Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

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scottolds
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Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby scottolds » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:49 pm

The Back Story:

It was a year ago today when I was on my way to pick up my first Ural. I told my wife that she can get a new Subaru and I will get a used Ural instead of the new 2015 which she had been secretly talking to Gene at Holopaw about to surprise me on Christmas Day. The plan was not to replace her vehicle, but as with many things after they are out of warranty a while, things start to break so I set my sights on a used Gear Up instead of the new Patrol I originally wanted. I had off the time between Christmas and New Years and the plan was hatched to rent a car one way from Orlando to Iowa to pick up my new to me Ural. The plan was to ride it back. It had been recently serviced, the tires were good enough to get back to FL, and I have a sense of adventure so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Arriving in Iowa, it was 8 degrees F. Good thing I bought some heated gear (I thought to myself). I had arrangement with the Urals owner to pick me up at the rental car drop off and we would then go finalize the deal, connect a plug for my heated gear, and I would start my ride home. Upon arriving I noticed the Ural was a bit rougher than the pictures showed. 3 years of winter riding showed, but I was optimistic and still pleased enough to complete the purchase.

To make a long story short I headed off, got really cold due to some heated gear connection issues, and aborted the whole trip after 25 miles due to what I would later find out was some unexpected carburetor problems that probably should not have existed if the dealer actually did the 12000 km service. Anyway, I was fortunate to be able to get the Ural trailered to FL where I would get the carbs fixed and be able to start riding.

That joy would last about 6 weeks and 1500 km before the right side big end rod bearing disintegrated and locked up the motor. Here are a few pictures of the brief 6 weeks of enjoyment :)

Here is the Ural arriving home. Dog testing out the chair.
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A few from a ride through Ocala National Forest:
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As luck would have it, the engine would lock while the wife and I were out enjoying a ride on our wedding anniversary. It just made that year more memorable.

Looking on the bright side of things, I saw this as an opportunity to do some restoration work on the Ural and take care of the rusty parts and chipped paint since I was going to have the engine out anyway. I spent time gathering all the stuff for the rebuild. However, time was not on my side and my Ural rebuild would be halted until time permitted me to resume. So 10 months later I am getting started.

I will use this thread to document everything from the engine rebuild, tear down, and repaint. I may even through in a few upgrades when things go back together.

Feel free to follow along or not.
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby VWK75S » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:08 am

:lurker: John
2009 GearUp 125,000kms
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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby Snakeoil » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:49 am

If you have not already considered this, make yourself a stand for the sidecar and pull it off the rig. It will make the entire process that much more enjoyable. The stand will make it easier for your to move the car out of the way or around if you have limited space in your garage. Put casters on it if you can. I welded mine up from some square tubing scrounged from a neighbors old basketball backboard.

You will need a few special tools to get the enging apart. You can make them pretty easily. You'll also need a few pullers. I have a Horror Fright gear puller set that worked quite well if a few homemade adapters.

This will be a fun rebuild to watch. Please post lots of pictures. Good for the next guy and good for you because somebody here might catch something you did not notice.

And lastly, I would suggest that you do not tear into it like a monkey on a cupcake. Observe, measure, check, document all findings as it comes apart because the info collected may tell the story as to why it failed and if there is a risk for other machines out there.

I've got to go make some popcorn now.
Regards,
Rob
2000 Ural Tourist
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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby Lmo » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:21 pm

Horror Fright :lol:
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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby Albuquralque » Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:07 pm

:lurker:
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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby INSUBORDINATOR » Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:08 pm

Very sorry to hear of your misfortune. The bike is real pretty though & certainly worth repairing. I had a very limited budget & bought a 2002 tourist in need of work, but with under 3k miles. it arrived with the left cylinder bolted loosely back together- tape here & there. I have owned it a year now & have had many surprises thanks to mr. bad wrench. the last problem was a failed pushrod tube hemorrhaging. Back together now & running sweet.
I know when you get it sorted, it will be worth the trouble & wait.
Current Motorcycles: 02 Ural Tourist, 2010 modified Royal Enfield G5 Deluxe.

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby scottolds » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:49 pm

Thanks for the advice. It is true that part of the reason for taking the time to do these postings is to potentially save myself or someone else from making a mistake. Not to mention, it then gets documented for educational and entertainment purposes.

So, back to the story...

Engine Breakdown Recap:

All this was posted previously since it happened 10 months ago. But, I figured it couldn't hurt to hit the highlights again and have it all documented in one place.

After the Ural was towed home I did what any other person would do which is try to figure out why my engine locked up.

I began with draining the oil and this is what the drain plug looked like:

Notice all the sparkly bits. They are pretty much through the entire engine
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Plenty of sparkling stuff on the oil filter as well
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Not to mention I had plenty on my hands
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Also in the valve cover
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Have some carbon build up in the combustion chambers
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And on top of the pistons
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Also some scoring and some overheating evidence on the pistons
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And the offending connecting rod. Turns out I could get it to free up and then turn very easily, but putting a side load on the rod would cause it to lock again. It made it interesting to get the crank out.

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The oil pan also had plenty of evidence. Here were the big chunks.
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I also found some odd wear on the breather valve
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So after the tear down and assessment, it was time to determine what would be needed to put it back together.
Did some measuring and determined some new cylinders and pistons would be in order
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I also like the blacked out engine and feel it looks good with the red. However, I was not impressed with how ratty some of it looked after 4 years.
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It seems that the poorness of the finish was related to how hot the item gets. So it makes sense that the heads would be the worst. The valve covers still looked good. The cylinders were fair, but they were going to be replaced. The most disappointing was the powder coat sections on the case that were just flaking off.

The next step was to go visit Gene in Holopaw and pick up some parts. I deliberately chose to not get powder coated cylinders figuring I would figure something out by the time I was able to put it all back together.

Here is a trunk load of old Ural parts and some new parts as well. I figured I would take it all with me to Gene's to remind me everything I needed and to get Gene and Kenny's advice on things.

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A new crank. I was told I was lucky to get it since they had been backordered at the time. This is supposed to be one of the newer ones that have upgraded bearings (hopefully)
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Gaskets, crank, and new cylinders got to ride home in the backseat.
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Also picked up a new front fender to replace the one with the pedestrian slicer holes
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Here is some overheating evidence around the exhaust ports on the head.
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At this point in time (April 2015) I had bought most everything I should need to rebuild the engine. Then life got in the way and had to put everything on a shelf until time allowed me to get back to it (which is now).

For those of you wondering what caused the failure of the bearing, I have a hypothesis. I feel it is something that was slowly building over time to the grand finale of the bearing finally failing. I put a cylinder head temp gauge on it shortly after I bought it and was alarmed at how high the temps got once it was going over 60. Detonation can cause cylinder head temps to rise fast (which they did). So, my theory is that even though the Ural ran great at 65 and even 70 for extended times (according to the previous owner) it was slowly killing itself. When detonation occurs the piston is trying to be forced down while the connecting rod wants it to move up. Over time, this weakens the bearings and eventually fails. Many things can cause the detonation. In this Urals case, I think it was the carbon build up. Anyway, that is what I believe contributed to the failure and pretty sure the evidence supports it.

In the next posts I will get to the present day where the real fun of rebuilding will occur.
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby Snakeoil » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:33 pm

When I rebuilt my 650, I got a NOS short block from Terry Crawford and pulled the crank out to put into my case. Inspection of the crank revealed some very nasty stuff in the oil slingers, which as you know feed the big ends. Someone here opined that the shortblock was used. But Terry's reputation for honesty precedes him and I even asked to reconfirm in case I had misunderstood. It was indeed a NOS short block. And the crud that I found was not what I would expect to find in a engine that had run. It was very gritty and almost like lapping compound. I did my best to clean the crank out and relube it before I assembled it. I'm sure if I had not noticed this, the life of the crank would have been extremely short. Based on this finding, I have a suspicion that mine was not the only crank to leave Irbit in this condition and may explain the poor bearing reliability and crank failures attributed to the early machines. But it also begs the question, was crank cleanliness still an issue in 2005?

The photo of the breather valve is a little fuzzy. Is that a ball bearing impact on the notch? Looks like it to me. Although I struggle with trying to envision how a ball bearing could get up into that area. Also looks too small for any of the bearings in the engine. If that is a spherical crater, makes you wonder what might have fallen into the engine during assembly in the factory. Maybe a dissatisfied employee was adding a special touch to the engines as they passed his work station.

I see a dial bore gauge in your pics. Obvioulsy you have been down this road before or do this for a living. Or you are the king of garage sale finds. :bow:

As I'm sure you know, the secret to good powder coat is all in the surface prep. My guess is Ivan is a bit challenged in the prep department. And aluminum seems to hate any kind of coating over the long haul. Once corrosion finds a source of O2, the game is on. Not sure what I would do in your shoes. I'd hate to have the cases blasted and coated again. I'd never feel confident I got all the sand out. I would probably just sand the raw edges smooth where it flaked off, scuff up the rest of the powdercoat and shoot the case with flat or satin VHT paint. Then future touch-ups would be possible. Other choice is to chemically strip the powdercoat and go with raw aluminum case. But that's not a fun job and you like the black engine.

I used Duplicolor engine paint in gloss black on my cast iron jugs and it looks good. Although it still stinks when I shut the bike down after a ride.
Regards,
Rob
2000 Ural Tourist
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby scottolds » Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:49 pm

Snakeoil wrote:When I rebuilt my 650, I got a NOS short block from Terry Crawford and pulled the crank out to put into my case. Inspection of the crank revealed some very nasty stuff in the oil slingers, which as you know feed the big ends. Someone here opined that the shortblock was used. But Terry's reputation for honesty precedes him and I even asked to reconfirm in case I had misunderstood. It was indeed a NOS short block. And the crud that I found was not what I would expect to find in a engine that had run. It was very gritty and almost like lapping compound. I did my best to clean the crank out and relube it before I assembled it. I'm sure if I had not noticed this, the life of the crank would have been extremely short. Based on this finding, I have a suspicion that mine was not the only crank to leave Irbit in this condition and may explain the poor bearing reliability and crank failures attributed to the early machines. But it also begs the question, was crank cleanliness still an issue in 2005?


I will definitely be checking and cleaning everything very well before going back in the motor. It has taken a while just to get the inside of the case clean enough that I don't get glitter on my hands when running my finger over it.

Snakeoil wrote:The photo of the breather valve is a little fuzzy. Is that a ball bearing impact on the notch? Looks like it to me. Although I struggle with trying to envision how a ball bearing could get up into that area. Also looks too small for any of the bearings in the engine. If that is a spherical crater, makes you wonder what might have fallen into the engine during assembly in the factory. Maybe a dissatisfied employee was adding a special touch to the engines as they passed his work station.


That one is definitely a mystery. Maybe I can figure out what it was when I start putting things back together. I suppose it is entirely possible it was like that from the beginning.


Snakeoil wrote:I see a dial bore gauge in your pics. Obvioulsy you have been down this road before or do this for a living. Or you are the king of garage sale finds. :bow:


I have been down this road before an have a tendency to collect tools. It makes me happy to finally be able to use them :lol:
Though, I would be even happier if I didn't have to use them.

Snakeoil wrote:As I'm sure you know, the secret to good powder coat is all in the surface prep. My guess is Ivan is a bit challenged in the prep department. And aluminum seems to hate any kind of coating over the long haul. Once corrosion finds a source of O2, the game is on. Not sure what I would do in your shoes. I'd hate to have the cases blasted and coated again. I'd never feel confident I got all the sand out. I would probably just sand the raw edges smooth where it flaked off, scuff up the rest of the powdercoat and shoot the case with flat or satin VHT paint. Then future touch-ups would be possible. Other choice is to chemically strip the powdercoat and go with raw aluminum case. But that's not a fun job and you like the black engine.

I used Duplicolor engine paint in gloss black on my cast iron jugs and it looks good. Although it still stinks when I shut the bike down after a ride.


I have a plan for re-blackening the cylinders and heads which will be revealed when I get started on that phase of the project.

For now, I am still tearing things down. Taking a lot of pictures. And bagging and tagging everything.

At least a Ural isn't overly complicated and I could probably figure out how to put everything back together even if I just dumped everything in a big bucket as I pulled it off. :D
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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Question?

Postby scottolds » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:03 pm

For the purposes of stripping things down to get cleaned up and being able to easily move things around, it looks like I may have to also separate the sidecar frame from the bike.

I had thought if I kept it as a rolling chassis, that it might be better. However, it doesn't look like there is anyway to have the sidecar wheel on without the driveshaft and the rear wheel needs to have the final drive in there.

It doesn't appear to be very much to separating the pieces.

Any advice, tips, or things I should avoid doing?

I also noticed there is no spacer on the sidecar wheel so I guess I better put that on my list of stuff for my next trip to Gene's.

Here are a few pictures to keep it interesting :wink:

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Thanks
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby Snakeoil » Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:37 pm

I cannot give you any imput on the rear sidecar driveshaft mine is 1wd. Making a stand as I suggested previously will make it easier for your to manhandle the sidecar detached from the bike. Taking it off, is pretty easy. Don't forget to put the bike on the centerstand first! No Homer Simpson moments, please.

Here are pics of my stand. Used U-clamps with plastic tubing over them to attach to the sidecar chassis.

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The wood block under the one end is because I had a Homer Simpson moment when I measured for the stand. I did not have the bike on the center stand. D'oh!
Regards,
Rob
2000 Ural Tourist
Before you say something stupid, always ask yourself, "What would Harpo say?".

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Taking Stuff Apart

Postby scottolds » Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:14 pm

So today was spent getting the Ural broken down into smaller parts.

Typically if I am going to start a project I will go all in as deep as possible. So for the Ural, pretty much everything that can be bolted together will be unbolted. Everything that plugs in will be unplugged. Then things will be cleaned, refurbished as necessary and then put back together. I figure it will be similar to putting one together in Iribt except I will be using grease, primer, and a stronger paint :lol:

I have a bit more to go before everything is all apart, but I was happy with my progress for today.

Here is a picture of the last pieces that are still bolted together. Actually the rear fender is off, but I took this before I did that.
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Now I did learn a lesson. Apparently the bike on the center stand is not as stable when the rear wheel is off as when there is a side car on it. How often do you see a Ural on its side? :shock:

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We are supposed to be getting rain all day tomorrow so my Ural work will be confined to stripping stuff off the fenders and maybe digging into the headlight area.
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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January 3rd 2016 work

Postby scottolds » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:07 pm

So today I didn't get much done on the Ural, but I did manage to get the handle bars off. Also, I documented, tagged, and removed the wiring harness.

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After some tagging and photos

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And this is how I left it

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I was hoping to also get the front fender off, but it doesn't seem like that will come off until I get the forks off. Unless there is some trick that is eluding me.

Overall I was impressed with the ease of removing the wiring harness. The only thing I found odd is that there is no connector for the left side front turn signal. So I had to cut some wires.

Next steps will be to lift the frame and finish tearing it down and then finish the disassemble on the rear and sidecar fenders. Then I can start on the reconditioning process.
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby wooden nickel » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:32 pm

Twist the fender to remove or install. It helps to put blue tape in the fork dents on the fender to prevent scratching. It is also easier if two people twist the fender but can be done by one.
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Re: Phoenix Rising - A Ural Rebuild Saga

Postby scottolds » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:02 pm

wooden nickel wrote:Twist the fender to remove or install. It helps to put blue tape in the fork dents on the fender to prevent scratching. It is also easier if two people twist the fender but can be done by one.


Thanks for the advice :clap: Worked perfectly. I ended up doing it myself because my wife didn't want to get her hands dirty :lol:

Here is the picture of it done. One extra front fender on the shelf now (well, will be on a shelf soon)

Image
2009 KLR650
1987 Honda VF700C Super Magna
2011 Ural Gear-UP - отвлекающий маневр
1994 Kawasaki Voyager XII
http://www.rokkitrider.com

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