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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I've got a 2001 SuperSport, 750, with an oil leak that seems like it's getting worse. The oil actually hits the ground between the kickstand and the bike, but looking at the engine, there's a lot of pooling right by the gasket, and no other obvious place for the oil to be leaking from. I've worked on cars, but am still getting used to bikes, and was wondering what else I should check, and how much of a pain getting to and replacing that gasket is. I'll try to grab some pictures, but it looks a lot like people who've posted here who had gasket leaks. Thanks for any advice.
 

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Wash the bike after cleaning off all the escaping fluid. When it’s dry, start it and let it warm up . Operate the clutch about 20 times. Then blow some baby powder around the motor and check where it sticks. Could be the clutch slave or something else. If the leak is around the cylinders, try to turn the cylinder studs with your fingers. A broken stud commonly causes a leak . Some motors have mis matched oil return holes between head and cylinder and valve covers can fill and leak. External oil lines can leak at the fittings. Where you’re finding the oil my first guess is it’s really brake fluid from the clutch slave, but I’ve also heard of issues with cracked cases by the kick stand mount.
 

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the 2001 models tend to leak from the base gasket at the rh side of the vertical cylinder where the oil pressure feed gallery is. they deleted the o-ring for 2001 and then spent a few years coming up with complicated fixes for not using an o-ring.
 

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Start by cleaning the engine and then run it to see where the oil is coming from. There are a few usual suspects on your bike as mentioned.

1. clutch slave /pushrod seals.
This would NOT pool oil at the back of the cylinder base so if you have oil up at the base trapped in the webbing of the cases these may be leaking but they are not your main issue.

2. crankcase breather.
The early breathers would weep oil so if it takes a long time to get the area oily and it is more of a weep or mist then this might be your culprit, if the oil pools quickly then probably not your main issue either.

3. Camshaft, valve cover, cam endcap or cylinder to head o-rings.
Less likely but I have seen bikes with old cam seals that no longer seal and will have oil running down the head to the base, make sure valve comers/caps are not loose or missing gaskets. This will start up high and travel down if you do not have oil running down the head and cylinder then probably not your main issue either.

4.Base gasket.
Unfortunately this is the most likely suspect based on what you said in your description of the problem, if oil is pooling in the case webbing right in front of the crankcase breather this is probably the problem. There is a high pressure oil passage in this area and if the base gasket does not seal then you have a high pressure oil leak which means it will fill/leak much more rapidly and needs to be fixed as it is in front of your rear tire.

Around the time frame your bike was built Ducati tried a new base gasket sealer and removed a o-ring from this area, It was a fail. The base gasket material is a red loctite looking sealer and will be more brittle than flexible. If the bike is leaking at this location you need to remove the head and re-seal the base gasket on a supersport this means frame removal for access to get the head off. Any time I do one of these I machine an o-ring pocket into the motor and use a o-ring once again, when better base sealer and o-ring is used the problem should be fixed for good. Just better sealer would probably fix it as well but I do not want to take the chance.
 

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I cut a pocket into the cylinder with an end mill. Just match the early pocket depth and use a early style gasket and o-ring, all oem parts once the pocket is cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Awesome, thanks guys. I'll check all that out.
 

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Around the time frame your bike was built Ducati tried a new base gasket sealer and removed a o-ring from this area, It was a fail.
Hopefully this doesn’t include the 1996 models (900)?
 

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2001 -they eliminated the o-ring at the vertical cylinder base gasket while continuing to use the old orange hardening sealant. after that they started using threebond 1215 and that effectively fixed it, but they also started doing things way more complicated than fitting an o-ring to make up for the lack of an o-ring.

750ssie seemed by far the most affected, probably because it was the most difficult to fix.
 

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Unfortunately there is a common theme of fixing things that were not broke and making them worse, I cannot tell if audi/ducati still does this but in the past there was a reluctance to revert to proven methods.

Bevel era crank plugs were staked in place, they stopped doing this on the Pantahs and when the big motors started using aluminum crank plugs the plugs started falling out. They never took the simple route of staking the plugs in place to prevent this.

Instead of reverting to a o-ring and pocket for base gaskets they chose dowel pins/o rings while fixing the problem may have been overkill, I suspect it was more about ease of assembly at the factory.
 

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Once a production line starts producing a part almost ever fix will be a bandaid. Stopping production to install new equipment is simply not feasible unless it can be scheduled into a holiday. Many times the floor space between two other machines in the line to add another process isn’t available . One thing leads to another.
 
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