Listen Pay attention to the sounds your engine makes. Zina's 900CR had this wierd, infrequent loud tap or tick sound at idle. I looked and saw the flywheel visibly wobbling in the timing window! The bearing in the left side cover that the end of the crankshaft rides in had completely failed! At only 19000 miles! This was found as I was warming up her bike to go to a track day at Willow Springs. Thankfully, I had a spare from when I rebuilt my engine. The moral is to not expect any form of solid reliability. Her bike was otherwise very well behaved.
Clutch Pay attention to the clutch - clean it out, check the throwout bearing. I say it on the TuneUp FAQ.
Electrics They're always an issue it seems. The regulators fry at the instance of any open ground. At least there are aftermarket alternatives.
Valve Guides The 900SS in the early 90s have either really soft valve guides or they were assembled with too loose a clearnace. I've heard of many that were at or beyond the maintenance limit in as little as 15000 miles.
Frame cracking The frames are suspect to cracking up near the steering stem. My `92 cracked where the hole was for the plate. pic 1 pic2. 1995 and `96 seem to have issues with the welds around the top part of the steering stem. A customer of mine had this happen and we thought little of it and got it welded. Turns out this is an issue and Ducati North America has a "Good Will Warrnaty." If your dealer likes you, you may get your frame warranted even though you're out of warranty period. Some folks get the labor covered. Others don't. Still others must pay their dealer to R&R the frame or it won't be warranted at all. In my case, I got screwed out of $2000 in the resale value of my 900, becuase my local dealer wouldn't warrant it. The guy that I traded the 900SS to got it covered from his delaer up in Seattle. I've now decided that the warranty is really a Bad Will Warranty due to the amount of anger resulting from the inconsistancy in application. Hey Ducati: the Internet and e-mail lists are here and your dirty underwear has been aired. Supposedly around `98, the frames were made a lot stronger. The lucky ones to get their frames replaced are getting brand new ones made in Italy with their original VIN stamped in them. Powder coating will be required if your frame was white or silver.
Broken Swingarms This hit the early SS and newer SP models with the aluminum swingarms. The swingarm likes to break in one of three places: at the pinch bolts for the pivot, at the tab for the shock mount, and the insert for the axle at the chain adjuster. Happened to me. Supposedly, around `97 they came out with a beefier swingarm. This seems to be even rarer than the cracked frame and is also supposed to be covered by the Bad Will Warranty. (Can you guess mine wasn't?)
Broken Cylinder Studs This seems to have a peak with the 1993 model year. Have an engine on my workbench right now with two that are snapped.
Oil Galley Plug On 1991 and 1992 models, the oil galley plugs in the crankshaft would back out. Happened on mine. (I didn't bother asking about any warranty)
Some things to look at:
|Notice here that the battery and airbox are removed. Check out the micrometer laying on the shop rags. Molto important for adjusting valves. You can also really see the profile of the Keihin FCR 41's.|