Sunday, April 05, 2009

My ST3 went off to the dealer today

Mike dropped off my ST3 at a Ducati dealer. He’s got some connections at this dealer, so he‘ll be the one who will be communicating with the shop and trying to get it fixed. I’m still upset about my last dealings with the previous dealer and it’s actually better I don’t get involved.

Draining the old gas from the tank

Before the ST3 went off to the dealer, the gas had to be drained from the tank, that’s how long the bike has been sitting. But it’s been sitting in the garage on the trickle charger and to my surprise it started right up.

Hopefully the next time I see my ST3 it will be all better

Spring is officially here and I’d really like to start riding the ST3 again. And if I choose to sell it, I need it to be running good. I’m not happy about having to spend more money to get it fixed, especially since I‘ve been unemployed since end of June last year. But right now the bike wont even “idle”.

The last time I rode the ST3, really rode it, was on May 27, 2008. That was the day Mike and I rode back home from out 5 day ride out to Arkansas. The ST3 started to act up the morning of day 3 of that trip. It just started to run rough and didn’t sound right, but it did run and idle.

After the Arkansas trip I took the bike to the Ducati dealer. Just before the trip I had the 24,000 mile service done at this dealer. Valves were adjusted, belts changed, new air filet and spark plugs installed, and I paid $737.

So bike goes back and the dealership keeps the bike. They "adjusts the settings" and charge me $82. While I’m riding the ST3 home, a few blocks from the dealership, I feel the bike is still running bad but I decide to ride all the way home - 20 miles - and make my judgment then. I get home and I conclude nothing has changed, it‘s like they did nothing to it.

The next opportunity I get, I bring the bike back to that same dealership. By now the service guy is annoyed that I brought the bike back to them. They say the bike sounds and runs fine, I disagree. They keep the ST3 and do more work on it. When they assure me it’s running better I come to pick it up. They pull the bike out for me and leave it in the parking lot, I start it. This time I bring Mike with me, we both hear the bike is running bad, after a test ride around the block I refuse to take my bike home this time. We get the owner of the shop involved and he agrees there is something wrong with the ST3 and assures me that “this” time they will fix the bike right. They keep the bike and do more work on it.

By now the end of June is approaching and I’m starting to get nervous that the ST3 won’t be fixed in time for my next trip. But then on June 27th, 2008 our trip plans change as I get laid off work and Mike and I decided to head to Colorado on out bikes instead of doing a shorter ride around the Great Lakes. As I finish my rough plans for the Colorado trip and get my stuff together, the dealership calls again.

The ST3 apparently had a broken valve spring which they finally replaced. I pay $264 and bring the bike home just in time to get it packed. We are supposed to leave for Colorado the next day since it’s a holiday and Mike has the next three day off from work.

The ST3 seems to run OK on the way home (it’s hard to say since it’s all interstate) - but the next day when I start it up it will only run with the enricher on. But won’t idle on it own, just stalls. Now it’s the Forth of July and the dealership is closed. I re-pack the 954RR and we take off for Colorado. The ST3 gets parked in the garage and I do my 50 day and 6,864 mile ride around Colorado and Utah on my 954RR.

I call the dealer from Colorado to let them know my ST3 still has a problem. I suggest for them to pick the bike up at the house and work on it until the problem is resolved. To keep the bike for a month if they need to. I’d have someone open the garage for them so they could take the ST3. They agreed they would do that but they never called me back to set up a time to pickup the bike. At this point I’m so upset with the place I don’t want them to touch my bike anymore, I’ve had enough.

When we returned from the trip we got busy with packing and moving to Colorado. I never did go back to that dealer again and the ST3 was brought to Colorado and the problem with it has been unresolved. I hope I have better luck with the mechanics here in Colorado.


Don said...

"The ST3 apparently had a broken valve spring which they finally replaced"

Color me stupid but I didn't think Ducatis have valve springs. That's what the desmo bit is all about--no?

Anna said...


These aren’t your ordinary valve springs, they are usually referred to as “return” springs.

A Desmodromic valave system is one where the engine valves are both opened and closed by a cam. The desmo design doesn't use valve springs to close the valve, instead using another rocker arm to push the valve closed. The “hairspring” is used to aid in starting. This way, it doesn't take two or three revolutions to start the engine. Without these helper "return" springs, the engine doesn't really like idling. It also seemed to make a little valve clatter without the springs.