by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
December 2, 2007 - This is an update on
the "ECU Recall" posting from
my Ducati GT1000 blog.
To make a long story even longer, my GT 1000 has been popping
and backfiring on the overrun since it was brand new.
But lately it's
been stalling when I come to a quick stop, especially when the
engine temperature is under 180 degrees F.
I thought the popping sounded
cool and was part of the Ducati mystique, and although the stalling was
annoying, I didn't want to take the bike in during primo riding weather.
I finally put it on the trailer and drove the 83 miles down to
Motosports in Winchester, Virginia (photos
from their open house), thinking that all it needed was a throttle body
synchronization. The owner and ex-Ducati racer
and ace mechanic Donnie Unger and his crew checked the throttle bodies, but they
were pretty close (see photo below).
However, when they put the bike on the exhaust gas analyzer,
they discovered that it's running way too lean -- 0.0 to 0.1
CO2, when it should read a minimum of 0.7 (CO2 emissions are an
indicator of lean/rich burn).
Since Ducati uses a closed-loop ECU on
the GT1000, there was nothing they could do about it short of an ECU replacement, even with some fiddling of
the throttle bodies.
So I left the bike and Donnie got Ducati to
cough up a "Euro" ECU. While the bike was in the shop, I
also had him do the official
fuel tank recall
and throw on a 14-tooth sprocket to replace the original
equipment 15-tooth version.
And guess what? I just got the bike back
and went for a ride this
morning (38 degrees F!). All I can say is: WOW! What
a difference! Unreal -- it's literally like a completely
different bike. I had no idea that this is how a Ducati is
supposed to run!
Long-time blog readers
will know I've mentioned the on/off throttle response,
occasional stalling on a quickly closed throttle and popping in
the exhaust on the overrun. Well, it's not supposed to be that way,
unbeknownst to me! I just figured that was part of the
"charm" of owning a Ducati. The lean running
condition was apparently causing the problem. It's been
that way for about a year, and I hope
it didn't do any damage.
engine now has what I can only call a much "creamier" response
-- I can tell something is very different as soon as I start it up,
because the engine starts differently, sounds different and immediately
goes into a much smoother idle (that sounds a couple of hundred
RPM higher than before). The very instant I touched the
throttle to pull away from the garage, I notice a much smoother
response without any of the "on/off" jumpiness from before.
It's like a completely different throttle that
now has a much greater range of response. And here's the
best part: the fuel injection on/off jumpiness in slow speed corners that I
noticed the first time I rode the bike is completely gone!
I can ease on the throttle after slowing for a slow-speed corner
and feed the fuel to the engine very precisely. This is a
huge difference that makes the bike so much easier -- and safer
-- to ride.
Although I'm crediting
the new ECU with most of this Jekyll and Hyde change, the
bike also now has a 14-tooth front sprocket and the throttle
bodies were checked once more. But
I'm pretty sure the 14-tooth sprocket isn't responsible for the
feel under my right hand.
The new sprocket does indeed make a difference,
because I can get the bike into 6th gear now at 60 MPH rather
than, oh, about 80MPH before without lugging. It feels
like everything's dropped one gear, but it doesn't really feel
that much different in first gear, believe it or not. I
can even use 6th gear to ride up hilly roads that used to call
for a drop down to 4th!
The fuel tank recall and the ECU replacement
were covered under warranty, and the sprocket replacement cost
$97.00 including parts and labor -- a deal!
So the bottom line is that I'm really pleased at
my "new" GT1000 -- too bad winter is setting in!
The lesson? If your GT 1000 is popping, backfiring and has
that on/off throttle response, maybe you can talk Ducati out of
a Euro ECU replacement. And the 14-tooth front sprocket
replacement is highly recommended as an easy way to change the
gear ratio to something more realistic for U.S. roads.
Here are some photos from Duc Pond:
Donnie Unger, Duc Pond Motosports, working on the bike.
Throttle body balance was actually pretty good.
The official Ducati engine analyzer.
CO2 exhaust analyzer, reading 0.0!
Ducati engine cases and parts out of the parts washer.
Inside one half of a Ducati engine case.
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