Wednesday night, I and 20 some other people met at Eastside Motorsports for a free Ducati Tech night. Agenda? How to check and adjust valve clearance on both 2 and 4 valve motors.
Walking in the door just after 6pm, I was greeted with friendly smiles from a large group of people sitting in folding chairs eating some delicious sandwiches and salad. As I sat down and ate, more people walked in the door, many of them proceeded by the low roar that could only come from a Ducati engine.
As 6:30 rolled around, Dave, the head mechanic at Eastside Motorsports, introduced us to a few of the more well known problems that can happen with Ducatis. First, he showed us what can happen to a neglected timing belt. As he held up the frayed remnants, he also passed around a valve rocker with flaking chrome. We also got to see severally bent valves, including a pair of titanium valves from a race bike!
Then, we got to the meat of the class. We all walked back into the shop area and split into 3 groups. Each group was centered around a bike, and we all had a chance to move to different bikes where a different mechanic taught us what he knew.
There was a 4 valve sport classic, and 2 – 2 valve bikes. At the 4 valve, I learned about and got to feel what a properly adjusted valve is like. I also learned some of the tricks of the trade, such as using grease on a half ring to help old the ring against the valve while you put the other half ring on.
I then got to check out the 2 valve Monster S2R. After a brief speech about the difference of 2 valve vs. 4 valve, we then got to see how to adjust the timing belts. This included getting to use a device that measures the wavelength of the belt when you “flick” it to tell if it is tight enough. One little trick… you MAY be able to use a guitar string tuner to accomplish the same task!
After the class was officially over, I had a great time hanging around and listening to people ask great questions. Dave was a great teacher and all the mechanics have a lot of experience to pass on.
I can’t wait till the next Tech Night.