Tuesday, January 1, 2013

10) Things Get REALLY Outta Control!

I'd decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of new engine cases and gearbox, then I should go all out. The objective was to make the bike 'mint'! And go as good as it looks! It had 82rwhp before so, with some careful tuning, 95+ might potentially be achievable. 

And so, armed with only a laptop and my trusty credit card I went completely nuts. Most of the stuff I bought new and was soon winging its' way to NZ from the 4 corners of the globe. I figured I'd go "OMG What have I done???" when I got my credit card bill!

I think I mentioned I'd already got, courtesy of Muzza Bikes:
• New crank cases with close ratio gearbox (this would requite a change to the later master & slave cylinder set-up). The original balanced crankshaft, alternator and cover retained
• Marchesini 5 Spoke front wheel
• Keihin 41mm FCR flat-slide carbs (split) with Malossi short manifolds
• 45mm high rise spaghetti exhaust with carbon (Akrapovic?) mufflers, which I had polished
• Ported and polished heads
Muzza also sourced for me: 
• Late model Brembo Rotors with cast iron discs
• ‘95 Upper Triple Clamp in his own brushed stainless finish.
And from Muzza's personal Supersport, which he had converted to a Superbike front end  
• '95 900sSupersport forks with Race-tech valves 
• Muzza Bikes specially modified speedo drive =)
• Brembo Gold calipers 

On top of all that, I also bought (or had made): 
MBP valve collets for my heads, and
• New Ducati Performance cams, plus
900SSie adjustable pulleys
 K&N Pod Filters
 '02 Supersport lower triple clamp and axle
• Braided brake lines lines (front and rear)
• New (Gold-line) brake and clutch master cylinder
• Mad Duc clutch cover 
• Clutch case cut outs (by Rob Selby ex Britten)
• Barnett aluminium clutch basket 
• Motorize (Germany) aluminium clutch plates 
• Rizoma billet clutch pressure plate
• Ducati 400SS flywheel (machined and lightened by Rob Selby) 
• TPO stainless steel engine bolts
• Ignitech computer adjustable ignition 
• Ducati Monster S4R oil cooler with S2R braided lines
CNC milled rearsets 
Shorai lightweight battery
LED Indicators
Ilmberger (Germany) Carbon Hugger
Ilmberger (Germany) Carbon 888SP2 front mudguard
Carbonworld (Germany) Vented Sprocket Cover
Billet bar ends

I still had to source:
- Coils
- Plug leads
- A Re-covered seat and
- A Ducati speedo

And this is what some of those bits and pieces looked like.

9) The Rebuild Begins

I was very fortunate not to suffer serious damage in the quakes and the Insurance Company agreed to pay for the cosmetic damage to the bike. I couldn't exactly ride it with a fine oil mist spraying onto my boot, and the bike had developed a bad smoking habit,  so I decided to go all out and make it into the bike I always wanted.

Enter Murray Sutherland from Muzza bikes. Already my Ducati-part “drug dealer” Muzza supplied me the 1000SS swingarm and rear wheel, a front wheel to match and a whole of lot of other bits and pieces, which I didn't need, over the years.

The plan was to have Muzza do the valve guides, port and polish the heads and paint the motor. And so began the strip down.

Typically, immediately we found things awry. Pulling the motor out revealed some previous ugly repairs to the engine cases.
Front motor mount repairs, not done to a high standard! 
And further inspection revealed a worn-out gearbox...

Of course Muzza just happened to have a newer set of cases with a close ratio box, and a big bore exhaust system sitting in the corner of the workshop. 

And so it began...

First I prepped the motor before it went off to the media blaster. This is where I made my first mistake.

Learn from my Mistake 

I used a guy who did Walnut Blasting because I didn't want to use harder media (sand, beads, etc) or Soda (not inert enough). While the finish was fine, despite me having sealed my motor to the best of my ability, Walnut ended up everywhere! Had I not been replacing the bearings in my motor, I would not have been very happy! Ducati motors are pretty porous too so you need to use something which is as lightly abrasive as possible.  

In hindsight, I would have tried Vapour Blasting. Another name for this process is vaqua blasting, (US friends use vapor when searching.) It uses beads mixed with water and sometimes solvents. The water also helps keep the part cool as blasting imparts heat. Visually the results are stunning, but obviously try this at your own risk. I'd be interested in any comments as to your experience, especially from people in New Zealand.

8) Earthquakes!

In September 2010 Christchurch suffered a 7.3 magnitude Earthquake. This was followed in February 2012 by a 6.3 which was even more destructive.

While my house was in one of the less affected areas of town - the Earthquakes wrought terrible destruction. The Superdue fell over in the Feb quake suffering minor damage. The right side fairing and tail fairing were damaged, the RH minor and indicator broke, the frame was dented and the sidestand bent. It must've fallen on that first when it jumped off its race stand.  
Actually it was amazing it (and my garage) didn't burn to the ground because the bike was on the battery charger that day and, when it fell over, the tank hit the ground, the entire filler cap broke out of the tank and petrol spilled everywhere. I'm sure petrol vapour and live electricity are not a good combination, but it clearly want the bike's time. One of the cylinder heads also got whacked and an an oil leak appeared when I started the bike. Damn.