Pre-2007 (?) Sidecar Turn Signals Problem - Fixed!

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rougaroo
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Pre-2007 (?) Sidecar Turn Signals Problem - Fixed!

Post by rougaroo » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:27 pm

First off, I hate electricity. I'll wrench on an engine for two days in preference to tracking down a short. With the engine at least you see you're making progress.

Here in central NC it is prime riding weather. Went out this morning to check out the bike, intending to go enjoy the fall. Damn, both sidecar turn signal lights don't work. They did last time I rode the bike. Both lights, not just one. (Bike is 2004 Troyka, but this should be the same on everybody's, I think)

Ok, no problem. Start simple. Took off the lenses and looked at the bulbs (unlikely that both would go out at the same time, but whatever). Bulbs look ok. Checked the bulbs at the battery, both bulbs light. Shined up their bases and contacts anyway.

Took out the test lamp and checked the copper ribbon (hot) on both bulbs. Both turn signal hot wires test hot, but bulbs don't light.

Removed the headlight. Looked at the flasher relay. Flasher relay has hot coming in using test lamp. Turn on left turn signals and test lamp blinks on the relay side. Turn on right turn signals, test lamp doesn't blink, but stays on. Consistent with connections on sidecar turn signal lights.

Gotta be the flasher relay. Go to the parts store, buy another flasher relay. Return home, plug in relay. Same result: left turn signals work, right shows current but no flasher, lights in sidecar not on despite current.

Gotta be a ground, right? Urals are grounded through the frame in little bare spots where the tail light attachments are. Not my first rodeo here.

Remove pusher tail light, polish up grounding spots under tail light. Make a ground wire to make extra sure the ground stays good. Reinstall tail light. Do same thing for the sidecar tail lamp and for the sidecar front light fixture. Polish the hole where the bolts go through, polish the fixture itself.

Before reassembly, check current in the back of both fixtures. Hot coming in. Install both fixtures. Install lights. No joy. No lights, no flashing.

Check the plug where the sidecar wiring and ground wire connect to the main harness. Shine up all the connections in the plug. Check again. No joy.

And now the sun is starting to set and a perfect riding day has passed with me cussing the magic smoke.

So, what have we got?

a. Running lights work all around, pusher and sidecar
b. Brake lights work, pusher and sidecar
c. Left side turn signals work
d. Right side turn signals don't work
e. Both bulbs confirmed good
f. Replaced flasher relay in headshell
e. Sidecar turn signal light show hot at their bases
f. Removed and shined up all areas where the fixtures meet the fenders for ground
g. Shined up the blades in the plug connector from the sidecar to the main harness

This has to be a simple ground problem somewhere, but what am I missing?

Rougaroo
Last edited by rougaroo on Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2003 Tourist - lotsa upgrades
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by Tomcatfixer » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:48 pm

Do you have a continuity tester or multimeter that can confirm you have good connectivity between the bulb receptacles and chassis ground? Polishing is good, measuring is better.
- Chad

Gordonsville, Virginia, USA

Current rides:
2015 Ural cT "Mobile Chernobyl", 2001 Ural Patrol "Little Red Bear", 1999 Ural Tourist "The RPOC", Mid-Nineties Ural Tourist "The Heap", 1994 Honda VFR750F, 2007 BMW K1200GT

Previous rides:
2007 Honda VTR1000 FireStorm (Super Hawk in U.S.)
2001 Buell Blast! - - - - - - - 2005 Yamaha FJR1300
1993 Honda CBR600F2 - -1984 Yamaha FJ1100
Two different 1986 Yamaha FZX700S Fazers

rougaroo
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by rougaroo » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:02 pm

Chad - test lamp is my continuity tester. I had a multimeter at one time, but since I never learned how to use it other than on/off I gave it away.

Are the sidecar turn signal lamps grounded somewhere other than the fender? Tomorrow I can rig up some purpose-built ground wires with ring connectors to go direct from the fixtures to some bare spot on the sidecar, but it seems like it should be simpler than that.

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2004 Troyka - work in progress

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by Tomcatfixer » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:59 pm

I'm assuming that your year Urals are wired like my 2015's, with the bulb receptacles grounded to the metal light housing via the mounting screws and the light housing grounded to the chassis via wire (brown, in my case). I haven't yet checked the hack light wiring configuration on my 650's to see if it's the same throughout the model years.

2020-10-17 18.48.32.jpg

I would attach one side of your test lamp to +12VDC and use the other electrical lead to check various points along the ground path to see if the test lamp illuminates and confirm that you have a good electrical return path.
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- Chad

Gordonsville, Virginia, USA

Current rides:
2015 Ural cT "Mobile Chernobyl", 2001 Ural Patrol "Little Red Bear", 1999 Ural Tourist "The RPOC", Mid-Nineties Ural Tourist "The Heap", 1994 Honda VFR750F, 2007 BMW K1200GT

Previous rides:
2007 Honda VTR1000 FireStorm (Super Hawk in U.S.)
2001 Buell Blast! - - - - - - - 2005 Yamaha FJR1300
1993 Honda CBR600F2 - -1984 Yamaha FJ1100
Two different 1986 Yamaha FZX700S Fazers

rougaroo
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by rougaroo » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:35 pm

I will check tomorrow, but from memory I don't think the brown (ground) wire was on mine. That's your sidecar tail light, right? That'd explain the two wires on one - brake & running - and one on the other (turn signal).

Where does your brown ground wire attach to the frame? I might sit down and make up a bunch of grounds wires tomorrow. It helps to be well grounded.

Rougaroo
2003 Tourist - lotsa upgrades
2004 Troyka - work in progress

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by RC20 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:47 pm

Yes it does, not just for electricity, good luck with the solution. Chad has got top credentials both background and Ural wise.
First off, I hate electricity. I'll wrench on an engine for two days in preference to tracking down a short. With the engine at least you see you're making progress.
When I got into Commercial bldgs and machines I realized I had to have electrical. I got the Zenith Heath kit course on it and the test chassis for the experiments

Paid huge dividends, I won't claim I was great at it but I was persistent and once you have the basics its amazing how you can break it down to specific tests. Most gave up so it made me look pretty good!

I have had odd mechanical issues that were every bit as confounding as electrical. I tended to more electrical as machinery is pretty reliable but a fair split between the two. Never one to take stuff apart and back together, alwyas used the manuals .
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by Tomcatfixer » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:12 pm

That's your sidecar tail light, right
Yes, on the Mobile Chernobyl (obviously :P ).
Where does your brown ground wire attach to the frame?
It is bundled in a harness with the other lighting wires through a connector over to the bike where it attaches to a frame grounding lug.
Chad has got top credentials both background and Ural wise.
Oh, Bob knows me. We've ridden together on several occasions, such as this:

2020-10-17 20.10.34.jpg

... but thank you for the compliment.
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- Chad

Gordonsville, Virginia, USA

Current rides:
2015 Ural cT "Mobile Chernobyl", 2001 Ural Patrol "Little Red Bear", 1999 Ural Tourist "The RPOC", Mid-Nineties Ural Tourist "The Heap", 1994 Honda VFR750F, 2007 BMW K1200GT

Previous rides:
2007 Honda VTR1000 FireStorm (Super Hawk in U.S.)
2001 Buell Blast! - - - - - - - 2005 Yamaha FJR1300
1993 Honda CBR600F2 - -1984 Yamaha FJ1100
Two different 1986 Yamaha FZX700S Fazers

rougaroo
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by rougaroo » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:28 pm

Ok, I think first quick test tomorrow will be to run a short pigtail to ground out one of the sidecar light fixtures. Can do that without even disassembling anything. If that fixes the turn signal, then sit down and run permanent grounds.

Rougaroo
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2004 Troyka - work in progress

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by RC20 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:15 pm

When I was first working (grunt labor) I bought a trailer that the lights would not work on, had me in tears. Totally frustrated with inconsistent.

My step dad bailed me out, always check the ground. When I checked, found the lights grounded to the siding, which in turn was atached to the frame with screw fasteners, not a dedicated ground all the way back to the plunge. Hmm. Ran a ground wire, all good.

With the siding was secured to the frame of the trailer and the ground on the plug was to the frame up front. Siding had gotten plastered by gravel coming up the Alcan (former owner) and bad contact developed with the siding/ frame part.

You can have the flip as well. If you are on a good ground with the meter and not on the SAME ground as the device (light or whatever) you can have perfect voltage and no ops with the device.

A couple of stories on that to but the two are kind of an algebraic corollary.
... but thank you for the compliment.
I can be stupid at times, but I know impressive when I see your kind of background. More than well earned. Hats off.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by S 854 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Are the brake light and running lights working?

If no... ya might check the ground wire between the bike and the car...
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by Korto » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:25 am

I don't mind electricals. Hate electronics, but electrical's OK. The important thing to remember, and to keep on telling yourself throughout, is that electrical can be sneaky, but it's still got to obey rules (which is why I hate electronics, which is just magic boxes).

A couple of questions
Are the indicator globes incandescent or LED? LEDs are on/off, and refuse to light at all if they're not getting what they need, while incandecents will at least put up a faint glow.

What's the order of events in your wiring circuit, starting from the where it leaves the common supply? I'd assume flasher > left/right switch > indicators > earth. Is there anything else? Does it go straight to earth, or does it play silly buggers joining up with other wires first, to make life difficult? In which case, you may consider giving them an earth bypass wire, that you know is good. Did that make a difference?

Considering that the left side works fine, while the right doesn't, the problem should be at or after your left/right switch. Your globes also seem to be fine.
From here, it's a process of narrowing down. The more wire sections you can unplug and isolate to test separately, the better. Unplug the rear indicator (or at least pull the bulb) and see if the front works. Unplug the front and see if the rear works. If neither made any difference, then the problem is before the indicators. Unless they share a common earth! (Did you give it an earth bypass?)
With the bulbs unplugged on the right (so there should be no path to earth), and the left/right switch switched to 'left' (to keep any other wires we're not interested in out of it), touch your tester to the right wire at the left/right switch, and earth. Do you have a circuit? Because you shouldn't have.

In the end though, you will be eyeballing that wire, to try and find where it's gone bad.
Australia, Newcastle. 1972 Dnepr MT-9... mostly... I think...

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by gobium » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:37 am

I might be wrong.
In 2017 Ducati ignition and wire harness upgraded, therefore it got brown ( color of earth ground)
06 or older no ground wire, ground to frame
Screenshot_20201018-091628_Drive.jpg
07
Screenshot_20201018-091628_Drive.jpg
Older
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rougaroo
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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by rougaroo » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:56 pm

Yep - Van's right. Somewhere along the line, Ural put in wire grounding for all the fixtures. It isn't listed in the "Ural changes year-by-year" on Terry Crawford's site. Before that time, whenever it was, the ground was just a bare metal spot on a fender underneath the fixture. Since this is a 2004, I'm in that before-time.

Instead of dealing with symptoms I'm going to head straight to root causes. Just got back with 30' of brown wire and a bunch of ring connectors. Got my soldering iron and crimper, going to ground every single one of those mo&%$#*@?"rs so I don't have to deal with this again.

Rougaroo
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2004 Troyka - work in progress

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Re: Sidecar Turn Signals Problem

Post by RC20 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:17 pm

That takes the issue to its core, a lot of times its a good practice to ensure its not an issue and it can fix it.

Many eons ago we were bucking a Vax computer problem (DEC was a big competitor to IBM at the time). We found the computer area was not grounded right. It did not seem like that was the cause but its basic level stuff, so we had the electrician go through and do it right. It did not fix their problem but it ensured it was not and never would be.

I was responsible for the power to the computer room and the computer manager was pointing his fingers at me and my Uninterruptible Power Supply (Rectifier , big battery string, Inverter) . No sir, the only issue we had on our side was the computer room grounding and we that was corrected.

My power is solid and the UPS can't blink like that without blowing up (power levels too high, rare case of the transistors etc can be funky but the results on the Inverter is blowing up SCRs (at least in those days, IBGT now) .

Finally a transistor on a broad smoked badly, their techs caught it and that was the end of that. One of the reasons Korto does nto like electonrics they can go intermittent and then heal themselves for a while.

On the flip, I chased a 120 circuit on a garbage disposal for 6 months before I was on the right part when I saw the flicker, bad solder joint on a Thermal Overload hidden in the motor. hmmm. Nothing worse than a noon crowd at the company Cafeteria with the managers there and the Garbage Disposal quits.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

rougaroo
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Re: Pre-2007 (?) Sidecar Turn Signals Problem - Fixed!

Post by rougaroo » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:41 pm

Removed all the light fixtures. Wired in brown 14g grounds to the same screw shown on Chad's picture on each light. Grounded the wires to through-bolts from the fender to the sidecar frame and bike frame for the tail light.
IMG_20201018_150242.jpg
Not only do the turn lights work, but major improvement in the brightness of the running and brake lights. So despite the frustration, it's probably an improvement I should have done long ago.

Rougaroo

(Header corrected in case somebody else searches for this)
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Last edited by rougaroo on Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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