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2003 Ducati ST4s ABS: 27,000mi update

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2003 Ducati ST4s ABS ABS: 27k Update

This update originally posted to the Ducati ST2_owners Yahoo Group on 09-Jul-2004. Original message.

this past week my ST4s was in for a major service at 27,000mi. it had been 11k (8 months) since the last service. only one valve was out of spec. one rocker was flaking -- not the same one as the valve. that rocker -- a closer -- was something to look at. the flaking was nowhere near the contact point. it was on the face, but right up at the edge along the side. it was quite obviously visible. sorry, didn't have my camera so no pics.

steering head bearings:

over the past few months, i'd noticed that the bike wasn't handling quite right. i wasn't sure even how to describe it, but when i was in a couple weeks ago to have a new front tire put on, eric gave it a test ride and said that he thought the steering head bearings were in bad shape -- "dry", he described it. so at the service, he pulled them out, and sure enough, they were not happy campers. the upper "seal" doesn't really fit closely enough to seal, so water and dirt can leak in. the bottom is sealed fairly well, though -- so water and dirt get in and mix with the grease around the bearings, resulting in the bearings moving in what looks and feels just like mud! the upper bearings weren't nearly as bad, but weren't good either. two new bearings were $48 each, and the bike handles like it's supposed to again!

if, like me, you ride your bike in the rain, you might want to consider checking and if neccessary replacing the bearings as your milage mounts.

external fuel filter:

the fuel filter had a lot of cruft in it, and was holding some back pressure. i've made a note to replace it in 6k, as recommended by ducati. the bike still ran just fine after 11k, but i suspect the fuel pump was working harder than needed. in good news, the filter showed no ill effects from spending the past 11k outside the tank, in the V of the engine.

ABS brakes:

the rear brake had gone very squishy and didn't exert much force. a mighty effort to bleed it didn't fix it! eric got on the phone to the regional service rep, while susie and chris checked to see if a service manual for ABS models had been released yet. (it has. $150, ouch!i'll buy my copy when i get a job again... :) eric learned that the ABS system could be treated as a normal system for bleeding purposes, but that air could get trapped up in the fittings at the ABS module under the seat. after a brief discussion with bruce, they carefully cracked loose the hoses from the ABS module (treating them like bleeder bolts, sorta). a blurp of air and some brake fluid leaked out as soon as the bolts were loosened; they tightened them back up right away. repeated for each of them, front and rear, and the brakes are now very, very happy.

my front brakes have been slightly spongy ever since new. functional, but feel suffered. now for the first time, they're very hard and strong with good feel! if your ABS model bike has spongy brakes, have your dealer bleed them at the ABS module as well as at the usual points. (or do it yourself -- looks like it really will help to have a friend to help.)

all in all, not bad! BCM declared the engine good for at least another 10-12k. :)

©2004 Robert Mohns

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