Monday, January 26, 2015

Ducati F1 Barnfind......No, Not Really!!!

This is sort of a barnfind in that I remembered that I had this old beast in the back of my garage. As you can see from the wires hanging down everywhere I am in the process of re-wiring this Italian masterpiece.

Actually the wiring is not so masterful. By the time I bought the bike in the late 90's the wiring had been pretty seriously bodged (as my English friends say). Several years ago, the bike simply stopped starting. I was forced to confront the reality of Italian electrics. Mapping the human genome was probably easier. First consider the resources. I have yet to see two identical wiring diagrams for this motorcycle. Interestingly enough, none of the diagrams that I have seen correspond to the actual wires and plugs on this bike. It has been a challenge.

I was forced to undertake this wiring project because the bike simply stopped starting about ten years ago. This problem was quickly traced to the wires running from the ignition sensors to the ECU's. These sensors and the wires were provided by Bosch. To my eye they were designed to be used in a dry environment. The wires themselves were fabric covered and relatively thin. In this bike they are required to run in very hot oil. Nothing good can come of this arrangement. Replacement wires are available but the sensors themselves are not presently available from any source. So I am left soldering and hoping that everything will workout.

While figuring out the ignition problems, I discovered that the wires leading from the alternator were grounding on the more problem to fix. Then my Ducati bretheren pointed out to me the benefits of a relay in the ignition/starting another project was initiated. Then one day, I took a good look at the fuse box.  One more thing to fix. Then, after changing the battery cables on my Monster another project was laid on. BTW, if you have a Ducati, you really need to change the battery cables. You will find that your bike is massively easier to start.

Below is a picture of the bike with the seat in place. I just rested it there for this picture. Below the seat is where the new wiring and fusebox are located. The bike is complete. It is just waiting for me to get back to work on it. Maybe after the Elsinore is up and running. As I mentioned in my last post, I can't wait to irritate my neighbors with the beautiful sounds of the Elsinore. Maybe after that experience they will better appreciate the sounds of the F1. To me this bike sounds like something from NASCAR.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Back on November 12, 2014 I bought a 1976 Honda CR 250M. This was the less exotic CR for that year. Points ignition (as opposed to the CDI unit on the CR 250R) and significantly less travel front and rear. It is still sitting in San Diego waiting to come down to me.

Anticipation (see Carly Simon for a musical explanation...) whether sexual or financial or mechanical or some childhood fantasy about Santa Claus can be very exciting....up to a point. I have reached that point with this bike. I am ready to move on.

As you can see above I am as prepared as I can be. A new set of Maxxis tires, a complete gasket set (which I sincerely hope I will not have to use), stainless steel nuts and bolts, a new manual, plugs and points, a set of carburetor gaskets and a couple of sets of head gaskets and base gaskets. I know I will have to take a look at the carburetor and the piston and possibly replace the rings. Sprockets and a chain will have to wait until I see what the gearing should be for my application.

Below is a picture of the bike that I bought...for $1200. The wheels appear to be round. The tank looks to be in very good shape. The expansion chamber looks almost perfect. The muffler is in place. The seat looks good. In short, it is ready for me to put it back on the road. I can't wait to irritate my neighbors.

The problem is that the Mexican agency responsible for import and export matters (Aduana) periodically goes through a convulsion prompted by its especially abusive practices. New agents are brought in from Mexico City...reforms are promised...certain agents are removed or just reprimanded. All of this slows down the practices and procedures at the border. My freight forwarder guys have told me that they need to wait until certain agents are replaced or until certain agents come back on duty before they present this bike for importation. I am waiting and getting ever so slightly irritated and anxious. The workshop is and parts are organized...all I need is a new project. I'm hoping for the best.