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Discussion Starter #1
Yep, I’m another victim of the infamous flaking rockers… Hit the 5000 mile mark (4998) yesterday -- did an oil change after a day off from work to play (hey, I took a well deserved vacation day -- OK, 2 -- ha! ;)) and there it was… Last oil change -- no signs of ANY flakes whatsoever, clean as can be… !!!!

Just for Reference: Typical start scenario for me; Let it warm without revving till somewhere around 120-140°F, have only hit the rev limiter (unintentionally) about 3-4 times (purchased it with 230 showing May of last year- oil was NEVER changed (from the looks of it - even though he said 2 times.. Yeah, right!! And I‘m the Pope!!! :rolleyes:), been using Amsoil 20W-50 Motorcycle specific oil after a cleansing flush of 15W-50 Mobil-1 (non specific motorcycle oil) synthetic for around 400-500 miles…!!!

It appears to me, nothing is going to prevent the rockers from flaking if they are faulty to begin with…. No matter what the theory’s are… you won’t help slow it down -- or be able to prevent it :think: -- My opinion only!!

I’m going to verify this before tearing it down but I don’t think it’s anything else -- sure looks like what I would imagine chrome flakes to be………….!

I’m undecided as to the approach -- Guy Martin’s RE-Chromed or Megacycle’s welded… I’m siding with the latter, although if done correctly I don’t really have a problem with proper re-chroming…….. Once I get the parts in my hands for a visual I’ll know more.. But until then… she’s dead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Weather is “PERFECT” here right now (Whaaaaaaaaa!!) -- guess I’ll have to un-become a Ducati Snob and climb on the ol’ Honda 750F-- cause it‘s gonna to be awhile!!!!!!!!!! Thinking of going for a ride up the coast tomorrow on the Honda.. Kind of a Re- Acquaintance if you will. Been along time - but it’s a good bike, just seems as though I have a anchor attached or the brakes stuck anymore..….. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I did put new tires on her this year in anticipation of riding as more of a commuter bike (more friendly that way) but…………….!!!

Vintage.. That surrounds me…Eh??? problem is not much of it runs -- all needing work…(I don’t wanna!) now I have this more modern (to me anyway) blond beauty and she needs the same attention……… ya can’t win.. At least I can ignore her if I choose, unlike the others with a voice and even more needs..…. LOL!!
 

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At least talk to your dealer. My local dealer was really good. Ducati provided the rockers for my way out of warranty bike and I paid for the labor. Just a thought before you spend a ton of cash.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had contacted DOA with other issues (Cyl Head Porosity) I had last year, mentioned the flaking rockers as a side note - they stated that they no longer warranty rockers. They had extended the warranty because it was such a large problem but no more, but given the time frame (9+ years), the way I heard it was they want you to buy a 1098 or something new - get with the time punk !! -- …. I would love it if they covered it. Maybe I’ll attempt it but don’t hold much hope in it. How long ago was this for you??
 

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I had contacted DOA with other issues (Cyl Head Porosity) I had last year, mentioned the flaking rockers as a side note - they stated that they no longer warranty rockers. They had extended the warranty because it was such a large problem but no more, but given the time frame (9+ years), the way I heard it was they want you to buy a 1098 or something new - get with the time punk !! -- …. I would love it if they covered it. Maybe I’ll attempt it but don’t hold much hope in it. How long ago was this for you??
This was May 2007 during the 12k service. I went back to the same dealer in 2008 for the 18k and no more flaking rockers were reported. Ms. Ducati is near ready for the next one. We shall see.
 

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I had contacted DOA with other issues (Cyl Head Porosity) I had last year, mentioned the flaking rockers as a side note - they stated that they no longer warranty rockers. They had extended the warranty because it was such a large problem but no more, but given the time frame (9+ years), the way I heard it was they want you to buy a 1098 or something new - get with the time punk !! -- …. I would love it if they covered it. Maybe I’ll attempt it but don’t hold much hope in it. How long ago was this for you??
I have to stop at the dealer next week. I will ask them what they would do if I needed another rocker and post again. Hopefully the story is the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This was May 2007 during the 12k service. I went back to the same dealer in 2008 for the 18k and no more flaking rockers were reported. Ms. Ducati is near ready for the next one. We shall see.
Do you know if they only replaced the obvious bad rockers or all as a precaution (ha!!) Had to ask!!

Thanks for your input.
 

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Sorry to hear that yellow blur. My 01 996 had three done this year at the 32000 mile mark. Went with the Martin rechrome, mainly for cost considerations as he was quite reasonable and this was an unexpected expense on top of a bunch of other already costly work. Admittedly cost really shouldn't be the deciding factor as it would all be for nought if these reflake and it all begins anew.
My particular sympathies for not having your baby during the ideal riding season. How did my bella machina repay me for all the money and time invested during the early part of the riding season? By highsiding my sorry ass into the weeds, three weeks back in the middle of a week long, mid September, riding holiday!! Guesse those high comps had some effect after all.
 

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I assisted a buddy doing his valve adjustment last week and we pulled one flaking rocker on his 01 748R. He bought the replacement Megacycles from Ca CycleWorks stating Nichols didn't have the Megacycle rockers listed anymore. Is this true?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry to hear that yellow blur. My 01 996 had three done this year at the 32000 mile mark. Went with the Martin rechrome, mainly for cost considerations as he was quite reasonable and this was an unexpected expense on top of a bunch of other already costly work. Admittedly cost really shouldn't be the deciding factor as it would all be for nought if these reflake and it all begins anew.
My particular sympathies for not having your baby during the ideal riding season. How did my bella machina repay me for all the money and time invested during the early part of the riding season? By highsiding my sorry ass into the weeds, three weeks back in the middle of a week long, mid September, riding holiday!! Guesse those high comps had some effect after all.
Man does that suck….You make it out OK? Hope my baby treats me a little better when I get her back on the road.

One thing about Guy Martin’s re-chromed rockers as claimed, they are stress relieved which should help make some difference. I don’t think you made a bad decision. Hard chrome is also used all over the place on aircraft parts in high wear areas, just needs to be done correctly is all. To my understanding it can crack if over .001 thick. Seems much thicker then that... This being an impact area doesn’t help. Piston engine aircraft cylinder sleeves are channel chromed and cracked on purpose for oil retention, but that’s another animal altogether.

I assisted a buddy doing his valve adjustment last week and we pulled one flaking rocker on his 01 748R. He bought the replacement Megacycles from Ca CycleWorks stating Nichols didn't have the Megacycle rockers listed anymore. Is this true?
I looked at their catalog and they still list them as available @ $89 each..Magacycle that is.. (Nichols -- don't know) Seems they went up $9 from the last time I checked, or I remembered wrong… oh yeah, like that would be it.. haha!!.

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Since I’ve had a little time to think about this and my approach, I’ve felt there’s been one loose rocker by the sound of it, planned to check/adjust the rockers before the 6000 mile mark anyway, at the same time install the MBP Collets, just makes sense to me. Been keeping a close eye on what comes out when changing oil with the known problem. Well, it looks as though I’m forced to do something now.. .(I’m great @ procrastination)…. Or risk more damage… so it‘s time…..

This is my first Duc so I can’t say I’m familiar with how a properly adjusted valve train sounds. As stated above, I’ve felt for some time there was one rocker rattling/loose over all the rest - but never sure since these are a very mechanical sounding engines anyway - also thinking this just may be how they are. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

As part of a detailed inspection for my own knowledge and to hopefully answer some questions about the theory’s floating around, my approach will be to check/record all the clearances first, find the loosest to see if that is the one with the chrome flake, then move on from there. I mean it does make sense if you are beating the crap out of chrome it will give way.

I’ll post my findings and maybe/hopefully help some with theory’s…. or not!!!. don’t know when I’ll be able to get to it though…. Could be awhile!!

Also talked to a guy I work with today who had his bike in for a valve adjust @ the dealer last year, found a few flaking rockers and he wasn't charged for it.... when I talked to DNA they wanted nothing to do with it.... just don't know:confused::confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
For those interested, here are some of the chips I found in the sump screen viewed under a microscope. One shot I left the tweezers in to give relative size.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Findings

To start, looking at the opening rockers; all 8 are bad - On 2 the chrome is completely gone on the contact patch (typ) with 1 having a pit and soon to follow the other two‘s fate. I could probably get more miles out of many but all will fail eventually from close inspection under magnification - I have no doubt. Some of the closers don’t look so hot either but I haven’t removed them yet for closer inspection.

Here is my opinion of why the rockers flaked on my 996 with 4992 miles showing, and probably the largest contributing factor of this problem for most - unless I was just one of the lucky ones, but I doubt it from the looks of it:

With all the speculation as to why rockers flake, I have NEVER once heard Anything” mentioned (unless I missed it) about the worst looking cam lobe surfaces I’ve ever witnessed in my 30 plus years working on engines. I’m not saying Ducati didn’t have a bad batch of rockers, and this being the first I have worked on I have nothing to compare them to - other then what has been posted on this site and elsewhere, but actually having them in my hands I can see the cam lobe surfaces are doing absolutely NO justice to these poor rockers that don‘t stand much of a chance under these conditions. No wonder they fail in such large numbers!!!!!!!! First I thought the chrome was transferring from the rocker to the cam lobe, but it ended up being the typical finish Ducati provides……… N - I - C - E !!!

The bearing surfaces of the cam lobes look as though Ducati took a short cut or missed a step, forgetting to finish polish the cam lobes. They look like they came out of the heat treating process, quenched in oil, hosed off, ends finished to fit the bearings then were installed in the head. But before that; the grinding wheel (if they even use one) needed dressing about 3 cams prior since some of the lobes are cut at an angle - one closer is only riding on approx 1/3 of the lobe looking at the witness marks left by the contact surfaces. Basically cutting into the chrome surfaces putting excess loads on a small area instead of spreading the load evenly across the smooth pad. Maybe it’s just a rough casting and good enough for them? Almost looks like it with the uneven surfaces!! Disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!

What I see is the nice smooth chrome surface on the rockers are doing the job of the polisher, and very poorly I might add. The lobes missing all the chrome are breaking through the crust and uneven surfaces starting to smooth the lobe - before the lobe becomes toast. How can one expect a hard smooth chromed surface to live through the torture from it’s mate that’s about as smooth as uneven/angled 80 grit sandpaper? (OK maybe a bit of an exaggeration - but close). If these had to overcome a valve spring I don’t think they would live 1000 miles.

I would have to think after many miles, rocker changes and so on, in time the cam lobes are finally smooth enough so as not to damage the rockers anymore and why high mileage engines no longer suffer from this problem - at least overall with there always being exceptions to this.

For the record one was Ft head L/H EX opener (one in the supposed oil bath on start-up), Rear head L/H EX opener, with the one soon to follow being the Rear head R/H IN opener.

I’ll post pictures later if anyone would care to see them - as I‘m in process - but as you can tell I‘m not impressed!!! I’d expect more from such a high performance bike!!
 

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Very interesting insight on the cam theory. Would love to hear others and what they think.
 

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I was thinking the same thing when I did my 12k and swapped cams for sps cams. I was actually going to polish the cams, as it did not make sense that the cams looked black and the cams going in cars looked polished, but I could not find anyone who had done that, so I left them alone. Oh I had the same rockers go bad front intake and front exhaust openers pulley side as well as the rear exhaust opener pulley side. I replaced them with MBP rockers heard good things and cost was good.
 

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The moment the rockers start to flake, the lobes get scratched to shit. I highly doubt the lobes were damaged pre-rocker flaking.

A very common issue with the desmoquattro's is low oil pressure. If the oil pressure drops very much, the cam's won't be lubricated enough and henceforth could very easily cause more wear. Over time that excessive wear can cause things like rocker to cam surface to wear more then usual and you're right, it could lead to rocker plating to crack and flake off.

From my experience working on these bikes, flaking rockers can show up from the following reasons; low oil pressure, incorrect oil, extreme high RPM's and loose clearances. Every rocker produced is bad, so they will go bad at one point in time no matter what, but mistreating the bike at all, will cause it to get way worse.

Once you get this fixed, check the oil pump and if you can check the pressure at the head, not where the sensor is. You could have some sort of block coming out of the oil cooler or something simple like that. Also, pull the covers off the motor where the oil comes into the head, I've seen those locations full of metal shavings from the rocker pins getting loose, all of that can contribute to low oil pressure.

Finally, 20w50 I don't recommend. I'd shoot for a thinner 100% synthetic oil with less additives like what I have been using for tens of thousands of track miles; Motul V300 10w40. None of my desmoquattro's had flaking rockers from my over-revving and abuse. I did inherit a 748R motor that already had bad rockers, but that was the only motor I ever owned with those issues.



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