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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread is the story of how I built my 900SSie into a 944SL. I will be focusing on the technical aspects with many photos and descriptions.

The story starts with a random CL ad for a 1999 900SS for $2,200. I wasn't really searching for this bike, but the low price got my attention. At the time I owned an Alazzurra 650 which I was selling so I already had some Ducati experience.

When I went to see the 900SS, it was in a sorry state. The fairings were off and in a box. Both sides of the original fairings were scratched and the bike had obviously been down. The engine started right up, but the clutch didn't work (bad slave cylinder). They offered me a ride on the bike, but I declined.

It had obviously been sitting for a while and I later found out that the bike had belonged to the family's son who had died a year earlier (not from riding the Duc).

I was ready to buy the bike for $1,800 when they showed me the title; it was a salvage title. I threw a mini fit and told them if I knew it was salvage I wouldn't have come to see it (no mention in the ad about the title condition) and started to leave. They ran after me asking what I would give them for their Ducati. "$1,500" was my curt reply. We finally settled on $1,600 and I bought the bike.

Later, I arranged for my buddy, Mike, to help me load the forlorn Italian refuge into his Sprinter van. Back in the shop, we took stock of what I had done.

Basically, every body part had some damage except for the fenders. The specification of the bike was pretty much totally stock and it had 10K miles on it (that was the good news!).
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Additional damage included a kinky chain, rough mirrors, dirty air filter and the lower R/S fairing stay broken off at the cylinder. The threaded part of the H-cylinder where the stay threads in was busted out - not a pretty picture.

In the next few days, I proceeded to order parts. A replacement clutch slave cylinder was sourced from my old Alazzurra parts guy (Ed Milich); used, but good. Ed is a veteran Ducati parts hound who occassionally writes for Motorcyclist magazine.

Some parts had to be ordered from the local Ducati dealer so I had to strike up a relationship with them. Because I have been in the car business for years (Carobu Engineering High Performance Ferrari Auto Parts,Race Car Engine Rebuilding & Retro-tuning), I was able to establish a wholesale account with a small, token discount. This would come in handy as the project progressed.

I also started sourcing manuals and downloading parts catalogs. In my old age, I do a better job when the factory manual is in front of me.

Once the new clutch slave cylinder was in hand and installed, bled, etc.; the clutch seemed to work fine. I conned my friend Mike to take it on a quick 'around the building' test ride. After all, he had his riding gear handy and I didn't.

Mike came back from the test ride with a shocked look on his face. Apparently the dry chain was acting up and he almost lost it! The good news was that the clutch, gear shift and most importantly, the brakes worked ok.

We put the wounded Duc up on the lift and started to take it apart.
 

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I've been looking for inspiration on what to do with my ie.

I'm subscribed to the thread and looking forward to seeing where this goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
More 944 SL

A funny thing happened while I was looking for parts that changed the course of this project.

At first, the plan was to fix the 900SS to make it a runner. I planned to do maintenance on the bike and slowly upgrade it for better performance. I was thinking it might be fun to ride on the street and do some casual track days. I had already done a track day on my Alazzurra (ok, stop laughing) and wondered what a more modern Ducati would feel like.

As I was looking for Ducati parts on a website called SuperBikePlanet.com | The Place Where Riders Learn They've Been Sacked in their classified section, I noticed an ad for a 1999 750SSie located in Denver (I'm in CA). What got my interest up were the parts that were on that bike. The obvious eye-catchers "Ohlins, Marvic, ETI, Sharkskin, Woodcraft, carbon fiber" motivated me to email for more information.

The bike was offered for sale by a local Denver-area racer, Jon Glaefke. Apparently, the 750SS had belonged to one of his sons and needed to go away. I didn't ask for details about that part. The asking price was $3,200 and, after some back and forth, we agreed on $3,000. After adding up all the cool parts, it seemed like a good deal. Oh, did I mention that he was throwing in the original wheels and a clean O.E. half fairing?

At this point the plan for the 900SS was changing quickly. My thought was to take all of the good parts off of the 750 and put them on the 900.

I did have to drive out to Denver in late November (yes, it did snow), but I was able to coordinate the trip with some business so it wasn't that bad.

Posted below are some photos before I bought the 750SS.
 

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Additional damage included a kinky chain, rough mirrors, dirty air filter and the lower R/S fairing stay broken off at the cylinder. The threaded part of the H-cylinder where the stay threads in was busted out - not a pretty picture.

In the next few days, I proceeded to order parts. A replacement clutch slave cylinder was sourced from my old Alazzurra parts guy (Ed Milich); used, but good. Ed is a veteran Ducati parts hound who occassionally writes for Motorcyclist magazine.

Some parts had to be ordered from the local Ducati dealer so I had to strike up a relationship with them. Because I have been in the car business for years (Carobu Engineering High Performance Ferrari Auto Parts,Race Car Engine Rebuilding & Retro-tuning), I was able to establish a wholesale account with a small, token discount. This would come in handy as the project progressed.

I also started sourcing manuals and downloading parts catalogs. In my old age, I do a better job when the factory manual is in front of me.

Once the new clutch slave cylinder was in hand and installed, bled, etc.; the clutch seemed to work fine. I conned my friend Mike to take it on a quick 'around the building' test ride. After all, he had his riding gear handy and I didn't.

Mike came back from the test ride with a shocked look on his face. Apparently the dry chain was acting up and he almost lost it! The good news was that the clutch, gear shift and most importantly, the brakes worked ok.

We put the wounded Duc up on the lift and started to take it apart.
Not too surprisingly, a project like this has already been done, but back in the 1999-2001 timeframe starting with a new bike. Carbon bodywork including fuel tank, magnesium wheels, Ti shock spring and rear brake rotor, uprated brakes and suspension, fettled motor (944cc, 10.5:1 pistons, 95 RWHP, 71 lbs-ft torque). Result: 390 lbs with passenger accommodations, mirrors, horn, etc. with all fluids full, including fuel. The bike is now in the Oakland, CA, environs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When I got the 750SS back in the shop, all the good parts were removed. We built the Duc back up into a completely stock 750.

To digress a little, before the transformation back to stock, I took the bike out for a few rides and it seemed fine so I knew all the systems were working. The tires had been run hard on the track so they needed to be replaced and the CF mufflers were LOUD.

I took the original wheels and had some new, inexpensive tires fitted (Shinkos) which solved the tire issue.

Basically, the shock was swapped out, the rearsets, the body work and the tank. All in all, the result was decent.

To replace the mufflers, I took the 900 parts and had them ceramic coated black. This went with the theme of the black frame (I bought it that way) and the black/polished wheels.

The transformation of the 750SS was fairly dramatic, visually. The performance didn't change much except it was much quieter. Almost too quiet for my taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All ready been done

Not too surprisingly, a project like this has already been done, but back in the 1999-2001 timeframe starting with a new bike. Carbon bodywork including fuel tank, magnesium wheels, Ti shock spring and rear brake rotor, uprated brakes and suspension, fettled motor (944cc, 10.5:1 pistons, 95 RWHP, 71 lbs-ft torque). Result: 390 lbs with passenger accommodations, mirrors, horn, etc. with all fluids full, including fuel. The bike is now in the Oakland, CA, environs.
Yes, I'm familiar with your bike. It was very nice. I think I saw it on eBay a while back and asked you for a dyno sheet.

The point of my story is to detail what I did for the benefit of those who missed your write up and to detail some of the technical issues I ran into. Also, my plan was to do as many things as economically as possible so this isn't a no-expense spared project.

Hopefully, some readers will find it interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
T8KC, great build thread! I look forward to following along.

Interesting change to the 750 - I like the bike in it's before state but I imagine that a lot of guys would like the after.
The idea was to take the good parts off of the 750 and put them on the 900 essentially making a 750 into a 900 as you will see in due course.

The 750 goes through some additional changes before this is all over. See my profile page for some photos of the 750SS (albums).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Back to the 900SS

Ok, we will leave the 750SS alone for now.

At this point, the 900SS was sitting on the work stand without any body work. I had sourced a Ducati Performance CF front fender from eBay that needed refinishing. Additionally, I bought a pair of full-floater iron rotors.

The CF fender was interesting because I had never refinished one before. I think I paid $70 for it so the risk wasn't too great.

I was worried that it was too far gone to resurrect, but I started anyway. After finding some instructions on the internet, I removed what was left of the old finish with sandpaper and Scotchbrite.

The next steps were repeated 3 times. Spraying on clear, letting it dry, re-sanding it, repeat.

After the final step, I waited a couple of days for the final wet sanding and polishing. My goal wasn't a high polished look, but a more subdued deep sheen. I like the less-shiney look as it seems a bit racier to my eye. All the polishing was done by hand, no buffing wheel.

So, for about $100 invested, I ended up with a useable, lightweight fender. I had to feel pretty good about that.

Because these later SSie models are being wrecked and parted out, there seems to be a decent supply of old performance parts ready to be recycled.
 

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Wow, great work on the front fender. That's a great looking job.

This isn't helping my lust for a well sorted, late Supersport. I'm looking forward to the rest of the project.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Working on the exhaust

As the 900 was coming apart, I knew that I was going to do something about the exhaust header apperance. The standard pipe just looks ugly as it gets old. When I removed the header, I also noticed the common "flat spot" on the bottom side of the front pipe.

My plan was to use the CF mufflers (no brand name) from the 750SS as they looked very nice and ceramic coat the header pipes front and rear. I had actually sent the pipes out for coating when I came across a good deal on a N.O.S. front header pipe. I immediately called the coating company and told them to stop, but it was too late, the old front pipe was already done.

None the less, I bit the bullet and coated the new pipe as I was concerned about any restriction on the header pipe. This would prove a good decision considering that the engine specification would be upgraded.

Anyway, I still have the original coated front pipe if anyone needs it.

Another area of concern is the flange part of the pipe where it goes into the cylinder head. It should be matched as closely as possible to the inner dimension of the port. In other words, the welding bead needs to be ground down so it isn't impeding the outflow of exhaust. Sorry, I didn't take a photo of that.
 

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Rear fender

I'm not a fan of the body color rear fenders on these bikes and prefer black or CF.

As with the front fender, I waited and found a good price on a sun-faded CF rear hugger. The drill was the same; remove the old finish and add the new clear coat. Wet sand and polish, done.

When you think what these CF fenders sold for new, the refinishing of old sun-faded parts is a real bargain.

I do use the more expensive clear coat that is available in spray cans at most professional auto body paint stores and avoid the Home Depot variety.

One of my project goals is to keep the weight of the Duc down (no pun intended) by using CF, Titanium, magnesium, etc.

I feel pretty happy about the CF fenders and the appearance is nice too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Suspension and Brakes

From the beginning I wanted a nicely set-up suspension system and strong brakes. Based on other project bikes I have built, the forks had to come out and be sent to Racetech. I have used them before and always had a good result.

Based on the Racetech spring rate calculator, the front spring was changed to a .95 kg/mm rate and the rear to a 8.0 kg/mm rate spring. It is funny, but the standard springs in most street bikes are soft in the front and hard in the rear (for passenger use). As I set my bikes up for solo use, I don't need the extra rate in the rear.

The standard 900SS rates are: F-.62 Kg/mm, R-8.5 kg/mm.

The Ohlins rear shock had been recently serviced according to the receipt from Boulder Motorsports so I just changed the spring to a new Eibach unit.

Racetech went over the forks doing a gold valve kit/re-valve, full service with new seals/fluid. I spent less than $500 to change the springs F&R and re-do the forks. I consider it money well spent.

By now the chassis was a lump on a dollie.

I had been watching eBay for cast iron full-floating rotors and purchased 2 sets. The plan was to run soft pads against the iron rotors for maximum feel. I also had my eye on the Brembo 19RSC forged radial master cylinder. The $300+ price had me choking a bit, but I wanted a solid front brake. I was to later find out that installing that M/C necesitated tossing the stock switch gear and replacing it with a pricy Ducabike 2-button unit. Also, the throttle needed to be rotated to clear everything.

Some of you might have noticed the different rubber grips in the two master cylinder photos; I had to go back to the original Ducati style as the aftermarket type were twisting.

The brake calipers were cleaned and inspected then loaded with new pads (soft compound) to match the iron rotors.

At the same time, I changed the steering head bearings. At 10K miles, the stock ones were junk.

Overall, I wanted the suspension/brakes/steering to be as new feeling as possible.
 

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Keep it coming! Love reading about peoples projects, of all budgets great and small!

Lots of pics too!
 
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