Minor disaster on start-up of rebuilt engine as it pukes oil and reveals top end malfunction
Massive grief with 900SS, minor aggro with XL, all going very swimmingly with the GSX, plus, (shock, horror) KH1F makes some actual progress
ne of the joys of air-cooled Ducatis is the clanking racket they make on start-up. And after a long rebuild and much anticipation, my 1993 900SS is clanking more than most. It catches with an explosive backfire or several, stalls with an ominous whine from the bottom-end and takes an eternity to restart. When it finally does I notice an overwhelming smell of fresh fuel. That will be coming from the puddle spreading across the workbench from the carb overflow. This, I further note, has oil dripping into it from a leak at the bottom right corner of the frontcylinder’s base gasket.
There’s been a lot of work done and money spent to get to this point of disappointment and frustration. Last month I got the engine back together and ready to go in the frame. That’s not really a job for the solo operator. Sure there are only two engine bolts but chocking up the lump to lower the trellis frame over it is a high-risk strategy without someone to hold the engine steady. That someone arrived in the form of Mark Graham who expressed his surprise that a mere two bolts were entrusted with keeping engine and frame united, before deciding this was an admirable hallmark of Ducati’s simple approach to motorcycle engineering.
With the two long bolts torqued-up I could then get on with the rest of the Duke’s rather idiosyncratic assembly process on my own. The swingarm pivots off the back of the crankcases. Ducati’s fondness for a handful of shims where tighter manufacturing tolerances might have served better is well-known. The The harder you look, the more nastiness you find
Note one of two engine mount bolts (top, right)