Sheldon's 1998 Ural Sportsman - Week 9

6/20/98 Saturday Day 57 and day 14 of no Ural again...   Ok, it is Saturday, there is no Ural within miles and I am sitting here hoping that it comes home soon.  It has had much too long of a vacation from me.  More planting, weeding, cleaning, washing clothes and all that kind of domestic stuff, but no riding.

6/21/98 Sunday Day 58 and day 15 of no Ural again...   Argh...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6/22/98 Monday Day 59 and day 16 of no Ural again...   I'm hoping that this will be my last day Uralless...  Tomorrow I will be calling Marlow to find if he has the bike back together.  If he does I am planning on driving the truck down to Garrison to pick the bike up after work.  If not then I won't be able to get it until Thursday.  Next Monday I have to drive to Marathon and Shawano Wisconsin.  They are in Central and Eastern Wisconsin.  It is about a five hour drive to Marathon and another hour beyond to Shawano.  If I have the bike back, I will load it in the truck on Sunday, and take it with to Marathon, unload it there and leave my truck, to take the the bike for the rest of the trip.  Should be interesting to see what the UDF (Ural Delay Factor) is like in a foreign country like Wisconsin will be.  Yes, to we Minnesotians Wisconsin and Iowa are considered foreign countries.  Kind of like the French/English thing...  <grin>

6/23/98 Tuesday Day 60 and day 17 of no Ural again...   11:30 a.m. and just got off the phone with Marlow at Northern Sports.  He has the bike together and ready to go so I am heading down there this evening.  By the time I get home it will be too late to ride so I will have to wait until tomorrow to get back on it, but I am oh so glad to be getting it back!!!  Now the stories will begin again.  Has anyone been reading this stuff?  e-mail:

shesback.jpg (11383 bytes)sheldon34.jpg (34442 bytes)  Drove to Garrison and picked up the bike tonight.  Didn't get home until after dark so the photo isn't very clear as it was the old Polaroid again, and in the garage.  The bike must have missed me as she seems to be hurting a bit.  She doesn't appear to be running as well as before, but it might just be from being laid up for almost three weeks.  I was only able to take it for a ride around the block so it wasn't a fair judgement as to whether it is really running well or not.  It will have to wait until tomorrow evening to take it for a longer ride though.  Because the gears have been replaced in the rear unit I want to take it very easy on it for a bit.  I figure I will give it a couple of days at 30 mph and then bump it up to 42 for a few days before I open it up.  Tomorrow is supposed to be thunderstorms so the bike will probably stay home.

It was very interesting picking up the bike tonight.  Daryl went with and on the way back we stopped for dinner in Aitkin Minnesota.  While we were in the restaurant we could see people getting out of their vehicles, zeroing in on the Ural and milling around the truck trying to figure out what it was.  One man came in, looked around, saw the old guy with the pony tail, and looked me in the eyes and said, "what the heck is it"?  Had to talk with him for a few minutes until the waitress got tired of waiting and came to take our order.  About five minutes later, while we were waiting for our order to arrive, a couple pulled in and they immediately went over to the truck and were walking around it pointing and talking.  When they came in they looked at all the people in the building and zeroed in on me.  I guess I must just look like a strange bike owner, or is that a strange owner of bikes?  First words?   "What is it?"  Who would have thunk???  Had to chat with them until our food came...

Time to leave the restaurant, moved towards the counter to pay the bill and was flagged down by the couple for another question and answer period.  The UDF (Ural Delay Factor) was in full swing.  While I was talking to them Daryl came over and took the bill and money out of my hand.  Seems the waitress had been standing by the till waiting for me for several minutes by that time and Daryl took pity on her.  Me?   I was having to much fun talking Ural to even know there were other people in the building.

I also had a chat with Marlow and his brother when we were picking up the bike.   One thing that hit me was that I have owned 47 cars or trucks, 5 snowmobiles, 20 motorcycles and 5 houses and I have never been attached to any of them.  I did come close with my 68 Plymouth GTX and 69 Dodge Super Bee but I have really never been the type of person who gets attached to inanimate objects.  But, but, but, she isn't an inanimate object!  She has a personality.  I even found myself referring to her at "Olga" tonight.  This bike is more human than some of the people I have shared offices with over the years.  I find it hard to believe but this thing has captivated me.

I'm glad she is back in my garage...
G'nite folks...

6/24/98 Wednesday Day 61 and day one of Riding again...    She may be back but she isn't happy.  I took it out for a putt tonight.   Not really a "ride" as I didn't exceed 35 mph.  Most of the time I was at 15-20 mph, and in 1.5 hours of riding I only went 30 miles.  Of course I did stop for a couple of minutes and walked the garden center at Wal-Mart looking for cherry trees.  It would have been interesting if I had found one.  Riding home with a cherry tree in the hack would have been quite a sight.  I guess I better keep looking...

Last night when we picked the bike up the taillight was burned out for the second time.   Tonight, soon after I left home the left directional lights quit working.  As I pulled in the driveway, upon my return, I turned them on and they worked fine.  The bike also doesn't seem to be running quite right.  It is backfiring and chugging at slow speeds, and of course most of the putt was at slow speeds.  She seems to be loading up with fuel.  I will have to check the carbs tomorrow.

When I first got on the bike it seems that something was wrong with the back end.   It didn't feel right when I sat on it.  I checked the shocks and they were still on the same lugs but when I checked the air in the rear tire it was down about 15 psi.  Got out the hand pump and was ready to roll in a few minutes.  I know for a fact that I have never gotten a hand pump with any motorcycle I have ever owned before.   I hear tell that if you buy a Deco Classic you even get an intercom system with the bike. 

It sure felt good to ride even though it was just a putt.  Had the usual kids waving, ladies smiling and guys looking longingly at the bike.  As I was riding along the shoulder of the state highway I was passed by a couple of four wheeler ATVs running the ditches.  They were probably going 55 to my 30 mph.  At first I thought, "this a bit embarrassing", but then I held my head up, puffed out my chest and yelled to no one in particular, "Hey, it's a Russian bike, it's not supposed to run perfectly all the time", and I felt better. Of course I was grinning wildly at the time...

6/25/98 Thursday Day 62...  Weather report was for Thunderstorms all day today, clearing for the drive home.  Boy did they get it backwards.  Fog all day, started raining at 4:00 p.m. and stopped about 7:00.   At 7:30 I was on the bike and looking for a reason to go for a ride.  Finally decided that I didn't need a reason.  The bike started on the fourth kick but it still didn't seem to be running well.  It stumbles a bit but was a little better than yesterday.  I checked everything over and all seemed well.  The only thing I didn't do that I probably should have was pull the plugs and look at them.  During the ride I pulled into the Dairy Queen to get an ice cream cone.  I noticed when I pulled in that the directional light wasn't working again.  When it was time to leave I was parked on a hill and I thought I would use the electric starter instead of kicking.   I thought I might look pretty foolish rolling backwards downhill while trying to kick the bike over.  Seemed that hitting the starter was the prudent thing to do.   Hit the button and nothing happened.  No juice.  The headlight worked but it wouldn't turn over with the starter.  I had been running at 15-30 mph again and I got to thinking that maybe the battery hasn't had a chance to charge since its three weeks off, and the slow running isn't throwing enough revs to keep it charged.

I know so little about electrical systems that I am not sure what my problem is, but I suspect that could explain the directional light not working.  Could it also explain the stumbling of the engine???  Anyone out there able to help with this?  I probably should post to Ural Tech Support and see what kind of answer I get.  I threw the trickle charger on when I put it away tonight.  2650 km on the clock now...

A half hour after I posted the above I found this in my e-mail...  Even Ural Tech Support checks in here... <grin>

Don't be so quick to check the carbs...its sounds like your battery is WAY low on juice. Get the charger on it pronto...This should solve both the low speed chugging and the turn signal issue simultaneously.

The intermittent loss of turn signals is a prime indicator of loss of charge. This will also cause misfiring at low RPM, so get the charge up first.    Methinks you will be 'hokay after this simple fix.
Ural Tech Support

6/26/98 Friday Day 63...  I let the trickle charger go over night and this morning it appeared that the battery was at full charge.   I rode to work and all seemed to be well.  The bike ran wonderfully.  The Minnesota HOG (Harley Owners Group) rally is being held in Duluth this weekend.  I have heard figures from 2500-5000 members will be in town.  I did see a lot of them today.  Some of the folks in that group have asked that I take the bike down and display it, as an "oddity".  That it certainly is.  At lunch time today I went for a ride to scout the Harley set up in Canal Park.  As I was riding around the performance kept deteriorating until the bike was barely running.  When I started to get bad I headed back to the office.  Even cut my lunch hour short.   I really feared that I wouldn't make it home and after work I again hit the back roads.  The bike ran reasonably well until I stopped at the bank about a mile from my house.  I have only tried to use the electric start once since I got the bike back, so I started kicking.  It took half a dozen tries but it did start.  As I was doing that I looked down and noticed oil running down the side of the engine.  Now what???  Turns out there is an inspection cover over the oil pump shaft on the top of the engine.  It had worked its way loose.  When I tried to tighten it all it did was spin, apparently stripped.

I checked, and the oil was up at full, so that didn't seem to be a major problem so I headed for home.  About a block from home I ran into a neighbor on his Honda and stopped to talk to him.  The bike would not idle and killed after a half minute.   It did restart and as I pulled into my driveway it killed again.  I now have the trickle charger on the bike and I am going to remove the battery in the morning and top it up.  I am also going to try to get some gasket compound on the threads to the inspection cover.  Hopefully I will be riding tomorrow with no real down time.   I may have to miss my participation with the Harley bunch but I can probably go down there tomorrow night for the street dance. 

Week: Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

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Copyright 1989-2010, Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights reserved
Last modified: March 22, 2011

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