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I'm on the fence here, feeling pretty low, and looking for a few suggestions on what to do.

My franken 999 was in for it's 6k service(16,000 miles on the motor), and i was informed by the dealer that the main bearings are going. It's not something I have the space/time to replace, even if I wanted to. So my only option would be to have them(dealer) do the work. I had set aside $1500 for service and some other parts, and could theoretically use that to pay for the bearings/work... but i'm torn over whether it's worth it or not. I love the bike to death, hell, new fairings for it arrived yesterday, but is it worth it?

I know many of you have gone this far into the engine... How much labor am I looking at to get these replaced? And would bad bearings have messed up any of the other internals? I know that only I can answer the "is it worth it" question, but what would you do here?


God, I'd love to have a house and be able to tear this down myself...
 

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I am sorry to hear about the problem.

The good news is the crank and rods could be fine. In that case, you just need new bearings. But what else could be found in there? A bad rod(s) and crank.

Just in labor cost for the "if everything else is ok" bearing replacement, replacing the engine is something to look into.

Tearing it down? I've gone that far twice. I think that's making it to third-base.

I am not a good reference for what I think you should do. I am back in school, soon to be back at work full-time in school, and taking care of a family and have tons of room and a garage where I work on bikes and cars. If it were me? I would be excited about having a project and doing the work. No special tools other then head nut tool required.

If I was you, I would think on it a little while. Maybe hold onto it until later when you can pay to have it done or do it yourself.

And how do they know it is the bearing(s)?
 

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I'm on the fence here, feeling pretty low, and looking for a few suggestions on what to do.

My franken 999 was in for it's 6k service(16,000 miles on the motor), and i was informed by the dealer that the main bearings are going. It's not something I have the space/time to replace, even if I wanted to. So my only option would be to have them(dealer) do the work. I had set aside $1500 for service and some other parts, and could theoretically use that to pay for the bearings/work... but i'm torn over whether it's worth it or not. I love the bike to death, hell, new fairings for it arrived yesterday, but is it worth it?

I know many of you have gone this far into the engine... How much labor am I looking at to get these replaced? And would bad bearings have messed up any of the other internals? I know that only I can answer the "is it worth it" question, but what would you do here?


God, I'd love to have a house and be able to tear this down myself...
It'd be cheaper to just find a new engine and swap it in. You could even do a 1098 motor swap
 

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I am sorry to hear about the problem.

The good news is the crank and rods could be fine. In that case, you just need new bearings. But what else could be found in there? A bad rod(s) and crank.

Just in labor cost for the "if everything else is ok" bearing replacement, replacing the engine is something to look into.

Tearing it down? I've gone that far twice. I think that's making it to third-base.

I am not a good reference for what I think you should do. I am back in school, soon to be back at work full-time in school, and taking care of a family and have tons of room and a garage where I work on bikes and cars. If it were me? I would be excited about having a project and doing the work. No special tools other then head nut tool required.

If I was you, I would think on it a little while. Maybe hold onto it until later when you can pay to have it done or do it yourself.

And how do they know it is the bearing(s)?
Good question Namor. I would get a second opinion before letting a dealer touch my engine.

Craig
 

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I would get a second opinion. Dealers suck mostly see if you can find a get Ducati shop with a good reputation.
 
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I just finished a 996 with bad main bearing. The labor is a big part for sure but parts prices are big too.

Head gaskets, you can use the cometics but they are not as reliable as the oem. I do use them if the customer wants me to but I do not warranty labor when a part fails that is not as good. They are good enough most of the time and if you were doing the work yourself it is not a bad option. If you are paying someone to do the work it can some times cost more if you have a problem. Some oem are obscene in cost I did a 1098R last season and you are looking at almost $400 for 2 head gaskets, crazy.

Main bearings- often it is just one side that goes bad but if you are there do you freshen them both? I now recommend doing so because labor costs to change both is almost zero but if the second one fails you have all the labor again. If on a budget or doing the work yourself so it is your time then yes one is often all that needs doing. I have only had to go back once on a 1000ss but it was enough to make me recommend doing both.

I and customers have looked for cheaper (same but not through Ducati) bearings and have come to find there is not a good option. Both bearings will be over $100 per side.

Other things to watch for- I bought a 748 which had a bearing failure in its past, it smoked a little but I wanted to run it a season before tearing it down. Long story short the piston broke because the dealer who changed the main bearing did not catch the fact the piston was hitting the head enough to pinch the rings and fracture the piston (they also missed the crank plug that was coming out). If the main is bad did the piston hit the head (normal) and did it do any damage when it did touch (often not but you need to look). The 996 I just did was fine with just the carbon removed from the piston/head.

While you are there and mission creep- If you are in the bottom end things that also should get changed are the rod bearings (checked for damage and changed if need be) the cost to check them at this point is cheap and if bad you want them out while it is apart. Output bearing- a beariing that gets abused by the bike owner every time the chain is over tightened it is short money to re-new while you are there. Output seal and layshaft seals- just change them to make it fresh.

While it is apart this far it is a good time to change pistons to something higher compression or maybe a different stroke crank, might as well get something for your money you will feel. At least lighten the flywheel and set the squish and you will gain something for your troubles. Blueprinting should be normally part of the job but balancing is extra.

In the end a teardown gives you a better idea of what you have than a unknown motor off of the net where it may have spent its last 1/2 hour running on its side with no oil or setting for the last 10,000 miles with the same old corrosive filled oil. See if you can do some of the labor, can you pull the motor yourself? I have motors brought all the time, the only downside (as a shop) is that we like to be able to run a motor when done to make sure it is right (install and assembly).

Labor depends on the bike as some are easier than others to R&R I charge about 12 hours for the engine build itself ( hidden damage= hidden costs) but some times you find a swingarm pivot that will take an hour to remove and then you some times get lucky.
 

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Why would a low time/mileage bottom end go south?

That's ridiculous,

was the engine run out of oil?

Abused?

Time/mileage not accurate?

Are these bikes that hit and miss that some fail with miles on them that most would concuder a just broken in bike?

Honest questions here

Bob
 

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Main bearings tend to go from Flaking
Flaking | NSK

We attribute it to bikes sitting with old (used) oil filled with combustion byproducts in the oil. Most failures are the left side main bearing (sidestand side) except in the case of track/race bikes where I see an equal number of left and right side bearings fail possibly due to the bikes being kept vertical on rear stands. It happens often to bikes that have sat for extended periods of time with old black looking oil in the cases. This has become the #1 reason I recommend customers change oil before storing a bike not after.

I see about 1-2 bikes a year where this happens and it does not matter if the bike is a 999,996,746 or 750 monster. The common thread has been old oil,poor storage in 90% of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Why would a low time/mileage bottom end go south?

That's ridiculous,

was the engine run out of oil?

Abused?

Time/mileage not accurate?

Are these bikes that hit and miss that some fail with miles on them that most would concuder a just broken in bike?

Honest questions here

Bob

Bob, unfortunately I don't know the engine's history for the first 10,300 miles... But I can tell you it wasn't run without oil, and had all required services performed that I'm aware of. I never raced/abused it, however for about 600 miles it was run with the wrong 999 map, so that could have come into play perhaps.

I think it's like anything, sometimes shite just happens.


I do trust this dealer as they've always been great to work with, and have done awesome work in the past. If I were to have someone go through with the work, it'd most likely be them. I was told that one of their techs torn down the engine on their desmosedici just because he was curious what the innards looked like. They seem to have a real passion for bikes, and I trust them.

I think the ideal situation here would be to tear down the engine at a future point in time as it would obviously give me a baseline to work off of. What all needs to be freshened up/replaced/etc.

Putting in another engine is also of course an option, and hell, I'd love the power from a 1098... But after already swapping an unknown engine that supposedly had been serviced properly all it's life and having this happen... I'd be hesitant to do that without tearing it down first, in which case I'd probably be better off with spending the money to freshen up my current 999 engine.

If it's 25-30 hours like you say, bradblack, at around $100 an hour, i'm easily in the $3,000 range plus the initial 6k mile service that I needed. I think this might be the time to part it out and put the money towards a down payment on a 1098.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Main bearings tend to go from Flaking
Flaking | NSK

We attribute it to bikes sitting with old (used) oil filled with combustion byproducts in the oil. Most failures are the left side main bearing (sidestand side) except in the case of track/race bikes where I see an equal number of left and right side bearings fail possibly due to the bikes being kept vertical on rear stands. It happens often to bikes that have sat for extended periods of time with old black looking oil in the cases. This has become the #1 reason I recommend customers change oil before storing a bike not after.

I see about 1-2 bikes a year where this happens and it does not matter if the bike is a 999,996,746 or 750 monster. The common thread has been old oil,poor storage in 90% of them.
Thank you very much for this tip. With only 10k on a 13 year old engine, it's obvious that it did quite a bit of sitting. I'll definitely be doing changes in the future before storing.
 

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i've seen quite a spate of these lately, no idea why. i've only ever seen rh bearings do it from memory, unless the lh has been filled with bits of big end plug. looks like #3, shock during mounting. which doesn't make much sense

did a 45,000km st3 a little while ago, got a 60,000km m620 in at the moment that i think has it. seen m400 and s4 at 15,000km. few mts1200 around 20 - 30,000km. but in the previous 20 years, i think i only saw 2.

we don't have seasons as such. some bikes do sit, but nothing as consistant as you guys get. vet's experience is interesting.

i always find i reduce the preload on the thick shim cranks quite a bit - often 0.3mm or so.

it's a angular thrust ball bearing, so no need for oil feed as such.
 

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Then for the sitters with bearing issue from yucky oil stuff, a cleaning agent before changing the will oil solve the problem. Such as 10 minutes of idle with sea phoam, lubro-moly, transmission fluid, etc. in the case while idling before service.
 

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Are Ducatis unique in bottom end design?

Are these issues rare? I have friends with Honda's doing 100,000 miles plus and other than ordinary wear none, that I'm aware of have major bottom end issues. Seems strange in this day and age!

Makes me feel my 996 (ST4s) is a ticking time bomb.

Bob
 

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Ducati uses a ball bearing crankshaft where most of the free world uses plain bearings like on the Ducati rods. benefits to either so one is not a clear winner here. Phil B has a monster with about 250,000 miles on the original mains so no there is no "defect in design". I am sure there are plenty of bikes of all brands in the scrap heap some just get lucky.

Over preloaded cranks could be a reason for the flaking except that none of the motors I have repaired had over preloaded cranks. In the late 90's early 2000's Ducati was letting bikes through with too much preload and you knew it when you found one.

Namor
I am not sure about a cleaner to flush things out, I have seen plenty of sludged up motors and do like oils with detergents in them for that reason. I always worry about extra chemicals and freeing up chunks of sludge because you do not know where it will settle.
 

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I am not sure about a cleaner to flush things out, I have seen plenty of sludged up motors and do like oils with detergents in them for that reason. I always worry about extra chemicals and freeing up chunks of sludge because you do not know where it will settle.
I understand quite well. But we have to do something with this thread b/c if the number of people on this forum with garage queens "sitters" catch wind of this discussion, terror will reign, lives will be in jeopardy, and the website will crash.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I understand quite well. But we have to do something with this thread b/c if the number of people on this forum with garage queens "sitters" catch wind of this discussion, terror will reign, lives will be in jeopardy, and the website will crash.
I've made my decision to part it out... so I'm good with us few donning black cloaks, pouring gas on it, setting it ablaze and vowing to never speak of it again. We can of course meet once a year for punch and cookies if you like.
 

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The problem (flaking) can be caused by old black oil! Is it the accumulated acids from combustion? I change frequently with a super premium oil. I'm assuming additives in the oil should neutralize the issue, correct!.

Why would leaning to the side make that bearing worse. Does something settle out. Water would sink, I would assume that could be an issue.

I do keep mine on a centerstand.

Bob
 

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I've made my decision to part it out... so I'm good with us few donning black cloaks, pouring gas on it, setting it ablaze and vowing to never speak of it again. We can of course meet once a year for punch and cookies if you like.
"Let us never speak of this again....until next year when I create the Facebook invite."
 

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Why would leaning to the side make that bearing worse. Does something settle out. Water would sink, I would assume that could be an issue.

I can only guess it is due to the lean from the sidestand because that seems to be the common thing. More street bikes (sidestand) need left side than race bikes which have no side stand and are just as common to need right side. I did an st4s last year which was a right side bearing (center stand?) . This could be coincidence but over the years it has been pretty spot on.

I do not know if the high end oils make the difference as much as just not letting oil that is full of blowby.
 
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