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#1 MacCleod

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:31 PM

Hey everyone
Taking into account this is my first post and for that matter my first Ural. But not my first adventure into finicky foreign bikes. Going back to BSA, Norton, Triumph and the like. There seems to be a love/hate relationship with the Ural online. I have
read about their bullet proof service and their fragile nature. Broken final drives, uncooperative carbs, weak engines. Constant tending to. Crappy electrics. Ok...I have tinkered with everything from my Kawasaki Concours to a square 4. Is this bike hard to up grade to reliability?  Without replacing engines or every part except the tank badges. I think they are a very handsome bike. For their size they handle well. I don't plan or want to travel 500 miles a day at 75 miles a hour. But I want to get to my destination and back with as little trouble as possible. So that being said. All I ask for is a few honest opinions and ideas about my 2000 650. I know its not the most popular. But at less than 2000 miles and 2000 dollars I couldn't pass it up. I have some manuals and because Im that way I have read them cover to cover. A very simple bike indeed. I just want to understand if they are as fragile as people say or is there something I am missing?  Thank you for your time with my rant and I hope to have a long love affair with my new find....Ian

#2 Russ Noe

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 04:54 PM

Welcome, Ian.
Your 2000 650 Ural is "classic" import model, from the early importer "Classic Motorcycles & Sidecar,Inc." (CMSI), in Preston Washington.
If it still has it's original engine and transmission, with no upgrades, you might indeed have lots of "fun" keeping it reliably running.  It was among the last of the 650-engined Urals sold in the USA.

Our 1998 Ural finally became a reliable ride after replacing the engine and transmission! The 650 crankshaft broke, as have many that were used at higher rpms on paved roads.   The 750 design seems quite happy at US road speeds.  (We still have three Urals , all 750 engines.)

The '98 rig became a 750 cc bike in 2001 (or 2), eventually with good German-made gears throughout, a Denso alternator for electric generation, a late-model electronic ignition system ('been thru 3 in its lifetime), a replaced final drive, and nearing 70K kms on the dial.  We recently replaced the two cylinder heads with new-version ones that incorporate larger valves, better valve guides, stronger progressive springs, and cleaned porting passages.  It runs far better and stronger than when new!

So depending on how "original" your 650 CMSI Ural rig is, you may have some replacements to do to reach better reliability.
If you know the repair history of your Ural, share that info here and we can provide more accurate info about its configuration, and what to expect for potential problems and cures.


There are still some original US import 650 Urals running, but I don't hear about any long-distance adventures they take.  Those of you still riding 650s, let Ian know about your experiences, please.
~RN.

#3 racepres

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:08 PM

View PostRuss Noe, on 01 February 2014 - 04:54 PM, said:

Welcome, Ian.


There are still some original US import 650 Urals running, but I don't hear about any long-distance adventures they take.  Those of you still riding 650s, let Ian know about your experiences, please.
~RN.

Howdy Ian.
My only 650 experience is with My Dnepr.
For all the gloom and doom I heard [not here] It has been as reliable as any old British or American Bike I have owned..
I made up my mind to use it, and what breaks...I'll fix..Tidy up the carbs, and keep up on the maintenance. Not broke anything yet!!!
Unless you count worn out Tires!!!LOL
Enjoy it.

#4 MacCleod

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 11:24 PM

Thanks for your input Russ. I just purchased this Ural. It has about 1700 miles on it. I'm not sure of any work done except by the second owner over a year ago to get it running when he bought it. It was left sitting by the original owner's widow when her husband passed. Then the second owner rode it one time and didn't like the ride. He let it sit a year and a half. So I have service records from a shop here in Salem Oregon that works on Urals. But mostly just oils, carb rebuilds and tune up. With fresh fuel, oil a battery and spark plugs it started right up and ran OK. It needs some fine tuning of the carbs and I am pretty familiar with dual carbs. So I should be able to get it right. I was just surprised to read of all the negative comments and fragile nature of what is supposed to be a work horse. So I will take what I know along with my technical skill in automotive and motorcycle repair and fabrication and see what I can do. I don't mind changing and improving an otherwise great looking bike. I'm not looking to go fast or far. Well maybe far. I am just looking to get there and back......Ian


#5 dcsob

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:59 PM

Under 2g's for what looks to be a deco classic. You scored. I have a 1999 Bavarian classic with side car. Long story shortened read the manuals check the technical forum here and at soviet steeds and take heart. They are very tough machines, I finally got my B/C running right after much detective work and stubbornness/persistence (I don't take the recommendation "you can't do that" well).
In my opinion it may depend on the day it was produced and how much vodka was consumed the night before.  
To wit: my father owned it, it never seemed quite right no matter how I massaged her. He crashed I repaired, it was missing the head gasket?? Put one in seemed to help it run better Still seemed to miss or near miss while running, just figured it was how they ran.
Took off the inboard head last summer to deal with a valve issue. Yup no head gasket, got gaskets from Terry Crawford in Michigan. Good guy. Installed gasket then replaced a seriously receded exhaust valve. That makes sense now as every time it ran "off" it seemed to need more lash on the right exhaust valve. Since new it seemed to flood. Did the usual check floats adjust floats make floats too low make floats correct measure inside height, finally used the old clear tube off float drain to get float level right. still fooded . Lurked on tech boards for ural finally found answer.. it is sub standard rubber tip that deteriorates fast with U.S.ethanol fuel. replaced needle valve's with concourse ones result..problem gone, that only took 14 years of coming back to it when time allowed. So as for toughness,  it essentially ran on 1 cylinder for the majority of its lifetime. Once I put her back together she runs fine seems none the worse for wear. In fact it sounds like an old BMW now when it idles.
Enjoy but don't expect to blast down the interstate with it hauling the side car, detach it and fly away.

#6 MacCleod

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:28 PM

Thanks for your reply and help. It is a retro and it was a buy. I like back road cruising so no worries on speed. I just want to get there and back. My questions and issues are with charging system and if getting the alternator re worked is an answer or replace it. Someone suggested mikuni carbs ? Maybe during winter I will do much reserch and put on a new set of tires for spring , summer and fall riding. I love the bike and the look but so far the reliability leaves something to be desired. But as you say take heart. ....Thanks again.....Ian

#7 dcsob

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:55 PM

Ian,
If the charging quits and your're not going for extended tours ie. 300+miles at a stretch, look into the total loss system using easily available car or deep cyle batteries. The forums deal with it and some of the owners who do it see no reason to bother with the alternator issue based on their use pattern. They just remove it block the hole in case and motor onward.
The B/C has, I believe, the same archaic? gear driven system (gives off a high pitch whine that I detest) it's functioned fine since new and continues@10,000+ k. As far as reliability I have owned a Norton 750 Commando, a Triumph T120 ,a Harley and assorted vintage Jap bikes. They all have issues it just depends on if you don't mind problem solving from time to time, and when buying used /old most issues stem from disuse and abuse. Once you iron out the problems they all seem to work fine from my perspective.

#8 dcsob

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:56 PM

Ian,
If the charging quits and your're not going for extended tours ie. 300+miles at a stretch, look into the total loss system using easily available car or deep cyle batteries. The forums deal with it and some of the owners who do it see no reason to bother with the alternator issue based on their use pattern. They just remove it block the hole in case and motor onward.
The B/C has, I believe, the same archaic? gear driven system (gives off a high pitch whine that I detest) it's functioned fine since new and continues@10,000+ k. As far as reliability I have owned a Norton 750 Commando, a Triumph T120 ,a Harley and assorted vintage Jap bikes. They all have issues it just depends on if you don't mind problem solving from time to time, and when buying used /old most issues stem from disuse and abuse. Once you iron out the problems they all seem to work fine from my perspective.

#9 Russ Noe

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:43 PM

You can say that again!
((-;
~RN

#10 MacCleod

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:54 PM

Thanks again, I've considered doing just that. Although I am hoping for more than 300 miles a day. Something to ponder. I'm not sure what the issue with these alternators are. Too many amps? Too few? Voltage? Fire? Flying Monkeys? No one really is specific. I am really good in auto/motorcycle repair. I do a lot of electrical work. I am very familiar with charging systems. But I haven't read anything specific yet. Just that they are a "grenade". What does that mean? Do they blow up? Why can't the alternator be rebuilt? My next other challenge is carburetors. Once again lots of complaints and grumbling but no real answers. Its like talking to a Russian about things made in Russia. They have nothing good to say but no way to fix it. "It's just the way it is" So what about Amal, mikuni, cv or ??  I think any quality carbs can work. But I have yet to hear what someone or many someones did to rectify this issue. Or is it an issue? I have read this forum and a few others. I get mixed messages. So I will keep looking and reading. I will talk to anyone that will listen. I want a fine and mostly reliable Ural
Thanks again.....Ian

#11 Russ Noe

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:51 PM

View PostMacCleod, on 06 February 2014 - 09:54 PM, said:

Thanks again, I've considered doing just that. Although I am hoping for more than 300 miles a day. Something to ponder. I'm not sure what the issue with these alternators are. Too many amps? Too few? Voltage? Fire? Flying Monkeys? No one really is specific. I am really good in auto/motorcycle repair. I do a lot of electrical work. I am very familiar with charging systems. But I haven't read anything specific yet. Just that they are a "grenade". What does that mean? Do they blow up? Why can't the alternator be rebuilt? My next other challenge is carburetors. Once again lots of complaints and grumbling but no real answers. Its like talking to a Russian about things made in Russia. They have nothing good to say but no way to fix it. "It's just the way it is" So what about Amal, mikuni, cv or ??  I think any quality carbs can work. But I have yet to hear what someone or many someones did to rectify this issue. Or is it an issue? I have read this forum and a few others. I get mixed messages. So I will keep looking and reading. I will talk to anyone that will listen. I want a fine and mostly reliable Ural
Thanks again.....Ian
Ian:
If your Ural is equipped with the "original" Russian alternators (longer, narrower than the Nippon-Denso units used now) then here's my understanding of their "problem:"
Those alternators came from a Russian vehicle and were not ever intended to see the rpms we subject them to on USA roads.  Their failure mode was to internally fly apart and instantly stop turning.  This often led to a destruction of the gear tower (crank/camshaft/alternator drive gear) that drove them.  Non trivial to repair.  They provided sufficient electrical current for the bikes, but just could not survive physically.

An "early" attempt to solve this problem at the Irbit Factory (IMZ) involved disassembling these new/original alternators to verify good bearings, correct internal physical tolerances, tight rotor windings, and basically custom "remanufacture" them for Ural motorcycle use.  I witnessed this process in action during one of my two visits to IMZ, and got to speak with the three people performing this rework (through an interpreter, of course).  
The results were not totally satisfactory, as alternators still would catastrophically fail on occasion.  The ultimate solution was the Nippon-Denso alternator unit, with its custom adaptor bearing assembly which removes any forces tending to push or pull the alternator's shaft due to the angled teeth on the primary drive gear.  These units basically solved the alternator problems on Urals.  We've been using one of the first available ND alternator assemblies on our 1998/750cc Ural, with zero problems for over 60,000 kms now.

'Hope this answers your questions.  If not, keep asking.
~RN

#12 MacCleod

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:14 PM

Thanks again Russ. To finally get the real info. Like I said I wasn't sure what the problem was. I will have to take a close look at the unit on my Ural. As you know we have had some weather here. So it might be a few days. I will update you. Now I can tackle the carburetor issue. I want to make my bike as reliable as I can. I like to ride back roads and out of the way places. Basically get lost. Pack stuff and go without having to worry about a push or tow home. So onward and upward I go. Thanks again for all of your help....Ian

#13 racepres

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:09 AM

From a guy using k-63 carbs...I don't feel the need to change them...
My method of Carb Fix is here.

I doubt Mikuni's is a cure-all...I don't like the price. Had I not been able to resurrect my 63's I would scare up a pair of CV's from an early small Jap Twin...
Good luck.




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