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SWB

Off Topic (for Ducati owners): Motor oil?

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SWB

I know that this is off-topic, i.e. not a BMW question, and it's wrenching but there's no category for non-BMW bikes; please bear with me.

 

I know that some of the more experienced mechanics on this forum may have or have previously owned a Ducati. My son has a 1999 Ducati 748 and he's been having his own "oil thread" controversies. He hasn't been able to get a uniform answer from the dealer or forum contributors, and the factory manual doesn't specify API or weight.

 

The 748 has a dry clutch like the Beemer Oilheads and Hexheads, but the transmission and engine share the same oil. Will Mobil 1 15/50 (API SM, SL/CF) work in this bike, or does he need to run a motorcycle-twin specific oil (e.g. Mobil 1 MX4T API SG, SH/CF)? Comparing the API's, seems that Mobil 1 15/50 exceeds the MX4T API.

 

Also, seems like the Ducati oil "kits" are 10/40, but many say they are running 15/50 which improves shifting.

 

Would appreciate the feedback.

 

Regards,

 

Scott

 

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T__

SWB, with no actual valve springs to load the cam & large bearings in the engine itself the engine proper doesn’t need much in the way of motor oil.. I fact too slippery & the starter roller clutch can be a problem..

 

As you mentioned it’s the trans & that having straight cut gears doesn’t have tremendous tooth contact wear..

 

Personally I use Amsoil V-twin in my Ducati but any good SG/SH oil should work good as well something like the Mobil 1 silver cap..

 

Added: one thing I have noticed on my Ducati is it’s tendency to easily take moisture into the oiling system.. I don’t believe Ducati uses a very good crankcase vent system so seems to hold combustion moisture in the engine oil in cool or cold weather.. Doesn’t take much cold weather operation to see some white in the sight glass.. Personally I think using an engine oil with a great moisture handling ability is something to think about on the Ducati’s..

 

Twisty

 

Edited by Twisty1

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OoPEZoO

I have no idea about what oil to put in it, but that is still my favorite bike ever built.......fav color scheme as well. First time I saw one I just about wrecked my truck from rubber necking

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SWB
SWB, with no actual valve springs to load the cam & large bearings in the engine itself the engine proper doesn’t need much in the way of motor oil.. I fact too slippery & the starter roller clutch can be a problem..

 

As you mentioned it’s the trans & that having straight cut gears doesn’t have tremendous tooth contact wear..

 

Personally I use Amsoil V-twin in my Ducati but any good SG/SH oil should work good as well something like the Mobil 1 silver cap..

 

Added: one thing I have noticed on my Ducati is it’s tendency to easily take moisture into the oiling system.. I don’t believe Ducati uses a very good crankcase vent system so seems to hold combustion moisture in the engine oil in cool or cold weather.. Doesn’t take much cold weather operation to see some white in the sight glass.. Personally I think using an engine oil with a great moisture handling ability is something to think about on the Ducati’s..

 

Twisty

 

Thanks for the input Twisty. My son's a 21 yr old college student so budget is a priority for him, and WalMart has the 15/50 silver cap for $26 per 5/quarts. He'll probably go that direction. (Heck, I'm tempted to stock up for my beemer, but I get tired of storing so much stuff.)

 

Also, others have told him that they change the oil very frequently, even at 2K miles because the air filter is weak, and maybe, the moisture issue has something to with that also. I guess the scientific way is to send in oil samples for analysis over the next couple of changes.

 

How frequently do you change oil on your Ducati?

 

- Scott

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SWB
I have no idea about what oil to put in it, but that is still my favorite bike ever built.......fav color scheme as well. First time I saw one I just about wrecked my truck from rubber necking

 

That's pretty funny. As I've said before on these forums, my son's first street bike was an R1, second a GSXR 1000, both of which he rebuilt from wrecks. He found a nice deal on the Ducati, and he had to have it. It's got a very low serial number, so it's an early 1999 model - maybe a classic some day.

 

One of the things he loved best about it was of course, that it turned heads. Then a couple of weeks ago he said "Dad ... people in California have way too much money. I used to have the only Ducati on the (college) campus, and now there's two or three guys with NEW Ducati's out there. Now it's like there are Ducati's all over the place." :grin:

 

I have no desire whatsoever to ride that bike, but I love it too. It's got an after market exhaust system which distinguishes it from every crotch rocket out there. This thing has the low throaty-twin-sound that makes it SOUND like it belongs on the track. I've thought that my R1200RT might sound about the same with a Remus exhaust, maybe not, but it wouldn't be the same. One look at that Duc 748 and you expect it to sound European. The R1200RT is almost "too pretty", i.e. looks a bit like the FJR and Honda ST, rather than distinctively European. But I love the RT anyway - my all time favorite bike. Other than a K1300GT, (or a GS or KTM for other purposes) I don't know what else I'd want to ride.

 

However, it's a high-maintenance girl, as my son is learning. He's still got the urge for a liter bike, and is rebuilding a third bike, an 2002 GSXR 1000, which he'll sell for profit. I'll probably post a pix of that bike when he's done, because he's painting it Ducati red - very nice looking.

 

So much for chit-chat. I'll forward your complements. (He'll read this thread later.)

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T__

Scott, I don’t put that many miles on my Duc so the oil gets changed in the fall before storage (no start of engine after oil change,, just a crank with no fuel injectors until oil pressure).. Then another change mid summer..

 

If he rides it a lot of short trips (under 10-15 miles each) or many trips in cool/cold weather then a more frequent change interval might be a good idea.. If he starts seeing white in the sight glass that says moisture is present.. Usually a long high speed ride will remove the moisture from the oil..

 

From the other post.. No way can a BMW opposed twin boxer ever sound like a Ducati.. There is just such a sweet sound produced by a 90° L-twin engine with proper Termignoni exhaust system.. Even with a decent (exotic) exhaust system the BMW boxer kind of sounds like farting under water.. The Duc has more of a deep growl as it has a quick 90° fire/fire then a long down period of rotation before fire/fire again.. A Ducati doesn’t need to be loud to sound real good.. The power pulses are spaced just right to complement each other.. Just add in a rattley clutch & it’s perfect..

 

I would strongly suggest you not ride his bike.. It’s like the flu,, real easy to catch the Duc bug with just one ride..

 

 

Twisty

 

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SWB
Scott, I don’t put that many miles on my Duc so the oil gets changed in the fall before storage (no start of engine after oil change,, just a crank with no fuel injectors until oil pressure).. Then another change mid summer..

 

If he rides it a lot of short trips (under 10-15 miles each) or many trips in cool/cold weather then a more frequent change interval might be a good idea.. If he starts seeing white in the sight glass that says moisture is present.. Usually a long high speed ride will remove the moisture from the oil..

 

From the other post.. No way can a BMW opposed twin boxer ever sound like a Ducati.. There is just such a sweet sound produced by a 90° L-twin engine with proper Termignoni exhaust system.. Even with a decent (exotic) exhaust system the BMW boxer kind of sounds like farting under water.. The Duc has more of a deep growl as it has a quick 90° fire/fire then a long down period of rotation before fire/fire again.. A Ducati doesn’t need to be loud to sound real good.. The power pulses are spaced just right to complement each other.. Just add in a rattley clutch & it’s perfect..

 

I would strongly suggest you not ride his bike.. It’s like the flu,, real easy to catch the Duc bug with just one ride..

 

 

Twisty

 

RLOL! Rattley clutch. My son says "Dad, I think I have clutch problems ..." and after further research, "Dad, your not gonna believe this, but TADT. Noisy clutches are a Ducati legend".

 

Being in California (moderate climate), and the bike being in the hands of a 21 year old kid who's a pretty good (and fast :eek: rider), we haven't seen any moisture issues. If there is any water in their, he's burning it off all the time.

 

His latest problem is valve adjustment. He got the mm and .in mixed up, and needs to reshim it. Unfortunately, shims are $8.00 a pop, and a decent shim kit is $400.00, so he's parking it until he can get about $1000.00 together to reshim, R&R the timing belts, and replace the clutch (indicates it's slipping; don't know if he's measured the plates yet). But for a college kid, he's riding sweet equipment, and did it all on his own.

 

Thanks again Twisty.

 

- Scott

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T__

Scott, the valve adjustment is a real pain but not that difficult.. As a rule once they settle in maybe only a couple of shims needed.. I usually just sand the shims a little on a plate with wet/dry paper as they usually tighten a little so only need a few light stokes to get the thickness correct.. At least once you know where you are it is easy to get to where you need to be.. The closer to 0 he can get the closers the better it will run..

 

Here is big hint on those darn Duc valves—when you remove the closer spools there is a very small fine wire circlip to hold those up.. NEVER mix those between valves & ALWAYS keep the same side up (always).. The adjustment is so fine on those closers that even flipping the circlip over can change the setting enough to make you wonder where you are after the change.. If those are kept the same position & side up (always) then if you show you need .001” & you add .001” it will be right.. If you flip a circlip & you need .001” then add .001” it could be .002” off after re-assembly..

 

I usually change the cam belts out once a year as they go around real small pulleys so flex a lot.. Once the belts are removed the valves are MUCH easier to do..

 

On the clutch.. Mine needs work about every 4,000 miles.. As a rule I can remove the plates,, remove the glazing,, then swap the order around & it’s back to working good for about another 4K.. One thing to look out for is the clutch drum getting notches worn in the driving ear faces.. Once it gets notched the plates don’t lock together correctly & cause chatter & sometimes slipping.. The clutch also runs at ½ engine speed so carries more torque than a conventional full engine speed clutch..

 

Have him keep an eye on the clutch slave cylinder as those a very leak prone.. Also the clutch push rod bearing is problem area..

 

My Duc revs so easily to 9,000-10,000 RPMs that it spends a lot of time there so is kind of a maintenance hog.. At least it isn’t like the new high end Ducs that need the engine removed to adjust the valves..

 

 

Twisty

 

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SWB

Thanks for all the tips, Twisty. My son is on track with most of this information, but it's great to get another viewpoint in confirmation.

 

- Scott

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JerryMather

I use 10/40 Castrol in my 996 and change it every 3,000 miles or less. After putting 57,000 miles on it and using Redline, Motol and others ...... Castrol is what it gets now.

 

The key is to change it when it needs it, not what you use, IMO. During the summer months, when it reaches 100 degree's, I change it more often .

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SWB
I use 10/40 Castrol in my 996 and change it every 3,000 miles or less. After putting 57,000 miles on it and using Redline, Motol and others ...... Castrol is what it gets now.

 

The key is to change it when it needs it, not what you use, IMO. During the summer months, when it reaches 100 degree's, I change it more often .

 

Is that 10/40 Castrol Synthetic, or Dino? I told my son if he was going to change it every 3K miles or more frequently, maybe dino was the way to go. I guess Ducati recommends Synthetic since it breaks down less with heat, but if he changes it so frequently, what's the difference - oil is always fresh anyway.

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T__

SWB, I think it is more of a oil shearing issue.. The engine oil also lubricates the trans & all those trans gears are always in mesh (constant mesh gear box) so oil shearing at high tooth speed high tooth load is always an issue.. In most cases a good quality based synthetic will handle shearing better than a conventional oil..

 

I guess if you change real often then it really isn’t big issue either way..

 

 

Twisty

 

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JerryMather

Castrol GTX 10/40 or 20/50 aka Dino Oil

 

I pulled out my 996 Factory Service Manual the other day and read this:

Oil Viscosity

SAE 20W-50

Other viscosity grades can be used where ambient temps are within the limits shown, ( on the chart above), 20/50: 0 to plus 104, 10/40: -10 to plus 104 degrees.

 

Engine Oil

Use a good oil as specified. Use a highly detergent engine oil with SW, SF, or SG service ratings.

 

The Ducati Factory used Shell Advance Ultra 4 as stated in my service manual with this bike back in 2000 but it's not available in the USA as far as I know.

 

A lot of Ducati guys use Motol Oil but it's expensive, then again ..... nothings to expensive for these guys "baby". :grin:

 

NOTE : TelL him to pull the pre-filter mesh screen, located above the oil filter on the right side of the engine case, every time he changes the oil. This screen collects any metal pieces that are floating in the oil before it gets into the oil filter. If he sees any chrome little pieces in it, they are from the hard chrome used on the rocker arm and he'll know that the rockers will need to be replaced down the line.

This is one big weakness of this motor. Aftermarket rebuilt rockers are the way to go instead of putting in Ducati replacements that will fail again in time.

 

Here's one write up about the rockers and engine maintenance for these bikes.

 

MBP usually has rebuilt rockers on in stock as an exchange and they also make a nice valve collet system that allows you to not have to check the valve clearance as often. A lot of racers use this system on their bikes, but the process is again expensive to do.

 

 

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SWB

Thanks a lot. I'll pass this on to my son.

 

Scott

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Koop
From the other post.. No way can a BMW opposed twin boxer ever sound like a Ducati.. There is just such a sweet sound produced by a 90° L-twin engine with proper Termignoni exhaust system.. Even with a decent (exotic) exhaust system the BMW boxer kind of sounds like farting under water.. The Duc has more of a deep growl as it has a quick 90° fire/fire then a long down period of rotation before fire/fire again.. A Ducati doesn’t need to be loud to sound real good.. The power pulses are spaced just right to complement each other.. Just add in a rattley clutch & it’s perfect..

 

I would strongly suggest you not ride his bike.. It’s like the flu,, real easy to catch the Duc bug with just one ride..

 

 

Twisty

 

The firing interval is actually 270/450 degrees.

 

You know what they say "Loud clutches save lives".

 

My 848 has a wet clutch, but the full Termignoni exhaust system is pure music to my ears.

 

I use Amsoil MCV 20w50 in it. Same as my R1200RT.

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bimmers

Interesting read. My sons 800 MOnster became my responsibility when he left for work IN SF.

Since it now gets hardly any more miles than just to keep it warm and battery charged, ie a few hundred a year but evenly spread over the year I do not do anything except try to get the fuel "changed" through riding.

Next service is in a couple of thousand miles per book but I will take it in soon. Would not even try to attempt the valve adjustment even if I am technically adept and even a mech engr at masters level. The Hexheads are too simple but the japs are of course wonderful in them not requiring any valve stuff at all.

 

The Duc sound and torque is just fabulous, need to pull it out tomorrow for a ride.

h

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oiasghar

Its Italian; only the finest Olive Oil will do :rofl:

 

I have been using Mobil 1 20/50 and Shell RotellaT 5/40 (mostly) for the 21K in the Multi. So far no issues. I go the full 6K between oil changes. It did get the Motul when the it was serviced by the dealer.

Edited by oiasghar

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