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I am sending the top end on my '78 Darmah to David Harris at The Zen House in Point Arena, CA for a rebuild. There are no experienced bevel mechanics in my area, and David came recommended by a bevel expert here in the US. Does anyone have any experience with him, his shop, or his work? Thanks in advance for any/all replies.
 

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I don't know about the establishment that you mention, but the big problem with top-end refurb is the valve guides. Because of the very small amount of supporting metal around the guides and because they are better supported on one side than the other, changing the guides is a job for an expert; if they are not done properly they will go in at an angle.

A top Ducati guy once ran through it with me, telling me that the guide hole must be reamed in line with the seat to remove any burrs before fitting the new guides, which must be turned down to the exact size required to fit the bore. Not a job for the average home mechanic!
 

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What is the bike's problem? How many kilometres on it? I did a top end job recently on my 79 900SS with about 60,000 kms and the guides were fine - often the problem is worn internal o-ring seals. I replaced the valve seals which cured the smoking problem at idle, the exhaust valves and the piston rings. I had the cylinders honed as it looked like water had run down through one of the carbs at some point, perhaps when I rode through a torrential downpour. I did find that a closer had been running too tight and had scored the camshaft and wrecked the tappet. Sid's Cycles refurbished it as well as another one that looked dodgy so you should check those too.

I didn't find the work to be too difficult.

Bruce
 

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I know his shop - been there, got the t-shirt (literally). I, and friends have stopped in a few times when passing by.
I first saw his shop about 5 years ago. There were several bikes of various vintages parked outside. We went in, had a nice cup of coffee and had a chat. I've since stopped in several times.
Every time I'm there he is obviously busy. At least a couple bikes on the go, often from out of state.
Sorry I cannot comment on his work. He has not done any work on my bikes. However, I can say he (and his wife) seem to run a great shop.

RobertVP
 

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Great guy. Excellent and fair mechanic. I have sent him work, bought parts from him and know his reputation as an excellent Ducati wrench.
 
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