Other Beasts > Other Bikes

Red, Italian and in my garage... (Ducati 600SS)

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Ok, so after creating this board, I might as well put my bike on there. Besides my Tiger 800XC I also own a Ducati 600SS. This has been going on for a while, so I am going to catch this forum up on everything that has happened so far:

A while ago, I picked up my new project:

Yes, I have picked up a nice, red, not so shiny Italian.  :bad

Long story short, the previous owner drooled over this bike when it was new. His neighbor bought it and when he was washing his scooter next to his neighbors Ducati, he promised his neighbor to buy it off him someday.  Well, that day came, years ago. So he bought it and his ex rode it sometimes. Until they split up in '10 and the Ducati was parked up. And there it sat until today. When I picked it up, it had just been sitting. The previous owner tried starting it, but the bike is leaking fuel like crazy and can't idle at all. I am guessing the carbs just need a good revision and the bike just needs a good service with setting valve clearances. So, I know what I have to do.  :icon_wink:  (But it will have to wait a bit as I will be riding the Schleck Gran Fondo in Luxembourg this weekend and am out next weekend.)

Still, I now own a red Italian bike.  :thumbsup


Ok, I had some time to look under the hood of the Ducati yesterday.

The hinged tank is a nice feature. And it's pretty funny to have a bit of a stand on there as well as your hood would on your car. I can't really figure out whether I find it useful or not though. When you flip open the tank on that stand, it really is just too short to reach stuff easily. But oh well, it looks nice and it beats having to reach for bolts in impossible locations as I had to with the Tiger or the GS.

After a big fight with all kinds of parts, I was able to take out the air filter housing. (Yes, it is not just Steamers that have that problem. ;) ) Time to pull the carbs and all of a sudden you are left with a huge hole...

I had expected the carbs to be completely gummed up from sitting for 9 years. Besides that, there was fuel leaking from one of the carbs, so it needed a revision anyway. Time to take them apart. The previous owner told me it wouldn't be needed as they had been in an ultrasonic cleaner before. Alas, it was before the bike sat for nine years, so we'll see...

Obviously, it has those great screws and at the previous service, the guy fastening them had probably done that with at least 200Nm. Which meant that they were locked solidly in place. When I tried to turn them, two of them were stripped and I had to revert to serious violence to cut grooves, etc. to get them out. Any thoughts on where to get some spare screws? ;)

What is obvious, is that it is all pretty clean. Another thing that is obvious, is that the previous maintenance was done by someone on the cheap. Instead of new seals, I found lots of liquid sealing on old seals to make the thing work. Well, cleaning it is then... And find out why it was leaking fuel...

Oh, and I got some new fuel lines and a new fuel filter as those looked terrible after 9 years of sitting...


Ok, some more time on the bikes today. Well, not “on” but working on them. ;) Anyway, as I was pulling the thing apart, there was more bad news.

Yep, I’ve seen less rust on pre-war cars. But my tank sure is full of it. Sitting for 9 years without being filled up has sure done some damage. So I need to dismantle the whole thing. The good thing is that I needed to do that anyway as the pump is inside the tank and the filter is connected to it. And as you can see, it definitely needs replacing. So does the filter that is on the bottom of the pump. Though it is going to be a bit of a challenge to find that. ;)

So, in wait of solving my tank problem, I started to do a bit of a puzzle. ;)

Then it was time to give the set a nice and warm bath. I have found out that putting less in, makes it cleaner. But it gave some pretty nice results.

So, after a lot of puzzling, cleaning, scraping, fiddling with seals etc. We’ve got carbs again!


Well, there is news! The Ducati is alive!! Yes, I know, I have now owned it for almost a year and it has yet to turn a wheel in anger. However, I am pretty happy it is actually running now. There still is some stuff to sort, because the left carb is leaking badly, so I think the float needle isn’t shutting properly. So, I have a last bit of work left to do. But hey, at least it idles, which means it can warm up and that enables me to finally change the oil on it. (I have already done the distribution belts, the spark plugs and the airfilter.) Next up is the engine oil, the brake fluids, the fork fluids and seals and then the tires. Those are probably over 15 years old and not really safe anymore. But still I did do 400 meters just driving up and down the street when it finally ran. Without most of the bodywork and without the saddle, but I just had to ride it. ;)


And for all of you who have been wondering... Yes, I got it to run. It was one of the float needles that was stuck, so I pulled the new to me carbs apart, cleaned the, put a new float needle in from the other set that I had that didn't work and now it is running fine. And not leaking.
It was running so nicely that I actually stuck the seat on and rode it up and down the street for a record 600 meters. And then I regretted the fact that the tires were probably on 0.5 bar (which is about 7psi) and that it does not have new brake fluids etc. But at least I rode it, sitting on the saddle and with a big smile. ;)


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