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Thread: Summer running - 2000 Ducati ST2

  1. #1
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Summer running - 2000 Ducati ST2

    I've gone ahead and bought my second Ducati.

    Summertime. Time to ride again, getting a bike for the season while the 900SS is laid up with major engine rebuild work.

    It can be a bit of a saga, the fun and games involved in attempting to secure a reasonably reliable ride in the sub-$7K used bike market in NZ. First I had to be sure about the bike that I wanted to buy. Then I had to find an acceptable example to make an offer on.

    Bikes with totally dead batteries (twice), rocketships with bent up front ends (oops), bikes that are too far away to go and look at (dammit), and bikes where the seller tells flat out lies about needed and pricey work having been done. Yep. It's chaos out there.

    After a while of these fun and games I finally realised that there's a certain amount of banged up that I'm going to get. Perfect isn't really on the menu. About the best I could hope for was something fundamentally OK, with imperfect plastics and paint but a strong motor and a straight chassis. If it was unpopular then that'd help with the bucks too. There was also a non-negotiable chance that I wouldn't be able to resell it. If that happened then I'd better buy something that I'm OK with keeping for a while.

    I'm not interested in top end power. Most of my riding is back country roads at sane speeds, so I don't need the latest and greatest to do what I want to do. What I do need is something I can manage, afford, and have some fun on.

    Ducati ST. There's a whole family of these largely ignored sport tourers. Here's the quick sum-up:

    ST2: lower powered with simple 2V maintenace. Pantah-derived engine.
    ST3: most useable engine of the range, fiddly maintenance, looks like a Honda.
    ST4: superbike engine, a wolf in sheep's clothing, superbike maintenance.

    The 3 and 4 had 'S' versions with Ohlins suspension goodies, lightened builds and uprated engines. All ST engines are liquid cooled and fuel injected. All bikes feature Ducati's signature trellis frames, excellent handling, the possibility of mounting hard bags, and a (by Ducati standards anyway) downright reasonable riding position. The 3 aside, everything in the range shares the same bodywork.

    The 2's are considered a bit plain Jane and underpowered (by sport touring standards anyway), but for me there are some very strong advantages. Most of the ones I saw on the used market came with the bags. The engine's a simple beast that I'm already mostly familiar with. Aside from injection and liquid cooling, it's basically a continuation of the 900SS engine. I already have most of the skills and tools needed to look after the bike.

    The 3's don't turn up in the market often. They're the oddball Ducati engine: 3 valves, 2 inlet and one exhaust. Apparently it's the pick of the bunch in terms of how the engine behaves in real world riding. Either there weren't that many made in the first place, or people who have them don't give them up willingly. Maybe both are true. I didn't get the chance to test one, unfortunately.

    The 4's are very likely to have been modded, ridden hard, and crashed hard too, from what little I saw. They also don't turn up often in the used market with the bags, which I wanted to have. Desmoquattro superbike engines: big maintenance. Pull camshafts and check for rocker arm chrome flaking at every valve clearance interval, that kind of thing. The one 4s I managed to test ride had far more power than I'd ever need or want.

    Right, an ST2 would probably be it... a mate and I took a car up to a dealership, spent an hour plus going over the bike and test riding it, then I made an offer. A spot of negotiation, a deal struck and some paperwork later I had a ride for summer. There were no issues riding it home, roughly 300-ish k of lotsa fun through the twisties and annoyance at slowpokes on the main roads.

    There are a few things to sort out, starting with an issue I noticed at the dealership and used as a basis for making a reduced offer: the state of the gearbox output shaft spline and front sprocket. The dry red horror of the second photo shows what we saw when the plastic front sprocket cover came off. The third photo shows the detail I noticed on the dealer floor: the chain wasn't tracking on its plastic runner correctly. This was the only external warning sign.

    One of the nice features about the ST series swingarm design is that a riveted chain will come off without any messing around. All I had to do was to get the clutch slave cylinder out of the way and then to release the front sprocket.

    I found metal splinters all over the chain, when I washed it. The front sprocket's internal splines are badly beaten up but still barely useable. The sprocket retainer is totally shot - the locking teeth are completely worn away - and the front sprocket is badly worn on the inside flank (where the chain meets the teeth), due to having run close to the engine for quite some time.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Here's a couple more shots of the carved-up front sprocket and chain. Note the unequal side flex... this chain's been running skewed. It's also doing the thing where it lifts off the rear sprocket easily. Even if it was still straight, this is worn out. This was one thing I didn't remember to check when I was looking over the bike, unfortunately.

    For now I've cleaned, greased, and reassembled with a new locking tab washer. It's clear that the chain and sprocket set is stuffed. The gearbox output spline is a bit hammered but still serviceable, this shaft should go the distance until major engine work, but it'd be good to replace it at that time.

    The front sprocket, though... I really didn't expect the aggressive wear on the inside flank. It's normally 7.5mm thick. This is now down to 6.5mm. The internal splines are thoroughly rounded off, too. Not good. It's not catastrophic, I'll still ride (carefully), but it's immediate replacement time for the chain and sprocket set.
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  3. #3
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Owners guide, parts diagrams and lists, and full workshop and service manuals downloaded:

    https://www.carlsalter.com/ducati-service-manuals.asp

    The text Capcha thing here uses two words. I entered these without a space between them and used upper / lower case as displayed, there were no issues getting the pdf's.

  4. #4
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    So the spline on the output shaft where the sprocket should have been sitting looks ok? How many kms has the bike done, it looks fine!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  5. #5
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laava View Post
    So the spline on the output shaft where the sprocket should have been sitting looks ok? How many kms has the bike done, it looks fine!
    About 26,000 km's. I'd have to take a photo side by side with a brand new one to really show the differences but it is worn, you can see the curves in the spline faces. Won't stop me riding though...

  6. #6
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    So at 26,000km that would still be the original chain and sprockets, someone must have moved it for it to be in the wrong position like that on the output shaft?
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  7. #7
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Just fixing a few other things, because I'm picky...

    The clutch had something of a judder when starting off in first gear. I'd put it down to a worn clutch pack. Today's job was to check this out, prior to ordering replacements.

    It looks like the problem was down to incorrect reassembly. There's a triangle and slot on the pressure plate, with a matching slot on the clutch hub's spring post. It's clearly visible once the springs are off. These are supposed to go together, there is definitely one correct place to assemble these.

    The trouble with the Ducati design is that it's possible to put the pressure plate out of place by one post to either side. It'll still fit together, it's just that the posts aren't centered in the pressure plate's holes. They'll be out of whack by just enough that the springs will exert a torque between pressure plate and hub, but not misaligned enough so that it's obvious. The torque can cause issues with the clutch action, or at least I think so. The pressure plate will start dragging and binding in the hub splines. This may have been the reason for the judder. Haven't had the chance to test ride yet.

    I was very pleased to find that all friction plates came in at 2.9 mm thickness or just over - they're nearly new. There was some corrosion, though. I think water has been getting in via cracks in the clutch cover gasket. Some of the steels had clear marks on them where the friction plates had left an outline, as if the clutch pack had frozen at some point. There was no visible damage to friction surfaces beyond normal wear.

    The cover screw's corrosion isn't a big deal. Rust marks on the steels will come off with some sanding. The pushrod coming out with the pressure plate is kind of a pain, though. I want that separable in future, ideally the pushrod stays with the engine whenever service work has to be done.

    Ducati left a just under 2 mm hole in the end of the bearing cap, presumably for just this reason - it's possible for the pushrod to bind up in the bearing cap due to clutch dust. I didn't have a pin punch small enough so sacrificed a jeweller's screwdriver for the job, with a couple of rags on the floor to catch the rod when it dropped. A couple of taps got it out without any issues, then it was some sanding of pushrod and bearing cap insides to make sure that rust didn't swell and lock it in again.

    The photo of the bent-over cotton bud is to show a way to sand the inside of the bearing cap. Ducati have revised the design and incorporated an O-ring, presumably against the dust buildup and pushrod locking problem. I wanted to avoid carving this O-ring up. Sanding was done with a narrow strip of paper, the cotton bud was just a way to drive this rolled-up strip once it was down the hole.

    Plates and steels came in fine as far as flatness was concerned. The basket and hub are notched but there's still plenty of life left in them, although I don't think the basket would pass Ducati's 0.6mm tang-to-basket free play test. Clutch action tested out OK with the cover off and spinning the pressure plate and hub by hand, with springs etc reassembled and everything back the way it should be.

    There's a couple more post-purchase checks and tweaks I'd like to make, but so far the chain and the clutch are the two biggies.
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  8. #8
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laava View Post
    So at 26,000km that would still be the original chain and sprockets, someone must have moved it for it to be in the wrong position like that on the output shaft?
    It's not actually possible to move a healthy assembly, it'll be locked into the groove on the output shaft. I think it's neglect. The locking tab washer is supposed to be checked every 10,000 km's, along with everything else during that interval service.

    Sooner or later the tabs on that washer will get chewed out by wear and then the above happens... the trouble is that it happens behind a cover, and (in this case anyway) on the reverse face of the washer. Seeing this would have required taking the tab washer off the sprocket, cleaning it, and checking both washer faces. It would have been easy to miss prior to failure.

    The chain not tracking straight should have rung some alarm bells though... it looks like failure happened quite a while ago.

  9. #9
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    14th July 2006 - 21:39
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    I'm quietly laughing. I'm sure you purchased this one to ride but within 48 hours you are pulling it apart!

    Just ribbing ya.

  10. #10
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanB View Post
    I'm quietly laughing. I'm sure you purchased this one to ride but within 48 hours you are pulling it apart!

    Just ribbing ya.
    I am feeling his pain! I bought a Ducati recently and have spent a lot of time fixing up needless fuck ups on it, wish it was as good as my 3 yr old v strom!
    It is however a hoot to ride and puts a smile on my face!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  11. #11
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laava View Post
    I am feeling his pain! I bought a Ducati recently and have spent a lot of time fixing up needless fuck ups on it, wish it was as good as my 3 yr old v strom!
    It is however a hoot to ride and puts a smile on my face!
    I had the same thing post test ride, my comment to my mate was that the ST2 was fun, fun fun!! I'd expected a staid but solid performer, I really hadn't picked how good it'd be to throw it around in the twisties.

    What sort of problems have you had with the bike?

  12. #12
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    Loadsa niggles, most of them due to bad workmanship from either the previous owner or the shop I bought it from,
    The back wheel slamming into the tail tidy and breaking the plate lamp and then one of the mounting bolts disappeared along with the warrant and rego.
    Battery going flat in 5-7 days which most of the people on the Ducati forum told me was completely normal. Turns out it was a usb charger that was retro fitted and unswitched.
    The pinch bolts totally loose on top fork clamps, both sides and the centre bolt completely missing. This can only have been installed like that, as you need to remove the top clamp to replace the bolt, and then given a warrant by the bike shop I bought it from. I gave them my opinion on this one!
    Front brake lever spongy but comes up hard with one quick pump, this has marginally improved by rebleeding and vigorous use but is more than likely caused by the piston seals rocking in their groove very slightly. A known issue when things get dirty or corroded in that area.
    A continuous weeping of coolant at the expansion bottle where the hose connects from radiator. I havent fixed this yet as it is kinda fiddly to get to and in very small amounts at this stage.
    Very loose and rattly pillion pegs, no biggie but not the sort of thing I would expect on an expensive machine.
    That's about it and most not attributed to Ducati as such but still annoying esp when I have zero mechanical problems on my 3yr old 50,000km suzuki.
    Again, offset by insane fun factor!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  13. #13
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    28th January 2015 - 16:17
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    Ouch, sympathies. Not fun. The stuff with the triple clamps sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

  14. #14
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    I've done about 40k on my ST2, still loving it, they punt along ok on the twisties but still comfy enough to do 500+ k's in a day. The factory panniers are excellent, and almost completely waterproof.

    Found the same issue with the front sprocket locking plate when I pulled mine to bits for a clean the other day, no other damage done though.

    Mine's only ever failed to get me home 3 times, and never had to do any major pulling apart, so not too bad given it gets ridden and parked in all sorts of weather.

    First time completely dead battery, bike won't run without one due to the single phase alternator.
    Second time would start but not rev, corroded contacts on the throttle position sensor connector.
    Third time turned over but wouldn't start, corroded contacts on the ignition pickup connector.

    Due for a 10k service and new chain and sprockets very shortly...
    Riding cheap crappy old bikes badly since 1987

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    Ouch, sympathies. Not fun. The stuff with the triple clamps sounds like the stuff of nightmares.
    Yep, i also did about 3000km before I noticed it. Was wondering why I was wallowing a bit more in the corners than I needed to!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

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