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I wanted to say to those who might be considering a 996 or 748 but were concerned because of the issues with flaky rockers and belts etc. that it wasn’t that bad to do. I just finished the valve clearance check on my 2001 996, as well as rocker arm check. It was my first valve clearance check that I have done - ever. On my Yamaha, I’ve always taken it to the dealer to have done; however, when I called around, none of the dealers around would work on a Ducati. So I had to learn for myself. I purchased my 996 in March 2015, and I was uncertain of the belt condition (though the seller had stated he had recently changed them).

So as I had availability, I learned about belts and valve adjustments by reading and re-reading posts as well as watching and re-watching YouTube videos on how to do the valve clearance check. The below list are the ones that I referred to most often:

Belt change

916 Belt Change

Valve clearance check


Ducati.ms thread resources
To gain information / knowledge when checking your rockers (keep or swap):

as well as
OddBike: How to Adjust Ducati Desmo Valves
Desmoquattro Valve Adjustment

EMSDUC | Ducati Valve Shims, Shim Kits, MBP Retainers and Adjustment Tools

Even though it’s not dedicated to the 4 valve, Ducati Suite- Valve Adjustment as information that is great (including pictures) of the Ducati valve train with which one can become familiar and demystify the process.

I had one rocker that had flaked and needed to be swapped out. Mike at EMSDuc was a great guy to talk to over the phone, and it was nice of him to let me bounce ideas off of him. I soaked up probably 30 minutes of his time for a single rocker arm sale, and he didn’t seem to mind a bit! I definitely recommend him.

I purchased belts from ca-cycleworks.com. My order was filled quickly and accurately. Thanks for the chocolates shipped with the order! :)

I followed ducatitech’s advice and removed the radiator for easier clearance to the horizontal cylinder. This also allowed me the opportunity to clean out the radiator. I was amazed at how much crud was built up inside the radiator! Definitely a needed service.

If you’re considering the purchase of a Desmoquattro super bike, but are concerned about servicing it (as I was), then let me state for you that if you have basic mechanical skills, you can do it. I had to purchase feeler gauges, and I bought the HEDSA cam holding tool for the belt swap (but it wasn’t terribly necessary, just nice to have). Get a GOOD set of allen wrenches! I also bought a Haynes manual, a must. I bought the shim kit from EMSDuc. You’ll also need a small magnet for removing opening shims off the valve. You can save HEAPS of money, and know that it was done correctly. Unlike my Yamaha, everything on my Ducati 996 unbolted fine. And checking clearances (with the radiator removed) was okay. It was a bit tight in there, but I might have been expecting something akin to micro surgery. There was room enough to do the job. I left the heads on the bike.

At any rate, for those considering the purchase of their dream bike, as I was, I hope this post allows you to become far more educated about the desmo valve train so you can make an informed decision about either purchasing or performing the service yourself. It wasn't nearly as bad as I originally thought - in fact, it was kind of fun. The worst part was waiting on parts to arrive! :smile2:

Disassembled and ready for service:

One flaky rocker (hard to see in photo, but plainly obvious when holding the rocker in hand)

Disassembled parts:

Back together!
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