Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ural Final Drive Fail

Last night the rain turned to sleet and then snow. The roads were covered in nearly two inches of hard packed ice. A couple inches of snow on top of that made the morning commute exciting.

Cars were all over the place struggling to get grip, but the Ural didn’t have any problems with the snow once I engaged 2WD. It didn’t shift modes as easy as normal, but I didn’t think much of it.

When I left work the roads were wet, but clear. I switched it back to 1WD. It didn’t want to switch, but eventually it did. I didn’t think much of this as that’s kind of normal behavior for that lever. I have found it to be a bit fiddly and sometimes requires rocking the bike back and forth to get it to switch.

On the way home, I smelled something unpleasant. What’s that smell!? Is that the Ural? It turned out it was. It smelled a lot like final drive oil. I recognize the odor as I’ve changed my final drive oil several times and it has a very distinct aroma.

Ural Final Drive Housing Fail

The pivot point in the middle of the photo is where the 1WD/2WD lever attaches to the final drive housing where it looks like it’s being ripped off. Not good! The bike can still move under it’s own power both forwards and in reverse.

Ural Final Drive Housing Fail

On the plus side it’s quite easy to add final drive oil now. There is a nice gap to see inside.

Ural Final Drive Housing Fail

I called Kevin at Scrambler Cycle. He was impressed with the photos. He’ll be picking it up in a couple days, and then we can begin the long wait to get parts. Hopefully they will come from Washington state and be here in a week or two, and that they don’t have to come direct from the factory in Russia which will take a month. Until Kevin can take it apart, we won’t know what else is wrong or what caused it.

On the positive side, the Ural is still covered under the factory warranty until December 2011. This will also give Kevin an opportunity to work on another issue.


  1. Chris:

    I'm glad you're under warranty too. Hope the parts come fast

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. Thank goodness for that warranty! I know this doesn't help...but I'm impressed with the photos too. They are graphic, vivid and painful! It's great too that no humans were hurt in the making of the drive failure or the photo.

  3. Keith: yea. In the mean time, my wife has graciously volunteered to take me to work until I can get back out on two wheels (hopefully after this weekend).

    Dom: It doesn't look good. Hopefully Ural will just replace the whole unit. yes, indeed for the warranty. the extended warranty is looking like a better deal now.

    Bob: Thanks, me too.

    Sharon: thanks! I'm usually the one who is impressed with your photos. The first was all in camera, but the other two needed a bit of help in picnik :) Hopefully, Kevin will take some too when he opens it up to see what else died.

  4. Wow Chris! Bummer! I guess it's a good thing it's Spring!!

  5. Eve: Yea. It's almost spring in MN :) snow needs to melt off the road.

  6. Wow! Is this a known weak point? Hopefully it'll be covered under the warranty.

  7. RichardM: Nope, not a known weak point. Kevin said he's never seen one fail like the photo above. Ural said it would be covered under the warranty today, and the part is on order. Now to wait. :)

  8. Dear Chris:

    I looked at these pictures in total disbelief. I've heard of seals going, but I have never heard of a cast housing fracturing like that. That has to give you pause to think about other cast parts as well. It wasn't that long ago that you were in for a problem with the laced wheels. What are you going to do when this comes off warranty?

    I hope the parts come quickly too.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • Reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  9. Dear Jack: You're telling me. I couldn't believe it when I first saw it. I thought it was dirt. The problems I had with the hubs/spokes/wheels was caused by improper alignment by the folks I bought it from. It caused excessive g forces on all components of the wheels. once kevin at scrambler cycle set it up correctly I only get a 1 or 2 loose spokes every 1000-1500km (normal) instead of 6-15 in 200-300km. thinking of plan for off warranty, but now the extended warranty looks REALLY nice :)

    thanks me too!