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Thread: 1992 888 SP4 winter rebuild project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default 1992 888 SP4 winter rebuild project

    Iím just going through a strip and rebuild of my recently purchased 888 SP4, It thought that I might keep a blog of the rebuild, to share with others contemplating something similar, this is the first I hope of many installments, and I promise to add some pics through the process, warning, itís a bit longwinded.
    24th November 2012
    When I purchased the bike the seller got it running briefly but seemed to have an intermittent fuel pump issue, one point about the 888 is you always know if the fuel pump isnít working when your tank isnít whining at the flick of the ignition switch. With a fresh battery on the pump whined away and I through we were good to go, but after only 30 seconds of running the SP fell silent.
    The main fuses were ok as the dash lights were on, I doubted it was a pump issue as the seller had fitted a new one recently. Then on cycling through the ignition the relays on the rear subframe clicked and the pump primed, then silence again. On checking the 2x15 amp fuses for the ECU relays under the seat, the connectors were dull with age and showing some corrosion, a quick clean with 400 wet and dry and a splash of WD40 and the 888 fired up a treat. So in the course of this rebuild Iím going to have to clean up all the electrical connections, whilst the bike runs fine now I donít want to be stranded at the side of the road next summer with an aging electrical connection, another job to add to the list.
    So with the bike running I reveled in the dry clutch clatter and twin pipe boom, how these bikes passed a noise test is beyond me, Mr Castiglioni obviously knew how to appease homologation testers!.
    I love the sound, it feels like hands grenade going off on every firing beat, and that analogy soon triggered me to flick the kill switch, 20yr of timing belts could be a recipe for my engine grenading itself in spectacular fashion.
    Whilst the bike hasnít done many miles (or kmís on the clock), it was pretty grubby, the engine covers showed some oil sweating around the mating surfaces, and it had a film of road crud. With only 2,100 kmís I suspect the oil could be from the initial assembly that was never washed off by the first owner.
    A quick spray of degreaser and some paintbrush handiwork and it was ready for a rinse and wash, I really wanted to get it done this weekend as the temperature here plummets over the next few weeks, so I am sure my neighbors questioned my sanity washing a motorcycle on my drive when the was 28 degrees F outside. Suffice to say the wash was a quick one, with the water beginning to freeze on the bike!, following that I started it up and let it idle to temp to dry it off. It was painful (literally) to wash a bike when itís freezing, but the benefit of stripping a clean bike in the coming months will be well worth it.
    Back in the workshop and I blew over the bike with an airline to dry it off, I also unbolted the front calipers and ensured the discs were dry, be careful when storing a bike after a wash that you donít have wet pads rusting onto discs giving you a pulsing brake come next summer.
    After giving the bike a more detailed once over, it looks promising. There isnít any damage other than surface corrosion, I think I am going to order a home plating kit to re-finish all the bolts & brackets. The engine covers need a lick of paint and the rest of the bike just needs a strip and clean. At the moment the toughest job on my mind is how to re-finish the crank cases, the lacquer has lifted in places and shows some corrosion. This isnít a show winning concurs build so stripping the engine for blasting and re-painting is out of the question. I hope I can clean it up and re-paint locally where needed.
    So thatís about it for the first weekend, it runs, itís a bit cleaner, I have a growing list of parts needed for the rebuild, and I am looking forward to getting it back on the road.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default

    Nice little write up Ross,
    I'm sure the forum members will enjoy following this thread, please keep it coming.
    Anything you find that you need (inc' info) ask on this forum 1st as someone's bound to either have it or will know where to find it.
    The bikes passed the noise test because there's a BIG dip in the power at 5K, which for some reason is at just the revs that the EU noise tests were taken...
    I wonder why that coincidence happened?
    When the bikes were new (when they were tested) the clutch would have made hardly any noise, they get louder with wear/use, as do the cans when the packing starts to get shot/blown out of the tail pipes.

    Re-packed cans are quieter and make more power than noisy well used cans...FACT!
    2nd fact the SP's and Corse's will rev well past 10K to achieve their peak power, it's not a good idea to do this too often as the crankcases are prone to cracking/giving up the ghost.
    The last SP5's/926cc Corse's had stronger crankcases to overcome this problem.

    Steve R

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Timing belt question

    Question to the wise ones, looking online for the 888 timing belt part numbers (from the 888 parts list we have here on the site), the belts are real cheap at under $20 each, yet a quick look at a 748/996 belt is around $80.
    Why the difference, are they not the same belt?,
    Iím concerned that the 888 beltís that dealers have under the original part no. will be old stock and obviously a risky buy.
    Why do you guys do for belts?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Cornwall S.W. England
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    Hi Ross,

    Any late model 748, 916 anb 996 belt will fit apart from the ST4/ST4S and 748E or R.
    Early 851/888 belts had white writing on them, later belts with red writing are strengthened with Kevlar so they're stronger/cost more.
    Renault Clio belts also do the job and are pennies compared with Ducati prices, they're EXACTLY the same as the OEM belts on the early 851/888's which were fitted to the SP4's.

    Don't buy old stock that's been hanging around for years, as it could all end in tears.

    Steve R

  5. #5
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    Are the 888 white & later red lettered belts different part numbers do you know?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by d6lc View Post
    Are the 888 white & later red lettered belts different part numbers do you know?
    Yes but I don't know what the numbers are, as I've said the 748, 916 and 996 belts with the red lettering are the same part just later and Kevlar reinforced.
    Don't bother asking for 851/888 belts.

    Steve R

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Part number 73710031A, Ducati OEM Timing Belt: 748 / 916 / 996 / 888 / 851
    Bill

  8. #8
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    Default

    Sorry to say that due to a fair amount of travel for work and a few other projects I havenít gotten around to restoring my SP4 during these cold months.
    So the plan is to get it rideable and have a few miles on it this summer (probably 500-1,000 at best), then do more of the in depth work on it next winter.
    So itís a 1,300 mile 21 yr old which has been stored for a long time, so plan to undertake the following to get it running
    Oil & Filter
    Fuel filter
    Brake & Clutch flush
    Tires
    Air filter & Plugs
    Replace hoses & Clips, flush coolant
    Belts
    All relatively simple, have I missed anything? When doing belts are there any other parts that need to be replaced?
    Cheers Ross

  9. #9
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    I always use new locknuts and Loctite them on the tensioner wheels for the cam belts.

    Steve R

  10. #10
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    Jun 2007
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    Just make sure you check the belt rollers for bearing issues. The bearings are cheap and held in with a spring clip.
    Griff
    To infinity and.......

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