…While working on a sidecar.
Story and Photos: T-Bone
Installing an UltraCool oil cooler unit on Billy’s Sidecar Rig.
With a punched out motor and an extra several hundred pounds hanging off the right, Billy’s sidecar rig has a tendency of running on the hot side. We have been concerned on this for a while now and researched several ways of working it out. We looked at simple oil by-pass through a radiator of sorts and then heard that if the oil constantly passes through a cooler, it doesn’t get warm enough to evaporate the inherent water condensation in the oil. Apparently if the oil doesn’t get hot enough, >200° then the water builds up and you have more problems than overheating the engine. So a thermostat is important to have in an oil cooling system.
We found UltraCool. The system has a thermal-switch set at 220° to run through the heat exchanger. The product literature shows a 1-2 hour installation. As you will see with this article it took us considerably longer due to the Harley sidecar mounts on the front frame down tubes. Uggh! I hate working on sidecars but dig that Billy is still out there riding!
So let’s get to wrenching.
The instructions for the UltraCool (UC) appear simple enough. Install fan assembly bracket, the thermal-switch/oil-filter mount, plumb and wire and you’re good to go.
We read through the instructions and thought we’d be done in a snap. But this is Billy’s bike and nothing is a snap. Step number one. Remove the voltage regulator and install the UltraCool Fan Unit bracket. We opted to install the unit and cover to the bracket first, then hook it to the frame.
SNAFU #1: The regulator cannot be removed with the sidecar brackets attached to the frame. DAMN! So we have two options. Cut the UC bracket to make slots to slide the bracket under the regulator and tighten down. OR Trim the insides of the bracket to place over the regulator’s mounting tabs and mount. (as seen in photo #2 with the white pencil marks) We went with option 2 for a better connection.
SNAFU #2: Option 2 didn’t work. While Billy was out at the hardware store getting a 7/8” and a 1” deep socket I installed the unit. Option 2 rose the unit about a half inch and it sat forward about a ¼ inch than if we installed the bracket UNDER the regulator. That little bit put the unit too close to the fender. It actually rubbed the front of the unit.
More Options: We can continue down this path with a simple cut to the custom painted fender (slicing off about 3 inches off the bottom) OR Remove the sidecar brackets and install it under the regulator as instructed.
We bit the bullet and removed the sidecar bracket.
1 hour later.
Everything is out of the way. We drained the oil, ate dinner, removed the oil filter, cleaned up the area really good and installed the UC Oil Filter Adapter assembly per instructions. They are very clear at this point how to install it and where to use thread lock. Plumb the braided lines and tighten with the supplied knuckle wrench. We install a K&N Filter, fill it up with oil, button up the sidecar bracket and call it a night at Midnight.
Uggh, this sidecar rig is a pain.
The next day I get home from the new Blacktop Depot and we get to finishing it up with the wiring. Looking at the rig with fresh eyes, we wonder, did we put the filter on before or after the sidecar brackets. I proceed to remove the filter, hoping we can get it off in it’s new position a bit higher and closer to the bracket and of-course we can’t get the filter off without removing them damn sidecar brackets. $#*@!
Luckily we have a System 1 cleanable oil filter in a black anodized case and inspection cap. It is about a half inch shorter than the standard oil filter so we can use it. PERFECT. The System 1 filter has a billet case and features a stainless steel filter element with a cap that is removed with a wrench. Nice black unit that fits well with Billy’s black rig. The K&N will go on my bike next week when we change the oil in it.
When we removed the sidecar bracket I noticed we bunged up the threads on the center nut and in the right side bracket. I get my trusty tap and die set, clean the threads up and we are back in gear. This time we install the sidecar bracket then the filter and ready to wire.
The wiring is pretty straight forward. Plug them into the thermal switch located under the oil filter (which we did before we added the filter) and run the wiring up along the down tube into the headlight nacelle to connect to the wiring harness. HD has a open plug for accessories like this. We splice in the red wire from the LED light which we added to the top of the nacelle with a simple hole drilled in. The LED light also has a black wire, which I figured was ground. There was no mention in our directions of the black wire. We cleaned it all up, zip tied the wiring and done. Now this time a bit early at 10pm. Whew just in time to watch some recorded episodes of Adam 12 before hitting the sack.
The next day we ran the bike at idle for about 5 minutes to check for any leaks. We were clean so now ready to give it a test. Stay tuned for the next report. In the meantime check out www.UltraCoolFL.com and keep your cool.