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Discussion Starter #1
I just now was able to test-ride my recently-acquired '99 ST2 project bike for the first time.
It was purchased, crashed, after the previous owner experienced a full-locked front brake due to mud in the master cylinder; the bike spit him off (un-geared) and he spent a month in the hospital and rehab.
Change your brake fluid.
So, having replaced both brake masters (the rear tightened up, too), I very, very cautiously took it down the residential streets for a bit and then a short open road toot. In general, the bike seems pretty good now, although being new to Ducatis, the clutch racket is extremely hard on the nerves.
My question is in low-rpm bucking and spitting. I have no information at all about the bike's history apart from the crash so heaven knows even how old the full tank of fuel is. (It smells okay, and I added Sta-Bil Marine in hopes of cleaning it up a bit.)
For now, and without any further input, I will assume it's just a symptom of sitting for a while and it needs to be run and cleared out. But if ST2s have some known issue there, I'd be glad to be better-informed.
I actually did get a couple of little back-pops in the mufflers at 3000rpm and slight throttle, plus some chuffing and jerkiness. Get the gas handle to a higher position, and it sure did scoot along right smartly.
I am anxious to get the testing phase done to where I can be more comfortable with the safety aspects and just go ride the thing.
But it's a known biter, and I'll be cautious for a while.
 

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FYI Ducati's are not meant to run at 3000 rpm so expect less than stellar performance there. 4000 is where they start to run est but if tuned right you may be able to go a bit lower but do not expect it to ever be at its best where it is not designed to be like running a Harley at 10,000rpm it just wasn't made for it.

Test the brakes when hot, put the front wheel in the air and it should be able to spin. If not look at bleed down adjustment in the hydraulics, too little and the fluid cannot return. This is also common with cheap aftermarket levers where the dimensions are off and it changes the bleed down due to the dimensional change. So a simple lever swap can also lock the front brake if you do not verify it is functioning with the system both hot and cold.
 

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There is a “ Quiet Mod” for the clutch which entails putting an extra clutch plate in before the clutch stack. Do a Search for details. It works. While you have the clutch out, measure stack height. If SH is too low it’ll rattle more. Also see how badly worn the tangs on the plates are and also the slots in the basket. You can also put a closed cover on it if you have an open type. When I bought my SS the clutch was so loud children wouldn’t cross the street if I was sitting at the light. Cops stared at me with their windows rolled up. I had trouble convincing my friends it was supposed to be like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
ducvet, the brake situation is resolved. Replacing both masters took care of it, in addition to flushing and blowing out the garbage in the pipes. Brake masters are one area I prefer to err on the high side.
I get that this kind of engine is not really intended to run much at lower speeds (I once owned a Velocette Thruxton, which makes an ST2 seem like a week off), but the sputtering and firing in the mufflers taking place in the 4000rpm range seems to indicate a problem. I still tend to think it's from sitting and cloggy lines and orifices; I was just wondering if this is a wider known issue with a known fix.
Like, for example, the clutch business. I spent a whole evening cruising the clutch threads. I'll be opening it up shortly to see what goes on inside. The bike does have a stock cover. At only 13,000 miles, I would hope the clutch would still have some life left in it. I should add that the actual operation has been satisfactory, smooth and positive.
I also see the various gearing threads and pretty much agree that lowering the overall will be helpful, double especially if the Missus gets all bold and tries the bike out once I'm confident it's safe. She's a newer rider and coming off an SV650, and while she's ridden my ZRX a little, the ST2 would be a relative handful, compared.
Normally I am shy about going below 15 teeth on the front as I feel it's a bit too hard on the chain with the high tangential force of the smaller radius, but since the bike has what appears to be a new chain, I don't care to put $150 into a longer one. I suppose the 14 front/ plus-2 rear is the simpler answer.
But that's getting ahead of things. First, establish safety then reliability enough to be worth further investment. It's a process, as they say.
 

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the sputtering and firing in the mufflers taking place in the 4000rpm range seems to indicate a problem. I still tend to think it's from sitting and cloggy lines and orifices; I was just wondering if this is a wider known issue with a known fix.
On a 4 valve, if have the basics OK (good plugs, air filter and no vermin nested up in the mufflers), at light throttle, this would indicate valve clearances are excessive and valves not quite closing correctly. Goes away under higher throttle and revs. But tells you the valves may be slowly cooking and looking for a reseat by the time it is where you are noticing is as obvious as now. There is no reason the same logic wouldn't apply to a two valve, so what do you know of the service history wrt valve adjustment? Nothing you say beyond brake issue - time to correct that! 'Phutting' is what I call it, and a red flag to pull the heads (reusable gaskets) for a look, or at least do the valve adjustment - which I found fairly straightforward on an M900 Monster I owned for a while.
 

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Do you know service history?

I just had a couple st2's go through the shop and tunes are going to make a difference if you are off. as to what may make it rough?
Valves being off
TPS being off
Fuel being set too rich or lean due to configuration Ie:chip is stock and bike has pipes or open airbox or chip is aftermarket and it has stock pipes and airbox.
Fuel trim set wrong
Synchronization of throttle bodies not right.

Touching the sync. or idle changes the TPS so it is best all set at the same time to balance things, know that adjusting one thing may change something you did not want/expect to change. A full tune should include all of that so if it was done the shop that did it should be able to tell you. If it was NOT done and is due for a tune talk to the shop first and let them know about the problem.

One of the ST's that was recently in needed to de set out of oem specs to run best and as such a compromise was made but it was made on a dyno where we could see the problem (4200-4500) and what was wrong (too lean) and a non-standard setting was used which makes the bike not as good as it could be elsewhere but better overall so the customer is happy. Now he just needs to remember to tell the next shop it needs/wants an non-standard setting or they will return it to standard where it was not as good.
 

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Never hurts to run a can of SeaFoam through it. It can save a lot of messing around.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Appreciating all the replies.
Topic #1: Service history.
I basically know nothing. Recall that the previous owner was seriously injured and was still in rehab when the family sold me the bike. At the time of purchase, I asked them if the owner ever felt up to passing along any of his knowledge of the bike's history, I would be grateful, but so far nothing has been forthcoming.
As a side note, my wife noticed one of their other bikes for sale on Craigslist, an apparent garage-clearing move. I can't be surprised, based on my understanding of the injuries involved.
I called a local independent shop which supposedly had seen the bike. This shop, M&M in Westmont, IL, has an excellent reputation. I had a nice conversation with the owner, who'd seen the bike, but he had no extra info to share.
I will next go to the selling dealer, MCC in Villa Park, IL, and see if there's any clues there. I know the bike had been there, at least with the first owner (the seller had not owned the bike long, about a year and a half). A thin hope.
I did change the oil, which looked good in the sight glass but was moderately dirty. This tells me no comprehensive maintenance had been done very recently.
Topic #2: Symptoms
Having ridden it some more (safely!), I can see that the stuttering is closely confined to the RPM range of 4000 and just below, and to the throttle range of about 5-20%. As soon as the throttle is widened, the problem goes away. The engine runs quite cleanly fromm 5000rpm up and feels strong and willing. Again, the age of the fuel is suspect, but I'm running it out.
I did add a full recommended dose of Sta-Bil Marine when I got the bike. Sometimes this works for me even better than Seafoam. There's still at least four gallons of fuel left, though.
This is what led me to think about the ECU, and less about the valve adjustment.
The Throttle Position Sensor and fuel trim points are good, and deserve a look.
Topic #3: Valve adjustment and tuneup.
As I usually do with a new project bike, I am going along step by step. Now, since I am fairly convinced the valves and belts may not have been touched (odo 13,000), that will be next right after the cooling system drain and replace.
The plugs will get changed as well.
So far I've accumulated about 60 miles on it. We went out riding for breakfast today before the heat got too bad and it kept running the whole time and got me back home in one piece. That's a good start.
 

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Given the lack of history you are safest going with the belief it is going to break a belt and you will need a new motor.
Belt life from the factory is/was 12,000 miles or 2 years * which ever comes first* Some caveats I run them 3 years and others will run them longer. There are also those that needed engine work because they ran them too long dont be that guy and no one knows when that time is.

If you dig into the bike for cooling system, oil and filter just get it all done you are close and the st2 is great because it is the easiest to do. Low rpm (under 4000) will likely get better after a tune and especially after running good fuel with NO additives.

Keep in mind some additives leave behind buildup. This picture is a MTS1000 on my bench that was running seafoam along with other things so there is no way to know which one caused it or if it was the combination. Just keep in mind chemicals that do not combust need to go somewhere and often build up over time. This is not a tale of never use product "X" just that if you put things in there that are not designed to burn up you may create other issues.
 

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Topic #3: Valve adjustment and tuneup.
since I am fairly convinced the valves and belts may not have been touched (odo 13,000), that will be next right after the cooling system drain and replace.
Re "right after" you mean "with". Or you want to pay to do the same job twice? With your situation, you should pull the heads. It doesn't add much to the job and lets the valve adjustment be done to the close tolerances LJ Snyder recommends, amongst many others, and at which settings they stay in adjustment for years, vs 'accepted' tolerances used by dealers. It is a lot of effort to get in there and do the job, so may as well go that bit further and you know what you have for a long time.

This includes pulling the cams and checking for spalling on the rocker arms, which definitely the '02 was in the range for still seeing this issue, albeit on the way out by then, but Italians and parts box management are not real flash. I have plucked two spalling ones out of '03 models.

Re belts, an original one needs to go and honestly, you are on borrowed time there. Yep, right NOW! The issue is the cotton carcass construction of earlier belts could fatigue the centre chords (which give it their strength) and kapow, it could snap with little real visible evidence. That stopped being true somewhere very early in this century and an inspection based replacement (ie fraying and visible damage) became entirely appropriate, but the myths continue. So do you have a new style or not? Could go both ways, and you can tell by their markings but I forget how now.

Suffice to say, re belts, I am a professional mech engineer and, when new to Ducatis in '03, a couple of years or so later, not believing this belt bs, got hold of a top technical guy in Gates (that makes them) and, whilst he refused to contradict 'official OEM advice' (hey, not in his pay grade), he was unaware of any technical reason to do other-than inspection based replacement of modern kevlar carcass belts. I am just passing the info over, unlikely to respond to any myth-devotees of the topic as well aware what the many detailed issues are and this view is the rational, balanced one. The inspections do need to happen but, and you need to be smart about how you do the adjustments. In a seasoned hand, the allen key method is still valid, but honestly, with Apps in mobile phones these days, it is a piece of cake to do the frequency based check / adjust and that is far more reliable.

You don't say how far down the DIY path you are likely to venture. Taking a tin-top parallel, degree of difficulty is about carby or alternator overhaul level. It's a 'proper job', but only needs attention to detail, not a rocket science degree, and the many guides around (but do buy LT Snyder's Book, see Desmo Times; all well within the grasp of a mechanically minded motorcyclist.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Vince, this part about removing the heads to get better valve settings is something I'm hearing for the first time. I will have to look into that.
At this point, I've just about established that I have a running, and runnable, bike here, making it possible to justify going another step into restoration. It's good to know that there's not a spun bearing or broken-off second gear dog first before going on to the next thing.
My last project bike was a GSX-R600 that had been left in dad's shed for three years with water in the cooling system after a track day. That one required a head gasket replacement in addition to quite a bit more, but turned out extremely well. So, I'm not against going deeper if it will pay off. Well, not for the money, since there's no way to make a profit on this kind of project bike, but to end up with a bike to ride and experience.
A visit to the dealer that sold and handled the bike in the past is on the order for today to see if they know anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well! Allright then!
I called the selling dealer, MCC Motorcycles in Villa Park, Illinois and got with the (harried) service manager. He was kind enough to take the time and look up the VIN in their records.
They last saw the bike in 2007. It had 10,000 miles on it at the time, as opposed to the 13,000 showing today. In other words, it sat a lot.
He also said they changed the timing belts in 2003. So by mileage, no problem. By the calendar, do not operate.
It gets tough here because I have reason to believe the bike was also seen by another shop, a good independent, but the owner did not recall off the top of his head doing any major service on it once the second, more recent, owner got it.
I still have not heard from him or his family as to what might have been done in recent times. So I have no idea if he had the belts changed during his ownership. Given what I know of his dealings with his other bikes- he had a '78 Z-1 totally restored- he may well have gotten the proper maintenance done somewhere. But who knows?
So I guess I go get belts and get them in there, at the barest minimum. Given that a good dealer checked/set the valves 3000 miles ago, I ought to be good to go. Even so, I should still give that a look.
And, finally, for reference, I asked the service manager what they would charge for the 12K service with valves and belts: $1100.
Yeah, that's a lot. Good thing I was sitting down when he told me.
 

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And, finally, for reference, I asked the service manager what they would charge for the 12K service with valves and belts: $1100.
Yeah, that's a lot. Good thing I was sitting down when he told me.
:eek:
.
 

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removing the heads to get better valve settings is something I'm hearing for the first time.
Many, typically indie, prefer this method as it is easy to do the job correctly, but it is definitely not essential, especially on a 2 valve. And it can be done well while on the bike, which still needs a bike lift to have a decent chance. Just make sure those coller retainers the same way round as they were on disassembly or you have wasted your time!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ah.
Well, new belts in. The existing ones looked a bit dodgy and shiny, and the tension was quite slack.
I stumbled over having to remove the fuel tank, which is nearly full, and having no place to go with the fuel. Which, I note, does smell a bit aged.
I discovered I could remove the rear tank pivot pin and using a wood block (not a problem for an old carpenter), blocked the tank up and over enough at the rear to get clearance to remove the covers. That does not help with getting at the valves, but I'm hoping the adjustment 3000 miles ago will hold for a little while as I continue sorting through the issues.
Now I've run up against another obstruction: I am about at the expense limit already.
I am not trying to make money on project bikes, but I do pretty much need and want to break even so the party can carry on.
I figure that I can get the selling price of the bike, should I decide to sell it after getting good time on it, up to about $3000 or maybe slightly more. Given the bodywork I got via Ebay and the new Pirellis, I am getting real close to that line.
 

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siphon the fuel out and put it in a car. It is an important variable in your original concerns that is easily eliminated. Like planing across the grain and expecting a good result - possible, but dubious!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Metaphor alert!
Actually, my only gas container was full from the GSX-R. Not a good excuse, but so it goes.
I'll do my due diligence eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Time for a minor update.
Belts and spark plugs changed.
The belts were sound but appeared old and a little bit glossy. They were definitely too loose.
I did not approach the valves yet in consideration of the dealer service manager telling me they did them 3000 miles ago.
I rode it about and the flat spot in the 3800-4200rpm range was only slightly mitigated.
Our next door neighbor previously had a 2007 ST4s which he crashed twice. Once, on black ice returning home, right in the parking lot driveway. The other time, running off an Interstate ramp that's an enormous sweeper. I know that if I go through there at about 90 on my FJR, I won't hit a peg. Bob says he was well over a hundred when he exited the roadway. Fortunately, there's a huge, smooth, grassy field on the outside of that sweeper. The bodywork was totalled but he walked away, grabbed the bike upright, and rode off only slightly dazed. Even more fortunately, he was wearing his Arai, which he rarely does (basically a Harley guy), and his bell was only slightly rung, it seems.
Anyway, he's stuck home after major back surgery (a trades work injury) and has been monitoring my project ST2. He insisted that I run out the old gas, hit the Speedway station down the road, and tank up with the "Racing Gas" they sell there.
I don't see a catalyst or oxygen sensor in the service manual, so I took a chance. After about 30 miles so far, I have to say the flat spot has been quite reduced. Some more operating time will tell.
Night time riding is pretty much not going to happen. The pocket flashlight I carry is almost as useful as the stock headlight on this thing, and I'm no longer equipped with the young eyes I once had.
I have been searching here for an LED substitute but can't really make out what type to get. H7 doesn't look like it will fit, based on a quick look.
 

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Night time riding is pretty much not going to happen. The pocket flashlight I carry is almost as useful as the stock headlight on this thing, and I'm no longer equipped with the young eyes I once had.
I have been searching here for an LED substitute but can't really make out what type to get. H7 doesn't look like it will fit, based on a quick look.
I took my headlight apart a couple of weeks ago to research doing a bi-xenon conversion from a kit available online using a single morimoto mini D2S 5.0 HID Bi-Xenon projector, 35W single output ballast, apollo 1.0 shroud, relay harness and a 4K HID lamp. projector looks to fit fine but I have some concern about the speedo cable that comes in tight on the back of that lamp housing (projector) cap in that notch. that kit comes in at just under 2 bills.

more interesting was I didn't think the headlight housing interior was dirty at all until I cleaned it, especially the entire projector itself...way cleaner and shiny now!

I love LEDS to be seen but as a main beam to see not as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
maine-er, you need to luck into the right LED headlight lamp to work with your reflector. I got lucky with the wife's SV650S on Amazon. These same worked well on my FJR.
My impression is that if you specify "DOT approved" you will have better success.
So far, I am still experimenting with the ST. I would really like to also save a few dozen watts of generator capacity, too.
 
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