19 November 2008 – Crash

I’ll keep this post plain and simple. I awoke at 0500 today to do a nice post to the blog. As soon as I hit the upload button, one of my WordPress Database Tables crashed. That took down the whole blog. I used my host providers on-board myphpadmin debug program to try to fix it, but it’s pretty messed up, and it won’t touch it. So, now I need an SQL programmer to debug it line by line. I’m hopeful that the content is still there. It’s just fried a little. In the meantime, I’ll use this temporary blog file to house the posts between now and then. My hosting company was nice, but it isn’t their database and they don’t understand WordPress. I don’t blame them. WordPress is an open-source program for blogs. It’s pretty robust, but obviously has some ISSUES.

No Ducati content today. I did have a nice writeup for today, but when the blog crashed, I lost all of today’s post. Thank you to the 20 people that emailed me that my blog was down. I worked from noon to 8:30 tonight at the University, so there was no time to attempt a fix. If need be, I’ll create a new wordpress database alongside the old one and run it as a redundancy. It takes a full night to create one of those from scratch though, and I’m short on time until after Turkey Day

The only thing I wanted to mention today is that I set a date for the grand opening of the Ark. Click HERE for a run down of the grand opening event.

To post comments, please use my message board and create a thread under “Daily Desmo Comments”

Thanks

19 November 2008 – The missing N

Mark has coordinated a long ride this Sunday. Supposedly, Bluto and Michael are trekking down by bike on Saturday. Looks like I need to do some coordinating.

Gregg’s ST4S service is complete except for the F/I tuning. I worked on it for a bit yesterday afternoon, but got caught up in DT admin stuff last night.

I’m struggling trying to take care of the household WITH everything else I have to do with my careers. It’s the little things that take time – laundry, feeding 6 cats – two of whom have to have moist catfood because of bad teeth, the paperwork for paying the utility bills, groceries, and the myriad of other things that we come to depend on in a relationship. Most of all, this big house is just plain lonely. I’m probably going to be taking on a roomie just to help out with things.

I got up this morning and began typing up the DD. Unfortunately, the “N” on my microsoft keyboard decided to quit. Try typing a sentence without using the letter N. It’s dam hard. It’s almost impossible to complete a whole setece without usin the letter N. See what I mean? I’ll add that my grocery list — a new keyboard. Fortunately, I have my trusty notebook to use in the meantime.

I received my blood test results in the mail yesterday. I was concerned after my last Army physical, which showed a cholesterol level of 225. Five years ago it was 185, and ten years ago it was 145. That isn’t a healthy trend. Because my brother has been on cholesterol medication for years, I figured that was my fate, but fate intervened. Combine stratospheric stress levels with an agressive fitness regimen and you end up with weight loss. I’ve also been trying to watch what I eat in an attempt to lower my cholesterol level. It worked. My latest results are a total cholesterol of 149, with an HDL of 47 and an LDL of 90. My HDL is a little low, but I think I can tweak that with diet as well. The upside is no medication needed, at least for now. Time for a cheeseburger!

Today I have errands in the morning and the long trek to the branch campus later today. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my favorite days of the week, but teaching back-to-back night classes tends to chew up nights. I’m just glad that I don’t work night shift. Been there, done that.

Mid to upper 60s for a high this week in the panhandle. The long range forecast is for more of the same for the weekend. It should be good weather for the ride.

Enjoy your Tue.

15.5 November 2008- Me, new brake rotors, and LT (by Mark)

0800 – After a minor mis-communication with LT this morning, we met for breakfast at What-A-Burger.  The food was just that and LT came bearing gifts.  My new set of Braketech cast iron full floating rotors and new pads for my ST4S.  Woo hoo!  I had already prepped the bike before leaving for breakfast so upon arrival back home, installation was a 10 minute job.  They look super and I’ll have LT post up some pics later.  The discs are black and look bad-ass with hard anodized black carriers and red buttons.  The ST and I will enjoy them pulling us down from speed with smooth, quick efficiency.  I had already installed the new clutch pack after last weekend’s clutch fry during the ride.  I’m sure LT will post pics of that too.  They all get a full workout on tomorrow’s ride followed by the ST getting pulled in to LT’s for a long overdue service.

1230 – More info.  They arrive individually packaged…one left and one right and weighed in at 2 lbs 11 ozs each.  I haven’t weighed the stockers yet.  The rotors themselves are sealed after production with some sort of protective black paint.  The installation instructions say that after installing the rotors, run them for a handful of laps with the old brake pads to remove the protective “paint” and prevent contaminating the new pads.  I did that an hour or so ago.  Now the rotors look a sort of “gun metal” dirty color where the pads are applied.  I like the appearance.  Something different from good old stainless steel.  I’ll bed in the new pads on tomorrows ride as I just finished installing them.  No doubt, like the rest of the bike, the new stuff is designed to handle more than I can throw at it on the street.  Nothing wrong with that.

:)

15 November 2008 – Me, 6 cats and a slew of motorcycles

Today I had breakfast with Gregg, Tom and Mark at our local hangout. Afterwards, Gregg headed back to South FL with his new-to-him DT 900ss in tow. I spent the rest of the day grading papers, submitting 3 articles to MCN, and beginning the service on Gregg’s ST4S. Gee, I didn’t miss working on 4-valvers. Too much damn work getting to the valves. I spent my Friday night draining the coolant and exposing the valves, then fed the cats that continue to stare at me 24/7 for food. I topped off the night with a pizza from dominos and a bit of tv before falling asleep. Wait a minute, it’s still Friday night, so I’m not asleep after all.

It turned unseasonably hot and muggy this week in Pensacola. More of those days when I open the garage door and a wave of moist air turns the floor instantly wet. Bloody swamp.

New product for the month: Nice vent hose/valve for the old 851/888 and 750/900ss series of the early 90s to replace the black hose and thingy sticking out the top of the gas tank. $9. Should fit the budget of a few at least.

I’ve stopped listening to any news reports on the economy. It was either that or start taking anti-depressants from the gloom-and-doom reports on every front. Why can’t they report on cheery news, like how cheap gas is, or how cool the Ducati Streetfighter will be, or that I’m really not a loser even though I’m alone on a Friday night with 6 cats and a slew of motorcycles.  

14 November 2008 – Last Dance with the SS

The last shot I may ever take of my venerable ’92 900ss. I consider it a work of art and a labor of love. For a list of mods to this bikes, see the BIKE OF THE QUARTER section of the website.

Gregg Kirby completed his drive down from NY today to pick up my SS. I was tardy in my prep, so while he was here I gave the bike the once over and changed the oil. After 9 years of ownership, it’s leaving my stable. I’ve spent more time on the SS than probably any other of my Ducatis except for possibly my ’96 M900.  It’s going to a good home, so I’m not too sad. Gregg takes care of his rides.

After I finished tweaking the SS, I asked Gregg if he minded helping me clean all the dust off the bikes in the Ark. We went at them with cleaner and clean rags. By the time Gregg had cleaned off 2 bikes, I had finished the rest of them. Needless to say, he was being a bit more meticulous.

 You never know what I’ll have a person do if I catch them lingering around the establishment. That’s Gregg in action.

Tomorrow I’ll start working on Gregg’s ST4s, and this weekend Mark’s ST4S. They will be the first full services I’ve performed since late Spring. Am I excited? No, but I’m not depressed this time around and don’t feel stressed out to complete the bikes in a limited amount of time. I’ll probably do a few bikes each month through the winter. I’d rather put out quality than quantity. After all, the endeavor is supposed to be enjoyable. It if isn’t, I can do plenty of other less painful things for the same amount of money, I think!

Enjoy your Fr.

12 November 2008- Friggin’ new guys (by Mark)

So I get my Geico insurance renewal paperwork in the mail the other day.  I open it and discover an increase.  What the heck?  I only insure my bikes for liability and comprehensive and being a “no incident” kind of guy, my rates for both the ST4S and 999 were a paultry $101 per year.  My renewal paperwork has the cost now at $126 per year.  What the hell?  I know it’s not much dollars wise but percentage wise it’s huge!  Prior to paying for the renewal I called Geico for an explination as I am incident free and have additional discounts for a motorcycle safety course and multi-bike.  The agent had to go get an explanation from her supervisor as well because she too was baffled.  Here it is…

“Because of a change in the Ducati demographic and claims during the past year all Ducatis were reassessed and given new risk levels which resulted in higher premiums. “

Friggin’ new guys on their damn 848/1098s I guarantee you!  I appologize for the cuss words, but I’m pissed.  I guess this is just another “redistribution of the wealth” program.  Hey new guys, quit buying bikes you can’t really afford or handle!  I guess this is just another cost the success our beloved Ducati has had over the last couple of years. While on the phone I did find that I could fully insure a new Streetfighter for about $650 a year.  Still not too bad…I guess.

11 November 2008 – Shagged out

 

I worked yesterday afternoon, night and all day today to finish the woodwork on the 2nd floor of the Ark. The mission is complete, and I’m worn out. The only thing left to do in the whole building is to mount the shower doors. Unfortunately, I noticed the plastic on one of the doors was busted after removing the protective wrapping. Damn.. I’m mounting the door anyway and will try to get a replacement door in the next few weeks from the manufacturer. I don’t have any furniture to put on the 2nd floor of the Ark as yet. It needs a nice coffee table, and few futons so that my many friends can sleep over when they’re in town. What do you think? Would my motorcycle buddies rather stay in the guest room of the house, or sleep in an air-conditioned loft above a bunch of cool Ducatis?

On Thursday I’ll clean up inside the Ark, and organize my woodworking tools. My faithful Skillsaw took a dump last night after 10 years of faithful service. I purchased another one last night to finish the job cutting the angle pieces for the flooring today.

With the Ark now out of my hair, I should have time to work on the property and start thinking about working on bikes. I’ve neglected the property for the last 1.5 years. Yes, that’s how long it has taken me to complete the Ark and the outside renovation. In the meantime, the garage and house need paint inside and out, and the carpeting in the house looks like a runway thanks to Moe’s constant skid marks and my constant cleaning of them.  

No Ducati news to speak of. I have a few new products I’ll be stocking, but they’re minor items. I’m limping along in sales, and hoping things pick up after the New Year. I don’t want to bitch too much about sales, because things tend to get worse when I do. Call me superstitous.

Gorgeous weather this week in the panhandle. I do love Winters in Florida. :-)

Enjoy your Wed.  

10 November 2008 – Something in the Water

Hi LT,

My ’02 ST4s has the following, repeatable non-start condition: Cold start/fast idle lever activated, key on, fuel pump primes, push starter button, engine fires for 1/2 – 1 second and dies. Originally, when this sympton began to appear, the above cycle could be repeated at will by cycling the key off and repeating the above sequence. It has now deteriorated to the point where the engine will only predictably fire on the first attempt, then will only occasionly fire again when the sequence is repeated. Does this sound like the typical ST4s ECU failure?

My second question is, do you know any reason it would not be feasible, by acquiring the following serviceable components from an ST4, to retrofit an ST4s to a 1.6M ECU:

1) “headlight” harness and main harness

2) 1.6M ECU and ST4 eprom

3) parts manuals show a pressure sensor (552.4.002.1A) for the ST4, which is not

shown for the ST4s

4) Air temp sensor is different p/n

5) Crank position sensor is differnent p/n

6) De-activation of the immobilizer system – Do you know of any complications of doing this?

Thanks,

K.W.

Wichita, KS

KW,

There must be something in the water, because I’ve been getting a few emails about this in the past month. Yes, it sounds to me like the chronic symptoms of a failed/failing ECU. I’ve heard of them having those symptoms within 1000 miles of the bike being new.

I’ve never heard of anybody doing a retrofit to the 1.6 ECU, but it is intriguing. I don’t know if it’s worth the time and effort, but I’m all about giving it the try. Bill G. sent me this link of a company in the UK that repairs ECUs

http://www.ecumanager.com/index_eng.html

There is also a guy who makes his own ECU (my ecu), but it isn’t for the 5.9 variant on the ST4S. Then there’s the FIM ecu out of australia, but you need a dyno and it must be fiddled with ($1000). To replace the wire harness isn’t for the faint of heart. We’re talking a long ass day just to replace that. If time isn’t money to you, I say go for it, but if you value your sanity, I’d stay away. If you are planning on keeping the ST for many more years, I’d save up for a replacement ECU, put it in but don’t red key it, and send your old one off to be repaired. If the repair works, pop it back in and sell the new stock one on a message board for what you paid for it.

9 November 2008 – The long way home

I’m just back from our Sunday ride and my ears are still ringing. The MV has to be the coolest bike I’ve ever ridden. I’ve always preferred the sound of a twin over an inline four, but the MV is like no inline four I’ve ever ridden or heard. After riding in for a few hours, my ears are ringing, even after wearing ear plugs. The only deficiencies the bike has are 1 – its weight, 2 – its fuel range, and 3 – engine heat. The first weakness goes away in the twisties. While the bike is heavy by modern sportbike standards, it is very stable. It isn’t as flickable at the 1098, but it holds a line better. The range of the MV is only 130-140 miles. I’m guessing I get a little over 30 mpg on it. That ain’t good, but I don’t ride it very often so it’s no big deal. The third deficiency causes me to look for routes that stay away from traffic. The MV runs hot. Sit at a red light for more than a few seconds, and the temp spikes over 200. Sit there for over a minute and it’s at 220. I took a long way back with Brad to stay away from the traffic. The high performance fans and manual fan switch help, but I really need to replace the impeller with an aftermarket one I have on the shelf. It’s another need-to-do by no-time thing.

We had a good turnout for today’s ride. Three of Brad’s friends on Gold Wings showed up. I know what you’re thinking – Gold Wings? Well, two of them have had the suspension worked on to corner like a sportbike. What they lack in cornering clearance the owners just grind off. We also had a SV650, a Tuono, Mark’s ST4S and Brad’s Ulysses. There was one mishap on the way back. The tight right on the way back that collects so many people claimed another victim, but it was a low speed affair. No injuries, and no scrapes on the rider. The Tuono will need a bit of TLC.

Above: Maybe one day I’ll pick a new spot to take a group shot. Call me lazy, and more anxious to ride than shoot pictures.  

I didn’t get to top-end the F4. I simply ran out of road and the ability to hold on. The bike is far better than me, and it’s a keeper. Not only is it one of the coolest bikes ever made, it is a blast to ride. Maybe one day I’ll learn to sling it around instead of pussy-footing it around blind corners. Of course, maybe that’s a good thing. To think that my 1000R has been usurped by the 312RR is staggering. We need more power than 170 ponies at the crank? I guess too much is never enough.

Time to clean off some bugs and park the MV in line again until its next romp through Blackwater after the new year.  I also need to swallow a BC powder for the wha, wha, wha, wha cacophony of the MV pipes ringing in my ears.

Enjoy your Sun.

9.5 November 2008 – Progress and an MV

 

This morning Mark came over and we went to Home Depot and Lowes to check out another brand of flooring. I decided on another snap lock variant, laminate bamboo. It isn’t as nice as the full thickness bamboo, but it looked easier to install. Mark and I test fit a few pieces in the store and decided it was doable. 5 hours later we had over 1/2 of the floor completed. We worked until we ran out of underlayment. My measurements were fine, but my memory sucks. I was short 150 sq ft of underlayment and flooring. Oh well.

After Mark headed back home I cleaned up the MV for the local ride tomorrow. Man was it dusty. I can’t even remember the last time I rode the bike, but I’m guessing it was April. Everything seems to be in order, so I’ll suiting up early with my electric vest. Overnight lows in the panhandle will be the upper 40s. Not too shabby.

Enjoy your Sun.