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I change my belts every 4 years on my 2 valve Ducati's because they don't cover big ks and the belts always look fine after 2 years.
I recently bought a one owner 1998 900ss with 48000ks showing and the owner had done all is own servicing and logged it very nicely with everything there from oil changes to tires and batterys etc.
I could see valve clearance's had been done twice but only one belt change at 22000ks in 2003 so out of curiosity I called him and he confirmed the belts were 15 years old.I changed them before I sold the bike but when I looked at the old belts they were showing some very fine age cracks from hardening on the teeth but did not look like they were about to break.
I am now even more convinced that 4 years is ok for road use.
I would love to here from people who have actually broken a cam belt on there bike and under what conditions.
 

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I snapped a belt on a 2000 748 going 135mph on a long straight. Destroyed the motor, a replacement back then was ludicrously priced. Parted it out and bought a 996. 13 Ducs later, haven't had another belt snap on me. But I change 'em out every 2 years just because of my prior experience.
 

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I think the age and the drying out of the belts is the most concern. And belt damage is not always visible.

I have/had a couple of early M900 Monsters. I always change(d) the belts every two years.
My wife’s 1995 M900 only makes a couple thousand miles a year, so it sits too much and needs fresh belts every couple of years that have not taken a set in place.

My 1993 M900 made 11K to 14K per year, and needed fresh belts every two years for mileage. I went longer a couple of times with that bike, once for 4 years/48K, and once for 3 years/33K, and both times it was visible that the belts had had it and that I was taking chances.

Do what you will, of course. I think their recommendations are playing it on the safe side, but not irrationally so.

PhilB
 
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I left the first dealership I worked at in '90, we sold and serviced Ducati and other Italian bikes. And KTM. Not many of any of them except for the KTMs.

I ended up at the big Jap dealer in town, and they picked up Ducati in the Fall of '95. First thing the Service Mgr noticed was the belt replacement suggestion. He came to me to ask why the Dukes needed the belts replaced so often. He was curious since we already had Goldwings running around with 150,000 miles on original belts.

All I could think of at the time was that the Ducati cam pulleys were smaller* (much smaller) and the belts had to pull the valves open AND shut which works the tooth blocks in both directions. That seemed to assuage him and he went along with the Ducati belt replacement suggestions.

I left in '99, and we had only had one bike pop a belt, one we didn't sell or service beforehand. The guy cam to us in '96 since we were now closer. His 900 SS (a '94 or '95) had some hi-po cams installed somewhere else over 6 months before it popped the belt. I think a Ducati dealer had done the cams, but I'm not sure.

The service manager tried to help, but Ducati wouldn't help with goodwill warranty.The guy came and picked up the still crippled bike and left.

I personally ran a set of belts 10,000 miles over a 10 year period because it sat in an enclosed garage and the belts always looked good when I looked at them every other year. I was religious about checking the tension every year, using a 5mm Allen wrench. I would never suggest anyone else do this, YMMV.



*- Cam drive pulleys are much bigger on Goldwings, more like what you would see in a Civic. GL1500s reline at 6,000rpm. The belts only pull the valves open and the springs close them. Some cars replace the belt(s) at 100,000 miles.
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FWIW Honda Civic recommends 7 years on cam belt no matter mileage. The MTS and other newer Ducatis is 5 years no matter mileage, which is not far off from the Honda spec.
Cheers
 

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In relation to the '98 onwards injected 2v's, belt changes and valve checks/adjusts is highly overrated, we'll probably get away with 5yr - 25000km (k15m) intervals, even 6yr - 30000km, I'll let yous know how it goes, or just look out for the Oh fuck, I should have known better thread in the Supersport section.
 

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I think the reason they recommend you replace them after a period of time rather than a period of M/KM is because there are compounds that evaporate out over time. I'm pretty sure it's rubber laced with kevlar. So 2 years might be too soon for most, but maybe it's just in time under the most extreme of circumstances?
 

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One thing to keep in mind is the higher running temperature of the belts on aircooled models, especially in hot weather and slow traffic. Water-cooled belts presumably never get hotter than fresh coffee.
 

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We used to see snapped fan belts all the time laying on the road...
I can't recall seeing one for a very long time...

Technology has improved so much with fibers and compounds.
Roll the dice, it should depend on riding styles ifin you hit redline all the time and do aggressive take offs and shifts it makes sense that they will wear faster...
Coulds being heavy or having a mega GF or Wife on back may make a difference...

Built in safety factors are always added into the equation, so I would not get to scared at the time of said limits..
I think about Honda cars that they recommend a water pump change when changing timing belts/chains?
Cripes my old Ford truck had a water pump that lasted DECADES...
But do have good insurance so if it does grenade on you, you can set a match to it and make a bogus claim...>:)>:):(

Belts are not that expensive so as a cheap insurance policy do change them , more often ifs you lives in a HOT climate...
And remember to not run with scissors and always wear clean skivvies / BVDs...
Do you feel lucky? well do you punk...
 

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I was a victim of a broken rear belt, not a boat load of miles, maybe just over two years old.

 
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There are people who have unprotected sex all the time and do not get pregnant or other diseases :wink2:

Really it is Just Ducati's (or gates) recommendation, you do not have to take it. I personally feel there is safety margin in the spec and it can be safely be run longer. how much longer depends on your risk aversion tendencies and your ability to pay when you need a new motor. There was a British dispatch rider many years ago that put like 80,000 miles on a st2 and did nothing but put gas in the bike IIRC it survived but was not in the best of shape when he was done.

There are lower cost belts available if you cannot afford to buy Ducati and some bikes are easy enough to do yourself without problems if you are mechanical at all. Then there are plenty of other bikes like old bevel drives, panigales, honda's and harleys without belts . If you own a Pantah motor I am not a fan of cutting corners so I am on the cautious side and run them 3 years.

I always do wonder when people complain that the old belts look good when they take them off, would you prefer they look broken? Should tires be showing cords before removing? suspension have no damping? Oil be completely black or just burned through the motor? Some the answer is yes as I do see some of those bikes but most of us do preventive maintenance so we do NOT have issues.

I have seen few broken belts ( one or two last year that I do NOT blame on the belts) and that's a good thing. To me the lack of a problem means Ducati got it right as no one would buy the bikes if we all had broken belts. Outside of the Britten I do not remember another belt driven cam bike that was a performance model, I do not know as it was a bad experiment 40 years of success is not so bad.
 

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They are not to be ignored, at least check them. I rest easier knowing an ace mechanic gives the bike a look see. What does a near going bad bearing look or sound like? Peace of mind makes riding more fun. And if it goes south you can blame them.
 

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I have a 2012 848 and just put mine into the shop with 12,000 kms to get the belts done as it felt tired upon the mechanics inspection yes (Ducati) mechanics inspection he seen the belts were in reasonably good condition but they needed tightening he suggests that every 10000kms tighten every 20000 replace ! Also the main reason I was informed of this a lot of riders do not do many kms per yr so your bikes belts pulling tightly around a small cog can give your belts memory which then makes them split easier when tired ,, so with all this said and done I just purchased my wife an m400 with high kms 80 odd thousand which I’m going to crank over but not ride until these belts get checked as I purchased it from a repo/damaged auction which luckily has no damage but I’d say it was in this auction due to the higher kms
 

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costs of belts are insignificant in terms of costs if a belt fails. On the new water cooled 4 valve ducs the belt interval is 5 years if I recall?
 

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What does a near going bad bearing look or sound like?
Yep. Looks just like that lightbulb in your kitchen that is about to blow (which looks like it did when you bought it). No way to tell how "bad" it might be or how much life is left in it before a failure. Same concept.
 
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