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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if the upgrade to the Nichols bolts for a 2000 ST2 is regarded as essential for preventing the dreaded crankcase halves cracking near the engine mount holes?

The reason I ask is I'm currently having Minneapolis Ducati replace the crankcase halves on this bike due to the aforementioned cracking of cases. A person in the owner chain of this bike at one time welded the cases but in a poor and questionable manner. I removed only a 1/16-1/8 inch of welded material past the casting to reveal the cracks indicating a surface weld without correctly beveling the cracks and filling them in with weld. Also the mount holes were never formed back to circular allowing a good amount of slop in the bolt movement. I'm thinking the engine mount bolt was never replaced either given its considerable bend. So now I'm having it done right.

I've been informed by both Ducati dealers in Mnpls that the 10mm bolts have nothing to do with the cause of this issue and that the Nichols bolts are not necessary. I was informed that the cracks were due to the bike being crashed at some point.

I'm not sure what to believe and I really do not want to experience this issue again. Are the Nichols bolts worth it or am I being overly concerned about this?
 

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2001 ST4, 2002 M750S, 2008 848
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Several conversations on this forum have suggested the most critical factor in cracked cases seems to have been improperly torqued bolts... Others may chime in on the benefits of the nichols bolts, but I can tell you my stock bolts were down about 20 Nm when I checked them...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I remember before buying the bike from my uncle, we checked the bolt torque and it was well below the 43 Nm stated in the Ducati workshop manual. So if the bolt is kept properly torqued then this should mitigate any concern of the OEM bolt becoming problematic again; eliminating the need for the Nichols bolts? Or is there more to this that the Nichols bolts are warranted as a replacement.
 

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The stock bolt broke on my ST4. I found the nut still threaded on the end of the broken piece on the right side when I removed the rubber plug to check the torque. The broken piece of the end of the bolt and the nut were flush when I removed them. The nut was still stuck tight with loctite on the threads of the bolt.

With one end of the bolt loose, the other side of the case cracked. Fortunately I was able to have it welded up. Still holding up after a couple of years.

I think this type of failure points to a weak bolt. I think going to either a stronger bolt, or a larger/stronger bolt makes sense. I think Ducati changed the material of the bolt to a stronger steel after many of the stock ones failed. I am not 100% percent sure of that, but I think the part number changed from the original.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did speak with Mike at Nichols, and he recommended against going to the larger M12 bolt. Since the M12 bolt would require drilling the case holes out, and the front engine mount bore being very close to an alignment dowel/pin on the crank case halves. I'm not sure if this would apply to the rear engine mount bore as well, but I'm not really willing to find out. I thought about drilling out the cases at one time, but the risk and lack of knowledge could result in another set of cases. Or most likely the bike being dropped off a cliff. So, a larger bolt does not seem feasible.

I did notice with the Nichols bolt it can be torqued to 61-67 Nm versus the OEM bolt at 43 Nm. Which if I remember correctly is very close to the torque spec for the OEM 12mm bolt.

Are any of you guys using the Nichols bolts?

I know that correct suspension setup will help prevent such an issue from happening again too. I'm 6'2" 205 lbs so a new rear spring will prob be in order. I've bottomed out the rear suspension a couple times already.
 

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The days are getting longer!
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I also did not feel comfortable with drilling out my 10mm engine and frame with the 12mm bolts such as TPO sells. I went with the Nichols and have been happy with them, great craftsmanship and nary a problem with the fasteners stretching and loosing the proper torque. I will warn you that you will not be able to use frame plugs with this setup so if your like Wonway you may not want to go that route, just saying. :rolleyes:
I was at the dealer yesterday and met a guy with a ST2 and the first thing I asked him was if he had ever checked the torque on his rear engine bolt. :eek:
 

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Mr Leakered
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But I like my frame plugs. =P Maybe Nicols could develop some plug compatible bolts and nuts. o_O

Have a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think this type of failure points to a weak bolt. I think going to either a stronger bolt, or a larger/stronger bolt makes sense. I think Ducati changed the material of the bolt to a stronger steel after many of the stock ones failed. I am not 100% percent sure of that, but I think the part number changed from the original.

Mike
Mike by saying you think Ducati changed the material type of the bolt to a stronger steel after reported failures of the originals, refer to the 10mm bolt or that Ducati upgraded to a 12mm bolt with different material type?

The reason I asked is because I have a brand new OEM 10mm and 12mm bolt. The 10mm bolt has no grade markings on it, but the 12mm bolt has a grade marking of 9.8. So, I wonder why there are no markings on the 10mm bolt? Is the 10mm bolt still original material and not stronger? The odd thing is the 10mm bolt was twice the cost of the 12mm bolt. Go figure!

I prob need to stop thinking about this and just buy the Nichols bolts or use the stock bolts and monitor their condition and torque.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But I like my frame plugs. =P Maybe Nicols could develop some plug compatible bolts and nuts. o_O

Have a good one.
I wouldn't be so concerned about it if I had a post 2000 model like yours tonered :) Your model year has the M12 bolts.

I like the frame plugs too, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice.
 

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I am not sure if the new part number was the new 12 mm bolt or a different material 10 mm bolt. Since I had the engine out of the frame to weld up the crack, I had the welder ream the holes to 12 mm and I bought a set of TPO bolts and installed them.

Mike
 

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Drxzy:

I have been really impressed with Minneapolis Ducati. I have learned a lot from them and they have been very accommodating. And I have found that about 10% of the information I have received from them has been wrong or not wholly accurate. So checking around can be a good idea regardless of where you go.

Nice to see another person in the Twin Cities!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ducologist:

Mnpls Ducati has been a great help to me also. Fred has been very helpful in locating used cases and getting the motor rebuilt in a short period of time. I'm looking at getting the motor back this midweek, so about 10-12 days all together. Fred and the techs are very knowledgeable and I should probably not question his opinion regarding the OEM mounting bolts. He did say that the damage to the crank case halves was due to a crash and he is most likely correct. However there is a considerable amount of reports on the internet regarding the M10 mounting bolts and cracked cases. I'm certain I will probably never have an absolute answer regarding this issue.

I'm still curious as to why the M10 bolts don't have a grade stamp on them.

So, I think, I will just use the stock bolts for now and check them religiously. Any signs of them losing torque spec, shape, or integrity will give me all the proof I need to swap them out for Nichols bolts.

Good to see another ST2 owner in the area too.

Are there any ST owner groups in the Mnpls-St. Paul area?
 

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When I bought my 07 ST3 a couple of months ago, one of the first threads I read about was loose engine mount bolts. Sure enough mine were loose, so you could feel the nut wiggle when I tightened it so I could get a torque wrench on it.
I have put almost 5000 miles on it and saw this thread so I thought I'd check the torque. Took probably half a turn of the torque wrench to hear clicks.
This looks like something that needs checking probably every oil change.
 

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Mr Leakered
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Like jduke notes, the engine mount situation is important to all STs. The frame plug thing is just a runnng joke from the SF guys. Sort of like anything watermelon related. ;)

For whatever reason, my engine bolts are holding torque with no issues yet at 57k and not always having the rubber side down.

Have a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Went ahead and purchased the Nichols bolts. After many hours of reading, what will be a large bill from Ducati Minneapolis, and conversation with Mike at Nichols, I've decided this is money well spent. I know, I won't push the bike to the limits of seeing a performance increase most likely, but the reliability increase will put my mind at ease especially when riding two up. Special thanks to my woman for the unexpected gift of Nichols engine mount bolts. Best and coolest person ever. :)
 

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Went ahead and purchased the Nichols bolts. After many hours of reading, what will be a large bill from Ducati Minneapolis, and conversation with Mike at Nichols, I've decided this is money well spent. I know, I won't push the bike to the limits of seeing a performance increase most likely, but the reliability increase will put my mind at ease especially when riding two up. Special thanks to my woman for the unexpected gift of Nichols engine mount bolts. Best and coolest person ever. :)
Sounds like a keeper!

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Motorcycle.com App
 

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I'm wondering if the upgrade to the Nichols bolts for a 2000 ST2 is regarded as essential for preventing the dreaded crankcase halves cracking near the engine mount holes?

The reason I ask is I'm currently having Minneapolis Ducati replace the crankcase halves on this bike due to the aforementioned cracking of cases. A person in the owner chain of this bike at one time welded the cases but in a poor and questionable manner. I removed only a 1/16-1/8 inch of welded material past the casting to reveal the cracks indicating a surface weld without correctly beveling the cracks and filling them in with weld. Also the mount holes were never formed back to circular allowing a good amount of slop in the bolt movement. I'm thinking the engine mount bolt was never replaced either given its considerable bend. So now I'm having it done right.

I've been informed by both Ducati dealers in Mnpls that the 10mm bolts have nothing to do with the cause of this issue and that the Nichols bolts are not necessary. I was informed that the cracks were due to the bike being crashed at some point.

I'm not sure what to believe and I really do not want to experience this issue again. Are the Nichols bolts worth it or am I being overly concerned about this?
I would say that was moving around for some time! It didn't just crack, loose bolt/nut.
 
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