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Author Topic: The Worst Ducati in Dallas  (Read 1884 times)

Offline rentedshoes

  • Posts: 193
The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« on: Aug 15, 2017, 11:10:59 »
I'm the proud owner of the worst Ducati in Dallas. Despite many signs that I should have passed on the deal my excitement for what the bike could be got the better of me. I should have bailed when the seller mentioned an out of state title. We'll see how that works out in the long run. I should have bailed when he told me it didn't have a plate. I should have bailed when the seat wouldn't stay on.
However, my excitement for this new project and a need to get home found some cash changing hands and me riding away on a 1997 Ducati 748 Superbike. The worst Ducati in Dallas. I made it about half way home before the rear wheel locked up and me and the bike slid down the ramp on to the highway. Fast forward about two hours and I had a the cheapest Ducati in Dallas in my garage, a chunk of cash back in my pocket and a little road rash to show for it. I was wearing gear and it saved me a trip to the hospital. I ruined a carbon helmet, a jacket and a pair of gloves. And to tell the truth, I was happy to do so.

Things could have been a LOT worse. The seller was a fairly stand-up guy, I was not injured, the bike is easily repairable and I learned a valuable lesson the hard way. When you brain says "walk away" or more importantly, "don't ride that piece if shit home" it's time to listen up. I've got tens on tens of thousands of miles on motorcycles. This was not down to in experience. It was down to rider error. The error I made before I even turned the key.

The end result is that I have what appears to be a solid chassis and motor. Which is really all I needed in the first place. the body work went out to the curb this morning. My plan is to build a heavily cafe-inspired custom.

Picture below is from the CL ad. I don't have any post-crash pictures as I went straight to work the next day tearing it down for the build. Tons of updates to come.




1997 Ducati 748 Superbike
2015 Aprilia RSV4 Factory
2006 BMW R1200 GS
2009 Triumph Daytona (SOLD
2006 Monster 695 (SOLD)
1972 CB175 (SOLD)

Offline canyoncarver

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #1 on: Aug 15, 2017, 15:26:51 »
Good story.  Looking forward to the updates.
--
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Offline Cookie

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #2 on: Aug 15, 2017, 15:32:24 »
Too bad about your crash. Glad to hear you're alright!
Nice looking bike and good on the seller for looking out for your misfortune with his f-ed up machine.

* Insert something witty here *

81 CB750C
84 Tempter - well, most of it...

Offline CrabsAndCylinders

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #3 on: Aug 16, 2017, 00:16:17 »
I'll be watching your progress, very cool!
Lighter, Quicker, Faster.
ZX-14, 900F x 2, 1100F, R100, CBR600, SR500, GT500, RZ350, KZ1000 x 2, Moto Guzzi Lemans lll, CBX550, RD 350, 750 SOHC police special, RG250, TL1000R, GT750, KTM Super Duke 1290 R, Harris/Z-1, Norton 750 Commando, Green 77 KZ650

Offline johnu

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #4 on: Aug 16, 2017, 19:33:01 »
Sweet, I would love a 748 to do a custom build on!  I hope you got the deal of a life time on it?
What are your plans for it?  Hopefully you will get a 5 spoke front wheel to tie in with the rear.  If it was mine I wouldn't be considering "cafe racer" style though.  Look forward to following your build :)

Offline rentedshoes

  • Posts: 193
Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #5 on: Aug 17, 2017, 08:04:48 »
I'm glad there is some interest. This build is going to be fairly high-end. My goal is for some coverage or perhaps the opportunity to show at the handbuilt show in Austin. I've got a long update for you fellas.

When I started to tear into the bike I discovered that the previous owner's ratchet only seemed to torn bolts counter-clockwise. Nothing on the body was remotely tight. The result is that the gas tank came off in the crash. I would think that bolting down a steel tank full of combustible liquid that sits directly in front of your nuts would be a priority. However, the PO didn't feel the same way.
The is in fairly rough shape. But that's not really a concern as it is going to be replaced by a carbon unit that is being built right now. The big problem is that Ducati fits plastic quick releases in the fuel lines. Which broke off. And not just in a way that could be easily removed. Thy sheared flush with the fuel pump housing. The result was that I had to remove the fuel pump to extract the remaining plastic. I ordered a salvage fuel pump just in case I damaged the threads on the housing.

I ordered some really nice metal fittings to replace the plastic ones. Replacement OEM plastic fittings were going to be almost as expensive.



With new fittings installed it was time to shove the fuel pump back in and start up the bike. I discovered that I had damaged the fuel pump seal when gas started to pour onto the garage floor as quickly as I was pouring it into the tank. Crap. Aside from the headache of not having another seal on hand. I had to then deal with a gallon and a half of fuel still pouring from the tank and what seemed like 5 gallons of gas on the garage floor slowly creeping towards the fridge and more importantly, the other bikes.

After an hour or so of cleaning up the spill I decided to see if I could find a replacement seal locally. It turns out that a local shop across town had one. So, off I went.
Now, I'm not cheap by any stretch. And it IS a Ducati. So, I expect to pay a premium for parts. But I was a bit surprised to see a $15 price tag for this:


With no other option, internet prices were $20 plus shipping, I paid the lady and moved on. After all, its not what it is but what it does that is important. I suppose that $15 to not burn down your motorcycle and the surrounding property is a sound investment.
Little did I know at the time I would have the pleasure of making that same purchase two more times as I promptly destroyed the first replacement seal on arrival home. The saving grace is that with the shop no closed for two days I was able to consult both the work shop manual and youtube for tips on proper installation. Turns out it's a whole thing where you have to create your own press using long bolts, some nuts and washers to press the thing in perfectly, and I mean perfectly, square. This new found knowledge helped me to get the pump gasoline-tight again.

The first thing any member of the Ducatista does with a bike equipped with a dry clutch is ditch the clutch cover. The PO was no exception. This resulted in the clutch being torn from the bike in the crash. I had snagged the spring retainer from the side of the road. And while researching fuel pump installation over a beer, I decided to use it to decorate one of my tap handles.



Having to replace the clutch proved to be nothing more than inconvenient as Ducati spec'd the same clutch on a number of models for a long time. Also, because this is a trade mark feature of the brand, there are tons of parts available. I ordered up this little guy and a VERY minimal clutch cover. C'mon, I can go against the Ducatista.



Apart from having to run out to find a torque wrench to tighten the springs to the proper torque, the clutch instal was very easy and straight-forward.

With the tank holding gas and the clutch installed I was ready to fire it up for the first time since the crash. I wanted to asses the motor before I got too far into the build. The seller told me that it had been bored out to 850cc. With the host of aftermarket parts the bike had, I was inclined to believe him. This marking on the cam cover lends credibility to this claim.



With most of the plastics headed to the Lewisville dump, I didn't really have a good place to put the battery that normally lives just behind the radiator on the right side. So I rolled out my handy shop stool to lend a hand. Battery reconnected, clutch installed, gas in the tank it was time to fire it up. In slo-mo you can see exactly where in the rotation the power stroke is. Pretty neat.

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/229984224" width="640" height="640" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p> from matt mueller on Vimeo.</p>

After running it for a minute or two, I began to notice a little bit of smoke radiating off the bike. Not surprising. I'm sure it was residue from the engine degreasing I had given it. Then I panicked. There was a trickle of gas creating a small pool under the bike. Perfect. I had visions of this bike burning down in my driveway. The bike was shut off and tank removed with a serious quickness. After a few minutes the bike had cooled and enough of the gas had evaporated for a quick inspection. Turns out the fuel lines between the throttle bodies were not only cracked but labeled "not for fuel injection". Now, I'm not a motorcycle scientist or anything but something tells me it is time to replace ALL the fuel lines with fuel injection approved lines. So, I'mm off to get some fuel lines. More to come soon!
1997 Ducati 748 Superbike
2015 Aprilia RSV4 Factory
2006 BMW R1200 GS
2009 Triumph Daytona (SOLD
2006 Monster 695 (SOLD)
1972 CB175 (SOLD)

Offline rentedshoes

  • Posts: 193
Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #6 on: Aug 17, 2017, 08:31:14 »
Sweet, I would love a 748 to do a custom build on!  I hope you got the deal of a life time on it?
What are your plans for it?  Hopefully you will get a 5 spoke front wheel to tie in with the rear.  If it was mine I wouldn't be considering "cafe racer" style though.  Look forward to following your build :)

Johnu, thanks for your interest. You've got a keen eye to catch the mismatched wheels. They are not staying. I'll probably sell them at some point to further recoup some cash. I've got my eye on a set of Marchesini's.

I'm doing this one cafe style because I love the minimalist, engine focused look. Ducati's are essentially a bunch of stuff bolted to an engine. I plan to for the engine to be the focal point and all the rest as functional accents. The details will be revealed as they come to fruition. No sense laying out an entire build only for some body to "borrow" all your ideas before you get a chance to execute them. Also, these projects tend to evolve as they go. Who knows, maybe I'll get some knobbies and riser bars and make it a tracker like my last Ducati ;)



Below is a picture from the initial tear down. You can start to see the lines. Admittedly, it looks like a street-fighter in this picture. The reality is that street-fighters began as sport bikes that had been crashed and body work removed.


More to come soon. I got a box from UPS yesterday afternoon that I haven't opened up yet. I hope you fellas like carbon.
1997 Ducati 748 Superbike
2015 Aprilia RSV4 Factory
2006 BMW R1200 GS
2009 Triumph Daytona (SOLD
2006 Monster 695 (SOLD)
1972 CB175 (SOLD)

Offline stroker crazy

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #7 on: Aug 17, 2017, 09:11:28 »
I hope you fellas like carbon.

Ha!

Crazy
“Ride like the Wind” W.H.

Offline coyote13

  • Posts: 1136
Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #8 on: Aug 17, 2017, 12:03:29 »
Might be the worst Ducati in Dallas but that's easily the best tap handle I've seen in all of DFW!  I'm in it to win it, love a good Duc project
Half the fun's in the get there...

Offline johnu

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Re: The Worst Ducati in Dallas
« Reply #9 on: Aug 17, 2017, 19:43:24 »
Biggest hurdle I see is that you are starting off with one of the all time best looking motorcycles ever designed :)  If you build something that is worthy of that handbuilt show you mentioned (I looked it up) though we are in for a treat  8)