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Old 12-23-2014, 09:59 AM   #1
Scudman OP
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The almost hopeless Ducati Darmah restoration

This sordid tale started on Thanksgiving day 2014. Most people pig out on this day but I was in the garage struggling with leaking carbs on the 73 Eldo resto project. A fine gentlemen with son and grandon in tow walked by and stopped at the curb in front of the open garage. A true Norman Mailer moment if ever there was one. The grandson was in a pull along wooden cart. Should have taken a picture. Of course I invite them in the garage and show them some bikes. The gentlemen (George) is a car guy and informs me that there is another car guy with a bike sitting outside for the past 2 years since there is no room in the 10 car garage (no room at the Inn). He thinks it is a Ducati 70's vintage. A naked young lady walking past my garage would not have generated more interest than that last sentence. Possibly a bevel drive Ducati. I of course asked him to talk to the owner and to get back to me. A few sleepless weeks later George comes back and gives me the owners name and number. The bike is a 78 Darmah and it is sitting outside under a tree. I call the owner and he is fishing in the Gulf of Mexico but says that he will call me when he gets back to town.

Scudman screwed with this post 12-23-2014 at 04:27 PM
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:10 AM   #2
Scudman OP
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The Ducti owner does get back to me in a few days and a meeting is arranged. As luck would have it he lives less that 30 minutes away. I hop in the car with cash and drive over. The owner is a pleasant man and shows me the Darmah. It is surrounded by bamboo trees and it takes a while to wrench it free. Rough is what it is. I open the tank and to my surprise not a bit of rust. The wheels are straight, the gauges are nice. The rear brake is frozen, bike will not roll. All the main parts are there. Then I notice that the carburetors are gone along with the electric starter and fill and drain plugs. This is not going to be easy. The owner tells me that he has 2 sets of carbs with 2 sets of exhaust. 32mm and 40mm carbs and the original Silentium mufflers. All of the engine internals are in side in a box. I look at the big box of parts and it seems to have all the parts with substantial surface rust. He informs me that the crank has been done since the old one ate the connecting rod bearing at 65K miles.
I tell the owner that the parts alone are worth $5K or more but that I am willing to bring the bike back to life for much less as the project budget will come close to $10K. A deal is struck and I own a bevel drive Duck. Wife is not happy about a new project, one of many.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:21 AM   #3
Scudman OP
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To fund the project I sell the best bike in my garage. The one bike that never failed me, obviously not Italian. My sv650 with the GSXR suspension track/street bike. I need to make room and adjustment had to be made. A sad day but the dream of a desmo bevel Duck must be realized.
I call my friend and fellow inmate so we can pick up the bike. He shows up with the truck and off we go to get the Duck. All the parts are loaded and the former owner invites us into the "GARAGE". The amount of eye candy in this garage is absolutely phenomenal. Most of the cars are from the 30's and that includes the Cord. There is a 56 Lincoln Continental and many more that I do not remember the year make and model. His 56 T Bird is the daily runner. The garage is cleaner than an operating room and a far cry from my own little oily mess. He then tells me that the only reason he sold it to me is that he knows that I will get it running again. That night after it gets home I turn down 2 offers that were much higher that the purchase price. I may regret that decision.
The bike as delivered:

Scudman screwed with this post 12-23-2014 at 01:01 PM
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:30 AM   #4
Scudman OP
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The tear down continues






The good:
It comes apart easily, not too much drama. All the keys work, The seat comes off. The gauges work. Wheels (Campanolos, magnesium) are in fine shape. Lots of patina. Brake bleed nipples come out with no breakage, a rare event.
The bad
Lots of patina. The Conties are beyond salvage as the rust is excessive. They can be painted but this needs to be a decent bike and new mufflers will cost more than the original purchase price. Ignition module missing, not to be found. Electrical system is a mess. Aluminum corrosion is not a pretty sight. There is sandblasting in my future.
This bike will never be a Concourse restoration as the corrosion is too deep and sandblasting will change the engine cast surface. Still it will be a nice daily rider as close to a restoration as possible.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
dbarale
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scudman View Post
... Still it will be a nice daily rider as close to a restoration as possible.
Good that you are realistic in your expectations. It will save you aggravation and money. Besides, a nice rider would probably bet a lot more enjoyable than a full restoration.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
Scudman OP
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Time to look in her bloomers. The cylinders and cases must be parted

The rear head and cylinder come off with no issues

The front is not so good. It is tight and the head takes much effort with mallet and block of 2X4. The cylinder is worse as it is corroded to the cases.



The alternator cover comes off easily but a brown recluse runs across my hand . More disturbing is that she did not make the mess inside the case.

The cases are finally split. I am a home wrecker but adjustments must be made. I just hope that the family of mice found a new home before the bike was relocated in the garage.


All the bearings are gone and will need replacing. On a good note the missing ignition module was inside the lower end. The smart thing to do is to walk away from this mess and part it out. I was never accused of being that smart. This is a serious project that will take an enormous amount of time and effort. Parts are difficult to get and expensive. On a quick shopping spree (just for research) I exceeded $2000 and that was for general parts only. This is not a Guzzi where there are countless Ebay items for sale. On Ebay, Ducati Darmah has 3 pages of mostly decals and little more than that. I will need bearings, pistons, transmission parts and much more. If you have any items for sale drop a line.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
Scubawerx
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I think you're just chicken. We would really enjoy watching you spend your money on this beautiful rebuild. So, plenty of pictures please...
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:38 PM   #8
OldDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scudman View Post
A naked young lady walking past my garage would not have generated more interest that that last sentence.
That there is one of the funniest things I've read in a while, and yet so very true!

Go for it Scud, it can be bloody frustrating bringing a bike back from that far gone, but its so rewarding when you hear it start for the first time. I'll be watching this thread with interest
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:34 PM   #9
mach1mustang351
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Im in. Work a miracle brother!!
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:30 PM   #10
waylongway
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I'm in $2600 but I feel much better now...Thank you!
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:41 PM   #11
Donkey Hotey
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Man, it's times like this that I am grateful that most bikes like that find somebody OTHER than me. I couldn't have walked away but, I would also regret it once it was home. I'm sure you understand.

In!
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:32 AM   #12
pennswoodsed
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pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDog View Post
That there is one of the funniest things I've read in a while, and yet so very true!

Go for it Scud, it can be bloody frustrating bringing a bike back from that far gone, but its so rewarding when you hear it start for the first time. I'll be watching this thread with interest
I would have to see pics to make a fair comparison,all right I'll take the Ducati .
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:54 AM   #13
tntmo
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Drop a Lifan engine in the chassis and roll it!
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:48 AM   #14
Scudman OP
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Drop a Lifan engine in the chassis and roll it!
I do have a spare SV650 motor in the garage. It is a 90 degree V twin after all.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:07 AM   #15
WVhillbilly
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In

Great project.
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