Ducati Digest, Vol 48, Issue 10 — Inbox

Why didn’t you just send the injectors to a shop for cleaning? The tool(weld

a 3/8 or 1/2″ adapter to a box end wrench and torque at a 90degree angle) to

torque the head. Where is your manual?

—–Original Message—–

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf

Of Frank Snively

Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 11:40 PM

To: [email protected]

Subject: [Ducati] A wonderful wife gave me a wonderful Christmas Present

Today, I went into the Ducati dealer in Colorado Springs (who is also

the Harley Davidson dealer – go figure..) and the parts man showed me

the receipt for two new fuel injector nozzles, which my wife had told

him to order. Now I can finally imaging getting my Ducati to run

right! That was after almost a year and a half of frustration! No

longer will I be reduced to riding only one motorcycle!

As to why I need it, well it’s a long story. Read as much as you like:

As I have mentioned from time to time, I am the owner of a ’91

907IE. Last spring, I found that the horizontal cylinder had bad

compression, though the vertical cylinder seemed OK. Putting a

little oil into the cylinder did not do a thing, so it had to be

associated with the valves. None of the dealers in Colorado Springs

or Denver seemed anxious to dive into it – and I remembered vividly

the cost of replacing the valve guides (remember, ’91 was a very bad

year for Ducati valve guides!), when I took the machine into the

Ducati dealer in Garden Grove, CA and told them “fix it”. Of course

a good bit or the price was involved in R&R operations for tank,

fairing, belt covers, belts, ignition components, et very much

cetera. This time around, I figured that I had better dismantle it

myself. But first I called some shops which were mentioned by a

dealer (who shall remain nameless) and a few acquaintances. The

responses were unanimous: “We don’t work on machines that old.” I

don’t happen to consider a 1991 machine to be THAT old – remember, it

has electronic fuel injection and solid state controlled ignition!

Anyhow, when I was visiting a museum in Denver called Vintagemotos

last summer, I asked the owner, Jim Dillard, who did the machining

work on his collection – he has a number of old machines which surely

needed more than a paint touch-up. Jim gave me the name and number

of a repair shop in Commerce City, called “Doug’s”, which is not the

name of the owner, if that matters.

Note that Vicki has also visited and photographed Vintagemotos. See:


for her slide show.

I called the shop, and verified that he did work on Dillard’s

motorcycles, and that he could repair the head of a 907IE. So the

dismantling proceeded. The only problem was the belt sprocket on the

head, whose removal takes some special tools I didn’t have. So I

left the sprocket on the head, and went to the shop (140 miles one

way) and got an unwanted tour of the D&RGW freight yards. (Despite

the merger with the SP and then UP, most of the signs still said “Rio

Grande”. Not one sign said anything about how to get out of that mess!)

Ultimately, I did find the shop. When I walked in, the owner showed

me an early 1950’s Italian single, for which he was machining the

crank case to take a modern bearing, and also a connecting rod, sized

to fit a new crank pin and a piston from Italian car which happened

to have the right bore. At that point, I was sure he could handle a

simple valve seat and fit some new valves.

And a month or so later, he called up and said “Come and get it.”

This time I knew to bypass the freight yards, anyhow.

I won’t go through a litany of the mistakes, none vital, I made in

getting things back together; well, I must admit that I did a

slapdash job of torquing down the four nuts which mount the head to

the cylinder – neither my click wrench nor my beam wrench would fit

into the necessary space. The Ducati manual shows a bar attached to

a crow’s foot, but gives no hint of what you attach to the bar, or

what you measure out at the end. At least, I could rationalize that

“What matters is uniformity of clamping force” and I could tighten

all four nuts at the same relative angle with the same muscular effort.

Then came time to finish connecting everything, add some gas to the

tank (Yes, the old stuff smelled kind of funny) and crank it over.

It DID crank over and after a while it actually did start! But a

quick ride around the block showed that it wasn’t running at all

well, smoking and missing and lurching along. I will mention one

(possible) mistake: since it was smoking, I suspected rich mixture.

That was one thing I could handle. My 907 was running with the

“European” chip, so I opened up the computer and installed the

“American” chip. With the leaner mapping, it was even more reluctant

to start, but it did not run quite as badly. Next, I poured out what

old gas I could, and put in a couple gallons of new gas and a bottle

of “injector cleaner”. Running the fresh gas and the injector

cleaner made modest improvement, but not right.

Also, it was leaking a bit of oil, almost like an old Triumph or a

Norton (I have one each of those!) Note that the 907IE has no head

gasket, and I had assumed that the existing

O-rings were still satisfactory, though they were a bit squashed. So

I ordered a new gasket set. Might as well do the vertical cylinder,

as long as I have everything apart.

So the next possibility was the injectors. I still figure that

computers work as designed, or don’t work at all. At least that his

been my experience with military (ICBM and spacecraft guidance) and

NASA computers. The one in the 907 should not be that different, and

the components inside had a familiar set of components. And then I

hit a brick wall. For all that an injector is a simple solenoid

operated needle valve, it costs USFRN$375 each, and you need two of

them. At that time both of my sons were experiencing financial

difficulties.. The gasket set was cheap enough, but the injectors

were a different story.

But now the injectors are ready to get onto a slow boat from Italy.

Something to keep me busy this winter. Snow is falling as I write.

At least the people here on the Ducati list will not ask “Why on

earth are you bothering?” We all understand some basic things like

the absolute necessity to have at least one Duc running.

Frank Snively

POBox 1883

Buena Vista CO 81211