Copied from

Not really Allazzura specific, but contains a gold mine of information
that you may be able to make use of.  Feel free to let me know of your opinions and
findings and I will add them to the document.

87 Duc Indiana 650
85 Yam RZ 350
Ducatisti USA @

The following information is a collation of hints and tips supplied by
Ducati Owners Club (GB) members. It is not intended to be regarded as an
operational manual. Use of this information is entirely at the readers risk
and interpretation.


Overall very reliable with engine overhauls being required at approx. 40 -
50K miles. Oil changes done at 1500 miles although 1000 miles is used to be
on the safe side.

Filters from Citroen 2CV, Sunbeam Talbot fit

Castrol GTX, Mobil One, Silkolene Super Four, Silkolene Pro 4, Castrol R,
Morriss's 10/40, Duckhams Hypergrade, Cheap 20/50 Multigrade from
supermarket. Advice about using Castrol R has been given indicating that
problems with starting are found due to high viscosity of the oil at low
temperatures. Silkolene Super Four appears to be a popular choice. Engine
breather tube can be utilised when replacing oil, remove plug in clutch
cover to vent engine.

Cam drive system to be checked regularly for belt tension, pulley nuts
working loose, the tensioner and idler bearings running dry, oil seals
leaking. The belt tension can be found by giving a sliding clearance to a
5mm drill bit between belt and idler bearings whilst lifting the tensioning
bearings up against the belt. Cam belts are available at reduced cost within
the Club. The idler bearings are a special non standard metric size i.e.
11mm wide. These cost 14 each from dealers, approx. 7 trade. Three
standard bearings 7mm wide can be substituted with a washer to take up

Clutch slip can be eased by inserting extra steel plate, Friction plates can
become hard and require replacement on some bikes well before wear limits
are reached. Clutch baskets are prone to retaining rivets on primary gear
working lose. Surface grinding the steel plates has been very successful.
The larger heavier clutch fitted to 600 models can be used in earlier
machines. Straight cut primaries can also be fitted to speed up clutch
rotation and raise overall gearing. Clutch shafts can break if clutch
securing nut loosens. These nuts have proved to be very difficult to undo on
some engines. Some have had to be drilled to remove.

Two gearbox sprocket sizes are available 14 & 15t. The larger one is
recommended to ease chain wear. DID chain recommended. Rear sprocket sizes
vary from 36 to 41. The lower size gives a higher cruising speed for less
revs but reduces acceleration and pickup. 41 size enables engines to rev out
in top but makes high speed cruising less relaxed. Gearbox failures on early
models were quite common due to cogs breaking and dogs rounding off.

Excessive rear cush drive play can be eased by inserting slips of inner tube
rubber between cush housing and rubber spider. Mounting bolts on sprocket
can be subject to loosening and also shearing off. High tensile UNF bolt
conversion has been done successfully by MOCATI of Bath.

The standard Bosch ignition system can fail when the outer covering on the
pick up wires breaks down due to engine oil temperature. Continuity tests
with the pickups in position can be misleading as shorting out against
the adjacent pick up wire can exist and not be detected. Resistance testing
can also be affected in the same way. Pick ups are the same as Mote Guzzi
V50 if second-hand parts are required. Misfires are sometimes traced to
pickup clearance problems.

Lucas Rita ignition has been used with very positive results. Pick up
mounting point for this system is situated outside of the double pulley on
the cam belt cover. Being a dry running system engine oil temperature has no
damaging affect. Timing adjustments can be done without having to remove
alternator cover. Build quality is poor but has been improved by making pick
up plate and cover in stainless steel. Double pole coils can be substituted
with the Rita. When using strobe light to time ignition DO NOT remove
inspection window from cover. Cover is under crankcase pressure and blows
oil out when window removed

Spark plugs used are NGK BP7HS, B8HS, B7HV, B8HV (available from Club)
Champion plugs are generally regarded as hopeless, with backfiring on start
up being a symptom of impending failure.

Magnetising of the flywheel has caused elusive failures.

Flywheel rotor mounting nut can loosen in use causing knocking noise and
expensive damage. Locking washer locating area has been machined out to
fully locate washer and prevent it flattening during use.

Regulator failure, (cheap modification done by using RS bridge rectifier and
Lucas Zener Diode, also replacement unit available incorporating LED
functioning light.) Overcharging of battery, (larger battery fitted by
cutting clearance space into rear mudguard and flattening tray edge)

Front fairing indicators on SL model are same as fitted to small fiat cars.
Cheap batteries are not recommended. Yuasa Yumicron or 'GS' used mostly.
Standard Bosch headlight has sharp cut off pattern. Honda unit fitted as

Oil pressure switch can rupture internally and cause idiot light to remain
on whilst engine is running. On early models replacement switch can be used
from Lucas for Volkswagen or Porsche/Audi range. Check whether thread is
straight (Later switches supplied by importer have tapered threads). Neutral
contacts have this switch removed and blanked off. Neutral indicator
switches are prone to leakage through the contacts and from the threaded
area. A number of machines have this removed and blanked off.

Electrical system is generally reliable. Fuses vibrate loose. Continual
battery discharge cured by earthing regulator unit to frame. Idiot light
failure (RS bulbs can be used in original housings). Starter motor bushes
contaminated by engine oil when seal between crankcase and motor fails,
(brushes from fiat car cut down and used).

Ducati Club France has printed two alternative wiring diagrams in their
magazine, translation being done.

Front suspension can be very harsh. Experimenting with different grade oils
and spring rates is time consuming and expensive. Forks can be lowered by
approx. 25mm through yokes to give better steering response. Yokes from the
bevel twin range have been fitted, with packing shims, to speed up steering
response. Complete 38mm front ends from bevel series have also been fitted.
Fork legs and yokes can be difficult to polish up without exposing blow

Standard Marzocchi Strada rear shocks are over sprung and under damped.
Alterations to give reasonable results are not easily done as the units have
to be dismantled and the internal damping washers arrangement altered.
Popular substitute for standard shocks are Koni Dial-a-Rides. Fontana's have
also been used. Spas mono shock conversion done on one machine with very
good results.

Rear swinging arm bearings in engine are notorious for wearing out. Regular
checks are advised plus rotation of the pin. Lubrication nipple and needle
roller conversions have been done, one in the swinging arm ends resulting in
less work when changing bearings. Rear wheel adjuster blocks can corrode
inside swinging arm. Greasing of blocks recommended. Outer clamps can break
if over tightened. These are two different sizes with a thinner one being
positioned next to the brake calliper mounting plate. Centre stand clearance
affected with this modification. Rear, and front, spindle thread size is
16mm fine rate.

Crash damage to frames in small accidents usually limited to steering stop
plate lugs. Centre stand side lug can foul ground if bent. Stand can be
altered by welding plates to feet to increase clearance. Stand springs can
rust and break. Stainless springs available via Club, also rear brake pedal
return spring, cable clutch arm return spring. Chrome on clip ons, gear
lever, rear brake lever assembly is pathetic. Rechroming  and stainless/rose
joint conversion done on one machine.

All bearings used on the machines are C3 grade of standard type except belt
idlers and crankshaft mains. The mains are a wide clearance type. These are
available from bearing distributors, as are all the other bearings.
Do not use cheap C3 bearings. ( C3 relates to the clearance sizes within a
hearing, it is NOT a quality specification) SKF and RHP are recommended

Oil seals are standard size single lip except for starter motor/crankcase
seal. This is 7mm wide (standard  8mm) Recess in housing can be machined 1mm
deeper to take 8mm seal. Double lip seals are recommended for forks and cam
belt double pulley. If persistent oil leak on double pulley exists a baffle
can be inserted in the pulley bearing. Persistent oil weep from filler plug
on dry clutch engine covers cured by fitting longer threaded plug from
model. Desmo shimming and carb setting print out available.

Quality of alloy castings varies considerably. Cylinder head and inlet
manifolds are susceptible to blow holes.

Engine tuning is expensive and can make the bike unreliable. Mez Porting are
the acknowledged experts for gas flowing. Valve guide wear can be high when
larger valves are fitted due to standard guides being short. Longer guides
have been made and installed. Standard valve seats will accept a small
increase in over-size valves external oil supplies to camshaft bearing
blocks fitted to cure persistent leakage from internal supply O ring.

Extensive modifications to engine can be done. Large valves (inlet from 750
Monjuic) and gas flowing produce good results without impairing reliability.
CC capacities
above 498cc available are 583, 598, 612, 640, 650*, 680, 750*, 850*, 920* (*
= longer stoke crank used). 650 engine from 650 SL and Alazzura regarded as

Crankshaft on one F2 racing bike has been modified by cutting flywheel and
alternator rotor part off, and rebalancing. Removal of flywheel enables
engine to build up revs quickly. Alternative ignition system required.
Engine tickover of 6000 rpm on the F2 bike.

Oil cooler can be plumbed in by routing line from oil pressure switch
tapping in crankcase (10mm x 1.0mm) through cooler and into camshaft bearing
blocks. Restricted line can be extended from cam feeds to supply oil
directly to gear selector drum via tapping on rear of crankcases. Internal
oil feeds to heads blanked off by dowel in feed drilling of barrel or head.
This method cools oil to heads only. Complete engine cooling is done by
having clutch cover modified to accept tappings coinciding with oil pump
outlet drilling and crankshaft inlet housing in cover. Internal oil passage
in cover is ground out and blanked off by welding. A restricted by pass line
can be installed between the supply and return lines to give instant oil
supply to crank on start up. Later 750 type crankcases have double tappings
to accept cooler as standard,

MOCATI engine oil temperature conversion fitted to one bike using sender
unit tapped into oil strainer plug.

Wheels and Tyres
Pirelli Phantom, Avon AM20-21, Metzeler BT 45. The Avons are not well
regarded in the wet. Standard 110 rear size can be increased to 120 but can
cause handling problems due to larger cross section roll radius. Tubeless
tyres are NOT suitable as FPS wheels are not designed to accept them. Wheels
are regarded as heavy but strong, with the gold finish very difficult to
remove. If crash damaged can usually repaired by Alf Hagon. Later 3 spoke
pattern as fitted Alazzura have been used. Wire spoked wheels from Yamaha
TZ250 have been adapted to fit. New wire wheels are available (very
expensively) via Newton Equipment.

Quality of original panels is poor. Crash damage usually causes severe
splitting due to high filler content. Tool compartment base in seat of SL
model can loosen and fall out.

Pattern fibreglass fairings for early type SL are reported as not available.
Later MK2 type exist also Twin headlight version available from Waffen
Fibre(WF) Full twin headlight fairing available from Sprint Manufacturing.
Full racing NCR pattern fairing to fit standard frame available (WF) 900SS
half fairing has been used.
Fibreglass front mudguards in three styles available plus fibre rear

One machine has had seat restyled by recovering allowing extra room for
passenger and vents moulded into rear shock absorber bulges.

Tank sides can touch frame and cam belt cover. Rubbers used on engine have
been used on top of mounting rubbers to avoid contact. Extra fuel capacity
can be obtained by removing central air filter housing and cutting away
bottom of tank and reworking. Flush filler has been fitted to one bike.
Plastic lever on petrol tap can snap off. Taps from Paso fit although no
reserve available. Alloy F2 tank can be fitted but is 5" longer than
standard. NCR style fibre tank is available.

Some bikes suffer from very poor brakes whilst others have no problems.
Small calliper bikes are improved by using large master cylinder from later
model and bevel series. Modifications to improve standard system include
Goodridge hoses, Teflon calliper pistons, stainless calliper pins,
discarding front splitter unit and doubling brake hoses to  master cylinder,
bleed nipple at master cylinder banjo bolt (ignition key clearance problems
when using this), drilling hole to link cavity present at calliper joint to
hose entry.

Brake pads recommended are Brembo soft compound, Ferodo,EBC, Vesrah
(available via the club). Failure of the friction material has been reported
due to rust forcing material off backing plate after machine has been used
in bad weather. Regular checks are advised. Brake discs rust overnight and
can contaminate pad friction material. Poor brake performance has been
improved by soaking discs with acetone to remove grease and oil
contamination. Cadmium plating of discs has been done to stop rusting.

Regular checks advised on disc surface condition and size. Some discs are
very close to minimum tolerance from new, making remachining difficult.

Extensive drilling has been done to lighten discs on one machine without
adverse effect on reliability. Existing holes can be opened slightly.
Radially drilled holes in outer edge of disc have been used to lighten and
create turbo cooling.

Noise from rear brake when bike wheeled slowly is caused by calliper
mounting plate vibrating, cured by a small wooden wedge on one machine!
Permanent cure found by floating the calliper with mounting arm attached to

Standard system is double skinned, heavy, restrictive, and difficult to
remove. Internals of silencers deteriorate rapidly. Balance pipe and front
pipes can corrode together and make removal very difficult. On one bike
brackets on balance pipe have been removed and resited using spacer washers
between bracket and engine casing. Internal crossover tube in balance pipe
can be blown through to remove restriction to exhaust gases.

Alternative systems:

2 - 2 Standard with silencer ends cut just after last baffle
2 - 2 Standard with  silencer internals removed (loud)
2 - 2 Stainless 'Armours Ltd'(disaster)
2 - 2 Conti 'production system'
2 - 2 Waffen Fibre Carbon fibre end cans.
2 - 2 Swann open meggas (racing)
2 - 1 Roberts stainless long front pipes
2 - 1 Conti
2 - 1 Verlicchi race pipe (scares old ladies and Christians!)
2 - 1 Verlicchi front pipes/ Waffen fibre carbon end can
2 - 1 Gianelli 2 - 1 GM race pipe (very poor fit)
2 - 1 Harris (loud)
2 - 1 Harris alloy end can
2 - 1 Theresby RH exit (very poorly made)
2 - 1 Hejira (chronic!)
2 - 1 Yardley large bore anti reversion special (unusual!)
2 - 1 F1/Matchless standard silencer!

My Contribution
Volt drop from battery to ignition units was found to be high (2.3 Volts)
when start button pressed. This caused unreliable starting as ignition would
only fire on release of start button. Cure was found by adding relay to
switch directly from the fuse box to the ignition units. Result was a volt
drop of only 0.2 volts and reliable starting even with a half dead battery.

Due to regulator system, battery discharges even when ignition is off.
Without replacing regulator the best solution is to remove earth battery
lead when leaving bike standing for more than a few days (cheap) or use a
battery charger suitable for permanent connection (45).

Electrical connectors are rubbish and have all been replaced by quality
crimps fitted with a ratchet crimping tool.

Fuse box corrodes badly. I found out that my bike is on it's third fuse box.
If it looks like happening again I will replace with something of higher

Koni dial-a-rides found to be under sprung and over damped (I'm 15 stone in
battle dress). Next stop Ohlins 36P.

Front preloader tubes cut to 135mm. 200ml of 20 grade JP1 oil used.


Here is the second edition of Pantah Information. If you still have a
contribution send it to me and I may be able to do a third edition. Thank
you all for your interest.

As before the following information is not intended to be regarded as an
operational manual. Use of
this information is entirely at the readers risk and interpretation

Cam Belts.
If the bike is left inactive for long periods the cam belt bearings can
seize. The ultimate effect is a broken belt due to friction between the
belt and the seized bearing. At low engine speed the impact was nil. At
high engine speed the impact is not worth thinking about. Squirt of WD40 on
the bearings upon re-starting the bike seems to prevent seizure.

Starter Motor
Bushes wore out in 29,000kms. Replacements have to be soldered in place.
Ducati replacements expensive but fitted easily. Starter also made
horrible squealing noise which was found to be faulty bearing on the
shaft. Solution was to drill and tap a hole in the end cover to accept a
small grease nipple. Be careful not to overgrease. Condition thought to
be the result of water ingress.

Rusting of discs seems to cause problems with contamination of the
friction material and significant decrease in braking capacity. Original
brake hoses caused very spongy lever. Goodridge hoses provided much
better feel, but very hefty squeeze required to stop hard.

Original Marzocchis very harsh on bumpy roads and started to leak after
35,000 kms. Replaced with Bitubo shocks with fully adjustable preload
(threaded collar) and damping. More compliant but probably not worth the
high cost. Front forks filled with 225cc of 10wt fork oil rather than
185cc as per handbook. Much improved damping.
Works Performance gas shocks have been fitted with good results. They also
list shocks for a number of old Ducatis on their website.

Fuel Tank
Later Pantahs with removable fuel cap allow ingress of substantial water
which rusts the bottom of the tank. Solution is to treat tank with
chemical liner and regularly drain.

Gianelli 2-1 was fantastically loud and sounded great on over-run but
changing to Conti 2-2 sport system produced a deeper, resonant note and
seemed to improve smoothness throughout the rev range. This might be
psychological though, those Conti stampings on the pipes do funny things
to you! Contis are still available brand new in Australia but are
expensive. Stop them rusting by inserting a cup of old engine oil each
long trip. You look like a 2-stroke for a couple of miles but the oil
coats the internals and keeps the bank manager happy.

Regulator failed at 40,000km. Rebuilt one substituted. Charge warning
light remains illuminated irrespective of revs until lights are turned
on, at which point it is extinguished, irrespective of revs! Regular
liberal applications of WD40 to all connections seems to keep things
reliable. Don't skimp on batteries, buy the best quality the minute it
starts acting up.

When raced hard little ends can break off. Over revving can cause cases to
crack near the bottom pulley at the oilway to the front head causing oil to
pump out. Repair by removing bearing carrier, bore through oilway and fit a
8mm cap-head bolt. This pulls crack together and is sealed with suitable
glue/sealant. The bolt is then drilled to re-establish the oilway.

Crossland oil filter code 673 can be used.

Big bore kits can cause reduced compression ratio and negate their CC
advantages if attention is not paid to the combustion chamber machining.

Post 84 750 crank and pistons can be used for a conversion but the crancase
mouths have to be opened out. 750 crank is considered to be better for this
conversion than the 650 Alazurra crank due to the better balancing factor.
Only later Pantah cases are suitable for a big bore conversion as they are
considerably stronger.

For a breather a standard plastic flapper valve from an automotive power
brake vacuum
booster (available at any auto parts store) can be used and run the outlet
Appears to work just fine, except for the following issue: When the
crankcase level is filled up to the "max" line on the sight glass, a lot of
is blown out the breather (or somewhere in that area, it's hard to pinpoint
the source).  This problem goes away if filled only to the "min" line, and a
leak-down test indicated good health.

Frame is strong in horizontal plane but tends to flex in vertical. Frame
rigidity can be improved by welding gussets to all the engine mounting
points and cross bracing behind the rear cylinder. Rigidity is further
improved by welding triangular plates at the bottom cross tubes at the front
of the frame to reinforce the steering head. Front end and rear wheel of a
RGV 250 have been fitted by adapting the sprocket and making up spacers and
fitting axles giving better tyre choice. Rear wheel from an F1 or Alazurra
can be fitted.
Poggipogiani air-valve top nuts have been fitted with double lip oil seals.
Guzzi S3 handle bars can be fitted to raise riding position.
Dymag wheels have been fitted.

Ignition pick up wires can cause problems and are best replaced with Teflon
coated or oil/heat resistant wire.

Big engine killer is incorrectly tensioned belts. Steel pulleys are
recommended as replacements for the earlier alloy/plastic pulleys.

Second and fifth gears can blow but others seem to last forever. Primary
gears have good life.

Pantahs after frame number 660901 had a fifth gear ratio altered from 1:0.9
to 1:0.931.

Fork Dust Covers
Fork dust covers were found to provide a lot of stiction to the forks.
Solution is to remove them and use suitable fork gaiters (Norton Commando,
MZ) for a substantial improvement.

500SL colour is roughly the same as Porsche Helibua. Fairing can be
supported by fitting a Hailwood replica type brace. Modifications to improve
the look of the rear of the bike have been done using a ford transit tail
light and Renault indicator lights.
Airtech has dual headlight fairings for Pantah SL's on their website.

Replacement speedos can be found from Honda 550 K3 and 750 F2 but are a
little optimistic in their readings.

Transmission snatch below 3500RPM can be cured by filing out the cutaway on
carb slides by an eighth of an inch if air screw adjustments don't cure it.
40mm Dell'Orto pump jet carbs can be fitted if replacement manifolds are
made up.
K & N filters and ditching the airbox is a popular modification.

Weak point on Pantahs especially when tuned. Improvements made by using
sintered bronze clutch plates and extra heavy springs.
Clutch can be machined to accept an extra pair of plates.

Early "small"  hydraulic clutch on 600SL has  a slipping problem which can
be cured
with new stock fiber plates and by substituting springs from a Suzuki
GS1150. They are also found on some GS1100 models, and so appear to be
readily available.  They fit with just a bit of filing. The engagement is a
little more abrupt but still very acceptable, and the slip has been
non-existent for about 10K miles.

Some other sources of Pantah-specific parts:

Indicators, factory stripe kit, seat cover, alternator cover, tail light,
Conti 2-1 silencer, fork slider that were deemed "unavailable" by our most
vaunted U.S. suppliers of old Ducati parts, were eventually found in stock,
all new
(except for alt cover) at a very reasonable price ($800 US for all of the
above), through Phil Hitchcock at Road & Race in Australia .  They have a

Third Document - Recommended Reading

Write Ups
Classic Bike - June 1998
750 Pantah in Verlicchi frame. Dymag wheels etc. Mmmmm nice.

Classic and Motorcycle Mechanics - No. 105 July 1996
Adelaide's Docteur Desmo big bored and tuned Pantah. Useful tips about frame
bracing and common pantah engine faults.

Motorcycle International Classics of the 70s and 80s - Summer 1989
Write up on standard 500 SL Pantah. General buying advice.

Classic and Motorcycle Mechanics - No. 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 135
Series of articles about restoration of a rather sad looking 500SL which
turns out to have been bored to 600. Covers full restoration cosmetic and
partial mechanical but not in a lot of depth.

Classic Bike - Jan 1998
Standard 500SL mk1 owned at time by Baines racing. Complementary write up on
well maintained bike. Excellent pictures.

Brooklands Books - Ducati Gold Portfolio 1978-82
Articles published at the time the Pantah was released. A good read. (11
Pantah articles out of 41 total)

Mick Walker - Ducati Twins Restoration
240 pages total with good detail photos of bikes for getting that
restoration just right. Model technical specs, carb and shimming details.
(Pantah 350, 500, 600, 650 XL, SL and TL covered)

Mick Walker - Ducati Buyers Guide
Full of model photographs and gives good historical and model development
information. Another good reference book. (Pantah 10 pages)