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Discussion Starter #1
I am about to do a valve adjustment on a 1995 Ducati E900 (USA) Cagiva Elefant 900 in Europe with 11380 kilometers. It's the same engine as the 900SS hence the reason for me posting here. This is my first time doing a valve adjustment on a Desmo engine and as you would expect have a couple of questions. I'd appreciate any feedback/suggestions, thank you in advance.

I am currently resurrecting the bike which I got in boxes from the grave and have never heard it run. I cleaned the carbs and tried to fire but it wouldn't go, it would back fire out of the carb which lead me to assume the timing was off. I checked the compression and the horizontal was at 115 psi and the vertical was at 135 psi. Upon checking the valve clearance discovered that it barely had any, the horizontal had .0015" on the opening but couldn't even slip a .001" on the closing. I checked the valve clearance with belts removed and tried loading the closing rocker using a flathead screw driver but it barely moved. I am certain I am at TDC on the compression stroke based on the timing mark on the sight glass, marks on belt pulleys, both valves closed and verifying the piston through the spark plug hole.

The specification on the frame sticker says: (in & ex) Opening: .10mm, Closing: .02mm
Haynes Manual
Intake opening: .05mm to .12mm, Intake closing: .03mm to .20mm
Exhaust opening: .05mm to .15mm, Exhaust closing: .03mm to .05mm

The questions I have are the following:

1. Would it be a good idea to start lapping/sanding the opening shims to create clearance or just order new shims?
2. Is it possible I am doing something wrong that is producing incorrect clearance numbers?
3. Anything else I should look out for aside from dropping a valve and having to fish it out?
4. With so many different valve specifications, which should I am for?

Again, thank you in advance.

John
 

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2000 M900Sie, 2003 Aprilia RSV Mille-R, 2x 1981Guzzi Monzas, IWL Pity, Piaggio Hexagon, PX Vespa
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Clearances, I set intake openers to 0.10mm. Exhaust Openers to 0.13mm and all closers as close to 0.00 (zero) as you can get them without feeling any drag on the cam pulley when you turn the cam over (as the motor warms up the closer clearance expands whereas the opener clearance reduces).
Yes, you can sand/lap shims, use a piece of plate glass, sand in figure 8 and keep turning them round to ensure you lap them evenly.
Bothe Brad Black and Chris Kelly have excellent videos on youtube that will tell you all you need to know.

Take your time, measure twice, cut once! ;)
 

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I set those valves to .004" intake
.005 Exhaust
.000 closer but as mentioned NO preload. If you can only get to .0005" then that will work fine to run it just understand the looser the closer the more wear on the 1/2 rings. The e900 in the US has W- heads which means pretty much 750 cams and valve sizes. It was done to reduce heat for desert racing I have been told and they used up the left over heads on monsters.

I doubt your running issue is the valves (good to do anyway), more likely you have the ignition boxes wired wrong and it is trying to spark the wrong cylinder .
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Clearances, I set intake openers to 0.10mm. Exhaust Openers to 0.13mm and all closers as close to 0.00 (zero) as you can get them without feeling any drag on the cam pulley when you turn the cam over (as the motor warms up the closer clearance expands whereas the opener clearance reduces).
Yes, you can sand/lap shims, use a piece of plate glass, sand in figure 8 and keep turning them round to ensure you lap them evenly.
Bothe Brad Black and Chris Kelly have excellent videos on youtube that will tell you all you need to know.

Take your time, measure twice, cut once! ;)
Pretty precise instructions which I think I'll follow to a T. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The e900 in the US has W- heads which means pretty much 750 cams and valve sizes.
I was wondering what the engraved "W" stood for on the head. You might be right about the running issue but I wanted to do them anyways just to eliminate and get used to doing regular maintenance on all my Desmo engines in the stable. Thank you!
 

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i'm sure all the e900 had w heads from the start, and i don't recall when we last saw new e900, but i don't think there was any after 97, maybe 96. possibly about the time they decided to use w heads on the m900? maybe there were using up left overs that cagiva didn't take after the split?
 

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There is an excellent E900/Elefant tech-talk list that you can subscribe to here


I used to host the list myself (from 1997+) but migrated it to the GoogleGroups to offload the server maintenance which had become problematic over time.

On that list are the most knowledgeable people on the planet having to do with the full Cagiva Elefant series.

They will welcome you warmly.

The E900 was only available in the US in 94/95 although I bought mine on closeout in spring of 96. They were available slightly earlier in Canada and those have the very nice Elefant logo on the bodywork. They made them through 98 when they replaced them with the Gran Canyon, a bike which drifted away from the dualsport roots closer to a pavement-based bike.

While I operated the elefantadventurebikes.com site I developed pretty much all the upgrades you would ever want. That site is now owned by a fellow enthusiast (he owns 2 biikes) with a good attitude about supporting the bike and is very enthusiastic.

upgrades and accessories for the ducati e900, cagiva elefant and cagiva gran canyon

I highly recommend buying any desired upgrades or maintenance kits from EAB as that will help keep the enthusiasm high. He's already brought in some lower-cost yet just as high of quality engine and bodywork guards (the bodywork is close to unobtanium)

It's a terrific bike (it was Claudio Catiglioni's pet bike project) and the fundamentals are dialed (frame size, geometry etc.) One look at the box section swingarm tells those in the know that it is a serious bit of kit.

Flesh it out with the upgrades I developed (all available on the EAB site) and you will have very little problem keeping up with Superbikes are twisty roads. They will pull you on the straights but unless they are a very highly skilled rider you will reel them in on the curves as the 7 inches of travel front/rear makes it relatively easy to go fast vs. the stiff limited travel of the Superbikes. On bumpy roads the weekend warriors have a hard go on most roads.

I developed the first HICAP starter circuit upgrade kit for my E900 as it had problems starting and it would routinely foul the rear plug. That's an hour to swap out due to having to remove the tank.

Enjoy it, it’s a keeper!

Thanks,

M./
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There is an excellent E900/Elefant tech-talk list that you can subscribe to here

Elefant Adventure Bikes - Discussion List - Google Groups
Thank you for this link. It's going to be really helpful in resurrecting my Elefant.

The bike came with new items coils, HICUP starter circuit upgrade and brake cables that the previous owner got from EAB but was never installed. I am also getting more parts from EAB before I fire her up. I emailed Ricardo and found him helpful in getting me installation instructions.

Having never ridden a Cagiva Elefant I can only imagine, and have a lot of point of reference since I've owned several different brand/kind of bikes and have worked for BMW, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki. Something tells me there is something special about this bike.
 

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Thank you for this link. It's going to be really helpful in resurrecting my Elefant.

The bike came with new items coils, HICUP starter circuit upgrade and brake cables that the previous owner got from EAB but was never installed. I am also getting more parts from EAB before I fire her up. I emailed Ricardo and found him helpful in getting me installation instructions.
Yep, real good guy. Took me a few years to find the right person to hand the baton off to. Very happy with his enthusiasm,
Having never ridden a Cagiva Elefant I can only imagine, and have a lot of point of reference since I've owned several different brand/kind of bikes and have worked for BMW, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki. Something tells me there is something special about this bike.
Well, I interacted with many many riders all over the world and the ones who have some experience with various big dualsports will tell you, it is the pick of the litter.

I had one guy who was in Africa who kept getting worried he would have parts and support problems and would sell off his bike and buy the then current "best bike" (KTM Adventure, Yamaha Tennier etc.) He would always find it lacking vs. the Elefant and then sell it and buy another E900. He did this a total of 4 times before he found EAB and realized he would not be left hanging in the cold.

BTW, what was the first name of the guy you bought it from? Just the first name, I remember all the guys.
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The best social distancing is riding your motorcycle!

Ride Safe & Stay Safe!
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Thanks,

M./
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had one guy who was in Africa who kept getting worried he would have parts and support problems and would sell off his bike and buy the then current "best bike" (KTM Adventure, Yamaha Tennier etc.) He would always find it lacking vs. the Elefant and then sell it and buy another E900. He did this a total of 4 times before he found EAB and realized he would not be left hanging in the cold.
That's a pretty bold statement. I've had really great dual sport bikes that never gave me any problems but this appeals to me because it's something I can work on myself. I also love the history behind it.

The name of the local guy I got it from is Ken. Apparently, the gas tank had started to bubble and the petcock leaked. It sat for 3 years until I picked it up. It's a lot of work but hopefully I can get it back on the road fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So, I was able to lap the opening shims close to target measurement (.10mm intake & .13mm exhaust) but I noticed a difference of about .02mm when measured with the clip on vs off and it's also different when I have the belts off even thought the belt marks are lined up. There's slight tension when the marks are lined up with the pulley and belts even though the valves are open, is this normal?

Is it correct to turn the crank 90 degrees counter clockwise or 270 clockwise to get to vertical TDC?.
 
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