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Technical Problem w/Fuel Injection or Incompetence

1886 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Retro
In late June of this year I took my 2000 Monster 900 to a local Ducati dealer for it's 12,000 mile tuneup. Shortly thereafter I took it out on a long road trip and found that it was losing power at altitudes above 2000 feet. By the time I made it to my destination at 3500 feet I had to run it with the choke on just to keep it moving. A local technician did a quick and dirty adjustment to get me back over the mountains, and I then took the bike back to the original shop. They put a few hours into it (no charge), and somehow managed to make the bike run worse. Now at sea level the bike was dying at stoplights without the choke or constant blipping of the throttle.

At this point (early August) the service manager was convinced that it was an electrical problem, and kept the bike for a week and a half swapping out electrical parts, but without finding anything wrong. Finally he swapped out the stock ECU and installed a used Ducati Performance ECU. Now it at least has power when you ask for it, but after it gets warmed up it still starts dying at stoplights and the engine sounds like ****; extremely gravelly and unsteady.

Now, with summer over, I've got an appointment with a different shop and I'm trying to talk to the factory zone rep. So my question, does this sound like an actual technical problem with the bike or is the guy just incompetent? Am I justified in demanding a refund from the first shop?

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Re: Technical Problem w/Fuel Injection or Incompet

Also, Termingnoni slip-ons and a stock air filter. The bike has been running lean so I believe a K&N would actually make it worse (?)
Re: Technical Problem w/Fuel Injection or Incompet

How long is a while? In my case it's about 20 minutes and when the bike is fully warm it starts dying. I also see a lot of lurching at even throttle, as though the fuel flow is unsteady. It used to (before the 12,000 mile tuneup) lurch mildly at very low throttle, but that would go away rather quickly with throttle application. Now however I can't even trust the bike to run with predictable power through a corner, which means the stability of the bike is compromised and it's no longer even an issue of mere inconvenience anymore.

I'll talk to the new shop about an FIM ECU (or maybe a Power Commander), but it just seems absurd to me that a well maintained bike should be so difficult (and expensive!) to make run with even tolerable performance, let alone *high* performance.
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Re: Technical Problem w/Fuel Injection or Incompet

Ducman: that's what it looked like to me, that the "choke" was just opening the throttle a little, but wasn't sure if it might be altering the mixture as on a real choke. So I guess running it then with the throttle advanced a little shouldn't do any damage like fouling spark plugs, right?

Retro: I'm in Seattle WA. I bought the bike used at about 11.5K and hadn't run it at altitude prior to the tuneup, so I can't say how it ran. The 12K service included valve adjustment, complete fluid change including fork oil, new belts. It was given a clean bill of health at that time.

The guy I took to next after it started acting up (in Central Oregon, 3500 ft elevation) said that it was common for him to see bikes come from sea level and run poorly at elevation (three in one week in July in fact, all from Seattle), so I suspect that the problem was there before the service, although now it's *completely* out of whack. He also said that approximately half of the time spent on the 12K service is supposed to be dedicated to adjusting the fuel injection system, throttle bodies, etc. As I said before, he did a quick and dirty (and cheap) adjustment and the bike ran much better than before, although not perfectly. The TPS has been adjusted all over the place, and it seems to run better about 60-80 millivolts above the spec range.

I'm confused about the ECU though. Why should the stock one be better than the Performance? What's the point of the DP then? The first shop still has my original ECU, so if necessary I can trade the DP in and pick it up.

Anyway, this morning I talked to the service guy at the first shop and he went on and on about how difficult is it to get in touch with the factory zone rep. So I called the shop I'm taking the bike to next and they got in touch with the rep in under an hour. That says a lot methinks. He passed along the advice to go through Ducati America customer service to make a complaint about the first shop.
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Re: Technical Problem w/Fuel Injection or Incompet

Thanks for the input folks; I'll post an update when I take my bike in again next week.
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