Ducati / Condor A350 MIG Welding Forum

6 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ducati / Condor A350 MIG Welding Forum
Ducati 350 Mark 3 D

Gas mark 5 Member

Canterbury, UK

Hello all,

Not strictly welding related, but I thought there might be a few here who would find my Condor A350 interesting, and potentially a few who know a thing or two about Ducati engines .

They were bikes built by Condor for the Swiss military, however the engines are just re-badged Ducati bevel drive 350 singles (no desmodromics. ). They were in use until 2001, I am apparently the first civilian owner of this one. Registering it in the UK was a bit of a nightmare, but eventually all was sorted and I had a few thousand miles of trouble free riding. Well – the (lack of) charging took some getting used to, but I think that is just what old bikes are like. Aside from that I had a great time doing all the things one normally does with a bike;

Collecting produce from the allotment.

Transporting outboards and so on .

Anyway, I was heading back from a days work on the van and the engine cut out a couple of times, for a few seconds each. Sounded to me just like it was running out of fuel, so I switched to the reserve and carried on to see if I could make it home. Kept going for a few hundred metres, then suddenly the engine completely seized. I managed to gather my wits and pull the clutch in, but I was already rather sideways on a muddy country road by this point.

No damage to me (only going 30mph and modern bike gear is fantastic!), and the bike only has a bent footpeg and scratched pannier. However a seized engine is rather more worrying, and those Ducatis can be rather expensive from what I hear!

I am back at university now, and have brought the engine with me for when I get fed up of writing lab reports.

I am not entirely sure what changes Condor have made to the original engine. An external oil filter has been fitted, and the exhaust mounting looks a little bodged if I am honest, however I don’t know if that is a Condor modification or a later repair. The compression ratio is supposedly lower (8.5:1), but the head, piston and cylinder all look original Ducati to me, and there are no particularly thick gaskets.

Anyway, I decided to tear it down and see how bad the damage was.

Just had to stop and admire every now and again, it really is a beautiful engine.

Ducati 350 Mark 3 D
Ducati 350 Mark 3 D

The head and cylinder slid off without a problem, which in a way was worrying as a new piston / cylinder liner isn’t the end of the world, but a new con-rod for this engine is over £600!

Anyway, I carried on. I had loosened some of the tougher looking nuts with the engine still in the frame, but I had missed the nut retaining the output sprocket. Bearing in mind I had quite a good go at freeing the engine previously, rocking it backwards and forwards in gear, trying to turn it over with sockets and so on, imagine my surprise when trying to undo this nut and the piston poked its head out of the crankcase!

An improvement for sure, but the big end was definitely the cause of the seizure, still very grumbly. I have no idea why it decided to free up then all of a sudden.

There’s the other cover off, I am waiting for a flywheel puller to continue now, should arrive early this week some time. Hopefully I will be able to see the full extent of the damage with the cases split. The engine had plenty of oil in when it seized, and I had been frequently changing the oil, so I don’t know what caused this.

The oil pathways split immediately after the pump, some goes to lubricate the big end, and the remainder goes up to the rockers, so I don’t know if just the crankshaft pathway got blocked by something, or if the oil pump failed. Hopefully further investigation will answer that. Needless to say, oil temp, oil pressure and CHT gauges are going to be among the first modifications to the rebuilt engine!

There is a fine covering of metal flakes around the sump, presumably the remains of the big end, also presumably what has caused this scoring of the piston;

Anyway, there’s the story so far. Sorry for the distinct lack of welding, but I’ll be sure to post plenty of pictures if I do have to do any, and I hope some people find this interesting. As ever, and advice / recommendations would be greatly appreciated, I don’t really have much of a clue what I am doing

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