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..and would be willing to post a brief tutorial? I need to do this (actually, on a 97 900SS) in conjunction with installing high-compression pistons. Thanks - BrianK
 

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Paging Doug Lofgren...............
or you could do some reading.
 

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Time for another plug for the venerable Haynes manual. It will show you how to make the necessary puller and remove the left side cover to get at the ignition pickup coils. Once you are in there, its as simple as loosening the correct two nuts holding the pickup coil bracket and moving it towards the rear of the motor by however many degrees of crank rotation you want to retard the timing. (The crank/flywheel turn CCW as you look at the left side of the motor, so to retard you move the coils in the direction the crank is turning). There are some index marks on the bracket, but I've never measured to see if they are degree marks, but checking that shouldn't be too hard. Use a Sharpie or something to mark where the bracket currently sits on the index marks before disturbing anything. Once you have the bracket moved to retard the spark, you also have to set and maintain the air gap between both pickups to the specs listed in Haynes. Recheck after tightening the nuts securing the bracket.

Our own Chris Kelly at CA-Cycleworks has aftermarket gaskets(no longer available through Ducati) to save you the fuss and muss of resealing the side cover with goo. With care, the gaskets should last through 3-4 cover removals.
 

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Mark1305 said:
Time for another plug for the venerable Haynes manual. It will show you how to make the necessary puller and remove the left side cover to get at the ignition pickup coils. Once you are in there, its as simple as loosening the correct two nuts holding the pickup coil bracket and moving it towards the rear of the motor by however many degrees of crank rotation you want to retard the timing. (The crank/flywheel turn CCW as you look at the left side of the motor, so to retard you move the coils in the direction the crank is turning). There are some index marks on the bracket, but I've never measured to see if they are degree marks, but checking that shouldn't be too hard. Use a Sharpie or something to mark where the bracket currently sits on the index marks before disturbing anything. Once you have the bracket moved to retard the spark, you also have to set and maintain the air gap between both pickups to the specs listed in Haynes. Recheck after tightening the nuts securing the bracket.

Our own Chris Kelly at CA-Cycleworks has aftermarket gaskets(no longer available through Ducati) to save you the fuss and muss of resealing the side cover with goo. With care, the gaskets should last through 3-4 cover removals.
Mark,

Am I wrong in thinking that moving the pick ups retards the timing initially and the same amount throughout the range and the AM modules actually alter the advance curve?
 

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Are you sure you need to?

If I remember right, to make pow, you want the timing advanced about as far as it'll go without pinging, so, if you install hi-comps and run a higher octane gas, wouldn't that be ideal?

(What I'm asking is, in a round about fashion - are you retarding timing to run pump gas, or to run regular?)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. To be clear, I am hoping to be able to run on pump gas - I use 87 now, so hopefully 89/91/93 will do the trick. Just anticipating that I may need to do more.

Appreciate the help, all - BrianK
 

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Am I wrong in thinking that moving the pick ups retards the timing initially and the same amount throughout the range and the AM modules actually alter the advance curve?
No, you`re correct, see DPmodules pic:

 

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Ditto. You are correct. The modules only alter the advance by X degrees above the initial or static timing at preset RPMs. So if you retard the static timing by moving the pickup coil bracket, the reduction in spark advance applies directly over the whole RPM range.
 

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When I first installed high comp pistons in my 94 M900, I did not retard the timing. After about 15,000 miles, I was running the bike at a track day. It was very hot and near the end of the day I noticed oil all over the back of the engine. It was coming from the oil crankcase breather. Turns out the pistons were detonating, pitted very badly, and were allowing combustion pressures to pressurize the crankcase, thus blowing oil out the breather. When I took the heads off the bike, it looked like a little mouse had gotten inside and chewed all around the tops of both pistons, to the point where the rings could not seal compression anymore.
I was running pump premium fuel in the bike. I have since installed a 944 kit and retarded the timing a few degrees. I have about 10,000 miles on the bike with no problems as of yet. I think it is very important to retard the timing to avoid or minimize detonation. This is more of a problem on the 2V motors than the 4V's. Would be nice to run even higher octane gas, but it just wasnt practical for me. Hopefully retarding the timing will keep the pistons intact for awhile.

Mike
94 M944
97 916
98 916
99 ST4
 

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ducatimike said:
When I first installed high comp pistons in my 94 M900, I did not retard the timing. After about 15,000 miles, I was running the bike at a track day. It was very hot and near the end of the day I noticed oil all over the back of the engine. It was coming from the oil crankcase breather. Turns out the pistons were detonating, pitted very badly, and were allowing combustion pressures to pressurize the crankcase, thus blowing oil out the breather. When I took the heads off the bike, it looked like a little mouse had gotten inside and chewed all around the tops of both pistons, to the point where the rings could not seal compression anymore.
I was running pump premium fuel in the bike. I have since installed a 944 kit and retarded the timing a few degrees. I have about 10,000 miles on the bike with no problems as of yet. I think it is very important to retard the timing to avoid or minimize detonation. This is more of a problem on the 2V motors than the 4V's. Would be nice to run even higher octane gas, but it just wasnt practical for me. Hopefully retarding the timing will keep the pistons intact for awhile.

Mike
94 M944
97 916
98 916
99 ST4
Did you do itwith the pickups or the modules?
 

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It was a few years ago that I changed the timing. I think I just rotated the plate the pickups were mounted on. Rotated it ccw 3 or 4 degrees I believe.

Mike
 
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