The Magic of a Left-Hand Drill

The other day I managed to remove a broken screw from a very expensive casting. Specifically, the engine casing of a Ducati motorcycle. But the job turned out to be a breeze using a backwards drill bit!

Extractor Kit with Left-Hand Drill Bits

A previous “mechanic” had broken one of four of the M6x16 sump cover bolts. Instead of removing the remnants they had globbed it over with RTV silicone for the another poor schmuck to deal with at the next oil change. A few minutes after discovering this I could fully understand why. Being at the lowest point on the engine, it’s not an easy feat to find room for a drill… and then drill into the screw while upside down. But disregarding this hurdle, I resolved to remove the broken screw and repair it properly.

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Zen and the Art of OBDII

My first Ducati was quite a learning experience. Out of the gate my head was swirling with new and strange stuff: keyless ignition, timing belts, desmodromic valves, and… the dreaded onboard diagnostics.

My laptop running MelcoDiag is connected to the Ducati.

Freeware software is available for DIY diagnostics and resets. Use these cables to connect to the Ducati onboard diagnostics. This applies to 2010 thru 2014 motorcycles – and possibly others?

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Desmo Demystified

Ducati is considered by many to be the Ferrari of motorcycles. The comparison is well deserved. In addition to a long racing history, Ducatis are a joy to ride, expensive, beautiful and a pain in the ass to work on.

A simple desmodromic valvetrain in action.

Let’s focus on that last one.

Synonymous with the name Ducati is the term “Desmo,” short for desmodromic. A desmo valvetrain does not rely on springs to close the intake and exhaust valves. A cam lobe opens the valve, and another cam lobe closes the valve. This design has been used on almost all Ducati motorcycles since 1968.

Make your desmo service easier with these recommended tools and helpful video.

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Cure for Sticky Calipers

Or An Ode to the Lowly Grease Gun

My latest project involves an Italian motorcycle from the Seventies (yes, apparently I do have too much time on my hands). It’s a 1978 Moto Guzzi V50 that I bought in relatively good condition with 14k miles. It’s very complete and pretty much unmolested– meaning the fenders haven’t been buzzed off or removed. Of course, it’s still over 40 years old so… well, there are issues.

Moto Guzzi V50
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