1998 Ducati 600SS

Bertie Simmonds
April 26, 2017

Q: I’ve got a problem. After a run the bike is going okay, but while parked in the garage for a few days petrol leaked out through the breather pipe on to the floor. It even filled one or both cylinders and drained through to the sump, mixing with the oil.

I changed the oil and let everything dry out, got the bike running okay again on a couple of short runs, but it has now done the same thing again, filling engine with petrol. Please help, what is wrong with my bike?

Classic look of the 600SS.

A: I am not familiar with this model but I believe it is a bit unusual in that despite having a fuel pump residing within the tank to feed the Mikuni carburettors, there is also a manually operated fuel tap. What I am not clear on is whether or not the tap is operated as part of the normal riding procedure, or whether it is purely for the purpose of isolating the fuel supply to the under-tank pipework for servicing. If the former, then you will need to replace it. If the latter, you should concentrate on the condition and settings of the carburettor and float valves.

About the Author

Bertie Simmonds

As a child Bertie (well, Robert back then… blame his sister for the nickname) was exposed to motorcycles thanks to his uncles. They would show up at his house with a lovely lady as pillion throughout the 1970s and 1980s. After a naughty time on field bikes (it’s what we did back then) Bertie passed his test in the early 1990s and became a reporter for MCN in 1995, moving to the sports desk and covering World Superbikes in 1996. With a change to Bike Magazine in 1997, he stayed until 2000 as news, features and road test editor. Moving into PR with Cosworth, Bert was bored with cars and returned to bikes in 2001 with Two Wheels Only, becoming editor in 2002 and leaving to be freelance at the end of 2004. With almost a decade freelancing, Bertie joined Mortons in 2013 and became editor of Classic Motorcycle Mechanics, a post he’s desperately clung to, to this day. And no, he’s never had a pretty girl on the back of his bike.

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