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Ducati Diana Mark III

ZoomerP

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I have a friend with a Ducati Diana Mark III that suffered extensive engine damage because a moron globbed silicone on the case instead of using the appropriate gasket, and chunks of silicone broke away and led to oil starvation to the main bearings. By the time the previous owner realized something was wrong, the bearings were shredded, sending hardened steel contamination throughout the motor.

My question is whether the engine should be rebuilt, replaced, or if the bike should be sold as is. My friend has the skill to do the work, but parts won't be cheap. I'm willing to foot the bill just to motivate him to get back in his shop. COVID-19 has made the last two years very hard for him.

Cosmetically, the bike is in very good condition, with all original parts and paint. Other than the engine damage, everything is fine. I don't think it's a stretch to see my friend's bike approach the condition of this one once it's repaired.


1644642928258.png
 

MVI

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Since he has the skills to work on the motor, I'd say disassemble it and do a proper assessment.

At least then you will know what, and how much, you need to invest into parts to do it right.

:photog
 

ZoomerP

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Since he has the skills to work on the motor, I'd say disassemble it and do a proper assessment.

At least then you will know what, and how much, you need to invest into parts to do it right.

:photog
Thanks. He's already pulled it apart. The aluminum piston has pretty sparkles from the embedded steel from the bearings, and he showed me the remains of the bearings yesterday.

He has a replacement crank he bought before losing interest. I hate seeing it sitting apart in his tiny shop, and I'd rather see him rebuild it or sell it. Like you said, the best move is to get a parts list together and see how much it's going to cost to rebuild the engine. Motivating him to do that might be more difficult than finding the parts.
 

Nhuskys

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My second bike. The first was a '64 Ducati Cadet 100 2T. I converted the Diana to Scrambler spec and rode it off road. I would eventually ride my first enduro on it, when I got my learner's permit. When I got my license, I converted it back to road spec. I would have been better off with a regular valve spring 250, but luckily I had an older neighbor who got me into bikes, that could adjust the Desmo valvetrain.
One I wish I still had, but even 25 years ago Ducati single prices were stupid, when I started looking around!
 

ZoomerP

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A six pack of root beer may do the trick. Shop time with a buddy is always a good time
Yep. That's part of how C-19 has screwed with the guy. He used to have people drop by the shop routinely, myself included. He's old, and when everything went to hell two years ago, he went into full lockdown mode. I can't blame him for that, but I'm slowly trying to get him back to the way things were.
My second bike. The first was a '64 Ducati Cadet 100 2T. I converted the Diana to Scrambler spec and rode it off road. I would eventually ride my first enduro on it, when I got my learner's permit. When I got my license, I converted it back to road spec. I would have been better off with a regular valve spring 250, but luckily I had an older neighbor who got me into bikes, that could adjust the Desmo valvetrain.
One I wish I still had, but even 25 years ago Ducati single prices were stupid, when I started looking around!
It really is amazing to see the prices. I think bikes like the Diana are neat, and I'd like to ride one, but the auction prices are crazy to me.

I'd like to see this one back in service, whether kept by my friend or sold. If he sells it, he could use the money for more pressing things, or to travel. As it sits, it's just a collection of parts taking up space he really doesn't have to spare. If I can get him back to work, I'd like to be part of putting it back together.
 

DesmoDog

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A guy who went into full lockdown due to covid doesn't sound like a guy who should/will spend the money from a bike sale to go on a trip. I mean nothing by that other than one doesn't seem to go with the other.

The engine should absolutely be rebuilt, so the question is whether he should do it.

I'm very biased on this and would say yeah, it would be a great project. But I don't know the guy.

In the end he's the one who needs to decide. If it's something you'd like to do with him then propose that. The parts are out there.

How about you buy it from him with the expectation he helps you put it together?
 

ZoomerP

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A guy who went into full lockdown due to covid doesn't sound like a guy who should/will spend the money from a bike sale to go on a trip. I mean nothing by that other than one doesn't seem to go with the other.

The engine should absolutely be rebuilt, so the question is whether he should do it.

I'm very biased on this and would say yeah, it would be a great project. But I don't know the guy.

In the end he's the one who needs to decide. If it's something you'd like to do with him then propose that. The parts are out there.

How about you buy it from him with the expectation he helps you put it together?
I think he's past any long rides on a bike, especially multi-day trips. He still might enjoy a tour of Germany, though.

If he wants to do the work, he's fully capable of doing it, so that's a big concern out of the way. I could muddle my way through it, but parts expense and availability being what it is, I'd rather not. It's not like sticking a Honda 125 back together.

I hadn't considered buying the bike and having him lead the rebuild as you suggested. I know he's reluctant to sell the Diana because it was left to him by a childhood friend. I knew that guy, and the current owner has been like an uncle to me, so he might consider selling it to me for a joint rebuild.

He also has a Moto Guzzi Stornello that he frequently rode until C-19 hit. I think he might enjoy local rides with us trading between the two bikes. That'd get the Diana back together and him out of his house at the same time. Great idea!
 

2whlrcr

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I had a Diana Mark III. Paid $100 for it. True story.

Now with that being said, I don't follow old Ducati prices that close. But I would say a Diana in any condition is worth doing it right. Diana's used to be the 2nd Holy Grail next to the 1974 750 SS.
 

ZoomerP

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I had a Diana Mark III. Paid $100 for it. True story.

Now with that being said, I don't follow old Ducati prices that close. But I would say a Diana in any condition is worth doing it right. Diana's used to be the 2nd Holy Grail next to the 1974 750 SS.
I recall when the two oldsters returned home with the then-running Diana. They grew up in the days the Diana was released, and they had the biggest grins when they got back from ripping around the neighborhood on the old girl.

I'm going to let yesterday's chat about the Diana marinate for a few days before talking about it with him again.
 

2whlrcr

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I believe the Diana was the one of the first clubman 250's that could hit an honest 100mph. My Diana had been "Americanized" by the US Distributor, which I guess was common in the mid 60's. Cruiser style handlebars, pegs moved forward. It was covered in pigeon shit, laying in a barn, a few miles north of where MVI grew up. I didn't know what it was, except for an ugly old Ducati that didn't run.

When I started to try and get it running and was searching for parts, the Ducati specialist I was talking to wanted to know what the frame and engine numbers were. Turns out it was a Diana. He offered me 25x what I paid for it and it was gone. My guess is it's beautifully restored bike now worth 250x more than my $100.
 

ZoomerP

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There's an oft cited Cycle World article from 1963 that proclaimed the Mark III as the fastest 250 in the world, with a top speed of 100 mph. That had to be a memorable ride.
 

Rider

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OK I'll nibble at this hook.

How much to get it out of the tiny little shop and on to a good home?
 

ZoomerP

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OK I'll nibble at this hook.

How much to get it out of the tiny little shop and on to a good home?
I haven't had a second conversation with him about a parts list, so I can't say. I know he's not interested in selling it at this time, but that might change if he gets it back together and finds a good home for it.

I should see him this week, and I may see if we can find a way to move forward. He's had time to think about doing something with it, and I'd like to feel him out on the plan for me to buy the bike & rebuild it with him, or something similar. We can work out of his shop, or move everything but the engine to my place, leaving him more room to concentrate on the main problem.
 

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