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I had an interesting conversation with my local Ducati dealer recently where he told me that his service department no longer works on models more than 10 years old unless they absolutely have to.

I purchased my 900ss new from this dealer in '94 so it's not like it is a newer dealer that doesn't have experience with older models. They've been a dealer for over 20 years.

I got the feeling from the conversation that the younger techs entering the industry in service departments are very tech savy and less and less mechanical savy. It seems like if they can't plug a bike into a laptop or other device to trouble shoot it they're lost.

I'm just curious has anyone else experienced this reluctance to service/repair older models and a transition from "mechanics" to "techs" in service departments? I'm sure its not unique to just Ducati dealers but other brands as well.
 

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It probably has a lot to do with part availability, and cost-to-value being less than ideal. I remember I took my 748 in for what I thought was going to be recall work-found out I was out of the schema. A spindle for my Duc at dealer price was $1400 and that didn't include installation. PLUS, there was a 2-3 month delay. I ended up buying a used spindle for a hundred bucks and putting it in myself-as I typically would. Price gouging? Sure-but they can only make so much before the average person will say "no" consistently. This was also a great way to put my down easy. I know my bike was old, but damn.

I'm sure a lot of the younger guys DO rely on their diagnostics devices a whole lot, but that is usually only for the engine electronics and emissions area of the bike. The rest is still incredibly mechanical and doesn't always use a little light to tell you where it hurts.
 

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Mr Leakered
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And that is where you end up in a situation where parts are thrown at the bike in hope that one will stick.

DIY isn't the voodoo that it is made out to be.

Have a good one.
 

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It could be that there are not enough long time techs around who know what they're doing with older bikes, and it could be that older bikes are money losers because they are too difficult to work and have too many issues like frozen fasteners and parts availability, and especially if the dealer gives a warranty on their work for 90 days. Some dealers won't refurbish older trade ins, preferring to sell them as is, for the same reasons. :)
 

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Sadly, the lack of so called 'expertise' on the more mechanical aspects seems to be a growing trend throughout the automotive field.

Dealers can no longer afford the old timers who could fix your bevel drive blindfolded with one hand behind their back using only a monkey wrench and their left shoe. Those guys all get let go or quit and start their own shops lol.

To save money, dealers hire young guys fresh out of *insert vocational school here* or who worked in 'detail' but showed enthusiasm to work for penny's on the dollar to come fix your ride. It's the current fashionable trend right now in the auto industry and apparently all the rage.:rolleyes:

Not saying all dealers are like that, but a majority are. Aside from poor quality techs, these bikes are NOT flat rate friendly. I could see it being very easy for a tech to lose his shirt having to tinker with an older Desmo bike. Being able to shy away from difficult work, in favor of simpler more lucrative jobs (such as warranty work, or accessory installations on newer bikes) is what keeps the dealers afloat.

Sure they might take the odd bike in here and there, but I can guarantee you somewhere in the shop is a tech being handed an RO and saying, "DUDE...Really? WTF!":D
 

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Frank's probably right about the issue of difficulty in working on older machines, especially here in the Northeast, where salt on the road can make your fasteners stick. Dealership shops often have certain formulas for repair that they have to abide by, and it makes it difficult in the case of older bikes.

On the other hand, there are quite a few independent shops out there that will work on anything European, and when I need to, I go to one of those. They're generally not less expensive, but the mechanics are most often fanatics and won't let you leave without the problem solved.

And . . . Tony's right about DIY. Personally, I love knowing my bikes as well as I do now.

Ron
 

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I think a big part of the problem is with the manufacturers - they seem to be developing a business model of inflating the price of parts for older models, with the theory that the owners will eventually say "That's too expensive to fix - Oh well, I'll just go buy a new bike"! I first ran into this several years ago with my Ducati - I wanted some new rings for my 900 - Ducati NZ had them priced at NZ$1200 for a set (for 2 pistons). I know it wasn't the local shop gouging - because I saw the actual Ducati NZ price list. I finally got some for NZ$600 - from a shop in Aus, who got them from a shop in Italy...

Another example was my wife's Bandit 1200S ('96) - the ignition switch failed. Suzuki NZ wanted NZ$680, + GST (sales tax @ 15%), then said - "Oh - there's none in the country - we'll have to order it in from Japan, so that'll be three weeks, and shipping (also + GST) on top". I got one off the web - from the US - landed and in my hands in two weeks - for NZ$205. :mad:

Frankly - If I buy a bike that I consider a 'classic' (like my 900), I want to keep it long term. If a manufacturer wants to shit on their customer loyalty base like Ducati (and now Suzuki) have been doing - I won't be buying another bike from them. Plenty of others out there that make nice bikes.
 

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SteveB64, You are overthinking the situation. The manufacturers only produce parts for certain models for so long. When they don't get carried on in later bikes and the demand for replacement parts drops off they stop being available. Simple economics,they don't want piles of parts they won't sell taking up space that could be used for storing parts that do move.Remember they are in the business to sell parts not store them.
Other than the dealers not having experienced techs to work on older machines is the fact that most of the owners of older,higher milage,well used,Ducatis also fall into the category of those that have no money to spend on repairs or those that bought the bikes new and haven't realized how much labor and parts prices have risen in the past 20 years. Both gag when they get reasonable estimates of repairs needed.
 

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Can it really be "too much" to expect the Official Ducati Dealer to replace the cambelts and check the valve clearance on a 99 SS with 5500 miles on the clock, honestly, how is that job on that model any different from, let's say, a 2005 2v Monster or Hyper (and in the end the official mechanic just end up doing the job at his own home in any case.......).

How is it that a battery cost 90 bucks from Ducati, 80 bucks from Yamaha and 60 bucks from the local Toyota dealer, here is wat takes the cake though, the Official Ducati Dealer referring you to an independent to replace a set of tyres (because there is tooo much logistics involved doing it themselves)(I kid you not).

Personally I get the impression that Ducati only like to do two kinds of jobs, the real easy ones and the ones where profit margins are HUGE! (To be fair I suppose you can say that from all official motorcycle dealers.)

(I am very fortunate in having located an independent Ducati man with lots of experience and a great love for these motorcycles only 2 hours away.)

All in all I think the automobile, motorcycles included, are turning into just another piece of consumable, use it for 5 years and then recycle.
 
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