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Corporate Runaways

Overland travelers and certified geeks, based in Vermont.


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So, as we mentioned in the last post, we had some trouble getting the Ural home from the dealer.

Breather tube melted

[Sending the Ural back to the dealer on it’s first night out." title=“Sending the Ural back to the dealer on it’s first night out.](/2012/05/25/complications-explained/ural_on_flatbed/” rel=“attachment wp-att-1404)

Now, being relatively ignorant when it comes to Urals and Boxer-style engines we did pretty much what you’d expect. We went and asked people who were familiar with them.

The general thinking was almost unanimously that the engine was either lacking oil when we left, or that the oil pump wasn’t working for some reason. It was the only thing they could think of to explain an engine getting hot enough to melt this kind of plastic. Furthermore, they almost all agreed that we should get a new engine because, if it got that hot, there was probably damage.

Our dealer disagreed. They said that Ural had outsourced the elbows and that there had been a bad batch, where the walls were too thin*. Having no prior experience with this dealer we couldn’t be sure if they were just covering their ass, or if they were telling the truth.

We were, as they say, in a bit of a pickle, and there was much discussion between Dachary and I as to what the best course of action was. In the end a call from the owner at the dealership gave me the confidence to trust them. He had seen the thread on Soviet Steeds, and was really concerned. In the end, it was as much his tone and concern, as what he actually said. It didn’t hurt that he told us that if it turned out there was damage and we needed a new engine he’d get us one, but he assured us that there wasn’t any damage, that they had no reason to believe that the engine exceeded the temperatures it typically experiences during break-in, which are slightly higher than normal.

I do honestly believe the guy, but there was also a practical aspect to the decision to trust him: the next closest dealer is 133 miles away in Poland Maine, and if there actually is something wrong with the bike we definitely want to be on good terms with the dealer we need to take it to.

They took the bike apart, put it back together, and gave it a couple thorough test-rides. They also took it to get inspected because while it was sitting in their shop getting repaired we’d missed the state’s window of seven days to take it to get inspected after registering it had passed.

We picked it up, and I gave it a quick test-ride before heading for home with Dachary trailing in a Zipcar. I’m happy to report that it made it home without any further complications. Now, we just need to cross our fingers and hope that the dealer’s right in their assessment.

If you’re interested in the full gear-head details, check out the thread on Soviet Steeds.

  • When we went to pick up the bike we found out that the details of the bad elbows were slightly more complicated than we’d originally been informed. It wasn’t a simple matter of a bad batch. The outsourcer appears to have quality control issues. So, most of the elbows are perfectly fine, but every now and then their machines would spit out one that’s too thin, and those were mixed in with the good ones without anyone noticing. As a result, Ural doesn’t have any good way to tell which bikes have good elbows and which have bad until it fails. Fortunately, it will never fail in a way that will endanger the rider.

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A couple with 2 dogs and a thirst for exploring the places in-between.