31 October 2008


A few days ago here in Toronto, the weather predictions indicated that temps were going to go down to below freezing, -4°C. I realized I did not have any antifreeze compound in my Ducati 749 still in its non-heated housing; only distilled water mixed with “water wetter”. I panicked as I had not expected temps to drop below freezing in October--I was not prepared! But the real clincher was realizing there's a chance, even if slight or debated by some, that if the water in the Duc's engine freezes, it could crack the engine innards!

I dropped everything and checked in with my resources at Ducati Toronto— the water expanding in the engine could cause two screws/bolts to expand (specifically) creating pressure which could cause a crack—rare but as Chris [the mechanic] at Ducati explained—it can indeed happen and I was not going to invite any chance of it!

Rather than move the bike because it was going to another heated housing shortly for the winter, I attempted to find a “one night” solution. So I tried to run an extension cord out to the housing and put in my portable heater for the night—that wouldn’t work simply for lack of outdoor electrical outlets and extension cords. Then I asked the property manager if I could get the bike inside the building just for one night— as expected fire regulations would not allow for it. I was running out of time, it was already late afternoon and the sun was setting— Paul the service manager called me back and said just try to drain out some of the water from the engine to allow room for expansion. My attempts did not succeed--I couldn’t get the specific drain screw loose, so decided to get the bike to the shop;put tools away, threw the fairings back on and went inside to let the shop know I was on my way but noticed it was ten minutes before closing time! I managed to get Paul on the phone, providing yet another update to my situation and my desire to get the bike to them for the night--and for a flushing out of the water weeter, in exchange for antifreeze. Lucky me Paul said they’d wait for me until I arrived (great service!). I jumped into my gear and got the Duc to the shop.

What a drama--and temperatures did not go below freezing that evening--only as low as 2°C. Never mind, there’s no measure worth taking when it comes to the life of one’s motorcycle engine. Plus this time I don’t have to do the work removing "water wetter" and replacing the ethylene glycol--and did make some discoveries which I'll be introducing you to in more detail (MOTORESS tech section ) shortly.

Today I’m heading out to pick up “Dante” (that’s my Ducati’s name) and ride him over to his heated winter location. Unbelievably it will reach a sunny and warm high of 17°C on this Halloween eve day -- the last day of October.

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