Sheldon's 1998 Ural Sportsman - Weeks 19
8/29/98 Saturday Day 127...
8/30/98 Sunday Day 128... Big Change... I am finding it difficult to update the site every day so I am probably going to be updating once or twice a week from now on. But I can guarantee that there will always be something to write about.
A lot happened with the bike last week. Remember all the sputting and backfiring that was a problem for so long? Well, it is back. I rode the bike to work Monday without problems. Tuesday I rode to work then went to Sir Benedick's on the Lake for the British bike meet. Saw tons of great bikes, had great conversations and the Ural was the hit of the show. It got more attention than any of the other bikes and the UDF was in great form. The bike ran splendidly and I had an excellent time.
Wednesday I had some meetings and couldn't bring the bike, Thursday it rained, and I chose not to ride. We were expecting severe thunderstorms with damaging hail and I thought better of taking it out.
Friday night Son #1 came by to help me load the Guzzi in the pickup. After we got it running a couple of weeks ago something else shorted out in the electrical system, so I decided to take the bike to an expert and have him go over the whole system and upgrade it. After Son #1 left I decided to go for a ride. It was a beautiful night and it was still about 75 degrees at 8:00 p.m.
I started the bike on two kicks. Let it idle for a few minutes, then pulled out of the driveway. Got about 50 feet before it started to sputter and pop. I thought maybe it wasn't warm enough and fiddled with the choke. That didn't seem to make much of a difference. I turned around and pulled back in the driveway where the bike died. I then tried to restart it but it wouldn't go. I pulled the plugs to check to see if they were wet but they were not. Tried kicking it and tried the electric starter. Plenty of juice and the starter turned it nicely. I tried to start it for several minutes, then let it sit for ten minutes and tried again. One time it popped but didn't start. Finally I closed the garage door and went into the house where I watched some mindless drivel on TV while I worked on web sites.
Saturday morning I did my tour and when I got home I pushed the bike out of the garage, got on it, kicked twice with the key off. Turned the key on and kicked again. It started on the first kick. I let it warm up then gingerly took it for a ride. It ran great again!... for ten miles... It started to sputter so I headed for home. As I pulled in the driveway it backfired a couple of times so I put it in the garage, went in the house, and wrote a nice e-mail to Ural Tech Support and to Marlow at Northern Sports.
It is now Monday and they are putting their heads together to figure out what to do. This problem started in June and each fix has lasted just a short time. Hopefully they will find a solution to it. I did joke with them that a Deco Classic in my garage might make everything alright. I do love my Ural, and the problems I have been having are not normal for Urals. I have many friends with them and I am the only one who has had these kinds of problems, that I am aware of. I suspect that this may be the case of the ignition module being bad from the get-go but we shall see.
I will keep you posted.
8/31/98 Monday Day 129... Marlow called me today to let me know that he hadn't heard from the folks at Ural America yet but he was going to order a whole new ignition module and have it dropped shipped to me. He was then going to drive to Duluth when it came in and install it.
9/1/98 Tuesday Day 130... Got an call this afternoon from the gentleman at Ural America who handles Customer Service. He called to tell me that the ignition module was on its way. He also called to apologize for all the problems I have had and to let me know that they are very concerned about it. He went on and on about how they are working so very hard to modify these things to be the amongst the most reliable bikes available. He told me of all the changes they make and some that they will be making in the future. He was so very apologetic and nice it was incredible. Of course being a bit of a cynic sometimes I naturally started thinking to myself, "This is probably the most visible Ural in existence with all the people reading this web site, I'm sure he doesn't want me to say bad things."
So I asked him, "have you seen the internet site for this bike?"
He responded, "Yes, I saw your e-mail to Tech Support."
"No the web site, where I diary the bike."
"Huh", he said.
He was clueless about this site, and there went that theory. He really was just calling because he was concerned after Marlow had detailed all the problems I have had. What an amazing company... We ended up chatting for about 15 minutes, and without really meaning to I became convinced that if he were my neighbor, he is the kind of person I would lend my mower to...
I once had an interview with a man who took me to lunch, never once talked business, and hired me. Later he told me that his theory of hiring was to get to know someone, and after he did, if that person turned out to be someone he would feel comfortable lending his lawnmower to, he felt fine about hiring them. I later learned to respect Lars Fladmark very much and his little theory stuck in my mind all these years. I guess I'd lend my mower to anyone that I have crossed paths with at Ural America...
9/2/98 Wednesday Day 131... Just waiting for parts.
9/3/98 Thursday Day 132... Just waiting for parts.
9/4/98 Friday Day 133... Just waiting for parts, again. Talked to Marlow today and assuming the parts come in soon, he had planned on coming up to Duluth to install them. But... He is now going to be in Minneapolis for the holiday and he wouldn't be able to come up until some time next week. I am hoping that the parts will be delivered on Saturday and I am going to try to do the installation myself with the help of Ural Tech Support. Marlow also detailed, to me, the instructions for installing the module and timing the machine. I also have to disassemble the rear wheel and check out the bearing and tighten everything up. Then I also have to take the hack wheel off and deflate the tire. The air filler stem has shifted just a bit and is no longer perpendicular. That means that in a little while there would be a chance that the rim would cut through it and I would have a tire go down. So I will be dismounting the tire and turning tire and tube on the rim just far enough to get it straight. So, I have my work cut out for me.
I have to give a tour in the morning Saturday, then go to the office for several hours to install some software. I have been having a hard time finding the time to do it but the holiday weekend will give me that luxury. It is hard to find a time where I can repeatedly shut down the system and re-start it when I am not interrupting dozens of people trying to do their work. So I am going to do some of it on Saturday and some on Sunday. Looks like the long holiday weekend will be a short one for me. I also have two jobs to work, installing computer systems at peoples homes. I will try to take Monday off though, and I hope that I will have the chance to at least get the rear bearing and the hack tire done Saturday evening. I know that I should be out finding a date for the evening but "Olga" seems to get all my attention...
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Last modified: March 22, 2011