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I have a 2003 749 with 11,988 miles. Ive had it since November and decided to give it some fresh oil. The bike came with complete service records, so I didn't feel too negligent in not doing this right away. In any case I pulled the drain plug and the magnet had more and larger metal particles on it than I am used to on japanese bikes and german cars, which usually amounts to a small amount of metallic sludge where this magnet actually had what looked like miniature metallic crew cut. Is this something to be concerned about? If this is not normal, any guesses as to why?

Also is the drain plug a unique size? None of my allen keys seemed to provide a perfect fit, though close enough to remove the plug.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Yes it happens. As to why, metal to metal contact, there will always be some amount of wear.
My '98 ST2 always had small slivers and/or tiny particles on the magnet up to 60k miles when I replaced the engine. I pulled the cylinders later to have a look inside and saw a very unusual wear pattern on some of the tranny gears that explained the constant metal.
On the 999s, I have very few to no particles on the magnet.

As for the drain plug, with repeated removal and re installations, hex wrenches wear on the aluminum plug causing a sloppy fit over time.

My 2 cents
 

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You'll have to post a picture on what you got out of it. Honestly, you shouldn't have any metal particulates in the oil, if you DO have some, that means something is wearing badly. You should check the screen in the sump to see what's on it as well. Maybe the original owner did some major service before selling it? Maybe it hasn't bedded in properly since? But if I saw metal particulates at 11k miles, I'd for sure be paying attention to them. As an example, my 749 never had anything on the drain plug, it was perfect. My 748R however, was always covered with metal bits because the rocker arms were shaving down and the pins which hold them in, were shaving the covers very slowly. So you always get metal in the Desmoquattro motors. But the testastretta of the 749, you shouldn't get anything.

People torque the heck out of drain plugs, so thats probably why the hex socket is damaged, it happens. You can buy an aftermarket one, they're readily available.
 

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The particles you describe as a "metal crew-cut" (good description, by the way) are probably the sort of straight flakes a gearbox will shed, rather than particles from shedding rockers, although this is at best only a guess.

The gearboxes will shed material if they are losing their hard-facing, or if some parts have been replaced.

Either way - if there are similar particles on there at the next oil change, you will know you have a problem. Don't get too worked up about it until you check at the next change.

As to the looseness of the Allen key engagement - these plugs are generally made in brass, zinc-plated, to allow the magnet to function. It is a fairly soft material, and is probably worth replacing.

Remember not to over-tighten the plug (as some of your predecessors probably did). The tip is to replace the gasket washer, and to equalise the temperatures of the plug with the engine before final tightening.

Most of us drop the oil when the engine is warm, then wash the plug in solvent and blow it off with an air hose. So the engine is still warm, and the plug is very cold.

So refit the cleaned plug, fingertight, then do the final tighten five minutes later. No amount of tightening in the unequal temperature state will yield the correct tension.

And don't forget the last step. Leave a reminder under the bike..

:smoking:
 

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IMO - do everything as suggested but don't get too worked up just yet. Although it does have quite a few miles Ducati trans have a habit of shedding small fingernail looking clippings until the gear tooth edges get rounded a little. If the PO rode it like Miss Daisy and now you're pushing it, err.. breaking it in ;) that might explain what you're seeing. Give it a couple oil changes, I'll bet you'll see it disappear. That said don't skimp on the quality of the motor oil. If you're pushing the engine hard and routinely banging through the gears I highly recommend a full synthetic 15/50. Your engine and transmission will be much happier longer. I know this is a stupid question - but you are using metric Allen keys right?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the responses. Ducnial may have what I want to believe is the correct answer. I find it somewhat inconcievable that someone can own a fine motorbike like this one for a decade and only have 9,000 miles on it and I am a bit of a "spirited" rider so perhaps it is only now getting broken in. Still I will keep an eye on it the next time.
Full Synthetic - Yes both me and previous owner service records.
Yes to metric allen keys - I was actually wondering if I had to dig out some SAE ones. The plug didn't feel or look worn (which I really cant imagine it as it has only been out 4 times) it just seemed like the slightly wrong size which is why I asked - I didn't want to be the guy that messed it up by not using the right tool.
 

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If you're worried about the drain plug backing off your better off safety wiring the thing vs. cranking the heck out of it.
 
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