ducati machining in Denver

Subject: Ducati Digest, Vol 42, Issue 45
Date Received: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:27:04 AM
Date Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 4:32:18 AM
From: ducati-request@ducati.net

My ’91 907IE had a bad horizontal cylinder exhaust valve and seat. I
called the nearest dealer (only 105 miles away) to ask about repair,
and was referred to their machinist; he said that he didn’t work on
motorcycles that old. I was trying to figure out what to do next and
had a stroke of luck; a month ago, I visited Vintage Moto in Denver
(Vicki has posted pictures of the collection, you may recall.)

The owner of the museum, Jim Dillard, told me that he used Harry’s,
located just north of Denver, for all of his many motorcycles. The
owner of Harry’s (who is not named Harry..) said that he could fix
it. So off I went with my cylinder head, and it came back very
pretty. The only discrepancy from the Ducati manual was the exhaust
valve opener, which was set to be 0.15 mm, not the 0.10 mm which is
specified. I am sure that the greater spacing is to allow for a bit
of valve seat compression during initial use. And I don’t mind
swapping out the closer, when the need arises.

So far so good, and I started to put in back together. Needless to
say I have only a “normal” torque wrench, not the special tool that
is needed. So I kluged up something with a standard 15 mm crowsfoot
and my longest 3/8 drive handle and a spring scale. At least, the
important thing is uniformity of clamping force, and the absolute
torque isn’t that significant, provided the maximum is not much

But then I had my – aws**t – moment when I looked at a spare brass
sleeve on the bench, and at the assembly drawing, which showed that
it needed to be INSIDE the head. So the head to come off again.
Maybe I will come up with a better kludge to torque down the head.

Glad one of my other motorcycles (’96 BMW R1100GS) is running; too
bad I can’t get back to making a new wiring harness for my ’70
Triumph T100C. At least the only wiring mods I have made to my
Ducati is a bypass switch for the radiator fan and an extra ground
wire for the Electrex regulator which I had to install, so the
original schematic is still valid.

OK back to your discussions of Stoner, Hayden, etc. who always have
competent mechanics to build up their machines.

In the meantime, I can only tell any other DIY mechanics to read the

Frank Snively
Buena Vista, Colorado