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Discussion Starter #1
I stupidly picked up this dilapidated 998 as a birthday gift to myself in October of 2017. Wife said it was stupid to buy another motorcycle a month before the birth of our first child. Nonsense. Perfect timing.

The idea was to 'rescue' this poor thing and turn it into a fun track day/race bike to race in the 'Modern Classic' races that are becoming quite popular as new superbike prices continue to rise. The real problem started by not setting myself a proper budget, timeline or actual detailed do's and don'ts. So down the rabbit hole we go...

Here's the woeful shape she was in back then.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
First things first were to strip the bike, check over everything and service the engine. The previous owner had gotten it on trade from someone who couldn't pay him for some work he did. Always a good starting point.

Pro-tip - don't buy motorcycles at night. You can't see things, even when you bring flashlights. I 'knew' what I was getting into and was prepared to deal with whatever would come given how cheap this thing was. It ran, didn't spew oil everywhere or knock it's ass off, so I bought it.

A week or two goes by as I gather service parts. I go to fire it up and it won't start. Not hugely surprising given my experience with Ducatis.
I try to charge the battery and check it again. Nothing, but this time it coughs through the intake. Odd. I remove the tank and try squirting some starting fluid down the intake. Nearly burn my eyebrows off. Dammit. Stupid thing sounds like the timing is way off. Weird, it ran a week ago when I bought it. Unplug the fuel injectors and spark plugs and turn the engine over. I can see a horizontal intake valve hung open. That's not good. Remove radiator and valve cover, valve it definitely bent; what the fuck.

Removed the horizontal cylinder, surprise surprise, total carnage. Horizontal cylinder, piston and head are all toast. I'm still not 100% on what happened here, but it looks like someone did some port work and it didnt run long after it was put back together. All the ports and valves are REALLY clean as are the piston tops. But someone definitely dropped something (maybe a half ring?) into the cylinder and mashed shit up. It's a miracle (or just poor luck for me) that it ran when I checked it out. The half-ring was never found, maybe it made its way out of the exhaust. Either way, the cost of repairing this engine means it's not going to work for this project.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
998 engines are awfully rare on the used market, so I opened up my options. I love the 848 with 1040 kit, but that's prohibitively expensive. 1098 and 1198 engines would be cheaper, but still not cheap. I found an 05 999S engine for sale from a dismantler on ebay for something like $850. I bought this engine for 3 reasons : it was cheap, the S is known to have higher performance camshafts, and the later 999 had a deep sump that would be a benefit on the race track.

Obviously these are a bolt in affair, although a few things do need modifying to actually make it work within the 998 chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Once I had the engine serviced and in the chassis, I needed to tie up some loose ends. Firstly, this was going to be a track only machine and therefore the instruments would be slimmed down by removing the speedometer and cable assembly along with the warning lights. While this is a simple unbolt type of removal, I wanted a working oil pressure gauge. The stock position oil pressure switches are known to fail from excessive vibration. Later Ducati models (during the 848/1198 run) moved the switch to the oil cooler hose to reduce failures. Why reinvent the wheel? I stole this idea.

I sourced a 52mm STACK electronic instrument but when it arrived, I discovered the sending unit was huge. Not only did it weigh almost a pound, but it was too bulky to package neatly on the bike. So I've returned that and found that STACK also makes a fancier, more expensive gauge that basically does the same thing, but with a smaller, more modern sending unit much like the OEM switch. It's even the same thread pitch, M10X1.0. Perfect.

I also grabbed a used 848 oil cooler and hoses from ebay to make this all work. The 848 oil cooler has more surface area, and is very easy to implement.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Can't stress this enough - set yourself a budget and timeline. Otherwise projects are guaranteed to take longer and cost more than you intended. Because I can't heed my own advice, and spend too much time on ebay, I stumbled upon some take off FGRT813 forks from a low mile 848. No sense in not buying these.



Because these were intended for 848s, they are 53mm at the top and bottom clamp positions which mean they sit in stock yolks. Not that I ended up keeping those either. These new (to me) fancy forks meant I would also need brake calipers. Want great brakes? Ride a bike with great brakes, buy those, install them onto your bike. 1199s have the best braking I've ever felt on a stock machine. M50s are still in high demand as they are THE production caliper. 1098s were also great. Damn, even old monobloc M4s are $350-450. Ducati in their infinite wisdom insists on 100mm caliper bolt spacing on their radial mounts, when the rest of Asia, whose used parts are always cheapest remember, use 108mm spacing. So nothing from japan-land works. Who else is dumb enough to use a weird caliper bolt spacing where I can avoid Italian tax? BMW, it turns out. S1000RR calipers are not the latest and greatest, but they are 4 pad, 4 piston radial calipers with the correct 100mm bolt spacing. And the set I found even comes with the bolts, booyah.



Got the calipers cleaned up, bolt them on, almost. BMW bolts are M10x1.5, not M10x1.25 thread pitch. Pro-bolt sells great looking titanium fasteners for about $85. I’m cheap, so $40 in stainless pro-bolts later, the calipers bolt to the forks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Because I wanted to take advantage of the stock steering head angle adjustability. I searched for some adjustable triples. I know there are lots of 30mm triples available, but I really wanted something with adjustability so that I could play with setup and find what I liked best. I have Attack's on my Triumph and love them, but came across these Podium Racing units on facebook for great price.

As delivered the Podium clamps with a -0- insert are 30mm offset, 6mm less than the stock units. I've gone with a -2- insert to start, resulting in a 28mm offset. With the headstock adjusted to it's 23.5 degree position, and the clamps with a 28mm offset, the front wheel comes into contact with the radiator at full compression of the front suspension. To eliminate this problem I removed the radiator fans so I could swing the radiator back toward the cylinder head. I'll have to remove the fork caps and fully compress the forks to see how much room I have to spare if any, but I believe this will work.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
999 and 998 radiators are very similar, but their hose routing is a bit different. The 999 uses a nice plastic coolant 'housing' that tucks nicely along the left side of the horizontal cylinder and eliminates the hose-mess of the 998. However, it does not have a provision for the water temperature sensor like the 998 hose routing does. So I purchased a little adapter than splices into the radiator hose that will house the coolant temperature sensor. Cutting the hoses also helped me position them a little better to fit after moving the radiator back.

Also decided on a chain and sprocket setup. 520 pitch DID chain and 15t/39t sprockets with quick release carrier. I noticed when putting them on, the rear eccentric wouldn't travel 360 degrees, it got bound around with the axle around the 4:30 position. I found the locator pin for the rear brake caliper bracket stops movement. This limits the effective swingarm length, which you want as long as possible for these machines. So I milled out with a dremel until the eccentric moved 360 degrees. Now the rear axle can sit at nearly the 3 o'clock position with proper chain tension helping move weight bias toward the front of the bike. This should be all around helpful. To give some reference, my 675 Triumph has a swingarm length of nearly 75mm longer than the 998, with a shorter wheelbase. The 998 needs all the swingarm length it can get. I can see the 848/1098 swap being useful for track people.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Coming back to the fork setup. More work was needed into actually getting the wheel to fit between the fork tubes properly. First the 916-998 axle is slightly different than the 848/1098 axle and has a smaller 'big end'. I ordered a used 848 axle and spacers to solve the issue. The right side spacer for the 848 must be used, but the left side does not work. The 998 comes with a cable driven speedometer, which I've removed. So to take up the space that the speedo cable housing used to, a new spacer is needed. Motowheel sells this nice little piece. Buy it; it fits.

Also, Podium Racing (I think) sells this axle drift. It's great. It's aluminum with a steel bolted insert that you can smack with a plastic hammer to remove and reinstall the front axle.
 

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That definitely looks like a fun project that you are working on! Keep posting your progress and the detailed infos. Very much appreciated.


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What a great project!! Keep it up man, this thread made my day.... :grin2: *disclaimer* I may or may not be easily entertained. :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I also needed to decide on a brake rotor fix. The FGRT forks place the calipers father apart by 5mm than the OEM 748-998 units. The 748R/996R and 998R models shared this increased spacing that eventually became standard on 749/999 and 848/1198. My current plan is to keep the stock 998 wheels which means I need discs with 5 bolt holes each. The 749 and later models all used 6 bolt, meaning the only direct fit for 5bolt with increased spacing is from then748R-998R. There’s options still out there thankfully, but they’re not cheap. The discs I have are still i great shape, so in the interest of being cheap, I bought these nice CNC 5mm spacers from motowheels.

Secondly the bolts that hold the brake discs need to be 5mm longer to insure proper thread engagement. I bought some from McMasterCarr. They’re stainless instead of zinc coated, so they don’t look quite right, but won’t corrode either way.



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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
There’s not too much more I need at this point. I skipped over little things like BMC filters and the steering damper I had lying around. I will need race plastics which on this age of machine isn’t the easiest to come by quality stuff.

I also need some brake lines and a master cylinder. The m/c on the bike has some crash damage and has seen better days and the brake lines don’t quite work with the BMW style calipers.

I installed a Brembo RCS 19 years ago on the 675 and have loved it. However after trying both the 19mm and 20mm pivots, the 19mm is where it’s stayed. So I think I’ll find a Brembo 19x18 for the Ducati also. Once I have that I’ll have a better idea of what brake lines will be necessary. I have several take offs lying around that may work. Fingers crossed.

I’ve heard about the necessity of a big breather box when racing these, but for now, I’ve the stock breather routed to the air box. I’ll see how much oil makes its way up there and reevaluate after testing.

I also need to fabricate a gauge pod for my oil pressure gauge. Nothing I’ve seen online looks like it’ll do.




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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Got the brake discs reinstalled with the spacers today. On the Speedometer side of the 998 wheel there is a raised lip that centers the spacer and sits proud enough to center the rotor as well. On the right side, there is no lip, the hub is actually beveled. This means the spacer is centered on the wheel hub but the disc is centered only by the bolts. Not ideal. I’m not losing my mind over it, but it is a bummer and kind of insures that when I go to replace these discs, I’ll get proper offset 748R-998R ones to eliminate this potential problem. The new rotor bolts also have a slightly taller head than the OEM ones. Seem to fit without issue, and all the aftermarket Allen key bolts have heads this height. Not sure why Ducati would use a non standard size.

The rotors have a minimum thickness of 4mm and both measured about 4.5mm. So I’d guess 1 good season of track days/dialing in will wear them out. That said, the wheels are now on, just need to sort brake lines and pads. Brembo 19x18 m/c should be here next week. I’ve gone with CL60 pads, same as I’ve run on my Triumph.

After installing the podium racing triples, I realized the tool necessary to secure the top nut is quite different than the stock one. Does anyone know where to get the necessary tool? I use an adjustable one on my Triumph, but the raised lips of the steering tube adjuster on the Ducati prevent it from fitting. The nut’s 42mm OD, 36mm ID with 6 points. Worst case I’ll make one.

Lastly I planned on removing the fork caps and compressing them completely to see how much margin I had before the front wheel contacts the radiator. Turns out I don’t have the tool for this either. Figures. This will wait for next time.



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Discussion Starter #15
When I bought this engine I lucked out in that it had an EVR 48T clutch in it. It had a stock drum and pressure plate, not sure if a slipper was removed prior or if someone bought a really nice clutch before they wadded up their 999. I found a used Bucci slippper online and installed it in the ‘race’ orientation. I’m sure it’ll need some tuning.

While waiting for the new master cylinder I searched for reservoir hose. Everyone that sells this stuff only sells 12” sections at a time. This really is all that’s needed for just that section, but for $7, you can find better. McMasterCarr also carried this, but for less than $2/ft. I ordered 5ft length. It’s really imperative to get the proper type of hose, otherwise the hose could ‘sweat’ brake fluid through it. The pictured hose is what you’re looking for. Keep in mind if you buy it from amazon, it comes in 12” sections, even if you order 5ft. This tubing isn’t really advised on street bikes because UV rays break down brake fluid over time and degrade it. This is why OEM hose is black. Being that this bike will he race track only, it’s not a concern.



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Discussion Starter #16
Bodywork is one of the last things on the list. I think I’ve decided on Motoxpricambi out of Italy. They offer prepainted track fairings with decals etc for a reasonable price. I’ve heard they’re not quite the quality of shark skins, but this way I don’t have to deal with a painter. I much prefer the 916 style fairing to the slab sided 998. I’ve been told the 916 style fairing interferes with the 998 ignition coils mounted to the side of the bike. Some people trim the body work around them. I decided to just swap the coils to a coil on plug type. These were from an 06 ZX600RR that I was supposed to rebuild years ago that ended up getting scrapped. I made some little conversion harnesses and put them in.



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Discussion Starter #19
EVR clutch no good? I nearly bought one of those.


EVR clutches are great in my experience. The engine I purchased came with an EVR 48t basket and plates, but not the drum or pressure plate. The Bucci unit fell in my lap so I jumped on it.


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