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Hi, I been a member for a while but held off on the posting until I actually had a Ducati to call my own. I traded in my YZF for a 1999, 996. Great bike!

I just rolled to 12,000 miles on the bike and undergoing my first timing belt change. According to the service manual, it says to use a timing belt tensioner that should be tightened to 2.5 on the gauge. That's all good but, I can't seem to acquire a tensioner gauge. I went to the local Ducati dealership and looked at some microfiche, and it said that special tool was not available. Not even sold. So now I'm a bit lost on what to do. I would just take it in, but as much as I ride that thing, I would like to learn how to do it myself.

I also spoke with the chief mechanic and the only thing he could tell me was don't over tighten it or it'll snap that belt. So little slack in it should be good, how much slack?
Thanks
Keith
 

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On my 998 I run 3mm of deflection between the cam pulleys. I believe on the pre-Stretta heads you would run 4mm. As they are farther apart. I have also heard of some people using a 5mm allen key between the idler pulley. Meaning that if you can slide a 5mm allen between the belt and pulley you have the right amount of play. If you do a search on here you should find out more. You need to have the piston of the belt you are adjusting at TDC. The tension of the closer springs will throw off your readings otherwise. Hope this helps, Ken
 

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Powercruise said:
I also spoke with the chief mechanic and the only thing he could tell me was don't over tighten it or it'll snap that belt. So little slack in it should be good, how much slack?
With a little reading up you can use the harmonic method. No wonder Ducati stopped selling the spring based tension tool. Now they recommend using their fancy optical frequency measuring accessory to the $3000 plus Mathesis Tester. On my webpages I've documented some ideas for measuring belt tension using harmonics without spending a lot of money:

http://home.comcast.net/~mmullen38/home.html
 

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The belt, being toothed, makes it less sensitive to more slack that what's called for. As the motor heats up, the cylinders also get slightly longer.

I had the tool and took it to the local shop, before they got their mathesis tool.....and measured a couple of belts that they had just set. They set it looser than the 2.5 called for. They've never had a problem.

Mike's website; pick a method - or pick two. set it with one method and check it with another.

It really is not tough to do nor sensitive to being too loose.
 

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I don't like the idea of tensioning the belts with deflection or the allen key trick. Ducati dealers have a new electronic tensioning tool that plugs into the bike, sense the crank position and does the belt tension based on hertz. My Ducati dealer tensioned my belts for $20, I just brought the bike to them completely stripped down, and with the new belts already on. The STM tool is great piece of mind ensure the vertical cylinder pulley doesn't turn since it's under spring tension when all timing marks are lined up.

 
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Wow thanks for the feedbacks guys. Some very nice posts. I'll try doing what you guys commented on over this rainly weekend we are supposed to get and if I'm uncertain, I guess I could always take it in stripped and have them test it real quick.
Keith
 
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erinpaul said:
If you're in a dry climate you should change it every 6000. Nice bike!
Thanks for the tip and yep I'am fully enjoying my first experience on a Ducati, and also my first v-twin experience.

I like to make an apology now for my noob questions which I'am sure will be followed by more noob questions in the world of Desmoquattro's and V-twins.
Ahh here is another, truly, I am sorry guys.

I'm not sure if this problem is in any way related to bad timing belt, but today when I was riding to the gym, i heard a very noticeable tick sound from the right side then few moments later another tick sound, and as it did, I thought I felt the power drop with the throttle rolled on. I was getting that chopped throttle effect when the throttle was cracked on. This is quite scary... ummm

Keith
 

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for your tick sound i have one explanation, and i hope its the case with you.

i get that tick sound a lot because when little rocks or gravel are spat up from the front tire they hits the v-cowl and go "tick". it use to creep me out.

also more for the thortle, when i was "ticking" i noticed when the sound worried me i relaxed on the accelerator just enough for the rpms do decline, and when i rolled back on the throttle i got a little jump because the injectors were told to pour in the gas again.

i hope that's all your problem is/was. as for noob questions, thanks for moving in because i think i may have owned the forum before now. if you don't ask how you gonna know? you gotta start somewhere, just like the gym.
 
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Ah thanks for the warm welcoming Namor. I would be more than happy to unload my noobiness and take over your current status.

As for bit of problem I'm having at the moment on my 996, I could only wish it was as simple as a bit of road debris. That would save me from much headache as the one I'm having now just thinking about it. When it first happened I dismissed it, but when it happened again in maintenance throttle, tink/pop sorta sound, lol, sorry can't really describe it right, that resulted in hesitation/power drop I was glad the bike wasn't leaned over hard on a late apex. I dunno one thing probably has nothing to do with another but probably a whole new one, if its a big problem at all.

If I turn up anything, I'll keep ya posted.

Thanks Keith
 

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Ah, the wonders of buying a used motorcycle... I know, I'm on my first Ducati too.. You never know what it's got, what's done to it, what the quirks are etc etc.. no matter if the mileage is 3k or 30k. Lucky me, I've had the whole winter to get to know the bike. You always hear/read about the reliability and build quality and such of Italian motorcycles, I've been telling myself that it's only a machine, designed and built by humans, so if something is wrong, it can be fixed. (I also own a '89 Guzzi..)

After all, it's only a hobby (at least for me) and usually hobbies cost money and time. But hte rewardss are great, the feeling of driving an empty stretch of road, knowing that the bike works flawlessly, maintained by you (or your money..)

ooops, that was long... sorry, the winter is long and cold up here. :-D
 

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Powercruise said:
Thanks for the tip and yep I'am fully enjoying my first experience on a Ducati, and also my first v-twin experience.

I like to make an apology now for my noob questions which I'am sure will be followed by more noob questions in the world of Desmoquattro's and V-twins.
Ahh here is another, truly, I am sorry guys. Keith
Keith,
We're all noobs at some point. For some of the guys here, they were noobs when the Beatles debuted on the Ed Sullivan show. And computers were only found at big companies and at mission control.

Some of us were noobs more recently. But everyone's been there.

Welcome. As Mr. Namor mentioned, we all gotta start somewhere.

One fo the traits of the V-twin is torque. A hell of a lot more torque than comparably sized inline 4 cylinder engines. My 853 pulled like a freight train compared to my GSX-R750 in the lower ranges. (up high, completely different matter). So, throttle on and throttle off transitions will tend to be a bit more abrupt. The shove you feel when you go throttle on is the torque. The rapid slowing you feel when you roll off the throttle is the engine braking. You only have two big damn cylinders compared to 4 smaller ones. That's why you feel the power pulses, the torque, and the engine braking more with a v-twin.

As for the ticking - I would have to go with Mr. Namor. tough to tell through a posting. If it's not consistent, if you can't make it happen by doing a specific thing, then it's most likely the tire tossing a small rock up at the fairing. You've probably got fairly sticky tires on; they'll toss up more rocks than harder tires. Next time you ride, and hear the ticking, see if you can make it happen by trying different things like rolling off or rolling on the throttle, maybe it's only at a certain RPM level....see if you can figure out how to make it happen at will. That will tell us alot.
 
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Sorry I couldn't be more specific to get the desired answers. Yeah I should have tried to get the same repeating symptoms then elaborate it with more detailed info. What I do know for sure is that I was rolling it on after shifting when the power loss caught me off guard and I felt the pressure on my wrists. RPM... towards the middle of the range but not where the bike begins to make good power. 6-8 range I'm thinking...

I'm going to pull the ecu chip tomorrow then try reseating it or have the Ducati shop do it for me. I did replace the Fast by Ferracci chip and Vance and Hines half system to Ducati performance chip and Termignoni 50mm cans.

Thanks Keith
 
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Okay I didn't get the chance to do it last week. Really didn't have the motivation for it but tomorrow for sure.

I'm thinking of going with deflection method using 5 mm allen. I know some of you don't agree with it but it seems the easiest way. Is this a common practice for people who work out of their garage? Will it get the job done?

As for that strange thunk sound, it really is weird. I can't replicate it when I want to, it comes and goes. I would say it happens most often when in maintenance throttle just cruising at 4-5 rpm that results in same power loss for a split second. I'm crusing along, then "thunk" power loss, a few seconds later "thunk" power loss, on and on, then it completely goes away for miles. Also, the bike just seems happy when ridden aggresively, there is no thunking at all at higher revvs. I've explained it to the chief mechanic at NW, and he sounded like he didn't want to mess with it, not unless I can replicate the problem.

Thanks Keith
 
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