ST3s ABS vs ST4s - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 12:45 am Thread Starter
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ST3s ABS vs ST4s

I had a ST2 years ago. Looking at a 2007 ST3s ABS (17,000 mi) and a 2003 ST4s (9200 mi). Any guidance between the 2 models? What are the maintenance schedule differences and expectations? Thanks!
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 1:30 am
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I had a ST2 years ago. Looking at a 2007 ST3s ABS (17,000 mi) and a 2003 ST4s (9200 mi). Any guidance between the 2 models? What are the maintenance schedule differences and expectations? Thanks!
get the 4. more stonk, better sound! And the '03 has the later ECU and wiring loom, so is as solid as the later 3 you're looking at. Early Ducati ABS I'd avoid, based on age.

-bucky
2011 1198 - 2001 996 mono - 2002 ST4s ti - 2003 R1150RT
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 1:37 am Thread Starter
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Thank you! Much appreciated!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 2:29 am Thread Starter
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ST4S - should I stick with 2003 or newer? Whats the oldest model year I should consider?
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 6:09 am
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At this point they are all older. A few years plus or minus wouldn't be an issue depending on the bike. If you're going with the older faring, the 4S is a great bike with some nice bolt on parts. Aluminum swing arm, Ohlins shock, 5 spoke rims and the newer ECU with the 996 engine being the primary upgrade. The 4V 996 engine is very nice in this chassis. 2003 likely being the better year, a few of the 2002s had main bearing failures, but I don't think was chronic. If you like the newer style fairing better, you can still get a 4S but the 3 is probably easier to find. The 3S had the same bolt on parts as the 4S, but no change in the engine.

Find the body style you prefer and choose a bike that looks like it has been cared for. Of the two you list, sight unseen, I'd probably go with the 4S if it was clean. I like the look better. The rounded headlight faring looks more "early Ducati" to me.

The maintenance is the same. They all need to come apart for a major service every 6K miles. Some will argue the 3V is easier to maintain. I don't think having to slide a feeler gauge in to two less valves qualifies as easier maintenance... You still have to get to the valves. Fairings on the newer bike are easier to take off, but not dramatically. You don't need to pull the headlight faring to get the sides off. The older bike can be modified to do the same if you choose.

4V flaking rockers. Yes, it happens. Not a big deal in the newer 4Vs. Rockers were improved. Find a few spares on eBay and keep them in your tool box. No problems. 3V had an issue with valve guides, but I'm not sure what years.

Dan. "Painfully mistaking my big talk for the truth" Samantha Fish.
2003 ST4s (The Truck)
1995 916 (Junk Yard Dog)
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 6:32 am
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Some will argue the 3V is easier to maintain.
And some would argue the opposite. But overall, my ST3 has been pretty reliable with only a few parts needing unexpected replacement over the years.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 7:15 am
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And some would argue the opposite.
Who? I need names!

I actually thought my 2V 900SSie was by far harder than the ST or 916. To get at the vertical cylinder exhaust valve, the rear shock had to come off. The throttle bodies, being arranged left to right rather front to back, were a beast to get a tool in there to sync them. No coolant though!

Dan. "Painfully mistaking my big talk for the truth" Samantha Fish.
2003 ST4s (The Truck)
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 9:14 am
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Im coming up on 45,000 miles on my 06 ST3. Had the issue with the exhaust valve guides early on (by 10,000 miles) and had an ECU crap out (not a known issue with these bikes...just bad luck on my part). No problems, the bike runs and handles great! Im smiling every time Im riding it!

The 3 is supposed to have more torque lower in the rpm range than the 4 and has a reported 107 hp vs the 115 of the 4. I dont know if youll really notice the difference in hp, may in the torque....ymmv.




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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 9:22 am Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input

BMW R1100R - Ducati ST2 - Yamaha FZ1 - Kawasaki ZRX - Honda Blackbird - Honda ST1100- 2006 ST3s ABS
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2019, 9:39 am
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So for reference I charge 1 hour more for a st3 than a st2 and a st4/st4s is another hour more (about 6,7 and 8 hours) so not a huge difference in labor but the st2 is still best if you want easier to do and cheaper maintenance. St3 is right between the st2 and st4/st4s.

Attached is a dyno comparison of all 4 models on MY dyno, do not pay attention to numbers but look at curves in comparison.

Green is st4s and wins the power wars, If you spend your time above 7500rpm. If you do NOT then guess which bike is stronger down low?

Red is the st3 and on these two bikes (both with a slip on exhaust) the ST3 was stronger in the 5000-7000 range where many people ride most of the time. the rest of the lower end is so close as to not have a clear winner.

When Ducati decided to keep the st3 and drop the st4s I though that was either crazy, a way to use up 3 valve heads or both. now I think that 3-valve head is a very good improvement and the motor is a gem. As a mechanic I am not in love with valve adjustments on the st3 as they are easy to check but a pain to do. but as mentioned the st3 you do not have to worry about flaking rockers and yes guides can/do wear but a little secret is that the desmoquattros had/have the same guide issues as every other Ducati. They will wear out in the best case on all motors but there is a time frame where they were pretty much worn from day one.

I have a potential job coming up where I have a set of pistal hi-comps to drop in a st3, never done it so I am looking to see what gains are to be had. I have numerous st4 and st4s where we have dropped in cams to get a boost and back in the day we hot rodded the st2 with high comp and big bore (966). that may have been my favorite ST engine but the st3 stock feels pretty similar with just a bit less midrange stock.

As a mechanic My opinion as poor as it is would be in order.

1. st2 due to easier maintenance and I do not need/want more power than it has.
2. st3 due to stronger midrange and no rockers to worry about.
3. st4s due to the highest power numbers if I am going to run it up high, plus top of model line status got you things like ohlins shock.
4. st4, good bike but over shadowed by the benefits of the others.
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