My Ural (Mis?)Adventure, so far.......

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by jwaller, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. jwaller

    jwaller Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    421
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    I don't know why, but after 15 years on two wheels, I decided it would be cool to add a third wheel. One possible reason is I figured it might be more palatable to my wife. She doesn't like riding pillion so I thought maybe a side ride would be the thing to include her in my other greatest passion (any guy whose wife is also into bikes is truly blessed!). So, I have been thinking it over for the past year or so. Then around Easter my wife and I were driving through the Texas hill country and saw a rancher with a Ural loaded down with fencing equipment. I suddenly realized the utilitarian potential of a Ural, how it could be like a motorcycle pick-up truck, and decided I'd get one when I could. Well, that time came in the past couple weeks. I made a down payment on a new '14 Patrol on Saturday and picked it up Tuesday night. I learned to drive a side hack on my way home to New Braunfels from the San Antonio Ducati dealership. I also got home and realized the left side panel was missing. Did it come off on the way home or did the service people at the dealership forget to put it back on after charging the battery Tuesday afternoon? Who knows? It was dark when I took delivery of the bike so I don't know if it was there when I got the bike or not. Still, not a deal breaker.

    I rode the bike 50 miles to work yesterday, from my house in New Braunfels to the school where I teach in Boerne. I rode without a passenger but with a lot of water bottles in the hack for ballast. The ride to and from work was uneventful. After getting home I asked my wife if I could give her a little spin and she said no. So I took my 10 year old daughter. We tried to take the dog, and he was game until I turned on the engine, when he tried to split. He ended up dangling out the side of the sidecar right in front of the wheel. So we went without him. Then my brother came over and I gave him a spin around the neighborhood. Finally in the evening, my wife finally gave in and let me take her for a spin. When we got back home she told me how much she hated it. Too loud, too hot, too dirty, too windy, I must be crazy to like motorcycles. Oh well, you lose some and you lose some more.

    Today, on my way to work, I had my first real experience with UDF. But, it was not in a good way. My son started going to my school with me this morning, so out with the water bottles and in with a real passenger. We were about half way between home and work and I was wondering what kind of range the bike would get. I kept looking for the low fuel light to come on. I knew we were about a mile from a gas station and decided I didn't want to push it any further, just in case the low fuel light just wasn't working or something. Well, hell. As soon as I had the thought, the motor started losing power and died. Out of gas (at least I now know the range of my bike) about a mile from a gas station with at least one hill between us and it. So my son and I got out and started pushing. Pushing up hill. We got to the top of the hill just as we were running out of steam and I was hoping to see the gas station at the bottom of the other side. Darn, no gas station. Must be over the next hill. So we coasted down the hill and started pushing up the next hill. We were about half way up the hill when my son started puking up his breakfast (I guess he over exerted himself). Finally a guy in a pick up truck stopped and asked if he could help us. He didn't have a spare gas can (funny as we were leaving the house I thought it would be a good idea to grab one, just in case. And then didn't.). He offered to tow us the rest of the way up the hill and to the gas station. It was about one kilometer. We got our gas (thanks for the tow, Greg) and the bike started right up and there was still plenty of time to make it to work without being late. But I couldn't get the bike out of neutral. No matter how hard I tried to shift up or down, the bike stayed in neutral. The gear selector was froze in place. I called into work to let them know I was now going to be late and called my wife to ask her to please come pick us up. I would call the dealership later in the morning when they opened.

    While waiting for my wife to get to us I continued to try to get the bike in gear. No dice. I just wondered about the reverse gear, if it would be jacked up too. Nope. It went into reverse, no problem. I took it back out of reverse without problem too. And then the bike went right into gear with no problem. And now it's running like a champ. But the engine light stays on.

    So, any experienced Uralistas know what could be wrong? Why did I have such a problem getting the bike in gear? What could be wrong causing the engine light to illuminate now, does it have something to do with the fact that I ran it out of gas? I know that's probably not good for the fuel pump. Help, please.
    #1
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  2. Bar None

    Bar None Old School Dude

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,125
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    jwaller,
    You are well on your way to becoming a real Ivan. Sorry but I can't help you as I have never run my fuel down to see the light come on. Never had the problem with being stuck in neutral. Knock on wood twice. My only issue right now with my 2015 cT is the low RPM sputtering which does seems to be less as I now have 6k kms on the bike. Knock on wood again. Don't want to wake up the Ural gods.
    I do use reverse to find neutral.
    As an aside, I have fond memories of when we use to go to New Braunfels area over sixty year ago to swim. The place use to pump river water up on the tin roof to cool it down a bit. Comal Springs ?
    #2
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  3. vetsurginc

    vetsurginc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Parkland, FL
    Know you got similar advice on Sovietsteeds, but I have had one instance where slight movement of the reverse lever stopped me from selecting a forward gear. Using my heel to tap it into full up got me going. It's rare my reverse is up enough for my neutral light to come on, so I tend to check it before starting.
    #3
  4. offroad

    offroad Mogger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    Cullowhee NC

    When running down some rough off pavement roads in GA my Ural suddenly developed the same problem: wouldn't shift into gear. I finally thought to test the reverse shift lever and, sure enough, I had somehow either vibrated the reverse shifter into the "no man's land" of neutral or had accidentally hit it with my heel while negotiating the rough and rocky trail. Once I moved the shifter a quarter inch up from the place I found it, no more problems.

    It is surprising that we don't see this problem discussed more often as it is probably fairly common. Maybe the posts above will help to alert other Ural riders of the issue so that they can address it on the spot.

    Good luck to the OP for future trouble free miles. And a big "Thank You" for posting this problem so that others can be alerted to its existence.
    #4
  5. ZONKR

    ZONKR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    575
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun
    Don't the newer ones have reserve on the petcock or does it have something to do with the FI?
    #5
  6. crashmeister

    crashmeister bykeopath

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Welfare, Tx
    My 05 tourist has exhibited the no shift problem several times and it is always cured by moving the reverse lever back into position. Our local roads are a little bumpy and I think that the lever gets bounced out of position. Maybe I should rig up a spring to hold it.
    #6
  7. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Baptism of fire! Komrade, you are now a battle tested Ivan!
    #7
  8. MotoJ

    MotoJ Mobtown Hacker

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    Baltimore
    So is being an Ivan like a badge of honor for buying a new bike that breaks down before the first hundred miles are on it? Is that a good thing?
    #8
  9. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Urals require a certain ability to forgive and adapt. "Ivan" is resourceful, rigs the rig back into service and keeps on hacking, never giving up in the spirit of Stalingrad. And when frustration levels reach Defcon 5: vodka! :D
    #9
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  10. Carl Childers

    Carl Childers Ghost in the Machine

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,381
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    The soldiers at Stalingrad were shot if they tried to leave the front lines. Hopefully Ural doesn't do the same to their owners
    #10
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  11. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    I am waiting for the Sorrow Special Edition model: a 5 gallon jug of Moskoskaya with 2 shot glasses bolted to the side of the hack!
    #11
  12. Bar None

    Bar None Old School Dude

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,125
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    No petcock on the EFI Urals so therefore no reserve. Don't quite understand why since the fuel pump is external to the tank. Maybe someone can explain that to me.
    Saving money?
    #12
  13. Bar None

    Bar None Old School Dude

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,125
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    Not a good thing but necessary if you are going to be a long term Uralist. No excuses but I still have a ball riding mine.
    #13
  14. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,092
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    There is a recall on the reserve light: it is now replaced by a LED. If you move a little your reverse lever you'll see the neutral light flicker: when pushing it you must have move the lever a tad blocking everything. Not really a breakdown: just a way to remind you this not a Honda!! May I recommend the hand shifter for reverse?? You know always where it is!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #14
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  15. mysticbus

    mysticbus Mysticbus

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    Daytona Beach, FL
    BTDT on the reverse lever. That is a Ural rite of passage.
    #15
  16. crashmeister

    crashmeister bykeopath

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Welfare, Tx
    How bout a link to recommended reverse lever.
    #16
  17. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,092
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    #17
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  18. jwaller

    jwaller Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    421
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Gave the bike a thorough shake-down over the weekend. My son and I rode to Bolivar Peninsula and stayed with my family at a beach house in Crystal Beach. First time I've been there since right after Hurricane Ike; good to see that the place has re-built. Anyway, the bike operated near flawlessly. Riding up and down the beach, I know what it feels like to be a hot chick at the beach, turning every head you pass. Got a lot of looks, thumbs up and shout outs as I rode by. EVEN THE HOT CHICKS LOOKED MY WAY!! Man, that never happens.

    Like I said, the bike operated near flawlessly. Somewhere on the way down on Friday night, the sidecar light went out. The right blinker on the sidecar still works fine, front and back, but the white light began flickering for a while and then went out. So I need to check for a short in the wires somewhere for that. Also, the front left indicator quit working as well. Sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. So I think it's just a short in the wire as well. I noticed I have a leak in the drive shaft. Oil has been slung pretty uniformly around the rear wheel. I've reported these problems to the dealer since the bike is under warranty but I think I'm just going to try to sort it all out myself. I'm going to give the bike its first service this afternoon and see just how it's holding up.

    BTW, I'm posting both on here and Sovietsteeds.com as a way to document all the ups and downs of Ural ownership (for anyone curious) and as a way to record all the stuff I do with the bike. Kind of like a service record that won't get lost. I'm terrible with paperwork.
    #18
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  19. CCjon

    CCjon HighHorse Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    Under the Texas Sun

    The contact prongs in those lights fixtures are notoriously loose and of soft metal. Sometimes just prying them out a little will fix the flickering. Try that before trying to trace down a wiring short. GLWF
    #19
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  20. bcanon

    bcanon Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Space City
    My left front turn signal lamp "went out" after 200km on my cT. I was completely prepared to over-engineer a solution, but wiggling the bulb just a bit fixed the problem.

    I also had a similar issue with the Low Fuel Light. Mine *definitely* worked around 400k when I intentionally ran the tank down, but then left me stranded about 1/2 mile from my destination a week or two ago. As a warning, it stalled ever so slightly at idle at a stop sign by the gas station that I didn't stop at, but I marked it up to the EFI. Nothing like showing up to a gathering mostly populated by two wheeled folk under push power. I came in seated at a coast, but I don't think anyone was buying it... On the upside, it's much less tiring to push this than even my lightest motorcycle or scooter. It certainly doesn't feel like it weighs 750 lbs and you don't have to expend any energy keeping it upright.

    I was going to perform the first service myself, but I'm now considering taking it to the dealer to address the fuel lamp issue.

    Pretty sure my first upgrade is going to be a small gas can mount... Aside from blacking out the engine and adding some lamps to the side car, mine is pretty much stock.

    Keep the updates coming - it's nice to be able to compare notes against another new Ural owner! (In Texas, no less, so I'm expecting year-round reports!)
    #20