Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post Holi-daze Update..

Well hello boys and girls, wanted to give ya'll a little look at what Crawler and I have been up to.
We have made it back from the G424 meltdown, and are back on the road.
From this.... 
To this....
 I went ahead and removed the stock bench seat, replacing it with a solo seat from a KZ1000 Police bike and building a rear fender rack out of scrap wood in the shop.

For those of you with sharp eyes...the white scribble on the tank is me noting starting odometer readings with a piece of chalk. I painted the tank with chalkboard paint which allows me to make notes and directions right on it...I think it's pretty kewl.

Some more snaps from today...
My "Official Salute" pic.

My "Oh Crap I'm stuck!" recovery system....
Approach with caution...or you'll spook it.

Ready to try my luck...will it start? WILL IT?  
It Lives!!

Sorry for the lack of action shots, I did have my helmet camera on during the ride and might be pushing a little video later tonight....maybe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wiring Diagrams...

Just so they are out there in the wild for other folks to use, here are a couple of versions of the diagrams detailing the way Melee and I laid out Crawler.

and here is one without the colors, if you want to use your own, and so it's a lil cheaper to print out.
Also here is a quick video of how it all works....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Resonable person??

As alluded to in a previous post, I wanted to discuss what kind of person thinks it is reasonable to spend time and money on what is an obscure, and many would say obsolete, machine with a questionable pedigree at best.
So, what kind of person puts themselves through the trial of owning a Ural/Dneper sidecar rig?
Well...there are some informal unscientific stats I can throw out there.
Most foil-heads are between the age of 45 and 56.
Most are experienced motorcyclists, with 25+ years of riding experience.
Most either have school-age children or grandchildren at the time of acquiring their rigs.
Most own other bikes, few have a Ural/Dneper as their starter bike.
There doesn't seem to be a 'feeder' brand of bike. Owners of Russian bikes come from both the Harley and Metric camps, however there are enough owners of British and/or Beemers to cause a statistically significant anomaly.

Few would classify themselves as introverts, and those that do go through a pretty massive paradigm shift due to the UDF (Ural Delay Factor) which forces them into a minor celebrity status at random times.
Most foil-heads also enjoy working on their machines nearly as much as riding them, and take a strange sense of pride in the 'creative problem-solving' and WWID moments necessary to have a happy rig.
Roughly 15-25% enter into the relationship with skewed expectations( 75MPH+ Interstate travel, high performance handling/braking, gas-n-go low maintenance) and discard the rigs in disgust. The remainder are prepared to ride the rigs in the Soviet Style and find they have another problem...they begin to neglect any other bikes they own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spark of life...

Crawler has been re-wired...again.
This time without the G424 Alternator or the Voltage Regulator. Melee and I decided to use the bus box system that we employed on the Dingo re-wire. It's a damn nice way to do it as it allows us to separate each system out. This time we where actually able to use correctly colored wire, so the harness is not just a mass of red/green/black wire going everywhere.

He will be using a total loss system with a deep-cycle battery as the power sink.
Right now I am doing a lot of amp/hour math and comparing it to the available budget (HAHAHA!!!) for a battery. I did some quick very short range testing using the motorcycle battery and all systems are go.

I was able to get rid of one thing I hate on motorcycles...ignition keys. Crawler, like Dingo, is now on a series of toggle switches.

I'll hopefully have a quick start/ride video up soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finding a path to power... a lil update for ya'll.
As I mentioned last time, Crawler is having a laugh at my expense.
I have confirmed that the G424 Alternator is in-op, it had to happen sooner or later I guess. Least it could have done was give a little fair warning....Like so...

If only it had been that forthcoming....sigh. 

So I did what any reasonable person would do ( ...well...a REASONABLE person might not have bought a used Ural... but that is a blog entry of it's own.)
I put on my WWID hat and got to scheming.

I ripped that sucker off, tossed it into the basement and cobbled together some plywood, tin sheeting, and gasket paper to block the now gaping hole above the timing gear.
It ain't pretty...but it'll hold.   I think.

3 words.... Total Loss System.
3 more words....No More Bomb.

What is a Total Loss System?

Well it goes like this: The rig needs more than 10.5 volts at 8 Amp/Hours to run.
That means on average, with the stock lighting and coil/ignition module both engaged the system draws around 8 amps of power. The G424...when it worked...put out a whopping 11 amps. Meaning that the rig was draining 93% or so of the alternator output...leaving little more than a maintenance or 'float' charge for the battery. Basically enough to put back what it takes to kick start the bike....barely.
A standard motorcycle battery has a rating of 10 or 12 Amp/Hours good for about 1.5 hours of run time without an alternator. Which translates into about 50 miles huh? Yes it does...see last entry.

However, for about the price of a good motorcycle battery you can acquire a Deep Cycle Battery with a 115 Amp/Hour rating good for about 14 hours of demand . Which translates into about a 500 mile range on paper. In real world estimates...I can expect 250 miles before I drain the battery low enough to damage the cells. More than enough for commuting and scooting around with The Boy. The downside is a deep cycle battery is BIG. Around 14 inches long, 10 inches high and weighing 35 lbs. big. Luckily I have a little bit of extras space.

As I mentioned last time...cost and time are a factor in the decision.
Here's a lil visual aid.

  •  Replace 424 Alternator with another 424.
    • Cost: ~$300
    • Shipping time from Ukraine- 4 to 6 weeks
    • Likely to fail again.
  •  Replace 424 Alternator with Denso unit
    • Cost ~$500
    • Shipping time from Germany- 2 to 4 weeks.
    • Cat's meow...outlast the engine most likely.
  • Replace 424 Alternator with Total Loss System
    • Cost~ $80
    • Shipping time- NADA
    • Limited range(but within projected use profile)

As you can see, while Total Loss is less than perfect, it suits my needs for now and is a damn sight easier on my wallet than any other option. Additionally it smacks of one of the things I love...creative problem solving.  I am redoing the complete wiring loom [second time], fabricating a solo seat mount and rear fender cargo rack(not to mention the super sexy plug pictured above) mostly with crap that was in my basement leftover from other projects or found/scrounged supplies.
Yeah, so it's a 'Rat Bike' solution.  Maybe it's even a lil hillbilly.

But it's good practice for the Apocalypse. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fixed it so it could break....

Well...remember how I said I had killed all the electrical gremlins?
Looks like Crawler is having a laugh on my behalf.
One of the things that is a known risk of going south on these rigs are most versions of the Alternator.
Well....the different versions of the Alternators all fail in different ways.
The 14.3771 alternator, commonly known as the RPOC (...figure it out yourself. :) ) is infamous for failing and eating the gear tower...basically grenadeing the engine altogether.
There is also the G424 alternator, which isn't known for doing that, but IS known for a fairly high failure rate. As in about 92% of them fail. This is the alternator I have on Crawler.
And it looks like I didn't beat the curve.

I went for a bit of a ride, and all was going good...ticking right along.
Hell the powerplant even sounded less like a sewing machine failing down a flight of stairs...which should have been my first warning, or payed more attention to the Alternator fault light.
Seems the G424 gave up on I wasn't charging but sucking power from the battery.
I was completely unaware of this...until I got under 10.5 volts of power in the battery...then suckage.
I will admit to spending a bit of time on the side of the road thinking I was having a fuel delivery problem still, the symptoms are very similar.
Hard starting...rough running....backfires.
After eleminating fuel as the issue...I check the plugs spark.
WEAK pale spark...
Hmmm...coil going bad maybe?
I dig a little further (Thankfully traffic is light on side streets and the weather is a sunny 40F) and realize I don't have enough volts to work the flashers...and my horn sounds like a sick baby lamb.
So I unhook everything not required to run...yes, I cut out all the lights...ALL of them.
I got it kinda running...and limped most of the way home before the battery was too flat to even fire the coil.
I hoofed the couple of blocks back to the house and was debating what to do next....go charge the battery?
replace it? steal the battery out of Dingo and walk back with it?
Then I see my neighbor has a really nice trailer hooked to his truck with a bunch of cabinets in it. I pop over and discuss some quid pro quo.
I help him unload, he runs down the block and we drag Crawler home.
First thing I do is recharge the battery....and check my wiring again looking for mistakes, shorts and connection issues. All looks good.
When the battery shows green I try and start him up...catches in about 4 kicks.
Runs great...nice and solid sounding idle...quick throttle response..
Do some checks with the multi-meter, and sure alternator output at any RPM.
System shows 12 volts and falling.

So now I got a choice to make.

Get a deep-cycle battery and go total loss electrical. Cost:~$ 100 but limits range to ~250 miles.
Replace the G424 with one just like it...and try to beat the curve on the failure rate again. Cost: ~$300
Get a Nippon-Denso alternator (Which are reported as awesome and failure free....mostly) Cost:~$600

What to do....