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The sidecar was stripped down to bare metal as well, lengthy process with a cup brush. It would have been nice to have a sand blaster, because working inside the cramped tub with a large angle grinder is a bit dodgy, incredibly noisy and dusty, but it was no time to be squeamish, the paint shop was waiting!


The tub was seriously dented at the front, I think it was used to break down the Berlin Wall. I hammered out what dents I could and began filling. I used a good bit of JB Weld at any corners where the filler would not be strong enough. I also used the JB Weld as a filler in one area of the floor panel that was weakened by corrosion, although not weakened to to the point that there were holes. JB Weld is user friendly, sandable and very strong. The downside is that it’s expensive if used liberally like filler and takes 24 hours before it can be sanded.


In one picture below the JB Weld in the corner is visible. The floor panel where your feet rests was entirely skimmed.



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I had to refinish the cap for the gas tank. It was actually a brand new one, but the paint was blistery and I guess KMZ wasn’t too concerned with how nice they looked back in the day. I lost the original cap while power-washing the inside of the tank. I had made a false move with the power washer that hit the cap which was lying on the ground next to the tank, the force sent it airmail into the bushes and I could never find it again. That’s why the road trials were done with just tape over the hole….


Let me whine a bit more about KMZ quality control, it’s been a few pages since I let off steam. When I started sanding the new gas cap, I uncovered the hole used for venting the tank. It had been completely painted over. Now how does this actually happen at the factory? Nobody cared or nobody noticed? Were there thousands made like this or did I get the lucky one that slipped by hundreds of quality control technicians while they were having their tea? Ok, enough whining for now.



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Unlike the laquer used on the frame, I purchased quality acrylic eurethane paint for all the body pieces. It’s certainly not user-friendly, but the quality and durability of the finish is excellent if you know what you are doing. Of course I had to paint every piece about four times before I learned to manage drips, orange peel, dust nibs and the endless insects that insisted on committing suicide on my Ukrainian jewel.


My painting equipment is primeval. I have an ancient lacquer gun that I somehow keep working years after it should have been thrown away, no water traps, an undersized compressor and hoses, and I paint in the open air under trees and insects and wind. But every once in awhile the stars lined up and I got an acceptable finish.


I eventually set up an old tent with fly-screen walls as a paint booth to keep insects away. In the end, I may have just kept the insects inside the tent! On one occasion I had a particularly successful coat of paint but hours later when I came back to inspect my handiwork I found that the wind had blown the fly screen against wet parts and was now stuck to them….



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Sanding between coats and fitting parts to the frame to check that they fit well before applying the last coat of paint. Many of the smaller pieces had been damaged, such as the bracket for the rear tail light shown below. More hammering and filling....



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I eventually got the motorcycle pieces painted but the sidecar would take another season, winter had set in and it was time to take care of mechanical issues and start thinking about making a wiring harness.


I put much time into restoring the frame of the old seat with the intention of having it upholstered locally. The original seat was largely eaten by rodents. Then one day I came across one on the internet for $US 75 and it turned out to be in excellent condition. It had been recovered but the stitching was excellent and someone paid a lot of attention to detail. It would have cost me $400 to have the old one re-upholstered....


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The painted sidecar. The inside was done with several coats of black Tremclad. This was the first coat on the outside, and drips, insects and the usual challenges of painting in a forest meant it would be finished next season. There was orange peel everywhere, I think my painting skills were getting worse with time.


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While the painting took place a number of mechanical issues were dealt with. I returned to the rear shocks which had no damping whatsoever, whether in compression or rebound.


They were each disassembled in turn and I examined them until I had an idea how the valves are supposed to function. If there was no damping it would seem that fluid must be passing closed valves as if they were open, and perhaps they needed to be recalibrated.


I removed the valves and disassembled them, including the foot valve on the inner cylinder which is press fit into the end of the cylinder. Then I carefully honed each face of the valve disks and mating surfaces of the valve bodies using 400 grit and 1000 grit sandpaper, making slow circular motions against the sandpaper which was laid over the bed of a lathe – the flattest surface I could find.


The difference was night and day. The valves are sensitive to how clean and flat they are to work. After filling with automatic transmission fluid I had damping that felt right – some resistance on the compression stroke and even more resistance on the rebound, which is aided by the spring when in action.


The other three shocks were the same – a very careful re-calibration was what was required. Minor pitting and corrosion of the valve parts was the original culprit, and cleaning was not enough to get them functioning when they were overhauled with new seals the previous summer.


Another thing I noticed was that the automatic transmission fluid did not seem to froth when I manually plunged and retracted the shock over and over. I had previously used light motor which is not quick to release trapped air bubbles, and I imagine if your fluid turns to froth on a bumpy road then the shocks are not going to work properly.


I had spent numerous days between the first and second overhaul of the shocks, but now that they worked all the pain was forgotten.


The second last picture is pressing back the foot valve body into the inner cylinder. I added a bit of sealant, not sure if it was really necessary but it didn't hurt.





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I did the trial runs with the exhaust pipes mounted of course, but I hadn’t bothered to fit the front pipe hangers which are held by the forward engine mounting bolt. When the time came to install the hangers I would discover that the new downpipes had a completely different curvature to the originals.


Also note the flange that the exhaust nut bears against. They are welded to the pipes on the face that mates with nut. The welds prevent the nut from sitting flat and some grinding and tacking is required. (Ural Zentrale product). The downpipes with the expanded flanges are a better job in my opinion.



Houston, we have a problem……


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