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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, check this one out... I'm going to write a short story here... I went for a ride on Sunday and maybe after 15 kilometers or so I experienced a problem. I was going around a corner slowly (around 5mph​) and when I tried to give it a little throttle coming out of the turn... nothing. The engine was still running but no response from the throttle control. I looked at the instrument cluster and I had the amber engine EOBD indication illuminated as well as a red engine warning flag. I pulled to the side of the road and shut the bike down. I restarted but the EOBD indication was still present and there was still no response from the throttle. I tried a couple more times and finally the EOBD indication cleared, the bike started and I was able to move off. However, the engine felt and sounded like it was running on one cylinder or something and I could smell fuel, exhaust, I don't know. I drove along around 10mph and the bike shut off again about 100 meters down the road with the same symptoms (amber EOBD light on, red engine flag on, no throttle action, no power). Again I was able to get going and this cycle repeated itself two more times. There was one instance when the engine RPM surged slightly a couple of times although I didn't change the throttle position... the bike did it by itself. The last time the bike stopped I was ready to call for help and was in the process of doing so when I decide to give it one more try... voila, I was able to get the bike to fire back up and this time the bike was perfect, full power, beautiful. I drove it home without any problems.


I let it sit for a couple of hours after returning home and then tried it again. I drove about three kilometers and then the problem returned, same symptoms. Each time this failure occurred and I received the amber EOBD indication I was still able to start the bike but as long as the EOBD inidication was present the throttle was unresponsive. I wiggled wires and keyed off and on each time until I could clear the EOBD indication, then I could start the bike and the throttle would respond. Sometimes I would have to wiggle things and cycle the key many times in an effort to make the EOBD indication disappear. I don't know why I did it but one time I opened and closed the gas cap and the EOBD cleared. Now this really sounds stupid... while trying to get the bike back home again, every time the bike would sputter out and the EOBD light would illuminate, if I opened and closed the gas cap the EOBD light would clear when I would key the bike back on. I could wiggle everything on the bike, key off and back on 10 different times, and still have the EOBD light... but if I opened and closed the gas cap I could key the bike on and the EOBD light would go out.


Since I don't know what the problem is I have to consider all possibilities. Was something done when it was serviced that might have caused this problem? Last week I had the shop flip my front sprocket. My chain was getting into the swingarm because the front sprocket was installed in reverse. From what I've read I'm not the first owner to experience this. The shop also brought the front end up 1/2". If you measure from the top of the triple clamp to the top of the fork tube you should have 10". The previous owner had lowered the front 1/2". Before putting the fairings back on when I brought it home from the shop I cleaned up the bottom of the bike real good. Did I soak an electrical connector? I don't know. Is this just a new problem that's not related to anything (shop work or my cleaning)? Again, I don't know. I am however somewhat inclined to believe that the problem is electrical as opposed to mechanical. Mechanical failures don't often fix themselves. Electrical problems on the other hand are sometimes intermittent in nature and as I mentioned above the bike went from running like a dog in one instance to running perfectly normal a short time later. I went through 90% of the electrical connections in the past two days. I found two three-pin connectors on the left-hand side of the bike that showed some signs of corrosion. One of these connectors goes to the RPM/speed sensor feeding into the engine. The other connector I'm not sure where it goes to yet... I ran out of daylight. According to Ducati literature there are instances when the EOBD light will illuminate and initiate an engine lock... but I don't know what that means. Does it mean it won't allow the engine to start or does it mean that the engine may start but you will not be able to give it any throttle? I don't know. Also, with regards to the RPM/speed sensor... is this sensor used in the rev limiting circuitry to cut ignition pulses at high RPM? Could water or corrosion in this connector have caused this problem? The connectors that exhibited signs of corrosion I cleaned well and put back together. I've cleaned and checked 90% of the connectors and electrical connections on the bike including a check of all fuses and battery and ground connections. I noticed too that the wire to my rear spark plug had a couple of indentations in it where it passes between the frame and the underside of the gas tank... probably caused by the intense heat generated in this area. Was the insulation compromised and intermittently shorting to ground? I repositioned the wire out of the way.


I tried to recall as much as possible regarding the symptoms. Does anyone have any thoughts?


I put the bike back together last night and it sounded OK when I started it. Today I'm going to have to take it for a spin and see what it does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: I took the bike out for a 15-20 minute ride this afternoon... it ran perfect. Nevertheless, I'm not 100% satisfied that the problem has been resolved, and if it has been corrected I'm unsure what it was that I did that may have corrected it. I'll take the bike for a longer ride tomorrow to evaluate it further. Still, if anyone has experienced anything like this or has any input to offer I'd love to hear it.
 

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So let me get this straight. Your bike was telling you something is wrong. It even refused to go. So even tho the 'warning' lights were on, telling you something is wrong, you kept trying to ride it, start it, ride it with no regard to the warnings?

Good work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes gentlemen... despite the warnings I continued to try to start and ride my bike back home. I'm in Cambodia... there is no AAA or anyone else for that matter to come to your rescue when your equipment blows up. There is no Ducati tech to take your bike to... you're on your own. It's a different world... no 100 piece Craftsman socket sets, no riding gear, no replacement parts delivered to your door, no cans of contact cleaner :), etc. I either have to run to Thailand or have parts/supplies shipped here from other countries... and pray that they arrive in one piece.

The EOBD indication as well as the numerous flags may illuminate for many reasons, from critical to non-critical events. If the bike was overheating or if I lost oil pressure, etc., something critical, I wouldn't have attempted to start or drive the bike. You have to make a best judgement call in this environment.

And for an update... the two connectors that were questionable on the right-hand side of the bike fed to the lambda sensors. I rode the bike again today and it performed well.

To answer a reply from another forum member... no, I've only posted this item on this forum. Thanks for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, pretty much on my own. Ducati opened up a shop in Phnom Penh last year but that's (6) hours away by bus and at last check they didn't have all the specialty tools on hand to perform all service operations. I have to rely on information found in the owner's manual, shop manual, part's catalogues, sites like this forum, etc. to work through my problems... but I can turn a wrench well, so if I can pinpoint a problem and obtain the replacement part(s) I can sort it out. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to doing the valve adjustment. :)
 

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I feel sorry for you, a Ducati in Cambodia.
I used to drive a Honda dirt bike there and that did not even hold up to the crappy roads Nd the elephant mountains.

If you have not pulled off he charcoal canister yet u would have the dealer do that and then have them go over the whole bile with their computer software. I would bet it is software related.

I can relate to your inability to find anyone there to help you with it though.
When I was there they did not even have a road from phnom phen to Angkor area.
That country would be hell to drive and maintain a Ducati.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I performed the charcoal canister modification a long while ago. The butterfly valve modification, removal of the actuator motor assembly, was also performed when the slip-on termis were installed. I would like to take the bike to Ducati Phnom Penh for a diagnostic check but they've been working on the road for... forever. :) If you’ve driven on this road (highway 6, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap) before you know what a pleasure it isn’t. I live in the Angkor region just a couple of kilometers away from the temples. That's where I was riding when I experienced problems.

The problem could be, or could have been, software related, no doubt. When I went through the bike earlier this week I discovered two questionable connections on the right-hand side of the bike (both for the lambda sensors) and two on the left-hand side of the bike (one for the RPM sensor and one which Ducati literature calls a pick up sensor). The latter two were on the side of the bike that I drenched with water while cleaning when I had the fairings off. While one or more of these connections may have been the cause of my problems I can't rule out the possibility of a software glitch.

Some of the connectors use by Ducati provide good protection against dirt and water infiltration while others are of mediocre quality and offer little protection. I doubt that the electrical components used by Ducati meet military specs. The extreme heat generated by the bike and the heat and humidity common in this region can certainly stress electrical components. Contacts that are dirty or corroded will increase resistance and create problems... and obviously, water can create an electrical path where one shouldn't exist (short). Extreme temperatures (hot or cold), dirt, water… probably the top three things that electrical components don’t much care for.

I filled the tank up with gas yesterday and road the bike for several hours until the tank was nearly empty and didn't have any problems.

Maintaining the bike here is difficult. I only ride on paved roads but you still get a lot of dirt kicked up on the bike. I'm always cleaning and lubricating the chain, changing/cleaning the air filter, general cleaning of the bike, etc. Goes with the territory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, never, not once, not ever have I put gas in my bike from the coke bottle vendors. :) But if you get far enough away from the city and run out of fuel that might very well become your only option. In town there are modern gas stations. Total offers 92, 95 and diesel and Sokimex offers 92, 95, 97 and diesel. I prefer the 97 but always run a minimum of 95. Thailand is only a couple of hours away. I ran to Bangkok three weeks ago to pick up a new jacket and gloves. It's fairly easy to locate gear there.

The environment is rough on the chain and sprockets. My rear sprocket is worn and with more than 11,000 miles on the bike I want to renew my chain and sprockets. I ordered the replacements in the U.S. and had them shipped to my son; he'll forward them to me. I asked him to delay shipment because I want to order one other item. I noticed when going through the bike this week that there was a bit of coolant seepage around the squirter unit that houses the thermostat. It looks like there are three allen head screws retaining the thermostat in the housing. I don't know if I can remove this unit and replace a gasket (I assume there's a gasket in the thermostat housing) or seal again with a gasket compound. I want to order a replacement just to be on the safe side. Exposing/removing the squirter unit is a time consuming endeavor. Once you expose the unit you still have the upper and lower radiator hoses to remove, the hoses to the horizontal and vertical cylinders have to be removed, the temperature sensor has to be removed and the unit has to be unbolted from the engine. If I yank it out and find that I can't correct the coolant leak I want to have a replacement available to put back in. When the new squirter unit arrives I'll have everything shipped to me at one time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No, I haven't taken all the radiator hoses off yet. The new squirter (what a name) has been ordered but it's not likely to get to me for another couple of weeks. I thought about changing the hoses... I saw a nice set of silicone hoses online a couple of weeks ago but I can't recall the manufacturer. They may be the same ones that you're referring to. The ones I saw were red, not that you'll get to see much of them when they're hidden behind the fairings, but still cool. They had a cool price too. :) Maybe I'll pick up a set along with some other goodies when I go back to the U.S. to visit in June.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I’ve driven a couple hundred miles now without any additional problems. I wish I could have positively identified the cause of the problem so that I could share that information with all the forum members. I’ll go through the items that were questionable once again and maybe you can formulate your own hypothesis with regards to what may have created the problem that I described.

The 4-wire connectors to both of the lambda sensors exhibited mild signs of corrosion (located on right-hand side of bike):
The lambda sensors are going to measure the proportion of oxygen exiting the exhaust, communicate this data to the ECU and in turn the ECU will enrich or lean out the air/fuel mixture entering the engine to ensure optimum combustion efficiency. Would a faulty lambda sensor create the problems I experienced? A faulty sensor would probably produce an EOBD indication although I haven’t tested this assumption by disconnecting one but I don’t think a failed unit would produce the symptoms I noted. If water entered the connector and created a short or if there was an open circuit or high contact resistance due to corrosion on the contacts what symptoms would be present? I don't know.

The 3-wire connector to the RPM/speed sensor and an identical 3-wire connector (one which I may have mistakenly identified as a pick-up sensor using Ducati literature… I’ll try to positively identify this connector the next time I rip in to the bike) exhibited a good amount of corrosion. (located on left-hand side of bike):
The RPM/speed sensor I believe is used in the rev-limiting circuitry. I don’t know what symptoms would appear if the sensor failed but if the connector was shorted or if there was an open circuit or high contact resistance due to corrosion on the contacts perhaps it could have been the cause of my problems. I have my suspicions about his sensor too because it is located directly in the area that I soaked with water when cleaning.

The wire leading to the rear spark plug was possibly shorting to the chassis:
What about the wire to my rear spark plug? If the outer jacket was compromised and the coil output was arcing to the chassis certainly the bike would run poorly. Would it have flashed an EOBD indication and a red engine flag? Would it have disabled input from the throttle twistgrip? I checked my twistgrip. I measured the voltage present on all six wires with the throttle fully open and the throttle fully closed in the past. When I experienced this problem naturally I checked again… all measurements were in spec.

Opening and then closing the gas cap would clear my EOBD indication when I was experiencing problems:
When I experienced this problem why would the EOBD light clear when I opened and closed the fuel cap? In automotive applications if you have a missing fuel cap or one that seals poorly you might get a check engine light. This is common in many evaporative emissions control systems. But what does Ducati have going on with the gas tank? I performed the charcoal canister modification a long time ago. Along with the original tank vent hose I now have the second hose (the one that originally connected to the charcoal canister) vented to the outside world. Neither are clogged. The vacuum line that comes from the throttle bodies has been plugged. If it was unplugged your engine may idle a few hundred RPM’s higher but it won’t display an EOBD light. What else is on the tank? You have your quick connect/disconnect hose, your fuel pump and a thermistor. The thermistor is likely there to serve as a current-limiter or for overcurrent protection. I don’t see any reason why opening and closing the tank would extinguish my EOBD indication. I don’t see anything else connected to the tank… no more hoses, no additional wiring, no pressure sensor, nothing… so this phenomena I can’t explain.

The problem could certainly have been software-related as one forum member pointed out. You can never rule out the possibility of a software
glitch. My laptop burps every now and then too.

I may have caused my own problems by cleaning the bike, and so I will suggest to be mindful when cleaning. As I noted, some of the connectors used by Ducati look pretty decent and probably offer adequate protection against water and dirt infiltration. Others, however, appear to be of mediocre quality and likely offer substantially less protection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The Ducati 1199 Panigale as well as other models utilize a DBW (drive by wire) throttle controller. There are two potentiometers located in the twistgrip/throttle controller. I suspect that the ECU looks at data from both potentiometers (using one to validate the other) before executing any action… a safety feature.

If you should suspect that your twistgrip/throttle controller is faulty you can measure the voltages present on each pin and compare them to the voltages listed below. The measurements that you take may not be identical to those shown below as all electrical components have different operating characteristics and tolerances. A component may measure within +/-5% or +/-10% of a given value for example. Nevertheless, your voltage measurements should at least be in the ballpark.

Remove the upper fairing on the right-hand side of your bike. Located just to the right of the ECU you’ll find the connector feeding to your twistgrip/throttle controller. It’s an 8-pin connector but only six pins are utilized. You can trace the wiring to the twistgrip to verify that you’ve located the correct connector. Carefully remove a small amount of insulation from each of the six wires until the copper conductor is exposed (see attached photo). A utility knife works well but be careful not to damage the conductor. Separate the conductors and give yourself a little bit of working room. You don’t want to short anything together while you’re taking your measurements. With the conductors exposed and a multimeter in hand, place your black meter probe on a clean chassis ground point. Turn your ignition on but do not start the bike… place your red meter probe on each of the exposed conductors (one at a time) and compare your measurements to the values shown below.

Ignition on, throttle fully closed:

Pin A (white/green) .56v
Pin B (white/red) 5.05v
Pin C (white/black) .07v
Pin D (yellow/green) .56v
Pin E (yellow/red) 5.05v
Pin F (yellow/black) .07v

Ignition on, throttle fully open:

Pin A (white/green) 4.46v
Pin B (white/red) 5.06v
Pin C (white/black) .07v
Pin D (yellow/green) 2.27v
Pin E (yellow/red) 5.06v
Pin F (yellow/black) .07v

When you’re finished, turn your ignition off and apply electrical tape to each of the six individual conductors. Reinstall your upper right-hand side fairing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’ll throw another variable into the equation... and hopefully the last. While working on the bike I discovered another questionable connector. I’m now most certain that this connector could have been the cause of the problem that I described. There’s a 19-pin connector (only 17 pins are utilized) on the right-hand side of the bike. Wiring for the horizontal and vertical TPS/ETV motors, the horizontal and vertical cylinder injectors (1&2) and the horizontal and vertical throttle position sensors all pass through this connector. I previously overlooked it… my bad. It appeared to have been taped well by the original owner to prevent any dirt or water infiltration and I’ve never disturbed it since owning the bike. Nevertheless, because I was unable to determine with any degree of certainty what caused the problem that I experienced I removed the tape and exposed the connector. With the connector open it was obvious that the contacts had been compromised. Several pins exhibited signs of corrosion. Although the wiring leading to the connector and the connector itself had been taped it appears as though water found its way in under the factory-fitted sleeve where it branches off of the wiring harness (the side feeding the female portion of the connector). While examining and cleaning other connectors on the same side of the bike after first experiencing this problem I may have unknowingly corrected my problem. If the pin contacts in the connector were marginal to begin with, simply shifting things around and moving this connector while working in the area may have been enough to make the problem disappear. I don’t know specifically if the problem in the connector would have been the result of an open circuit (one caused by contact corrosion), a short circuit (caused by water infiltration when I washed the bike) or just high contact resistance (again, the result of contact corrosion), but if I had to bet on it I’d say that this connector was the culprit all along. Another positive note… going through and examining/cleaning so many of the connectors since this problem first developed has afforded me the opportunity to discover other questionable connections that I listed in this post and may help to avoid some future headaches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't know how much the high humidity here might effect the electrical connections but I doubt it's a plus in their favor. The only exposure to moisture that the bike sees is the ever-present humidity and when I wash it. I never ride it in the rain. I have a little 200cc Bajaj Pulsar I use to do the dirty work. Knowing what I know now I plan to be more proactive and routinely go through the bike, hoping to avert some of these problems in the future.
 
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