Valve Job...valve life - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 6:29 pm Thread Starter
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Valve Job...valve life

This is not about adjustments...this is for anyone who has had valve work other than the adjustment. My primary question is how many miles did you make it before it had to be done...I started having issues at 21k miles and was throwing engine warnings shortly after. In the end I replaced the exhaust valves, cleaned the head and piston and was good to go...I've bought an eBay motor with very low miles and the same dilemma so mileage isn't really an accurate measure but it is a way to begin to understand....I've even purchased new heads and valves drove like i had diplomatic immunity and was right back here in under 4k miles (full disclosure I didn't lap the new valves in and have since and am going strong with this set). Other people I talk with have never had valve work outside of adjustments...frankly it has put me off the idea of ever owning an exotic sports car, not that i could afford one, but this pretty much guarantees that i can't...Is this a Ducati thing or the inevitability of operating within the upper limits of the rpm range. A typical ride will see me 2hrs or more above 6k rpm with no rest. I feel I can't be alone here.....Anyone? Anyone? How many times can a valve get reused? any racers care to help me here? these are stock stainless valves...
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 7:42 pm
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Giving the model and year might help you get meaningful results for your situation.
My wife has a 1995 M900, with (we think) about 25K miles on it. The valves, seats, and heads are original. The valve guides needed replacement.
I have a 1993 M900, with 260K miles on it. I have replaced the rubber seals on the valve guides a few times, but it is otherwise all original parts.

PhilB

1993 Ducati Monster M900, 259K miles (so far)
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 8:29 pm Thread Starter
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???!260,000miles!!????!!!!

I did a double take...260k on a monster 900...I'm on my way...Ive got 30k on my 821...22k the first year but i lost the entire summer to this valve problem the following year and only achieved 8k miles more. Now, with two engines 3 sets of heads there is little to hold me back....but its the valves...i laugh when i read about people bickering about the adjustment...frankly if it can make it another 18k miles without tripping the check engine light because of a dead valve i would be amazed...and if it didn't i would still swap in a new head anyway just to save myself from a surprise...But this is running the engine hard...I know valve jobs aren't made up but haven't found much of any mention to it...I adjusted the valves...then 5k miles later i adjusted them again and when the check engine light came back on the third time there was no more adjustment to be made...everything was in spec... and I could see by the carbon build up in the port that the exhaust valves have stopped sealing...a tear-down was the only fix...i still have the initial exhaust valves, they're pitted pretty good but might clean up with a wire wheel and lap in just fine, not sure how many times i can do this but feel comfortable they wont make it another 20k miles without trouble...It just came a lot quicker than I imagined...granted I alson tought my first set of tires could last 20k miles...I was hit with reality accordingly and have moved on since...this is the most recent slap to the face...but aside from riding it like i'm qualifying for a starting grid position...how am I alone on this....because this to me is the cost of maintenance i would expect to hear about...valve adjustments are essentially free in comparison...
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 8:51 pm
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I'd like to tackle your question but a little more information would help. Precisely what happened to the valves? Do you have pictures? There is something wrong with your situation. You experience is well outside the bell curve. There are three possibilities: Improper valve adjustment for longevity. Excess heat in the engine. Improper timing/ mixture combination.

Sorry, but are you certain that you understand the valve adjustment specifications. Valves burn when they can't seat and release heat. The Ducati specifications take some thought to understand that you want to set the shims to achieve the maximum range (in spec) as the valve seats recline into the head as all valve seats do. I could explain it in detail but you said not about the adjustments, so I won't. I personally found the shim precision unacceptable and so machine grind the shims to the actual requirement. The bike runs a lot better when the valves are clearanced consistently and I attain the best potential for a long time before they get out of spec.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 9:19 pm Thread Starter
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out of spec

initially I had two valves out of spec at the 18k service interval...i corrected the two and called it a day...5k miles later i rechecked and all my exhaust valves save the one i did were all at the edge of their specified range, i then brought all of the valves back to there lowest allowable range and again called it a day...within 2500 miles I began noticing a louder than normal exhaust note when engine braking which eventually resulted with a check engine light...i have tried to post a pic of the valve but it wont...probably have to link to it on an eternal server...not happening tonight, but in my previous post you can clearly see the exhaust port has given up the ghost...not sold on your theory that valves can be adjusted continually and can tiresomely advise against sanding shims to perfection...its not so much that the valve is ruined but it most certainly stopped doing its job in its present condition. I only burn ethanol free 93 octane...
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 7th, 2016, 9:23 pm Thread Starter
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Looking at the valve... the sealing area has a buildup of what I would classify as a heavy varnish ...the varnish pits and erodes the quality of the seal which in turn leads to eventual failure and the dreadful check engine light...
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 2016, 7:07 pm Thread Starter
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ammonia is your friend

I was able to work one head at a time rather than taking the whole damn thing apart again...essentially pivoting around the bolts holding it together and jacking in the center...I then De-carboned everything with ammonia and a brass brush. Blasting with walnuts would be the way to go but if your patient this worked amazingly well...just place some ammonia on a bit of paper towel cover with some tinfoil and wait.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2016, 3:59 am
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what engine light fault did it bring up? never seen issues like this.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2016, 10:19 am Thread Starter
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engine fault

the check engine light came on and the menu had -ENG but you could hear something wrong...the noise from engine braking sounded like i had the muffler off and there was a valve noise unlike the desmo system doing its thing...but the engine braking noise should be your first tip that a tear down is coming...in all three experiences this to me is the tell tale sign of trouble...it can come and go for a bit...say around 1000 miles but once the engine light begins to come on you really need to be close to home.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2016, 4:02 pm
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my thought is that i don't know how the ecu could pick up something like this as a fault, so it'd be worth finding out why it's bringing up an engine light and seeing if that is leading to your issue. this sort of stuff, in my experience, just doesn't happen.

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