checking engine oil pressure

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checking engine oil pressure

Postby Medoro » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:28 am

I'm working on a 66 Monza. I have no history on the bike.
I have compression and spark, as far as i can tell all the insides are working as they should.
I have oil in the bike. Before I try to fire this thing up I would like to ensure oil is flowing as it should to the top end etc.
Can I verify oil flow by putting the bike in gear and turning the back wheel by hand and checking for oil at the valves or the bevel gear set on top of the engine?
OR...will I never get it going fast enough by hand to get the oil pumping?
Please advise. I am a Ducati novice.
Many thanks,

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby JimF » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:15 am

I simply started my engine for the first time with the cam cover off.

After a couple seconds oil came shooting out and I immediately shut the engine down.


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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby Samurai » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:11 am

As JimF said, when I was in exactly the same situation as you a month or so ago, I removed the upper bevel gear cover and made sure to kick it over a number of times until I was sure that oil was coming out of the oil gallery in the end of the camshaft.

That is the end of the oil circuit before it returns down the bevel tunnel and back to he sump, so if you have flow here, then in all likelyhood, oil should be getting everywhere it needs to.

Like Jim, once I got it fired up, I ran it for a few seconds, shut it down and doublechecked.

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby jbcollier » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:22 am

Remove the spark plug and the bevel drive cover and kick until oil comes out the end of the cam (it's got a big hole in it). There really isn't any/much oil pressure, just flow.

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby Samurai » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:23 am

That's to be expected, as your never going to get much pressure at kick-over speeds.

What you have proved is that oil is indeed completing it's normal circuit, which is a good thing!

Kick it over another dozen times to make sure that the oil pump is fully primed and go for it! If your ultra cautious like I was, let it fire up and run for 15 secs or so, then shut it down and pull the cam/bevel gear cover again and check to see that oil is more evident. If it is then run it again for a few minutes till hot and repeat.

You should find that there is now plenty of oil all over and round the bevel gears, but I wouldn't be expecting to see such an old design and tiny pump jetting oil out like a modern superbike!

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby Bevel bob » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:55 am

I believe some motors came with the oilway blocked to increase the flow out to the rocker/cam face. I have installed a roll pin and see no cam wear over many years use.

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby PhilR » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:22 pm

Can I pick up on the 'blocked oilway through the cam'. While fitting a replacement head I have just discovered the cam oilway on my 350 n/c racer is blocked at the bevel drive end; clearly purposely as its a short piece of steel rod. This would force all oil entering the head out through the cam lobes onto the rocker pad. I have been running the bike like this since I got it (unknowingly) but can't see any adverse effects; in fact cam lobes and rocker pads are in v good shape, so perhaps it works. No signs of wear in the top bevels either, so presumably enough oil sloshes about to lubricate them, on its way back down the cam drive tunnel.
Does anyone know of this mod, I haven't heard of it before. good or bad idea??

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby LaceyDucati » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:27 am

Hello Phil,
Blocking the cam at the threaded end is quite normal on race engine for the reasons you describe. In fact many desmo road cams are like this as standard and desmo engines don't have the cam tunnel to collect oil to feed the bevels via the cam bearing either. Needless to say oil splash/misting is plenty enough for the bevel gears. I would always restrict the hole in the cam to around 2mm via a tension pin. Most standard cams are like this but you do see some with the open 5mm hole. Running an open ended cam is a recipe for worn cam and rockers.

Rest assured I have carried out mods as you described on all my race engines for nearly 30 years without issue.

Regards Nigel

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby blethermaskite » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:45 am

Same as Nigel, I have never knowingly ran a ducati single engine desmo or springer without doing the restriction slug mod on the bevel end of the just makes sense to force the oil through the working/rubbing areas of the cam instead of giving it an easy path out at the bevel end, I have seen restriction slugs made from steel, alloy, brass, copper, and roll pins,some slugs are solid some have a little hole bored in them, when I fit one (always in alloy) I bore a 1.5mm hole through the slug to create an oil jet for the bevels, I also fit an oil seal conversion to the bronze crank end bush in the timing cover which improves the oil pressure to everything that needs it including head.
If the oil pump is primed a good condition engine should show oil at the camshaft after some rapid kick starting action (with the spark plug removed), I am sure others here would agree that starting a good condition ducati single with a rocker or bevel cover off will surprise you at just how much oil that little pump will spew out before you can get the engine stopped again!!

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Re: checking engine oil pressure

Postby PhilR » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:52 pm

Thanks Gents for the re-assuring advice. always something to learn about these wonderful little bikes.


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