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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sold my perfectly working 2013 SF848 with 2500 miles to a kid. He took out the baffle from the Remus exhaust (also has a Rexxer tune). Rode it maybe 300 miles over the winter and has had a hard time starting it. He lives a few miles from me and since the bike was sitting outside without a tender I offered him to bring it to me and I will charge the battery with my optimate charger. Battery charged and bike started eventually but then we could not start it again when he was ready to take it home. It just cranks. The fuel pump primes. I thought maybe the dreaded fuel hose/clamp issue is the culprit. I emptied the gas thank and used a borescope to look inside. Everything looks properly connected. Could the spark plugs be fouled with all the cranking??? What else am I missing? Mind you, it is no longer my bike but is stuck in my garage. I feel bad for the guy - I never ever had any issues with the bike. I have three kids and a demanding job so don't have a ton of time to fiddle around. Any help is appreciated.
 

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Presumably you are now attempting to start it on relatively new gas. I would check the battery and make sure you have a solid 12.5 volts as the EFI bikes don't run if the battery is down even a little. Next I would check moisture or corrosion in the key connections, especially grounds. Even if the bike was covered, condensation from changes in temperature plays havoc with electronics and connectors. It gets everywhere, inside and out, in such an environment. I would also remove the plugs, ground them and see if you are getting spark. Water in the gas from condensate in the tank during the winter could also be a problem here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He said he filled it up with new gas a couple of times. I can try new gas as well. Thanks for the tips - I’ll try a few of those things when I get to it.
 

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Like Casor already mentioned - check the battery voltage. If the battery is on it's way out you'll experience the same symptoms you describe. A new battery should display around 12.4-12.6VDC while anything under 12.0VDC can be considered bad.
Even if you charge it, the bike may start up once or twice but after sitting for a while the voltage will drop right back down. Always a good place to start
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Battery was not the issue. I charged his one and gave him a newer one which was in a tender. I see about 12.4-12.5 volt. And stopped starting though cranking power sounds good. Can you flood a fuel injected bike? Do I need to remove the spark plugs?
 

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I believe you can if you open the throttle while cranking the starter. Don't think I'd bother removing the plugs as it is kind of a pain in the ass - I'd rather let the bike sit for a while instead.....
 

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Battery was not the issue. I charged his one and gave him a newer one which was in a tender. I see about 12.4-12.5 volt. And stopped starting though cranking power sounds good. Can you flood a fuel injected bike? Do I need to remove the spark plugs?
The only real variable here vs when you had the bike, since the battery is good, is sitting outside is the worst possible environment. Given this, my vote is a bad or going bad connector or ground, perhaps even a mouse in the airbox or chewed wires. You could also be pumping bad gas left in the lines or water from condensate. Check the basics.
 
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I had a similar problem with my ST4S. It's an earlier bike I know, but on mine the fuel pump was priming but it was difficult/impossible to start. I carried out the usual checks and then found that replacing the under-seat fuel pump relay enabled it to start first crank. YMMV, as they say, but worth a try.
 
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Clean all the fuse connections as you check them . Unplug electrical connectors and spray them with wd40 or such . Go all around the bike pushing the wires back into the connectors from each side. Have you played with the kick stand switch ? Switch the kill switch a few times .
 
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The loaded voltage of the battery is the most important number to watch. Anything below 10V is bad. It's possible to have 12.5V-13V resting voltage when taken off a tender or peak charging a battery. Damaged cells will show good resting voltage for a little while after removing them from a charger. However the weak cells only show up when you look at the loaded voltage. You can see the loaded voltage with a multimeter while cranking the bike over or by removing the battery and having it load tested. Don't rely on the volt meter in the dash. For example I just had a battery in my tractor read 13v when taken off the tender. The loaded voltage was only about 5v. The battery was garbage.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have had the bike on an optimate TM-291 charger/optimizer and I have even tried to start it while still connected. The cranking is robust - it doesn't seem like a battery issue to be honest. It seems like a fuel issue - would have made total sense if the hose was disconnected from the fuel pump. I guess I can try to put new gas (supposedly the one that was in it was not old) and try again before taking the fuel tank off.
 

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The loaded voltage of the battery is the most important number to watch. Anything below 10V is bad. It's possible to have 12.5V-13V resting voltage when taken off a tender or peak charging a battery. Damaged cells will show good resting voltage for a little while after removing them from a charger. However the weak cells only show up when you look at the loaded voltage. You can see the loaded voltage with a multimeter while cranking the bike over or by removing the battery and having it load tested. Don't rely on the volt meter in the dash. For example I just had a battery in my tractor read 13v when taken off the tender. The loaded voltage was only about 5v. The battery was garbage.


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I have experienced this also. For some reason, the AGM battery in my MV F4 seems to fall off the table - almost like clockwork after 3 yrs. Showing full charge after this period, try to start the bike (cranks but no go), recheck the battery and it now shows toast.
 
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Fuel. Air. Spark. Need all 3. After cranking the bike, pull a plug (ideally one from each cylinder) and make sure you're getting fuel. Open up the airbox and check the filter (hopefully no mice!).

If the plugs are dry but the pump is priming, I'd probably have a look at any fuel lines in the tank... I think there's just two short pieces from pump to filter and filter to manifold... and replace the filter at the same time. Put a bare minimum of fuel in the tank and stick your boroscope back in there and make sure that when the pump is running there's fuel coming back into the tank. If either of these lines crack, you'll have reduced fuel available which would quite possibly make it hard to start (and run, particularly at higher RPMs when the engine is asking for more fuel). If fuel is circulating in the loop, you may just have dirty injectors, assuming you can get the bike started (hate to recommend ether but it sure does work) dump a can of injector cleaner (like Seafoam) in and let it do its' thing.

If the plugs are wet, check for spark by taking out a plug and sticking it back into the lead and grounding the electrode to the motor, then crank and watch for spark. I might just replace the plugs too, they're cheap and it eliminates one more thing. If you haven't already, drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel. Water is heavier than fuel, so if there's water in there you're going to have to drain the tank completely to get it all out. It also gets hung up in your fuel filter.

I would also reset TPS just to eliminate it as a cause and it takes 2 seconds to do if you have the software and cables. If not it's not a bad idea to have them onhand if you own a Ducati as JPDiag is free and it'll let you monitor and adjust a ton of stuff in the ECU as well as clear service interval notifier on the dash and error codes.

Does the bike run OK once started? Does it start better when hot than cold? If the answer to both is YES then you may have issues with the stepper motor which enriches the mixture for cold starts. Could be as simple as some corrosion on the air temp sensor wiring or engine temp wiring or... there's a lot of wiring on these bikes, and as a previous poster has noted, storing outside over the winter can wreak havoc with corrosion, especially if you happen to live near the ocean.

Check battery ground at frame and/or engine. You want this one CLEAN, I put di-electric grease on connections that get wet to inhibit corrosion.
Check ECU ground to frame. Bad ground on the ECU and you could spend the rest of your life chasing symptoms... the sky is the limit on weirdness.
Check +12V power supply connection to ECU. As above, anything can happen when you feed a computer with low voltage. Pull all your fuses and make sure there's no corrosion on pins.
Check wiring on the various engine sensors (air temp, atmospheric pressure, engine temp, TPS, MAP/MAF sensor if your motor has one, lambda (exhaust) sensor(s) if your bike has them.)

As far as the battery goes, put a meter on it and watch the voltage when you hit the starter. It shouldn't be that hard to start a motorcycle that's actually cranking, but Ducatis are notorious hard-starters at the best of times (generalization, sure I am sure some of you guys have figured this out on an individual basis but Ducati the company hasn't seemed to yet).

Lastly, you mentioned leaving your Optimate connected when starting the bike. This is a bad idea. The Optimate puts out about 1A of current, it's a slow slow slow charger that's not in any way designed to assist with starting. Leaving it connected is just going to pull max current through it. It may not hurt it in the short term, but it's doing nothing for your bike's ability to start and may shorten the life of the charger. If you think it might be the battery, just hook up a car battery via jumper cables to the motorcycle battery. It will give you a sh#tload more current than your tiny motorcycle battery is able to provide, and it won't hurt anything. The starter motor will only pull what it needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Fuel. Air. Spark. Need all 3. After cranking the bike, pull a plug (ideally one from each cylinder) and make sure you're getting fuel. Open up the airbox and check the filter (hopefully no mice!).

If the plugs are dry but the pump is priming, I'd probably have a look at any fuel lines in the tank... I think there's just two short pieces from pump to filter and filter to manifold... and replace the filter at the same time. Put a bare minimum of fuel in the tank and stick your boroscope back in there and make sure that when the pump is running there's fuel coming back into the tank. If either of these lines crack, you'll have reduced fuel available which would quite possibly make it hard to start (and run, particularly at higher RPMs when the engine is asking for more fuel)

If the plugs are wet, check for spark by taking out a plug and sticking it back into the lead and grounding the electrode to the motor, then crank and watch for spark. I might just replace the plugs too, they're cheap and it eliminates one more thing. If you haven't already, drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel. Water is heavier than fuel, so if there's water in there you're going to have to drain the tank completely to get it all out.

I would also reset TPS just to eliminate it as a cause and it takes 2 seconds to do if you have the software and cables. If not it's not a bad idea to have them onhand if you own a Ducati as JPDiag is free and it'll let you monitor and adjust a ton of stuff in the ECU as well as clear service interval notifier on the dash and error codes.

Does the bike run OK once started? Does it start better when hot than cold? If the answer to both is YES then you may have issues with the stepper motor which enriches the mixture for cold starts. Could be as simple as some corrosion on the air temp sensor wiring or engine temp wiring or... there's a lot of wiring on these bikes, and as a previous poster has noted, storing outside over the winter can wreak havoc with corrosion, especially if you happen to live near the ocean.

Check battery ground at frame and/or engine. You want this one CLEAN, I put di-electric grease on connections that get wet to inhibit corrosion.
Check ECU ground to frame. Bad ground on the ECU and you could spend the rest of your life chasing symptoms... the sky is the limit on weirdness.
Check +12V power supply connection to ECU. As above, anything can happen when you feed a computer with low voltage. Pull all your fuses and make sure there's no corrosion on pins.
Check wiring on the various engine sensors (air temp, atmospheric pressure, engine temp, TPS, MAP/MAF sensor if your motor has one, lambda (exhaust) sensor(s) if your bike has them.)

As far as the battery goes, put a meter on it and watch the voltage when you hit the starter. It shouldn't be that hard to start a motorcycle that's actually cranking, but Ducatis are notorious hard-starters at the best of times (generalization, sure I am sure some of you guys have figured this out on an individual basis but Ducati the company hasn't seemed to yet).
Thank you all for the great advice! I Will start with a few of the simpler things before taking the fuel tank off and getting to the spark plugs (not so easy to get to one of them). I wonder if I can get enough information by checking just one of the plugs? The one by the radiator is easier to get to. The bike is a 2013 with 2500 miles. As I mentioned before, it ran beautifully before I sold it. I only sold it to get a scrambler as I was scared I would get in trouble on the streetfighter. I feel terrible that it is giving him problems.
 

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If it's that new with so few miles on it and it ran well before "storage", it's a fuel and/or filter issue most likely. Water in your tank makes starting sketchy. Injectors do gum up. Checking one plug plug (cylinder) is better than nothing so have a look, and definitely start with the simple stuff before moving on to the "take a lot of stuff apart" operations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If it's that new with so few miles on it and it ran well before "storage", it's a fuel and/or filter issue most likely. Water in your tank makes starting sketchy. Injectors do gum up. Checking one plug plug (cylinder) is better than nothing so have a look, and definitely start with the simple stuff before moving on to the "take a lot of stuff apart" operations.
Thank you!
I know what you mean about Ducati's and hard starting - my Monster 1100evo always was harder to start than the Streetfighter. I suspect it is the cables from the battery to the starter, but am too lazy and potentially not savvy enough to tackle this. It's gotten better with the lithium battery, but still was always worse than the streetfighter.

I'll try fresh gas next and borescope in the tank when cranking. Maybe, by now, if I "flooded" it trying to crank it should be drier. If I do get it started, what is best approach? Ride it for a bit? Will need to run it all by the new owner!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
UPDATE
I put the gas I pumped out into my minivan, thinking even if it is older the minivan will be more forgiving. I went and got some new gas and put a little Techron Powersports Fuel injector cleaner (https://www.chevronlubricants.com/en_us/home/products/techron-power-sports.html). Cranked it once. Didn't work. Cranked it a second time and it started! I let it idle for 15 minutes. I turned it off. Had a hard time again starting but it started. I told the guy to come pick up his bike. When he came it would not start easily. I told him to put in the baffle that was in the remus exhaust before (it was Rexxer tuned to it) and it started more easily. Now, it started a number of times without problems. So, problem solved! I wonder if it was bad gas or if removing the baffle did anything, but it all seems back to normal.

Enormous thanks to all of you who helped me with the differential diagnosis and to think things out!
 

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UPDATE
I put the gas I pumped out into my minivan, thinking even if it is older the minivan will be more forgiving. I went and got some new gas and put a little Techron Powersports Fuel injector cleaner (https://www.chevronlubricants.com/en_us/home/products/techron-power-sports.html). Cranked it once. Didn't work. Cranked it a second time and it started! I let it idle for 15 minutes. I turned it off. Had a hard time again starting but it started. I told the guy to come pick up his bike. When he came it would not start easily. I told him to put in the baffle that was in the remus exhaust before (it was Rexxer tuned to it) and it started more easily. Now, it started a number of times without problems. So, problem solved! I wonder if it was bad gas or if removing the baffle did anything, but it all seems back to normal.

Enormous thanks to all of you who helped me with the differential diagnosis and to think things out!
You did the honorable thing by helping the guy out, so good on ya. But he has a two strike count as far as I'm concerned. Taking off what proved to be a critical part w/o knowing or researching and, the big one, leaving a friggin Ducati outside.
 

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That's good news. Removing the baffle lets more air through which makes the fuel mixture leaner. I wouldn't have thought it would affect starting so much but coupled with the old/bad gas I guess the two things compounded one another. Bad gas + lean mixture = no start. The first bike I owned was a 1984 Honda CB650 Nighthawk. First thing I did was get rid of that heavy 4-into-4 exhaust and put on a cheap 4-into-1 Jardine header and can. That engine ran HOT and started making bad noises in the top end before too long but I thought the backfiring on decel was the cat's meow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I felt obliged to help him - I have a garage, access to tender, and access to some basic tools. I also loved the bike, but felt I was going to get in trouble with it so still felt attached.

So removing the baffle makes it leaner - that is good to know. I would think FI would be able to compensate for stuff like this these days, but I don't know enough. Again, you guys have been a wonderful resource for me. Great community!
 
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