900SS-SP restoration story - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 1:34 am Thread Starter
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900SS-SP restoration story

This story starts with the purchase of a 1996 900SS-SP in disrepair. I found it on CL on a Sunday and drove out to Apple Valley from Costa Mesa (SoCal) on Monday morning to look at/buy it.

The Supersport was in sorry shape having sat for 8 years with the valve covers off the front cylinder. Based on the amount of dust on the bike, I'm betting that some of that time was outside under a tarp.

See attached photo for the gory details.

The owner said he had the side fairings too, but they were a mess.
The good news were the 'extras'; a steering damper and high-rise Termignoni mufflers.
It also had a lightweight clutch.

After an attempt to get his price down, I relented and paid up when he showed me the emails from 2 other buyers who were going to buy it if I passed. Realistically, the price was good for an SP that was nearly complete.

It did have the wrong clip-ons; some weird aftermarket type, but on the whole, it was remarkably original. As the plan was to restore the bike back to stock, this was a good thing.

I brought it home in my trusty Chevy Express Van (Death Van for Ducati) and cleaned it up some (see second photo).
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Old & Slow; 2000, 2001 748s, 1996 900SP

Last edited by T8KC; May 22nd, 2017 at 11:42 am. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 8:50 am
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Nice, looking forward to the rest of this story.
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post #3 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 11:20 am Thread Starter
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Basic inspection

When I was looking at the bike originally, a cursory inspection was all I could do. As is always the case, when you get a bike home from buying it, the real inspection begins.

I discovered 8 year old stinky gasoline in the tank (what was left of it) and could only imagine what the carbs were like inside. I must say that the inside of tank was rust-free thanks to the dry, high desert climate.

While the paint looks ok in the photos, there were plenty of scratches and the gas tank had 2 small dings in it. Plus, the side fairings were a Bondo fest with the side markers completely covered up (what's with that?).

The engine was full of dust, dirt and grime. It did turn over freely by hand using a turning tool in the stator side cover and had that compression feel. The front cylinder cam belt was missing (don't worry, I made sure the valves were closed before turning it over). My impression was that the engine would be removed, disassembled and inspected.

When the oil was drained, a small piece about an inch long of what appeared to be spring wire was found on the magnetic drain plug. This worried me as the only two places where the engine has a spring are the valves (valve closers) and the shifter mechanism. when I compared the piece to a valve closer spring, the wire size was too small for that so it must have come from the shifter I reasoned. One more excuse to open up the engine.

The suspension needed servicing (obviously) with the front forks showing signs of leaking. The brake calipers needed a rebuild and were filthy. The cast iron full-floating rotors looked ok though very rusty and the wheels looked straight.
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Old & Slow; 2000, 2001 748s, 1996 900SP
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post #4 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 1:27 pm
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Nice job on the clean up, it's got to be making you feel a little better about the price. Granted there might be "value depleting" surprises along the way but then you can stand back and look at the bike overall and say "it's not so bad", hopefully.
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post #5 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 3:06 pm
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You will have a challenge finding rebuild parts for the calipers as Ducati/Brembo doesn't think you should be doing that work. Steve at Bevelheaven has some rebuild kits, but if I remember, they are missing some of the parts. Check with him first. I ended up purchasing rebuild kits on-line from a KTM dealer as the same calipers were used on the KTM Duke and KTM will provide parts for their bikes. Came shipped directly from Europe. Don't tell the dealer they are for a Ducati. Also, some guy on Ebay UK was selling the o-rings that go between the caliper halves. In the end you might decide it is simpler to buy new calipers from someone like Bevelheaven rather than deal with the rebuilding. They aren't very expensive... yet.
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post #6 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 3:54 pm
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Gives me a bit of déja vu. I bought my 1995 SS SP back from the second owner after 18 years and with 13,000 miles. So far I'm in for the original price ($4900) plus another $5000 in repairs/updates. I had the original dealer do a complete inspection and they replaced the tires, cam belts, did the valve adj, replaced the steering head bearing and the complete clutch (seal failure - it was soaked). Then I bought a Sim Moto exhaust and a bunch of small things. My CF looked about like yours and I was able to get them fine sanded and cleared. Almost on the road now!
If it was me I'd get the motor work done first before trying anything cosmetic other then the clean-up.
You will end up with a great bike IMHO.
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1995 900 SS SP #001
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post #7 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 10:48 pm Thread Starter
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Brake parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by spacey View Post
You will have a challenge finding rebuild parts for the calipers as Ducati/Brembo doesn't think you should be doing that work. Steve at Bevelheaven has some rebuild kits, but if I remember, they are missing some of the parts. Check with him first. I ended up purchasing rebuild kits on-line from a KTM dealer as the same calipers were used on the KTM Duke and KTM will provide parts for their bikes. Came shipped directly from Europe. Don't tell the dealer they are for a Ducati. Also, some guy on Ebay UK was selling the o-rings that go between the caliper halves. In the end you might decide it is simpler to buy new calipers from someone like Bevelheaven rather than deal with the rebuilding. They aren't very expensive... yet.
Yes, I'm familiar with Bevel Heaven as I used to own an Alazzurra. I prefer to stay with the original caliper if possible. We will see...


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post #8 of 99 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 10:53 pm Thread Starter
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1995 900ss-sp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finally home View Post
Gives me a bit of déja vu. I bought my 1995 SS SP back from the second owner after 18 years and with 13,000 miles. So far I'm in for the original price ($4900) plus another $5000 in repairs/updates. I had the original dealer do a complete inspection and they replaced the tires, cam belts, did the valve adj, replaced the steering head bearing and the complete clutch (seal failure - it was soaked). Then I bought a Sim Moto exhaust and a bunch of small things. My CF looked about like yours and I was able to get them fine sanded and cleared. Almost on the road now!
If it was me I'd get the motor work done first before trying anything cosmetic other then the clean-up.
You will end up with a great bike IMHO.
You have a very nice 900SS-SP there my friend. The goal would be to make mine close to level of your bike.

From what I've read (Falloon), the SP is the same equipment spec as a Superlight, but in Biposto trim (dual seat/pegs/low exhaust).

Do you have a photo of your bike with the fairing installed?


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post #9 of 99 (permalink) Old May 23rd, 2017, 12:06 am Thread Starter
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Disassembly

Taking a bike apart is an adventure. Some of the history of the bike is revealed; sort of a motorcycle archeology project.

As the 900SS was going back to stock, I removed some of the parts that I wouldn't be using. The steering damper was the first to go. Usually steering dampers on a Supersport are installed to cure other problems. These bikes are very stable when properly maintained. I knew I would need to look for a reason why this one was installed.

The Termignoni high pipes were going to find a home on my 1999 900SS track bike, I will have to hunt down some nice stock pipes for this project along with matching passenger pegs and brackets.

The light-weight clutch was removed and placed in my inventory; a stock clutch will take its place.

I know what some of you are thinking, "why take the cool parts off the bike"? I am trying to replicate the riding experience of a stock 900SS-SP. This will give me a time machine Ducati-wise of the riding experience back when it was new. I have ridden plenty of the newer 900/750SS models both stock and modified (see:1999 900SSie Superlight). To get a good perspective of the Ducati Supersport evolution, a new/old 900SS-SP fits the bill. I could only be sure of the 'newness' if I restored one myself; making sure all the important mechanical parts were fixed correctly (in my mind anyway).

Next, I removed the bodywork so I could start on the engine removal (see photos).

One interesting observation was the charcoal canister. This was only present on the California models in 1996. Looking at the production numbers, only 160 of the 900SS-SP model were delivered as CA-only bikes. Now, obviously that doesn't mean much in the greater scheme of things, but rarity is nice.

It looks like the engine will come out next.
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post #10 of 99 (permalink) Old May 23rd, 2017, 7:19 am
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Not quite yet.
The new exhaust system came from FBF and it has the "spaghetti" header. Beautifully crafted piece but I'm still working to get it to fit properly. The front pipe was too close to the oil cooler line but I was able to move the cooler over slightly to hopefully provide enough clearance. Current issue is it is touching the left faring insulation. Looks like I have to move the header higher to get away from this and then pray the cans will still be positioned properly.
Nothing is easy!
BTW: I also had the dealer replace all the fluids including the fork oil which involves pulling them out and turning them upside down.
I really admire your goal of going back to original. My exhaust system had replacement carbon cans installed (poorly too) and I would have had to source a set of nice originals. In addition - I'm heading for a more open system to let out that great Ducati sound. The top of my airbox had also been cut off so I found an original replacement from Ed at Duc Power. I was worried the open filter would have had water issues if it happened to rain.
Looking forward to more stories of your adventure.

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