My barn find Russian Dnepr MT-11 sidecar motorcycle


Vetter Aficionado
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I found a Russian Military Sidecar Motorcycle in a barn just before Thanksgiving last year (2019). It's a KMZ Dnepr MT-11 not to be confused with the Russian civilian version of the IMZ Ural motorcycles still in production today. KMZ shut down Dnepr Motorcycle production in 1994 and sold all production equipment to the Chinese.
It had just 194 Km on the odometer when I purchased it. The reason it had so few "miles" on it was due to very poor factory assembly problems. It was produced in the USSR before the collapse so the Ukrainians producing them were slave labor. Hence the "didn't give a damn" assembly. After I got it sort of running on only one of it's two cylinders I knew I had to take the engine apart and fix all the problems. All four valves were leaking because no one lapped them. All the ring gaps were lined up which made assembly easy for the poor person sliding the cylinders on. The head gaskets were blown because no one bothered to properly tighten down the head nuts. I even found one of those loose along with it's washer when I removed the right valve cover. Their was even a broken drill bit in the rear crankshaft bearing carrier oil passage. Oil was getting to the oil spray nozzle for the rear crankshaft bearing but I went ahead and ordered a new rear bearing carrier (without a broken drill bit). On the plus side parts are easily available and dirt cheap. New parts for these motorcycles are still in production. It takes two to four weeks for the parts to ship from Russia to the USA. KMZ produced millions of these motorcycles for decades with no changes at all. These are popular motorcycle's in Europe and Asia and thousands were exported to North and South America including the USA after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Ural Russian sidecar motorcycles are still being imported to the USA today. The fairing on my Dnepr you see in the pictures came from a Ural Dealer here in the USA. It was used with scratches so it matches my Bike perfectly and it was cheap. It fit perfectly because a lot of the parts were also used on KMZ Dnepr motorcycles. After receiving the necessary parts to get it going again I reassembled the engine and now it runs perfectly. I now have 2,324 Km on it with the only problem encountered was the very old ignition coil going bad. I put a Harley Davidson coil on it until I receive a new electronic ignition system which comes with a new coil and ignition spark plug cables I have on order. This virus thing is slowing things down including Ukraine where it's coming from. Break-in ends at 2,500 Km so in the next few days I will reach that goal. At that point I will be pulling the engine and gear box to remove the engine oil pan to clean the oil pump pickup screen, a Centrifugal oil filter behind the timing cover, and wash out the engine and gear box to ensure all metal particles produced during break-in are removed. That's what the owner/shop manual requires. One thing about it is everything is made to be worked on and dirt simple to do.


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Heckuva project. It's good that you have such abilities to take advantage of. You will have quite a great bike.

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