Friday, August 22, 2014

Multistradas and dirt...

I'm not going to get into whether the MTS1200 is a real "ADV" bike or not.  Each owner will use it as they see fit.  I would like to address a couple of points that should be given some thought if you do use your bike off-road.

First are the timing belt covers.  Ducati actually puts a foam filter in the front belt cover, apparently to prevent dirt ingress.

This is a sensible approach since dirt or other debris in the timing belts can never be considered a good thing.  Unfortunately the effort is for nothing because the rear belt covers do not even meet.
Take a look at the gap between the upper and lower halves of the rear belt cover.  So much for that idea.

Next up is a lesson in how not to design an airbox.  The air filter is a trapezoidal tube, open at each end.  It is constructed of pleated paper and has rubber gasket ends.  The left end sits up against the inside of the airbox and the right end is captured by the airbox snorkel.  The seal at both ends depends solely upon the compression of the rubber seals.  Here is where the problem arises, what do you think happens when that filter retainer is tightened down upon the PAPER filter.  Well, what happens is that the entire filter compresses thereby allowing leakage past the end seals.  Here are some photos of the "clean" side of the airbox.

In the second photo you will notice a few things.  First is that there is no register or shoulder to positively locate the filter element.  Second is the paths of dirt that have leaked past the filter seal.  Third is the homemade "improvement" via a soldering iron.  This is apparently a popular modification on internet forums, along with removing the external air supply to the airbox.  While I've not flowbench tested a modified vs. stock MTS 1200 airbox, I'm pretty sure that that sharp-edged ragged hole has succeeded in nothing beyond destroying the airbox's rigidity and therefore its designed-in resonance.  Removing the duct that channels cool outside air to the airbox certainly is not a way to increased airflow since the now cut-off snorkel is sharp-edged, and airflow does not like sharp edges.  But who am I to argue with internet experts.
I have compared a number of popular "free HP" airbox modifications for other bikes that are popular on the net.  Rarely do they work as touted.  One example is removing the rubber inlet snorkel from the airbox on the Aprilia Caponord.  This results in a sizeable DECREASE in airflow due to the fact that the airflow is encountering a sharp-edged hole and becoming choked by turbulence.  Many armchair horsepower junkies believe that airflow behaves intuitively, IT DOES NOT.  Unless studying airflow is your hobby and you have pretty good grasp on fluid dynamics and the effects of Helmholtz resonance, you should probably rethink cutting, drilling, sawing or otherwise mutilating your airbox.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DIY Special for September

Here's a deal for all of you guys who like to change your own oil.

For the month of September, buy a Ducati OEM oil filter for $15.95 and get your service reminder reset for an additional $15.00!

Don't use an oil filter of inferior internal construction just to save a couple of bucks, this is false economy.  Your premium machine deserves the filter that was designed for it specifically.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Multistrada 1200 Major Service

This MTS1200 is in for its 30k service, belts, valve adjustment, etc.  Once you excavate your way to the engine the service procedure is the same as for any Testastretta so I won't go into exhaustive detail regarding those items that are common to all 4V Ducatis.  There are a few items that I will point out, some that are unique to the Multistrada.

First is the sheer number of fasteners that must be removed to facilitate servicing.
Second is the cramped quarters while servicing the rear cylinder head.  This area is much more accessible in the Superbike chassis.

On the other hand, the MTS chassis does offer much more room to work on the front cylinder thanks to the taller suspension and the high-mounted oil-cooler.

Here is some advice for those owners who like to change their own oil and filters.  If you install the drainplug so tightly that this happens when removing it, then you're overtightening it.  Buy a good torque wrench and use it.  The same rule applies to the filter, if it takes an extension on the filter wrench (it did) and collapsing the filter body (also, yes) to loosen the filter, then you overtightened it.
If you're paranoid about losing an oil filter, then simply put an ordinary hose clamp on the filter body and orient it so that it prevents the filter from unscrewing.  Do NOT use one of those aftermarket billet filter clamps.  Their design does not allow for uniform clamping pressure around the filter body.  They will actually crush the body AND be loose at the same time.  Just use a hose clamp.

Now let's talk about an aftermarket item that actually does what it says it will do.  Whether or not this is actually beneficial is another story.  FatDuc O2 sensor signal manipulators intercept the oxygen sensors' signal and send a modified signal to the ECU, causing the bike to run richer than stock in the closed-loop portion of the mapping.
As can be seen by looking at these plugs, the fueling is quite rich.