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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I would appreciate your thoughts, expertise on the following issue.

When I push the bike hard- riding rpms 6-9000-she seems to consume too much oil. I have measured it in the area of 0.5 Lt per 1,000 Km.

The bike is an ST4s 06, bought used with 1,500Km on the odo.
She was standing at a shop for almost 2 years prior to the purchase.
When I got her I changed oil and oil filter and after the breaking in period I started pushing her gradually. At 6,000 Km she had the recommended service plus valves, no replacement of the cam belts. The mechanic recommended to do it, on the 12,000 Km service increment.
The oil I use is the Shell Advance Ultra 15-50.
One mechanic I spoke to, said that these bikes if the stay standing for a long period, they seem to crack the oil rings in the valve guides.
I don't know the cost of replacing these rings.

Anybody having any idea, suggestion, much appreciated.

regards

Stelbo
 

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i never experienced a bad valve guide or guide seal on a ducati, but typically the tell tale sign is a big cloud of dense blue smoke on start up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, nothing of thr sort, no smoking cloud or leaks. As I said it only happens when I ride her hard.

Thanks
 

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The valve seals can be replaced with out removing the heads from the bike. I can assure you from personal experience it is a real PITA! The good news is you are very unlikely to have the need. I only replaced one of my seals because I dumb and let a screwdriver slip while checking a closer...

When you changed your oil, what line did you use in the oil site glass to fill? These bikes have a 996cc displacement on a crank case than hasn't change all that much in size since the first belt drive Pantahs were introduced. I believe they were a 500cc displacement (could be wrong). Point is, with 996cc's of pumping action in the crankcase, and at high RPM, you are likely to have some oil blow out the breather valve if your crankcase is overfilled with oil. Maybe check the air box for signs of oil mist. Try filling the oil to between the middle and upper line and see how things go from there. I hardly consume any oil in the 3K change intervals I use. Maybe an extended highway run will use some, but that's it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks SS904

The mechanic refered to the valve seals for the sole reason that the bike had been standing for a very long period (almost 2 years).

The first thing I checked was the air filter box, there is not a sign of oil in it.

In the high way with high RPMs I would say it is reasonable for a big bore twin cylinder engine to burn some oil. The amount for my bike though is unjustifiable. I lived with a Moto Guzzi Le mans II in the 80s for a 100,000 Kms and I have some experience with a V twin. The Guzzi never burned that much oil, though she was heavily modified.

I fill the ST4s up with oil, in the mid of the glass with the bike standing on the wheels as per factory recommendation.

One thought was to change the oil brand. In the next change I will try Motul V300 or the equivalent to the Shell Advance Ultra.
 

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This does seem odd. My st4s '02 still doesn't use a pint between changes, it has over 40k now and was my track mule for awhile in between. The 996 motors are not known for using oil. If the airbox is clean as stated I would suspect over-filling of crankcase. Some motors like a little less oil than others and will stay at the point. Otherwise, it pretty much has to be glazed cylinder/rings interface in my opinion.

Don't know, but your ducati shop should recognize this as excessive and remedy the problem.

Mark
 

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I wonder if the first owner was too gentle with the running-in process and glazed the bores causing a poor seal ?
Problem , nothing much can be done about it without a large dismantling job so would run with the problem rather than incur a big bill for the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you lads

Marxred749s, even if I had overfilled with oil, shouldn't it remain at the low level after it had consumed the overfilling? Just a thought (stupid maybe?)

Gearbox , that is a very sound advice. The only problem is that I will have to carry a bottle of oil and a long tube to fill her up.

I will try to investigate a bit more and then maybe I will have to live with that.
Thanks again
 

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even if I had overfilled with oil, shouldn't it remain at the low level after it had consumed the overfilling?
Yes, it should pretty much level out at some point. Normally a little above half way in the sight glass.

It's going somewhere. Really only two ways out. Through a leak you should be able to see, or out the tail pipe. Have someone ride behind you. They should be able to see or smell it if there is a significant loss out the pipes. Plugs wet? Compression check?
 

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Don't wheelie it so much, or if you do just put extra oil in your kit. It blows the oil out the breather. We have occasionally seen usage that high.
 

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they seem to crack the oil rings in the valve guides.
I don't know the cost of replacing these rings.

Probably just misstated this but the guides and rings are altogether different items, no rings to crack in a guide.. Crack the Valve SEALS on the guides maybe?

As already stated, improper break-in may be the reason but that usually would cause a constant burning of oil IMO.

It could possible be the breather is partially plugged allowing the crankcase pressure to build higher then it normal should at higher r's, but that usually causes the oil to come out of a seal or other lightly sealed area of the engine, unless the rings are on the weak side of sealing then you would have excessive blow-by and should be able to see this on the spark plugs and at the crankcase vent in the air box unless that tube is pinched.

If it’s guides, which I don’t think go bad from sitting (even 2 years I don’t think all the oil between the guide and valve stem would drain – could be wrong about that), on start up it’s usually a white puff of smoke, rings would be blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SS904, I do agree it's going somewhere, BUT where? my friends have not been able to detect any smoke. I haven't checked the compression, which by the way it will have to be found higher than normal due to the hydraulic pressure of the oil.

No 620rossco I don't like to wheelie her, but I like the 3,4,5 and 6th gears to go around 9000 RPMs in certain parts of the country.
If it comes out of the breather shouldn't I be able to see moisture either at the bottom of the engine or between the cylinders?

Yellow blur You are right I mistated the term, it is the valve seals that I meant. I intend to take her to the shop in the next few weeks and see what they are going to say. I will check the hoses in the mean time.
No there is smoke on start up. At the end of the tail pipes I can feel a very tiny oily sence at the tip finger, but it's not always there and it's so little that I may be mistaken.

Thanks to all
 

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Thank you lads

Marxred749s, even if I had overfilled with oil, shouldn't it remain at the low level after it had consumed the overfilling? Just a thought (stupid maybe?)

Gearbox , that is a very sound advice. The only problem is that I will have to carry a bottle of oil and a long tube to fill her up.

I will try to investigate a bit more and then maybe I will have to live with that.
Thanks again
Bear in mind that the kind of co-sumption you are quoting would be seen as acceptable by BMW !
 

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Thank you lads

Marxred749s, even if I had overfilled with oil, shouldn't it remain at the low level after it had consumed the overfilling? Just a thought (stupid maybe?)

Gearbox , that is a very sound advice. The only problem is that I will have to carry a bottle of oil and a long tube to fill her up.

I will try to investigate a bit more and then maybe I will have to live with that.
Thanks again
You might try to clean the engine with a petrol additive like moto flush:

http://www.forte-nwe.com/SE/Forte+products/Motor/Motor+Flush.html?dealers=0

or something similar if this particular one is not for sale on the American market.
If glazed piston rings are the cause of the problem it will definitely solve most of your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gearbox every company is using the ''small letters'' to cover up any mistakes in design or manufacture. I bought an Italian bike knwing very well what possible problems I might face. That was not in the list.
New BMWs especially the R1200 GS are having much greater problems than ''acceptable'' oil consumption.

Dirk Rutgers I live in Greece, I may try to find it in the Internet.

I have read in this forum that the Duc engines are broken in after 10,000 Km. If that theory is true then that consumption may stop later.

I had a similar experience with a car. I broke in her hard, and she consumed almost 2 Lt of oil in the first 12,000 Km. After that, there was not even a drop missing, until I replaced her, having travelled 100,000 Km in 3 years.
 

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11k miles never a drop and I ride it like it was meant to be ridden.
 

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What Mario said, same mileage, no consumption and gets ridden hard.

When manufacturers state 1 litre per 1000 kms can be expected as normal they are covering their asses!!

Tolerances nowadays are a lot smaller especially with temperature controlled engines that are watercooled so oil consumption should be negligble IMO.

Be ineterested to see what you find.
 

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Gearbox every company is using the ''small letters'' to cover up any mistakes in design or manufacture. I bought an Italian bike knwing very well what possible problems I might face. That was not in the list.
New BMWs especially the R1200 GS are having much greater problems than ''acceptable'' oil consumption.

Dirk Rutgers I live in Greece, I may try to find it in the Internet.

I have read in this forum that the Duc engines are broken in after 10,000 Km. If that theory is true then that consumption may stop later.

I had a similar experience with a car. I broke in her hard, and she consumed almost 2 Lt of oil in the first 12,000 Km. After that, there was not even a drop missing, until I replaced her, having travelled 100,000 Km in 3 years.
Dont get me wrong , I dont think it is the norm for these bikes , as others are saying minimal usage is quote common , Mine is approaching 50,000 Mls and rarely needs topping-up between changes at 6000 Mls.
My point was that the work necessary to correct the issue may not be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gearbox, I do agree with you , this is not the norm with these bikes , that's why I am a bit disappointed.

I was thinking that after the 70's and 80's that Ducati used to produce crap bikes with a lot of engine problems compared to the other Italian bikes, they would have corrected it. But it is not so true. They have a fine design and the rest of the bike is trully crap. Think of all those riders with the brake shudder problem and all thos electrical gremlins that they try to fix. It not an isolated issue, it happens to all the bikes. That means that there is a seriouw problem either with the design or the manufacture , or in the case of third party supply, not serious QC procedure.
I am frustrated or better pissed off.

I will wait to see if the engine seals at the 12,000 Km service interval. If it doesn't, I again agree , it is not woth it to correct the issue.

Thanks t0 all
 

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Not sure I agree that Ducati are alone in selling bikes with problems , I think if you log onto any of the forums you will find similar issues.

Take BMW - They have a fantastic breakdown support system but boy do they need it !
Look at Triumph with oil-consumption so high that they insist that it be checked weekly to avoid it running dry on some of their bikes.
KTM who require that their brakes need washing (and drying) after every wet ride to avoid seized calipers......
Honda who seem incapable of producing a cam-chain tensioner that works from cradle to grave without replacing or upgarding in some way.

Its a sign of the times that all the manufacturers are using their customers as test-beds for their products - Not great but thats the way to save expensive product testing.

For myself I have been very impressed with my Ducati (although possibly more lucky than some) - 50,000 Mls - Same clutch , same brake discs and calipers , same head/swing arm and rear wheel bearings - minimal electrical issues (battery apart) and insigificant oil con-sumption , fantastic fuel economy and good engine power output even now.

I cant honestly say I would expect any more from another manufacturer :))
 
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