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900ss Ressurection

Discussion in 'Builds & Projects' started by Sev, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone, Seeing as this is a new board, I thought I'd stick my dear old first lady (other than mama) on it for you to cast your eye over. It's been up on the PB forums, and here's the gathering of all the notes on that thread - I hope you enjoy. She's nowt special in the scheme of some of the money you see on some forums - but she's mine and that's all that matters s'there!

    I've got a 1994 Ducati 900ss Supersport.
    In 1999 I had an accident, I fell off the bike doing an advance rider course of all things, and some woman came the other way and ran clean over the top of me in her clio - which resulted in me spending three months learning to walk again, and six months before I could swing a leg over the bike. The bike was scrap.

    I bought the scrap off the insurance company for 500 quid, and with the rest of the insurance money did pilgrimage to the hallowed halls that were Baines Racing at Silverstone and let them work their magic. I couldn't afford an 888, and at the time 748 SPS's were hen's teeth, and the truth was, I really liked the bike (sentimental I know - soz!) Because of a fairing cradle which didn't materialise from Italy, the bike took a year to get back to me, which was good as I was still recovering throughout that year. John and Goeff were great, and really tried to keep the costs down where they could - Top blokes.

    Baines did the following work:
    Lightened flywheel and head porting and gas flowing
    Floating calliper conversion and cast iron SL discs
    Additional oil cooler
    Fit Keihin 41mm Flatslide carbs
    Fit my Termignoni Full Spaghetti System
    (I'd got a tip off from a relative who knew a man at Termignoni! This was lying around for years in their warehouse collecting dust - from what I understand they never really produced them as an off the shelf item as they were so pricey. Cost new 1600+vat, I got it for less than a quarter of that with some good old haggling!)
    Lightweight clutch basket and hub
    Elliot digital tacho.

    Over time, I just collected various bits and bobs which have eventually made the bike what it is now.

    The highs:
    That sound of a Ducati on overrun ; the racket that only an aircooled Ducati can make, and the rattly rattly clutch.
    Finding a Termignoni full spaghetti race system
    Finding a set of Marchesini Superlight magnesium rims (Harris performance did me proud on these - admittedly it took nearly a year of phonecalls to wrestle these out fo their hands for a decent price!)

    The lows:
    1995 Letting HT Automotive do the original dynojetting on my first 900ss - it died at high revs, their answer was to run long fuel pipes outside of the frame. They told me they had a rolling road, turns out it was the M23!

    1999 Coming off the bike and getting run over and my pelvis reconstructed!

    2001 Giving Performance Techniques 800 quid for an Ohlins shock, fork springs and Setup - They went into liquidation, and I never saw a penny back or my shock which they could have just sent me. (I'm sure I actually bid on it on fleabay! )

    2009 Discovering that the Marchesini wheels despite having never been used had reacted with moisture and started to corrode.

    It and me have been through alot, and finally what with one thing and another it had it's cover pulled over it in 2004 and hasn't turned a wheel since.

    This photo was taken before I put it to sleep - I let it run, and closed the fuel tap off to run the carbs dry.

    Part 1
    Getting the Marchesini Wheels refurbed.

    Here is the picture of the magnesium rear wheel with detail of the corrosion. Scraping away the paint layer we can see that the corrosion is quite heavy. I've seen alot of mag wheels on ebay like this, all with 'could do with a repaint - don't be fooled.



    With dymag going bust the first step was in finding someone to refurb the wheels. This would eventually involve:
    1) stripping old paint or coating off
    2) crack testing
    3) Blasting with Aluminium Oxide
    4) Chromate dipping
    5) Applying new finish.

    Dymag was a onestop shop for this but admittedly they charged for the privilege. Since I had these done, some of the ex dymag guys had restarted in business and did mag wheel refurbing. handy should it ever happen again.

    So, after removing the swingarm and I started to have a good look around the bike.

    Starting at the back and working my way forward, and in the meantime moving all the junk that's accumulated on it collectively known as 'woman stuff'.


    I took the chain off and realise that potentially a new chain was needed - the old chain despite only having done 300 miles is had got rust on the links and felt stiff to move. Eventually I sat it in brake WD40 to soak, and then cleaned it up and re-greased it - it came up lovely - which was nice!

    The chain runner sat in a pot of brake cleaner and I got the worst of the detrius off with a tongue inspector (thick lolly stick - very handy workshop item to have [​IMG] )

    Unfortunately the bellows of the clutch master cylinder needed replacing, and some hydraulic fluid had leaked onto the case and muched away at the paintwork [​IMG]

    Before I did anything else I got rid of the chain grease and muck in the sprocket pocket and got that all lovely again.


    Note the shallow head bolt for the sidestand - there's only so many near misses you can take before the suicide-stand had to go. The bolt came from Brancato Engineering (01865 891203 iirc). At this point since I hadn't got my wheels back I lost momentum and a few more months passed.

    Following a test ride in April on a Diavel it made me all broody! So I tidied up the garage and started to crack on with it again.

    I needed to order a whole new rebuild kit for the clutch slave cylinder as it started to leak, and I had the joy of bubbled paintwork on the engine case and part of the fairing [​IMG]

    With some brake cleaner and a spark plug brush I got to cleaning it all up, and whilst I was at it, I decided to clean the back of the engine and the sprocket carrier area of all that gunge. The intention wasn't a concourse winning engine finish, but I did want to tidy it up a little.


    I fitted my swingarm, which by now was sporting some bobbin mounts - and thankfully there's no play in the bearings or spacer shims.


    #1 Sev, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2015
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  2. I greased up the rear shock. It's set to ride height +10mm which should allow it to be a bit more nimble. The length to set it was given to me yonks back by John Baines.


    One year on, at this point I was still waiting on the Marchesini's.

    In the mean time, I also fitted the 888 corsa brake reservoirs which will allow me to use the radial levers which don't come with brackets. The 888 works bikes had them on the tope yoke and I liked the look so I did the same.



    I made the carbon rearsets ages ago, and I thought about perhaps fitting a 916 style brake assembly instead. I decided against it due to potential heat issues. Also the rearset mounted cylinder was more in keeping with the bike's era.

    I realised at this point the right hand fork leg was weeping - bugger, fork rebuild required which I hadn't budgeted for :rolleyes:

    The wheels were resprayed in a vintage camagnolo gold which Ferrari grand prix car wheels used to be done in. I hoped the rear rim was a 6" as this would allow me the freedom of tyre choice as I can fit 180's on the back. - and I had my eyeballs on a set of Pirelli Diablo Corsa BSB jobbees ( for the amount of miles I do...). In the end I settled on Pirelli Angels, as I would run out of talent far quicker than they did.

    To give you some Idea, it last wore a set of Pirelli Dragon Corsa's!

    well after nearly a year, last weekend I finally got her back together for the first start.

    Changed the belts, done a service, and retorqued and replaced nearly all the fasteners with new high tensile fasteners. I toyed with the idea of Titanium but I'm no racer and the money would be better spent going on a diet.

    I'm not interested i making her concourse clean at this stage - I just want to ride it again!

    I ended up getting a 1098 oil cooler off the bay and duly fitted it all up. Of course, when I discovered this forum I realised I needn't have butchered the 1098's hoses as the engine take offs were still M14's doh!






    Hoses made up to fit the 1098's cooler - Thanks to Adam at Earls [​IMG]


    Mounts made to accomodate the new fangled technology! Finally I can lose those AV mounts off the rocker covers!

    Stupidly I thought you needed the forward facing mountings as well - till I realised they were for the V Piece!


    And so, thats it so far and up to date.

    Fairy Power spray got the gummed up mess off the widscreen plastic and now I've got to wash and tart the fairings. I have a generous chap making up some new starter cables for me to replace the weedy oem shoelace.

    MOT on monday - hopefully she'll sail straight through.
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  3. Tasty. Like the Wheel colour.
  4. To put it simple, this is the reason I join forums.

    Great post, love it!

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  5. It looks great! Reading this gave all kind of ideas for the winter. Great job!:thumbup:
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  6. Great read! I remember seeing the bike elsewhere, nice job :upyeah:
  7. Looking good, plenty of ideas :biggrin:
  8. Great read and the bike is looking good too, fingers crossed the mot goes ok and you get back out on the road soon. Looking forward to reading more!
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  9. In anticipation to the pending MOT this morning, I spent the weekend doing a bit of final detail and tidying up.

    I had my spanky new stater cables and earth strap so I set about fitting them to the bike. As you can see from the images, there's a clear size difference between the original and new starter cable. I also took the opportunity to try out a couple of little busbars from some brackets I had lying around. I decided against these in the end for reasons which I'll come to, but i'll revisit these in decent copper at a late date,

    Probably the biggest issue for the new leads was the strain they put on the routing with the solenoid being where it is, so using a couple of AV mounts, I dropped it by 15mm and that seemed to do the trick.

    After some polish and a quick wash she finally had all her clothes back on.
    complete bike

    This morning - wheeled her out, thumbesd the starter and she spun up without any ker chinking struggle - I knew she would, but she didn't fire!

    eventually she fired on one cylinder, wheezed, smoked out of the airbox and pretty much that was that. It was symptoms she'd shown eight years ago before I put her to hibernate. I'd always be concerned that if I went somewhere I'd be left stranded if I couldn't get her to fire up first time. Even then I knew something wasn't right as there were guys with all sorts of bikes on flatslides that never had all this grief starting.

    As you can imagine, I felt really crap. I called the guys who I was going to get the MOT done by and he came to take the bike away in a trailer. I think at this stage I have to admit defeat. Mechanics, frame and chassis components, yes- fuelling no. It's always been one fo those areas which whenever I've touched it, it's never worked quite as it should. :frown:

    I tried to take everything back to what had changed, well, thicker cables aside - the only thing had been the busbars, and so I removed them. It made little difference.

    When I mothballed it I let the bike run dry (fuel tap off and run until stall)

    I did the same thing after I fired it up for the first time last week.
    I fired it up the next day, and even let it sit for an hour before seeing if it would fire again which it did.
    This time around I left the fuel tap open over night - I'd got the fairing on and bolted down after all.

    This is why I'm leaning heavily towards fuelling. From bone dry it barked into life first press. :frown:
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  10. I enjoyed reading this thread, Very nice Sev :upyeah:
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  11. Hi Sev, your bike looks great, did you strip and clean the carbs? The reason I ask is that the old fuel goes gummy and sticks up the various small parts. You may want to give Geoff Baines a quick call, he may be able to shed some light on your woes. FYI John has now settled in Northern France, just north of Le Mans.
  12. Imola, Duke, thanks for the replies :)

    I didn't strip the FCR's for the sole reason that I didn't think that it would accomplish much other than me cleaning them out. I have access to a sonic cleaner but I feel the problem is more deep rooted.

    they were fitted straight out of the box as they came from cycleworks. I always wanted to have them rolling road tuned but could never really afford a days road time. Now I don't know if there is anybody who can do a proper rolling road flatslide setup anymore.

    The issue I think is that perhaps there is a seal or something within the carb which is blocked or obstructed and therefore is allowing fuel to trickle into the carb or the bore. The bike always used to refuse to start unless it fired first time, and on taking the plugs out they were always oiled and fouled, not to mention heavily carbon deposited. I've got the stock ducati 6E plug rather than the 9E plug which Baines put into it. But both had the same result. I do suspect it is a setup issue as I'm running Dyna coils and magnecor leads and now with the improved starter leads i've eliminated practically all electrical resistance in the system.

    Winter project will be a new wiring loom, which when the time comes I'll post up of course, as wiring diagrams are one thing, but you really need the pin board diagram to make head nor tail of it if you're a layman.

    So it's currently sitting with my local indy bike mechanics, who have experience in old stuff - they race Aermacchi harley Davidsons amongst other things. So lets see what happens. Fingers crossed.
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  13. Love reading this sort of thing
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  14. Looks horn, great job. It's exactly what I want but not many of them around in Oz for sale - hopefully next year.
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  15. Well, I've been back from the workshop and they were good as gold. The issue with the flat slides was a simple one. Actually beyond simple - user error!

    I'd always religiously pumped the throttle twice before starting. What I was doing was flooding the engine. how much of a cock do I feel :rolleyes: - they just thumbed the start button over the course of the day and it started fine.

    The other main issues was that it wasn't achieving its full already crap steering lock by a long way- not even close to the lock stops, and this in part was due to the master cylinders clouting the binnacle. I've got 888/851 handlebars, so they're lower than the oe 900ss ones (which I had sold years ago). In itself this shouldn't make much difference apart from the fact that I'm running Brembo Corse radial on both, 19x20 on brake and 18x20 on clutch. the radial adjuster strikes the top of the fuse box cover. and the brake cylinders twin lines strike the other side. As a racer he felt that the clutch was far too stiff - but that's all I've ever known it to be!

    I loosened the clutch lever and rotated it up and it seemed to help but not cure the problem. Ultimately the racebikes have the room to swing these master cylinders around without obstruction, they have the luxury of one dial, not a collection of controls and switchgear and light clusters to consider.

    It failed its MOT on the carbon tie rod pulling away from it's insert. - The metal original rod will go back on. It gets retested tomorrow morning.

    Looking on the bright side, he could have nailed me for a lot of money with 'carb setup' so in reality I should be thankful, and now its tweaking and sorting in order to get it to where it needs to be. Also, he said that on the road test once he got her rolling it was a really sweet bike to ride, and the engine pulled really cleanly and smoothly (I'm so glad Geoff Baines convinced me not to go down the cam route as a certain fragile by ferracci vendor had done. "I'll fit the cams, for free and all you'll have to pay me for is to take them out after a month")

    I suppose the thing that strikes me in all this is that I've changed since the bike was bought all that time ago. Back then I wanted as close to an 888 corse as I could make it, how unmanageable or extreme really didn't matter as long as I could rattle off my shopping list at Boxhill or newlands corner. Now I know my limits and I suppose it doesn't matter as much - turning it into something its not.

    So after it comes back the important things will be sorting out the fouling so I can achieve full lock, and proper suspension set up. I might see if I can pick up some early 916 master cylinders and see how they go. Don't know yet. Until I ride it I don't know how i'll get on with them.
    #15 Sev, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
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  16. Sounds like a proper garage where the proprietor takes pride in their workmanship and the service they provide to their customers comes above the figure at the bottom of the piece of paper. Worth their weight in gold.
  17. That's what I like about Baines, no bs advice, great service competitive rates.
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  18. Well, she had her maiden voyage out this morning to work.

    The carburation and fuelling behaved itself, and the race pattern shift didn't get on my tits as much as I thought it would, but I still had to be careful about knocking it into a higher gear instead of a lower one a couple of times coming into junctions or turns.

    The brake pedal was modded with a quick prototype arrangement as I make my new levers, and the only bummer is that it now won't turn over! In truth I did think that the fact the battery has lasted four years albeit on a trickle charge was doing well, and I did have the headlamp on all the way. So new battery it is next pay day.
    I'll hitch it up to a charger at work, and hopefully that's good to go. I've decided that I most definitely will make a small electrical box with a charge point and a pair of jump points in it though, it will make life a lot easier when stuff like this happens. It's a real pain having to undo the seat bolts every time. Oh for the 888's removable bum pad!

    hmmm... now there's a thought...

    Just while I remember, the guys who did me proud were a little indi outfit called FCL motorcyles in Cranleigh, Surrey. Old school honest guys who do great work. Phil Races himself, mainly classics like Aermacchi Harley davidson's and the like. Just really good guys for your older bike needs.
    #18 Sev, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
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  19. You dont have to remove the seat...turn the ignition on, connect the +ve side of the jump battery/pack to the solenoid and the earth to the frame or engine and off you go......Plus, if you dont mind me saying, you have the WRONG master cylinders on..the brake should be a 19x18, or it will feel wooden, and the clutch should be a 16...........

    View attachment 46790
    #19 nogaromill999, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
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  20. You've just made my day! - this is going to sound thick but what, just put the crocodile clip to solenoid body or one of the +ve terminals- do I still use the starter or am I effectively hot wiring it?
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