Monday, November 28, 2011

We go to Wally-World

Well, I got the big issues sorted out with the Crawler.

Took Melee (The Wife) for her first sidecar trip to the Mecca of town...AKA... Wal-mart.
When we got back...took The Boy for his first jaunt down the block in the hack. No video, But I got some pics from Grandma as we rolled out.

Air temp was a balmy 31 degrees F (that 0 C) but he did fine. At first he wanted nothing to do with it...then I got the bike started and he was interested. He seemed to get what was happening as soon as we started moving. Now if only I could convince him his helmet is cool....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tools in the trunk.

Ok...other than the 'special' tools I think I am in a good place with my tool kit.
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Contents are.

  • Wrenches 9-18mm
  • Crescent Wrenches- Large and small
  • Vice Grips- Large
  • Edison Screwdrivers- Long shank and stubby
  • Phillips screwdrivers- Long shank and stubby
  • Slip Joint pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Socket Set/ 4-17mm with Racket and Driver.
  • (6) 12 inch zip-ties
  • Diagonal cutters
  • Razor Knife
  • roll of RED electrical tape (it's red so I can find my field repairs when I get back to the shop)
  • Spark plug wrench and gapper (still need to get another set of plugs.)
  • Flashlights- handheld and head mounted.
  • 1 qt Oil- Engine/Transmission
  • 5 oz 90wt Gear oil
  • Small can WD40
  • Hammer
    *not pictured is the stock air pump in the boot.*

The black fluffy thing is the most imporant item...
My "What would Ivan do?" thinking cap.
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Items still to add.
Exhaust wrench
Shock wrench
Wheel bearing wrench
Tire tools and tubes
Duct Tape :biggrin:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick update...

Well I got the electrical issues solved, at least for now.
I did some valve adjustments, re-set timing, worked at clearing the clogged up fuel petcock and replaced all the fuel lines.
New plugs, oil and filter change, a lil flat black spray paint and some garage floor coating in the boot.
I wanted to take some good pics, but every time I get near the thing my brain screams
I did get some quick video....enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quick update before Turkey Coma...

Got the electric gremlins evicted...probably.
Redid the whole harness, and separated each system out into their own circuits/buses.
One of the pluses of that is if I kill the lights, the Alt/VR charges just off idle.
I did the 'drillbit' mod on the crappy petcock, although I gave up the main fuel setting snorkel up as it was beyond repair.
So I don't have a reserve on the petcock, but hey why am I toting a jerry can if not for fuel reserve? :biggrin:

Got the rig up on the centerstand...that's fun...and adjusted all 3 brakes.
Still think I have a lil too much tension in the clutch cable, as I reach the end of third and fourth gear it acts like the clutch is engaging, so I'll be tweaking that.
I did a lil bit of carb tuning...far from done there but I have it running steady.

Over I have said before, this rig is the easiest thing to work on I have played with yet.
My only cursing has been at the in-board screw on the timing cover, and the stock air cleaner.

Yeah yeah, I hear your or it didn't happen. <_<
I'll get some snaps in daylight tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is he talking about?

Well, I just realized I talked a lot about my decision to get a Ural without really explaining what a Ural is.
I could explain it all detailed, with dates and such, citing numerous sources. Ya know...all scholarly. However, lots of others have done that. I'll give you links later if you want to go look at them. Here is the Monster-notes version.

The year was 1939. The Soviet Union had just entered a little dust-up with Finland and they found a lot of their equipment (tanks, trucks and even motorcycles) to be woefully inadequate for the battlefield. By the time they ended that lil skirmish, World War II proper was gathering steam with the Germans teaching the world a new word....Blitzkrieg.
They see us rolling...all over Poland.

Papa Stalin was both worried and impressed by how quickly the German forces where able to scoot around Poland and the rest of Europe. He mentioned to the Red Army Command that he sure wished that the Motherland had some better vehicles. So they went on a shopping spree. The Red Army managed to get their mitts on about 5 BMW R71 sidecar rigs through the Grey Market called Sweden.  They loved them. They did everything they wanted a military motorcycle to do. They where tough, fast (relatively), and able to handle the worst terrain. There was one lil hiccup.
BMW was a German manufacturer.
As in 'The Enemy'.
As in...they probably won't really be willing to ship war materials to their soon to be invadees.
So while the Generals where scrambling to figure out another option, a Russian engineer (Let's call him Ivan) said...
"No problem...I can make copy."
So with a flurry of wrenching and lots of squinting and Vodka...Ivan made copy.
Lots and lots of copies.
Lots and lots.
Well done Ivan....Well done indeed.

Within less than a year, they had a factory turning out hundreds of bikes right in Moscow. They called their copy the M-72. They even made the sidecar wheel drive, with a engage-able locking differential. Something the Germans added to the R75 they replaced the R71 with. As the Germans got better at blowing the crap out of countries, Papa Stalin got worried that Moscow was lil too close to the border. So they moved the factory up near the Ural mountains in Siberia to a small town called Irbit And they got down to to business of really working at making sidecar rigs.
They even built another factory in the Ukraine near the Dneper river to make EVEN more rigs.

After the war, the Soviet Union continued to make them off the same mold in both factories. In the '50s the factory in the Irbit began making some rigs for local use, while the factory in the Ukraine continued to make rigs for the Red Army exclusively. In 1953...they started exporting. In the '60s the Irbit factory was re-geared for making just civilian rigs.

The Irbit Factory is STILL making them. Sure, they have updated a lil, but mostly they are making a 1939 motorcycle still. Over and over.
So, a Ural is less a sidecar, and more a time machine.

If only we could hit 88 MPH!!!

I promised ya links.
Factory Site.
Another write-up.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And so it begins...

Well. I went and lost my mind.
First let me give you a little background, just so we start from the same place, OK?
I am 40 years old with an awesome wife, a 2 year old son and way too many hobbies.

I practice full-contact stick fighting based on medieval combat. My wife also plays.
I play tactical paintball, hell I'm even on a team sponsored by a local field. My wife also plays.
I also wrench and ride motorcycles for fun. My wife also plays.

I come from a family of gearheads. One of my first memories is of a Panhead motor in the kitchen sink when I was a lil tot.
My Da rides, my brother rides...hell even my Mom has her own bike.
So motorcycles are part of my life.
For my birthday last year my Da gifted me a 1987 Harley Electra-Glide.
This wasn't just any bike...this was my Da's bike.
I lusted after that bike for nearly 15 years while he had it. Always begging to ride it...Hell, I thought about 'stealing' it on more than one occasion.
Then one day, he drives up from the old family homestead in Louisiana to my place near Chicago with it on a trailer, and signs the title over to me.
Needless to say, I was kinda floored.
But before you start thinking I promptly rode off into the sunset on it, I should come clean about a few things.
The bike has...Issues.
It isn't a basketcase, but it's not minty either.
Nothing major...just little stuff. Some electrical gremlins, the rear brake sticks, the paint is scuffed up, one of the saddlebags has a crack in the lid. Little stuff.
And my Da and I have a little different taste in aesthetics, pretty much every bike I have ever had has been
painted either flat black or OD green. Some examples...
I call this one Dingo.
The wife on her's named Plan B.
This bike has a wicked flame paintjob. 
One of these things is not like the other...
So needless to say I needed to get to work.
Well..there is one lil tidbit of background info I forgot to mention.
I am currently without a paying job. I am working all the time, but seeing how I am working on starting a company with some buddies of mine...nothing PAYING just yet. So I have a limited budget...very limited.
As in none.
Well...having owned Harleys in the past I'll let ya in on a lil secret I learned the hard way.
That HD stamped on all those parts doesn't mean Harley Davidson. It means Hundred Dollars.
So..I can't really do a rehab on the FLH. And I find I can't really ride a bunch anymore since we had our son, and me and the wife sure as shooting can't ride together, cause then there is nowhere to put The Boy.
So I start looking a something I have been interested in for years...a sidecar rig. I can't buy one, but I can look.
I have always wanted a sidecar for lots of reason.
Indiana Jones movies, Rat Patrol, Mad Max...blah blah. You get it or ya don't.
Plus...I have been thinking about something since The Boy was born.
As I said, I come from a family of gearheads and riders, and I always remember my Da working on bikes.
I remember wanting soooo bad to go with him when I was little. I did get to go, when I was bigger, for little jaunts around town. Hell I even got lil mini-bikes and stuff to tool around the yard.
Thing is...if I want to ride with my family in the near term, well, it ain't gonna happen.
But maybe if I had a sidecar rig....hmmmm. (see how this thought process goes? )
Well, in my cruising around the Internet, looking at sidecar rigs for sale...hell even just looking for a side car to slap on the FLH...I find out there is a Ural dealer in town.  So I go down to the showroom and take a look at some of the Russian rigs. I find them very much suited to my taste. They ain't fast...they ain't flashy, and they are basically the same as they where when they started making them back in the '40s. So far so good.
Then we get to talking price....a new one starts at $10,000. Well...there goes that idea. If I can't afford to fix the FLH, I sure as shooting can't afford that.
But I do what every gearhead does...I keep looking at craigslist/eBay/Cycle Trader hoping to see an ad for a free bike with delivery.
Then I see a used Ural listed at shop in Wisconsin. Hmmm... An email was sent. A reply came back.
A lot of haggleing and horse trading later...I traded the FLH for a Ural sidecar rig, and made a little profit.
The Boy gives his approval.

Tucked in for it's first night in it's new home.

 So I got it home,and did the first thing any real gearhead does with a new motorcycle.
I tore it apart.

Well...I'm glad I did. There are some bad wires in the electrical system, and some gunk in the carbs. But nothing that can't be fixed cheap and easy. Overall the rig is in good shape. The motor has a little over 5000 kilometers on it...chump change, and it looks good. First impressions of it are what I expected. It's ain't fast...or flashy. It is easy to work on, and from my research parts are easier to find than you'd think and they are cheap to boot. Well, cheap for motorcycle parts.
Is it a good trade for the FLH?
Hard to say.
Does it 'mean' as much to me as my Da's bike?  
No. But I hope this rig will mean as much to The Wife,The Boy and myself in the future.
I think it will, because it can do one thing the FLH couldn't.
Let us all eat the same bugs. Together.