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Okay, so part of this is a rant, part of it is asking for advice.

I bought my 1997 748 monoposto in June of 2018, and seriously regretting it. Since buying it, I was able to ride the bike less than one week, before it crapped out, leaving me on the street. I had the bike towed to Wheeler's Performance, who had the bike for a few months, but did nothing with it.

Then, I had the bike towed back to my house, and the tow truck driver dropped the bike when trying to unload it. It was sent to Pandora's European Motorsports in Chattanooga, Tn., where they had the bike for several more months. They misdiagnosed it, and told me that there was a failing fuel injector that was causing the issue. I sent Pandora's a new set of fuel injectors, but that did not fix it. Then, they tell me that it needs an EPROM, so I sent them an EPROM. Still did not fix it. They then told me that it needed a valve shim, as one of them was out of spec. $2k later, and I get the bike back, only to ride it one damned day, before it craps out again. So the bike goes BACK to Pandora's, where they tell me that it needs some ignition pickups, and recommended a TPS replacement and recalibration..... $1k more to the bill.
The tech also stated that he had fixed the low fuel light not coming on, and that it was working fine now, which he clearly did not.

So finally, I get the bike back with a "clean bill fo health." As soon as they delivered the bike, I started it up and noticed that it idled around 800rpm, and would constantly die. So I took the bike n a test ride, and every time I unload the engine by pulling in the clutch, the bike would die. Now, it has absolutely no power, and needs to be dumped at 5,000rpm+ in order to even take off without dying. It will not hardly accelerate under 10,000rpm, and carly will accelerate above that. When I hold the throttle at WOT, it takes around 15 seconds to even get up to 10,000rpm. So far, I am into this piece of *%@& for more than $6,000.00 (purchase price), and the repair bills are already around half of the $3,900.00 cost of the bike, with no end to this nightmare n sight. All in all, I have been able to ride this bike about 800mi., and have ridden it less than 7 days since buying it over a year ago.

Any ideas on what could be wrong with it, and recommendations on a GOOD Ducati shop in East Tennessee or the surrounding areas would be great!
 

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Nothing wrong with the bike.
 

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I am sorry to hear you are having a bad time with the bike, these issues can make you lose faith in a brand/bike or humanity. I have a repair shop myself and cringe at the wait times you listed because it happens to my own shop, some good and some bad reasons. For that I am sorry.

That said I have to ask are the shops you are taking it to Ducati experienced shops?
The money you are spending is serious money and some of the items that you mention are all over the place, it does not sound to me as they had a idea of what was wrong. I hate to say it but they are human and if they are making a good faith attempt to fix the bike they sound to be struggling. I have been there myself and it is no fun to fail to find a fault, I am sure they would want to know. I would start by having a heart to heart talk with the shop owner and try and get an idea of what they can and cannot do for you.

I have seen some motorcycles that were so far neglected and mis-maintained that to be honest they are better off parted out or all labor NEEDS to be done by the new owner to prevent being on the wrong end of a large bill waiting for the next problem to arise. We cannot see what you bought and what care was given to the bike over the years, you may be the guy picking up the pieces.

Or the shops may not know these bikes, we all run into bikes we have never seen or worked on and it is always a struggle to work on a 20 year old bike with a unknown history if you do not know what is normal or not. search out the local Ducati owners in your area and ask for a specialist, I am used to customers driving great distances both to the dealership and my own shop I work at so if you are not looking at a driving range measured in hours open the range up enough to find someone who can cut to the chase and fix your bike.

Ducshop and ducpond are shops you may know of I do not know if they are close enough but they have good reputations, maybe some one else on here will know of "A Guy" . There are only so many things to cause a particular problem so it will be a short list. Be sure to have your reciepts from past work to give the shop to keep them from repeating things already tried.

Best of luck, PM sent
 

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I am sorry to hear you are having a bad time with the bike, these issues can make you lose faith in a brand/bike or humanity. I have a repair shop myself and cringe at the wait times you listed because it happens to my own shop, some good and some bad reasons. For that I am sorry.

That said I have to ask are the shops you are taking it to Ducati experienced shops?
The money you are spending is serious money and some of the items that you mention are all over the place, it does not sound to me as they had a idea of what was wrong. I hate to say it but they are human and if they are making a good faith attempt to fix the bike they sound to be struggling. I have been there myself and it is no fun to fail to find a fault, I am sure they would want to know. I would start by having a heart to heart talk with the shop owner and try and get an idea of what they can and cannot do for you.

I have seen some motorcycles that were so far neglected and mis-maintained that to be honest they are better off parted out or all labor NEEDS to be done by the new owner to prevent being on the wrong end of a large bill waiting for the next problem to arise. We cannot see what you bought and what care was given to the bike over the years, you may be the guy picking up the pieces.

Or the shops may not know these bikes, we all run into bikes we have never seen or worked on and it is always a struggle to work on a 20 year old bike with a unknown history if you do not know what is normal or not. search out the local Ducati owners in your area and ask for a specialist, I am used to customers driving great distances both to the dealership and my own shop I work at so if you are not looking at a driving range measured in hours open the range up enough to find someone who can cut to the chase and fix your bike.

Ducshop and ducpond are shops you may know of I do not know if they are close enough but they have good reputations, maybe some one else on here will know of "A Guy" . There are only so many things to cause a particular problem so it will be a short list. Be sure to have your reciepts from past work to give the shop to keep them from repeating things already tried.

Best of luck, PM sent

Thank you, my friend. It can be disheartening, but I am still a huge fan of Ducatis. I have another 748, and while it has it's issues as well (failing sprag clutch and fuel level sending unit, for examples), it is also a 38,000mi bike, so such things are to be expected.

Wheeler's claimed to have a Ducati tech and all necessary specialty tools, but did not. Pandora's is an authorized Ducati dealer, and does have a certified Ducati tech who actually rides a 748, which led me to think it was in good hands. Not trying to knock the technician, mind you, but this bike has been to Pandora's three times now, about to be four...and every time, it is more and more money, yet the bike never really gets fixed.

As for the condition of the bike, it had a little over 9,200miles on it when I bought it, and was in mint condition. The seller stated that the bike was always professionally maintained, but I did have the fluids changed and the belts replaced (genuine Ducati), just to be safe.

I spoke with the owner of Pandora's, and we did make an agreement on the last repair that I would pay for the parts only, not the labor, so there is that. Originally, the service shop manager did not want to do this, but I had purchased another Ducati from Pandora's a month back, and I suppose the owner wanted to stay on good terms. And while I hold nothing against him personally, this is terribly frustrating, and racking up a rather costly bill.

Hooefully I can find a shop that knows these bikes really well.... moderate distance is not a HUGE deal breaker, as long as it is done once and done right. Pandora's is already over 2 hours away from me, as it is.

Thank you so much for your response, concern, and information! I really appreciate it, more than you know.
 

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My riding buddy yrs ago bought a Tri Sprint that had been around to three dealerships with a "crapping out" problem. None of them could fix it. RB started with the basics, the first of which was to check the fuses. Three or four of them had moved up slightly in their holder, but he noted that the difference was almost imperceptible. He pushed all the fuses down completely after checking them and the condition of the holder. The bike has run fine ever since.

If I were all alone in the world with this 748, I would start with the basics and "zero time" everything I could. Hate to assume, but it's probably electrical and, even though I don't have the means to diagnose computerized ignition systems et al, I certainly could check every electrical connection, ground, battery, fuse, spark plug and wire etc etc etc. Are the in tank hoses still good along with the fuel pump? You already have a new EPROM. Why pay somebody $100/hr to do a zero time in this fashion? I refuse to accept the argument that this thing just cannot be fixed.
 

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Sadly many dealerships will cut off bikes older than 10 years and this is for good reason. In the industry there is high turnover in mechanics and many new mechanics are off doing other things after a few years. this leaves dealerships constantly with "technicians" who have training but no experience. One would think if the mechanic at the dealership owns a 748 he would be interested in fixing yours because someday it will be him in the hot seat.

It is good the owner is willing to work with you so if this continues you may want to stay with them, do not burn that bridge. The service manager may be feeling he wants to charge 100% but the owner does get it that a good relationship is important excellent for him! With the bike in decent condition you may simply have one of those stubborn "never seen that before" issues that they are not putting a finger on. Can they replicate the issue or is it intermittent?
 

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Sadly many dealerships will cut off bikes older than 10 years and this is for good reason. In the industry there is high turnover in mechanics and many new mechanics are off doing other things after a few years. this leaves dealerships constantly with "technicians" who have training but no experience. One would think if the mechanic at the dealership owns a 748 he would be interested in fixing yours because someday it will be him in the hot seat.

It is good the owner is willing to work with you so if this continues you may want to stay with them, do not burn that bridge. The service manager may be feeling he wants to charge 100% but the owner does get it that a good relationship is important excellent for him! With the bike in decent condition you may simply have one of those stubborn "never seen that before" issues that they are not putting a finger on. Can they replicate the issue or is it intermittent?
GREAT POINT.....

I have old Porsches and a few yrs ago I went to a dealership to pick up a part that I ordered. A few mechanics came over to look at it. They had never seen a 70's 911 before or so it seemed. Points? Air cooling? Non integrated fuel injection? No diagnostic port? Holy shit!
 

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OK just one more comment....

You are right now at the low point with this bike. You spent a ton of money on it, it's not running right, you don't know what's wrong with it and you haven't gotten much help so far. I was in the same boat with an old '71 Norton last year. I had always wanted one, but knew nothing about them, the thing had been eff'd with during its life by people who should be ordinanced out of owning motorcycles and, as I peeled back the onion, it just kept getting worse and worse. Plus, they kinda suck to begin with, let's be honest.

At times, I wanted to roll the thing down my hill into the woods. I was mad at myself for buying the fucking thing in the first place. But I stuck with it. I started feeling sorry for it. I just had to get my mind right to want to fix it and stick with it. I made the transition from being friggin mad and frustrated to not letting this thing outsmart me. I simply started the process by righting all the wrongs, step by step and by being patient. I read, I searched, I called, I analyzed and I bought the right parts. Piece by piece it started coming together and running right. But it didn't happen overnight.
 

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first thing is a fuel pressure test. i have fittings that go into the quick connects, so i test it at the tank return (white). that'll show up any issue with fuel supply as such.

you have another 748? fit that fuel tank to it. then put that ecu in it. straight swap one for the other. that'll rule out ecu and eprom.

check the voltages with the engine running at battery, coming in/out of the relays under the seat, etc. look for a low voltage anywhere.

if you have two of the shitters then you have enough parts for testing.
 

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Okay, so part of this is a rant, part of it is asking for advice.

I bought my 1997 748 monoposto in June of 2018, and seriously regretting it. Since buying it, I was able to ride the bike less than one week, before it crapped out, leaving me on the street. I had the bike towed to Wheeler's Performance, who had the bike for a few months, but did nothing with it.

Then, I had the bike towed back to my house, and the tow truck driver dropped the bike when trying to unload it. It was sent to Pandora's European Motorsports in Chattanooga, Tn., where they had the bike for several more months. They misdiagnosed it, and told me that there was a failing fuel injector that was causing the issue. I sent Pandora's a new set of fuel injectors, but that did not fix it. Then, they tell me that it needs an EPROM, so I sent them an EPROM. Still did not fix it. They then told me that it needed a valve shim, as one of them was out of spec. $2k later, and I get the bike back, only to ride it one damned day, before it craps out again. So the bike goes BACK to Pandora's, where they tell me that it needs some ignition pickups, and recommended a TPS replacement and recalibration..... $1k more to the bill.
The tech also stated that he had fixed the low fuel light not coming on, and that it was working fine now, which he clearly did not.

So finally, I get the bike back with a "clean bill fo health." As soon as they delivered the bike, I started it up and noticed that it idled around 800rpm, and would constantly die. So I took the bike n a test ride, and every time I unload the engine by pulling in the clutch, the bike would die. Now, it has absolutely no power, and needs to be dumped at 5,000rpm+ in order to even take off without dying. It will not hardly accelerate under 10,000rpm, and carly will accelerate above that. When I hold the throttle at WOT, it takes around 15 seconds to even get up to 10,000rpm. So far, I am into this piece of *%@& for more than $6,000.00 (purchase price), and the repair bills are already around half of the $3,900.00 cost of the bike, with no end to this nightmare n sight. All in all, I have been able to ride this bike about 800mi., and have ridden it less than 7 days since buying it over a year ago.

Any ideas on what could be wrong with it, and recommendations on a GOOD Ducati shop in East Tennessee or the surrounding areas would be great!
It’s most likely something easy that’s being overlooked. At least that’s what I always try to think so I stay optimistic!

If it where my bike is start with fuel pressure. Make sure the pump is putting out what it should. Then change the fuel filter. Maybe it’s clogged. I’d absolutely at least pull the pump assembly out of the tank and inspect the lines and connections. I had a bike once that wouldn’t run and felt very underpowered because of a collapsed fuel line inside the tank. It’s worth looking at at least.

After that I’d pull the plugs to see how they look and maybe even change the two coils. At least ring the coils out with a meter. I’m sure there’s a specific resistance value listed somewhere in the service manual.

Also check your grounds. If it’s electrical it’s most likely ground related.

Maybe all of what I listed has been done already but I hope this helps. Keep us posted!
 

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This might help or not but I had the same symptoms with my 853/748.
Then I found wriggling the ecu plug would change things a bit.
Tested everything to no avail, checked every connection in the ecu plug and socket, checked for dry soldered joints inside the ecu then tested every wire for continuity from the ecu to it's sensor, re-seated the eprom chip till I was blue in the face and in desperation I bent every pin in the ecu socket down about 10 degrees with a pair of long nose pliers, refitted the plug and the issue went away absolutely and permanently.
This issue had been an intermittent long standing one that defied all normal cures.
 

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Just for shits and giggles, I had customer bike in with a cracked sparkplug insulation. They were new plugs. Bastard of a thing to diagnose. This is more than likely not your problem but sometimes the smallest things can drive you nuts. Did you look for corrosion on the ecu plug?
 

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Who are you asking.. if it's me... you should know better by now :wink2:
 

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This might help or not but I had the same symptoms with my 853/748.
Then I found wriggling the ecu plug would change things a bit.
Tested everything to no avail, checked every connection in the ecu plug and socket, checked for dry soldered joints inside the ecu then tested every wire for continuity from the ecu to it's sensor, re-seated the eprom chip till I was blue in the face and in desperation I bent every pin in the ecu socket down about 10 degrees with a pair of long nose pliers, refitted the plug and the issue went away absolutely and permanently.
This issue had been an intermittent long standing one that defied all normal cures.
have twisted ecu pins in the past. might even be a bmw service bulletin that mentions it.
 

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OP

Do your own work from now on.

Parts were being thrown at the bike. TPS - integrity could have been verified before replaced. EEPROM - not likely on the older bikes. ECU- easy to pin out. Shim - total garbage. I've run with with .00mm openers on a 3 valves and trashed rockers. Bad idle, but the bike ran well enough. It was a 97 748. Fuel injector - not tough to verify electrical integrity and spray. And they rarely fail. Ignition pickups - ... almost never fail and very easy to test.

To be honest with you, I wouldn't be surprised if the coils are going to the wrong cylinder or you are running on one. Or, bad plug or one of the plug wires is not seated properly on the plug. Check fuel pressure like Belter says. Last to check would be the timing sensor.

The agreement that you won't pay for parts is not a good one unless you get a new engine out of it.
 

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Rubbing a bit of salt in the wounds, it's issues like these described by the OP that keep me far away from computer controlled motorcycles. So ok, enough of that.

This is Dr. Obvious speaking here .... but is there a chance that one (both?) of the belts is advanced or retarded by a single tooth? I mean, I'm sure by now there is a chance of pretty much anything being out of order, and I get that. But often times when a situation like this one comes up it ends up being one of those things that techs ignore "because it couldn't be that, and besides I've already thought of that and it's obviously not that" .... yes yes yes ... but did you actually check that?

Cracked spark plug? ... wouldn't it be missing and backfiring?

Bad spark plug wire or plug cap? .... see above.

Coils reversed? .... again with the backfiring and missing, as well as VERY difficult and labored starting? (Or are these bikes "dead spark" designs?).

Bad coil? ... see above.

What of the servo motor that opens/shuts the throttle bodies?



Beyond any of that, it comes down to a wiring issue (bad/frayed control or feedback system wires, insulation allowing cross-bleed) or some overlooked mechanical issue (which may be willingly overlooked because "it simply cannot be that").

I clearly recall an instance where a customer came into my shop with a poorly running auxiliary power generator in his motorhome. We were an authorized warranty and service center for six different generator manufacturers and were lauded as the best gen shop on the entire southwestern quadrant of the USA. Right away the customer insisted that the generator engine required a mechanical decarbon job (some of the best old RV gens were aircooled flat-twins sidevalve flatheads). I ran the gen, did about a half hour's worth of futzing around with the carb just to eliminate that, and then set about the six hour job of pulling the generator out of the motorhome, doing a full mechanical/manual decarbon of both cylinders, lapped the valves "just cuz" (the gen had over 2k hours on it), reassembled with all new gaskets, load tested it on the bench with a 10kw load bank, and set about reinstalling the generator in the customer's motorhome.

After reinstall was done, I connected up the ignition capacitor (which tested ~good~ on the bench) and test ran the gen. The damned thing ran just as shitty as sit did when the customer brought it in that morning ... shit! (To my good fortune, the customer left for the day waiting on my call to come and get his motorhome). By then it was late afternoon, and the generator compartment was shaded from the Sun. Out of the very corner of my eye, I saw a small ~spark~ where the ignition capacitor was attached to the metal chassis ("ground") of the compartment. I took a wooden dowel and pressed the cap against the chassis while the generator was running, and like magic the engine smoothed right out and ran like it should have after just being mechanically decarboned (there was almost a half inch of carbon inside of each head that I'd removed).

HOLY SHIT. So all that time, the missing/blubbering had been caused by a faulty screw attaching the ignition capacitor to chassis. I replaced the screw, and made certain that the capacitor was quite solidly nailed down and a solid ground connection was made. Fired up the gen, and it ran like brand new. I then installed a new capacitor because the customer deserved at least that much consideration. I called him, and when he showed up he was deeply pleased, and told me he'd been to three previous generator repair centers, paid fat bills, and no-one had made it run as well as I did. He gladly paid the $650.00 labor bill and went about his way, on his way out he told me he'd tell everyone he knew about the good work we did for him. We had motorhome generator customers from all over the US and Canada make travel plans to make sure they swung down our way to have their gens serviced, word of mouth was our best advertising for over fifteen years. I wrote over fifteen hundred repair/service invoices per year just on generator services. Good thing I had eighteen techs in my employ.

Truth? I GOT LUCKY. Damned lucky.

Moral? These mysterious problems are many times things that experienced techs refuse to look at because "it can't be that, that is too obvious".

Sorry man, that's all I got. I hope you discover what fuddup issue is causing you so much grief and money.

:frown2:
 

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Moral? These mysterious problems are many times things that experienced techs refuse to look at because "it can't be that, that is too obvious".
Great story. IT'S GOTTA BE SOMETHING DUMB.

Not obvious in the beginning, but totally obvious after you find it.
 

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You might want to check for rust in the gas tank. I had an issue not quite as bad as yours..Chased my tail trying to fix it. The bike would run then just quit. What I found out was that there was rust in the gas tank and the pre filter for the fuel pump was just packed full of rust particles. I ended up sealing the tank and tearing apart the fuel pump housing, cleaning it out thoroughly, and then it ran properly.
 

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... or how about that split fuel line thing? ... where the submersed output hose from the submersed fuel pump has a longetudinal split along it's length on the output side of the fuel pump in the tank? If I recall, some of the bike's symptoms described in this thread by the OP align with symptoms of that fuel hose split thing.
 
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