Ducati Singles Tips

From Phil at Road and Race in Australia:


the only singles that will start without a battery are the magneto models -
easy to ID by the 3 wires coming out of lh case red,white,yellow. make sure
you cut back a bit of the rubber cover to id colours as time can make them
all look the same. for 150 that makes them 64-65 models. ALL square style
models had alternator so need battery. all early wiiring diagrams are in
the factory manual which was copied by clymer.

SINGLES FORK OIL - all use 10w as starting point

31.5 forks 110cc
35mm marz 210
35mm ceriani 170

A good engine rebuilding and running tip from Godfrey:

According to Mick Walker, Steve Eke and various others I've spoken with over the years who know these motors well, *any* ducati single with an unknown history at this point should be stripped and the crankshaft disassembled to allow the sludge traps to be fully cleaned out and the conrod bearing rollers examined one by one. The surface hardening on the rollers becomes pitted with time and even though the rod has the nominal slop in its movement the bearings have become ready to expire. They should be examined and replaced if suspect.

Much of the 'bad rod bearing' myth of Ducati singles in the US (in particular) is due to the way US folks tended to ride them. These motors have rather primitive lubrication systems and don't get a lot of lubricant to the rod bearing when not revved properly. US riders tended to plonk around on them at less than 3500 rpm where they were beating up the rod bearings through under-lubrication (never mind other impact overloadings). This is why the Ducati singles always seemed to be more reliable when raced than when ridden on the street every day... the engines on the track were run at high rpm more of the time and the rod bearing got proper lubrication.

Once the crankshaft is reassembled with clean sludge traps and good bearings, the rule is to change the oil, rev the motor, change the oil and keep good records on it. When in doubt, change the oil. 600-800 miles between changes is considered normal maintenance. The goal is to never let the oil get dirty, thus never letting sludge to build up. Godfrey

A couple good tips from Nick Voge:

The flywheels of the magneto ignitions can lose their magnetisim over the years. A friend of mine in California has the equipment necessary to both check and remagnetise the flywheels. There is no woodruff key on the crankshaft to locate the flywheel, so be sure you note its position vis-a-vis TDC before you pull it off. If it doesn't go on in the right position the mag will be out of phase. On mine I also tossed the stock coil for a Japanese coil (AC) scrounged at a junkyard; it gives a much hotter spark. About shocks: The stock shocks are easily rebuilt, but if one has trouble finding stock seals, Suzuki part #09283-10004 (water pump seal) works very well if one machines out the aluminum seal holder to accept the slightly larger OD Suzuki seal. Needless to say, the Suzuki seal is of far higher quality. Fill the shock with as much ATF as they will hold (unless you can find out the factory recommended amount-I couldn't) and put it back together. I did the above to mine and they work fine. Also: Venolia can supply modern 3-piece oil rings. And: Magnetic drain plugs are also available in Europe (a very good idea to be ridden at all).

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