, Scarlett was home.  I tried the hot wire procedure which involves connecting a jumper wire on the brown wire next to the hot wire on the ignition switch.  The other end of the jumper wire goes directly to the battery.

Back side of the ignition switch.  You can just barely see
the red wire, which is always hot; and the brown wire
next to it is the one you connect to the battery.

Note: Connect to the wire first, THEN,  the battery, you will get some sparks.

Once connected, I turned the key in the ignition switch to the ON position.  Dash lights came on, headlight came on and I could hear the fuel pump's whine!  I cranked the engine and it of course worked.  Sigh.

So, failed ignition switch, easy replacement.  Scarlett is still under warranty so I talked to the URAL dealer  and Randy's going to order me a replacement, along with a new fuse panel.

At this point, I decided to take apart the ignition switch to see what had broken.  I know, I can't leave things well enough alone sometimes.

Dismounted the switch (held in place by a metal ring) and pried up the plastic cover and this is what I saw:

The brass plates on the right sit on top of a small spring,
otherwise they're just loose.  Kind of a weird setup, I guess they're
supposed to pivot.

The round contacts on the left had a light coating of grime so I cleaned them off and re-assembled the switch.

I am unsure that it was because I cleaned the contacts or my re-assembling things placed the contacts once again in right position vis-a-vis the brass plates; but the switch worked again once I put it back on the motorcycle!

Tried several times, worked every time.  Go figure.  Of course, it'll probably fail again so it's good that I have a replacement switch coming under warranty.  In the meantime, Scarlett is fully functional again in the meantime.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fiona and ScooterBob on Mount Evans

There had been a couple of notices from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) telling folks that the road to Mount Evans, aka Colorado Highway 5, had been closed due to adverse weather this past week.

Snow and high winds most likely.  You could see a thin covering of snow on Mount Evans from the metro Denver area.

Yesterday, Saturday the 27th of August, I went with Fiona and ScooterBob to introduce them both to the highest paved highway in North America.

Note: We never did make it to the summit parking lot, apparently a lot of cagers also had the idea to go visit Mount Evans yesterday; and there was a long line to even enter the parking lot.  So, sorry, no picture of either ScooterBob or Fiona by the summit sign at 14,260 Feet (4346 Meters).

I rode Fiona via US285 to Morrison and from there it was Bear Creek Canyon Road or CO Hwy 74 to Evergreen and Bergen Park to pick up the eastern end of Squaw Pass Road.  Took longer than usual to get there since I'm still "breaking in" the rebuilt gearbox on Fiona; so limited to 40 mph.  The route I took was mostly 45 mph or under with a couple of short highway stretches.

We would try twice to reach the summit, but the mass of cagers just precluded that notion, especially when riding an air-cooled motorcycle.  Though it was cool near the summit, it wasn't cool enough to prevent the engine on Fiona from possibly overheating so I just took pictures from just short of the summit.

The peak in the background is Mount Bierstadt I believe

 A little snow for ScooterBob to experience.

Mt. Bierstadt again.

As you ride Mount Evans Road, you get several views of nearby
Mount Bierstadt.

You can just see part of Abyss Lake, located between the peaks
of Mt Bierstadt and Mount Evans.

 On the shores of Summit Lake

 Looking towards the rock formations one can hike to from the 
Summit Lake parking lot.  I've not done so yet....

 This lake is apparently stocked with Rainbow Trout.
Fishing at 12,840 Feet (3913 Meters)

 One last look back towards the summit

That's Echo Lake down there at 10,600 Feet (3230 Meters)

 Here's a picture of the sign before the fee station at the Mount Evans Road.

Couldn't quite "see forever" today, but not bad.

Fiona did great, though I did have to loosen up the clutch some as I was coming off the mountain.  She reached the next oil flush mark as we neared home so I'll be changing out the oil today.

Note about the fees for Mount Evans Road.  It's free if you do not use any of the fee areas up on the mountain AND don't go into the summit parking lot.  I should have asked for my $3 back today.  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Raising the Rig for Maintenance

As I age, it's getting a bit old now, the kneeling or the frequent laying on the garage floor to do maintenance on my motorcycles.

Note: Following method will NOT work for a two-wheeled motorcycle.  Don't do it.

I'd been researching motorcycle lifts, having seen how much easier it looks to be able to lift one's motorcycle to say about waist height so one need not stoop/bend/kneel to get at something on the motorcycle.

Searching on the online forums of SovietSteeds showed this prospect:

max lift height with this lift is 30 inches I believe

Was all set to buy the red motorcycle lift table from someone local but then when I realized how tall the unit is when folded up, the issue of where to store something that weights 300 lbs became a show-stopper.

This morning, I was planning on applying some muffler sealant on the reducer pipe I used to join the 2-into-one headers to the stock starboard side muffler, there were minor air leaks you see, causing popping noises on deceleration.

Before, I'd have to crawl around on the floor, getting all dirty even though wearing coveralls, and have limited work room while under the rig.

So I thought I'd try this:

The ramp stops, by the way, are positioned specifically to prevent the rig from rolling backwards or forwards.

Lift sequence was:

Front Wheel first, transmission is in gear of course.
Parking brake is also a good idea.

Pusher Wheel is next.

Last one up in the air, the sidecar wheel.

The almost 9 additional inches were quite nice while under the rig working on the exhaust reducer pipe, I was able to lay on my mechanics creeper in comfort and move about easily while on my back.

The additional height also puts the engine at a nice level to work on while seated on my rolling mechanics stool.
Hopefully, no more or at least much less kneeling!

Very stable too, I tried shaking the rig while it was up and no issues.

Scarlett is due an oil change in about 900 kilometers or so, and Fiona will be due an oil flush for the gearbox in less than 300 km so we'll see how this setup works then.

Note: for the litigious amongst you, I am not telling you to do your maintenance on your URAL or motorcycle this way.  It works for me for now.  Be safe and think things through.  Stuff happens!

The ramps are rated for 6000 lbs each and the jack stand is rated for 3 tons.  Well over the weight of the rig at 770 lbs dry.

Note: The ramps say they're not to be used to support one side of a vehicle like I am using them to do, so beware.

A view of the underside of Fiona, the '99 Patrol with the '84 Beemer engine:

Update: 28AUG16
Put Fiona up on the ramps this morning, it made the tasks of replacing the gearbox oil, checking fluids, and adjusting the clutch cable so much more comfortable!

Monday, August 22, 2016

ScooterBob and Colorado Sunflowers

Around this time of year, there's usually a field or two somewhat nearby to me with a nice display of sunflowers to use as background for pictures.

This year, the field nearest to me that I could find was near the I-70 Superslab exit to the town of Bennett.

Fiona, ScooterBob and I got there mid-Sunday morning yesterday and the field was looking rather good even though the sunflowers were kind of droopy.  Whether from the increasing heat of the day or just the size/weight of the sunflowers; I don't know, but they still looked pretty good.

I'm thinking the sun was just too bright this day, I had better luck in catching a different sunflower field back in August of 2010 during a sunrise.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

ScooterBob at Red Rocks

It's become my turn to play host and tour guide for ScooterBob, a wooden scooter that's been making its way around both the moto-blogger world and the real world.

Done as a way to remember BobScoot, aka Bob Leong, one of the original moto-bloggers, who passed away back August of 2014 while traveling with his lovely wife Yvonne; we pass along ScooterBob, documenting the travels that we'd like to have ridden with Bob had he made it out our way.

Link to the start of this story:  ScooterBob hits the road, Jack!

ScooterBob, and Bob's memory, have covered a lot of the globe.  Starting from Vancouver, Canada (Bob's home town), its gone from Key, West, FL to the Black Forest in Germany, Austria and France.  From there it was a long plane ride all the way to Australia for ScooterBob where he'd finish out 2014.

2015 would be spent partly in the Pacific region.  After seeing quite a bit of the Sydney, Australia area and its surroundings, ScooterBob then made the short hop over to New Zealand for more explorations of these islands while hosted by two separate moto-bloggers.

By May, ScooterBob had returned to Europe and the care of  UK moto-bloggers, visiting folks in England and Wales.

The start of 2016 found ScooterBob back in Florida, exploring the sights of  near Jacksonville, Florida and even a side trip into Georgia.  Staying in Florida, Scooterbob was then hosted by a moto-blogger in Tampa during March and April and saw the sights there.

End of April found ScooterBob now in Virginia and undergoing some repairs to some damages sustained during his world travels.  After exploring Virginia, it was then time to go to New England to visit with yet another moto-blogger.

July 2016 found ScooterBob starting in New Hampshire and ending up several states away in Minnesota!

After ScooterBob finished exploring Minnesota and the surrounding area, he would be sent to me, here in the great State of Colorado.

ScooterBob meets Stewie, Martha's scooter.

Today, I thought I'd show ScooterBob the sights of Red Rocks Park, the same place I took BobSkoot to in Valencia, my 2011 Ural Sidecar Rig back in August of 2013.  Link to that visit by Bob.

From the above link posting, here's Bob at Creation Valley.

Creation Valley, Red Rocks Park

Bob and Valencia in front of the Amphitheater at Red Rocks

ScooterBob of the West!

As you saw, I was riding Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with a Beemer Engine.  I'm still "breaking in" the rebuilt gearbox on her so she's limited to speeds below 40 mph.  Explorations of Colorado destinations further than Red Rocks will require the use of either Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol or Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer Airhead.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

500 Km Gearbox Oil Change for Fiona

Last evening, the odometer read 16,991 or just shy of 500 kilometers since I installed the repaired gearbox onto Fiona, my '99 Patrol with the '84 Beemer R80 engine....aka the Bural Rig.

Because the new main input shaft comes from the factory with a "facing" (I think that's the right term) on it, one must not exceed 40 mph during the first 2500 kilometers of usage.

This "facing" will be worn off by the action of the gears in the gearbox and float about in the 20W50 oil that is used within the gearbox.

Gearbox oil after almost 500 kilometers of usage.

As you can see, the oil is quite dirty and the metallic particles are visible floating within it.  There should be, hopefully, much less when I do this oil change again in about 1000 kilometers.

Hopefully also, the oil will come out looking more golden brown than black as well!

Just takes a while, at 40 mph max speed, to rack up what will be a total of 2500 kilometers (1500 miles) of break in period riding.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wandering about the Eastern Prairies

Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with a '84 Beemer R80 Engine and I spent Sunday morning racking up about 160 more kilometers towards the 500 km goal before the first gearbox oil flush.

First, we headed out towards Bennett, Colorado where there was claimed to be a field of sunflowers suitable for picture taking.  Ended up cruising as far as Strasburg and then back west towards Bennett using the several county roads looking for it.

Finally found it, just west of the town.  The sunflowers were all facing east towards the mid-morning sun so no picture opportunity from the road next to the field.  Below picture was taken while parked next to a different road side.

Next stop was the control tower for the Front Range Airport that is between Bennett and Watkins, along 56th Avenue.  I don't think I've ever seen an aircraft take off or land while in the area, seems like an idea that didn't quite pan out to me.

Wandering into the airport itself, we rode towards a distant relative of Fiona's.  A Russian PT-76 Armored Vehicle sitting outside the local National Guard armory.

No nearby placard explaining where/when this war trophy was taken and by whom.  I'd seen it before, years ago when I last rode into the Front Range airport with Maria, my 2004 R1150RT Beemer.

It was getting close to noon so I started heading homewards but made a quick stop at the "Mystery Track".

It's been quite a while since I'd gone by this mysterious looking track that one can see from googlemaps:

Since the last time I was there, the gate now is pretty much gone, no signs barring access and the path is overgrown with weeds and vegetation.

So I walked in, leaving Fiona outside.  I walked around the platform and upper curved portion of what was apparently a monorail test track and took these:

The channel in the middle of the concrete track had metal bolts sticking up from the center line, probably where the monorail track was mounted.

A quiet, somewhat depressing place, slowly being reclaimed by nature.  Fiona and I left and headed now for home.  On the way, I discovered the right hand grip had come loose so it was difficult to hold throttle without squeezing hard on the grip.

Fueled up, notes with satisfaction Fiona is getting 33 MPG, and got home for a quick lunch.

After lunch, used some safety wire on both of Fiona's grip which should prevent the loose grip issue in the future.  No issues to report with Fiona, she did slip out of second while I was turning onto a pretty rough gravel road so I attributed that to road conditions.