The Paso Project - Page 7

Jan 29, 2007

Everytime I turn around on this bike, I'm finding something else wrong....or a delay on parts....or a delay on service...or....

I was hesitant to tear the forks apart without receiving my seals and dust boots that I'd ordered from Ducati, so I started calling around. I'd been waiting on these items for five weeks, and was given the go-ahead by the dealer to just buy them elsewhere. If I could get them, they'd just put the parts I ordered into their inventory. Several calls, and asking businesses and friends about these items, and I got lucky.

Turns out, one friend (Rick) who owns a bike shop had three OEM Marzocchi seals. He had ordered them for an 80's KTM dirtbike that he repaired a few years ago and still had them sitting around. I got a really nice deal from him and was then on a search for the dust boots.....which, as always seems to be the case, ProItalia had on their shelves. Now that I had these items in my hands or definitely on their way, I set out to tear the forks apart for inspection and rebuilding.

Since it needed repair, I disassembled the left fork, so I could get the slider's caliper mounting-lug welded. When I removed the dust boot, there was a lot of rust on the washer that rests between the dust boot and the seal. I removed that to find that the retaining ring was pretty rusty, also. It must have been the cracks in the dust boot allowing water to get near the seal. From this point on, it wasn't too difficult to disassemble the fork.

[The left fork assembly disassembled for repair.]

I called a riding buddy who is a welder and had volunteered to weld it for me. He had it about two days before I got it back. He'd welded quite a bit onto the lug, so I had plenty to work with, and hopefully wouldn't need to have him reweld anything. The next work day, I carried the slider into work with me and used a couple of different files to contour and shape the lug. A quick trip to the local ACE Hardware for a $4 tap and I was heading home to mount the caliper, mark the lug, slap the slider in the drill press, and then drill and tap the lug. Putting the caliper back on the slider was a nice fit allowing me to finger-tighten the bolts completely. I was relieved that my slider issue had been solved.

[Picture showing the broken caliper mounting lug on the left fork slider.]

[The fork slider with the mounting lug welded.]

[The weld after careful manual shaping before drilling and taping. Lines show the spot where the hole needs to be drilled.]

[The repaired fork slider with correctly treaded hole.]

I cleaned all of the components for the fork and followed the Marzocchi repair manual that I had found online and printed to add to my Paso three-ring binder. The instructions were pretty straight-forward, but there is a bushing at the end of the tube, which is NOT on the original microfishe nor mentioned in the repair manual. I was having a difficult time getting this bushing past the seal, and I thought that it seemed odd to list the installation of the seals before putting the tube into the slider because of the risk of damage to the seal. I took the seal back out (hoping not to damage it in any way), and decided to slide it on after installing the tube. This worked out a LOT easier!

I used my wire-brush mounted on a bench grinder to clean the rust from the washer and retaining ring and painted the ring black and the washer gold as a rust preventative. I then grabbed the right fork and discovered that it, too, was more of the same with rust on the washer and retaining ring. Disassembly was really easy but I didn't remove the dampener system from the slider. Everything looked good, so I cleaned it up and reassembled it after cleaning and painting the washer and retaining ring.

[Disassembled right fork.]

[The two fork washers and one of the retaining rings after being cleaned of all rust and repainted.]

While messing with rebuilding the forks, my Internet searches and classified postings paid off. A fellow member at the Ducati Paso Forum - had a spare upper triple clamp laying around, and he sold it to me at a reasonable price. My next step was to address the steering stem bearings, and it was here that I ran into even more problems.

I removed the triple clamps and discovered that the bearings were shot. Closer inspection made it be known that the previous owner had the frame powder-coated with the bearing races still in the frame! They didn't even mask off the races nor remove the powder-coating after the job was done. This may explain why the bearings were so badly worn. Despite the powder-coated steering stem, the bearing races were quite easy to knock out. Now, it was time to find more steering bearings.

[The upper steering stem bearing race showing the extreme wear on it.]

I checked the code on the SKF bearings that I'd pulled out of the frame and discovered that the bearings are still available and not too expesnive. I picked up a pair of the SKF #32005-X/Q bearings for $17 each and had them shipped to my door. I'd placed the bearings in the freezer to try to make the installation a little easier and negligently put the cage/bearing section in there, also. When I took them out, the races were quite easy to install, but the cage section caused a lot of condensation to appear on them. To prevent any moisture from getting trapped in the bearings and potentially causing corrosion, I used a hair drier on them until they were dry...and a bit toasty.

I was now set to install the triple clamps and reassemble the front end on the bike. I grabbed all the other pieces and started putting it together. I realized something just wasn't looking correct.......there was no way to keep water and dirt from getting into the assembly. I referred to my parts schematic to realize that the inadequate o-rings that were installed by the previous owner weren't doing anything. Apparantly, he didn't reinstall the seals that are supposed to go there. To make matters worse, this is another odd-ball sized item and it had been discontinued. Now, I'm on a quest to locate some new seals, or I'll have to fabricate something.

Let's throw in another issue......While getting things prepared for reassembly of the front end, a few weeks ago, I took my front wheel and a new tire to Rick, who had the Marzocchi fork seals, to have the tire mounted. This is where we discovered that the front rim was bent....and it was bad enough to not want to install the new tire (this bent rim is probably more the reason why it wasn't holding air than just the fact that the tire was dry-rotted). I found a local guy to straighten the rim, and two weeks later I had it back.

One other side-track that I took was to remove the rear wheel and knock out the bearings, as I knew they were bad. They were quite difficult to get out, but I finally got them removed. Not much to my surprise, there was a LOT of rust in there and the bearings and spacer between them looked really bad. I priced the original size bearings (20mm ID x 42mm OD x 16mm wide), and they are an odd-size and quite expensive. I was quoted $33-$45 EACH!!! I did some research and found a much more common-sized bearing (20mm ID x 42mm OD x 12mm wide) with the same specifications as the 4mm wider bearings for about $8-$20 each. I'm going to use these and have Rick make some 4mm spacers for me, as he has a lathe. I can't think of any reason why these thinner bearings won't work, so I'll try it. I just can't bring myself to spend $200-$250 between wheel bearings and steering stem bearings when I only paid $900 for the whole bike and am trying to make this a budget "restoration".

[The wheel bearings from the rear wheel. Notice all the rust on the components. The bearing on the left shows the side that was facing outward after it was cleaned a little.]

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