September 8, 2007
As usual, other bike projects have been stealing time away from the Paso. I'm done with the 748's 12k service, but I also had to do a belt adjust on the ST2 and did some work to other vehicles. I have been itching to try to start the Paso for the last few weeks, but every time I was getting closer to it, something else took my time away from it. I did find a little bit of time to tinker with it on occasion, though.
For starters, I had to reinstall the exhaust system. I had the hardest time trying to get the vertical cylinder's header pipe in the bike and eventually had to just unbolt the rear shock and slide the shock out of my way. After aligning all of the exhaust components, I tightened everything down and then moved on to finishing the fuel line.
I wasn't sure how I wanted to route it, so I'd been hesitant to run the fuel line. I had already installed about two feet worth of line and added an inline fuel shutoff that mounts under the headlight, but I didn't know how I wanted to permanently route the hoses. I did know that I wanted to install an inline fuel filter be fore the pump, but there was limited space there. A small filter from Walmart proved to be a nice fit. Eventually, I decided to run the feed line along the left side of the headlight frame with a "T" before the shut-off valve. The "T" gave me a return line to the tank. This location for the return line would prevent me from burning up the fuel pump if I accidentally forgot to turn on the valve. I ran this return line straight down the center of the bike, between the fork legs, and over to the right side of the bike to the return port on the tank. The line after the shut-off valve goes down the right side of the headlight frame where it T's off to each carb. A cross-over line is run between the two carbs, as the dual inlet fittings of the Dellortos allow this. Here is a drawing that I show the routing that I decided on.
Another thing I had to address was the rear of the bike. I had removed the tail-light assembly to get to the grab handle because the chrome was flaking from it. I sandblasted all the chrome off of it and hit with with a few coats of primer and then some black paint. It came out nicely, and I let it cure for a few weeks. I wanted to get this assembly cleaned, inspected, and reinstalled, so I wouldn't lose any parts. It was previously reassembled with several bolts missing, so I had to replace several of the bolts. I also used black silicone rubber to fill in the two holes that were crudely drilled for the Euro-light conversion that a previous owner had done (this puts the turn signals on either side of the tail light, inside the taillight housing). I think the tail section came out looking pretty good, and I believe it will look better with the black grab handle than the chrome one. It was also at this time I was able to replace the seat lock/latch that I bought a year ago, as the key for the original one was lost.
Now that I had the exhaust back on the bike, the fuel line completely run, and the rear section of the bike off the floor and reinstalled I just had to do a few gross adjustments to the carbs and hook the tank up. With Vicki's assistance, it took about 30 minutes to get to where I could put some fuel to it and see if the Paso would start. I was anxiously wanting to do this, but also dreading it at the same time. I have little knowledge of the condition of the engine, and I was expecting there to be at least one fuel leak, if not from anything other than from one of the float bowls. I was expecting this because one of the float assemblies was badly twisted and was hitting the carb body when I went to set the float level. It took some gentle rebending of the float to make it work correctly...
I bought a couple gallons of fresh gas, poured about a gallon into the tank, and left the shut-off valve closed as I turned the ignition to the "ON" position. I heard the sound of the fuel pump change as the gas went through it, then I heard the gas recirculating into the tank. At this point, I opened the shut-off valve to the carbs and fully expected to see some fuel leaking. Surprisingly, after a few seconds, there was no leaking, so I only had one thing left to do......hit the starter button.
I reached over and hit the starter. The bike turned over very easily with the donated battery from the 748. The engine hasn't been turned over in more than nine months: not since I did the wiring upgrade, timing belt change, and valve adjustment. At about the 6th rotation of the engine, I slightly cracked the throttle and the bike fired right up! It idled at 1400 rpm for a few secdonds then climbed to stabilize at 3000 rpm. This was not surprising, as I had no idea how high to set the slides initially. I blipped the throttle a couple of times and the bike sounded good....really good with those Cobra F1s slip-ons. It was very responsive to the blips of the throttle from idle (the 3000 rpm idle), and I was quite happy.......then, about 30-45 seconds into the first rebirth of the engine, white smoke started coming out of the exhuasts. First a little, then more, and then even more. My happiness changed to disappointment. I should have never guessed I'd be in the clear, even now. Here is a short video of about the third or fourth starting of the bike.
Starting the Paso (2.51 MB)
A few days later, I pulled the spark plugs and inspected them and the tops of the pistons. The plugs and piston tops were dark and showed some signs of oil, but nothing that raised my curiosity. The vertical plug was a little more wet than the horizontal plug, but not enough to worry much about it. There was a lot of carbon build-up on the tops of the pistons, but they didn't show me much more. I was curious if I'd put too much oil in the bike, but the site glass is nearly impossible to see through. I used a syringe and removed about 150 ml of oil, because it looked like it may have been a little high....eventhough it was like looking for a black piece of paper in the dark.
I then took some measurements of the carb slides to make sure that they moved the same with each turn of the slide adjustment screw and then dropped both of them down 0.016" to try to drop the idle down a bit from the 3000 rpm that the engine was idling at. A few other minor things to check and zip-tie, and it was time to start the bike, again.
I wheeled the bike back out to the front yard and tried to start it. It didn't want to start, so I used some choke and it fired. It was idling too low, now, at about 800 rpm, so I kept making adjustments on the carbs to try to raise the idle. I am getting some lean backfiring through the horizontal carburator, so I'll need to do some more carb adjustments.
To try to get the bike up to operating temp, I took it for a small spin around the block.....more like I rode it nearly 8 miles on a road behind the subdivision. Once the bike got warm, it came alive with a smooth flow of power. Favoribly, the bike is not smoking anywhere near as much as it was, but was more noticeable at higher RPMs. I have a few oil leaks to address before I get it back on the road. A quick inspection shows that it is leaking from the filter screen cap, starter, oil-level sight glass, and probably another place or two. I was looking into replacing the oil-level sight glass a few months ago, as mine is slightly cracked and leaking (and nearly impossible to see through), but it is no longer available through Ducati. A quick search of the parts list shows that it is the same as the ignition inspection cover, so I'll probably swap the two.....plus, I need to repair or replace the rear brake master cylinder, bleed all the brakes and the clutch, and some other miscellaneous things. When I got home and while the engine was hot, I drained the oil....only to see through the sight glass that it was indeed a little high on oil level. Maybe this will be the simple cure to the smoking problem.
Looks like I still have more work to do, but......I at least I've gotten the bike running and I rode it a little bit!!!
The Paso at Idle (939 KB)
Riding the Paso (1.34 MB)
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