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My new Panigale V4, part 3

Posted on May 27, 2018 by acruhl

First read Part 1 and Part 2.

It’s been a while since my last post. For unfortunate reasons. My bike was at the dealer for exactly 1 month for a coolant issue. The root cause of the issue wasn’t known until the week before last. Here’s the story:

While I was volunteering at Ducati Island for the Austin MotoGP race, I noticed by bike leaking coolant at the end of the day when I was going to ride back to camp. This prevented me from doing the Ducati lap with Claudio Domenicali which sucks, I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to do that again. Anyway, I rode it back to camp, less than 1/2 mile, and it leaked more coolant.

When the bike got back to Tucson (in a trailer, the same way it got to Austin), I called Ducati roadside assistance and they picked it up and brought it to the dealer. It leaked coolant on the trip back to Tucson as well as when it was being loaded on the tow truck.

The dealer found a damaged coolant hose. So they ordered a new one, which took a while to arrive, and installed it. This did not solve the problem. After more troubleshooting, they found that the thermostat housing was leaking as well. It took a while for that part to arrive as well.

This is my opinion, but what I think happened was a hose was installed incorrectly when the bike was assembled. This caused the hose to leak but also put pressure on the thermostat housing, which is a very lightweight plastic item, and broke it. There’s not a lot of room to work in there so I suppose I can understand it. But the bike being down for a month, probably half of that time waiting on parts, is frustrating. I missed the end of our good riding weather in Tucson. Darn.

So while the bike was away it also got the recalls solved related to the fuel tank cap and hoses under the tank (I think). And it got a new map. This new map is very interesting.

Ducati is doing cylinder deactivation with the Panigale V4 with the current map (as of 5/27/2018). (A member of the club told me Harley has been doing this for a while.) The dealer told me the reason is “rider comfort”. Wow. I was told the rear 2 cylinders will deactivate when the bike is up to temperature and stopped. I’m not sure if it only happens while stopped though based on stuff I felt… Anyway, when it’s up to temperature, you can definitely feel the engine note change. It changes from sounding vaguely like a twin (4 cylinders) to definitely sounding like a twin (2 cylinders). If you give it a little throttle or let the clutch out while in gear, you can feel the other 2 cylinders activate. First impressions are that it’s probably working. I sat at a few red lights in 90+ degree heat and my legs were not cooking (see parts 1 and 2 for my thoughts on my backside and legs being cooked by this bike). I need to try again on a hotter day I suppose. I guess I wonder why they don’t do this during deceleration at any point, why not? The transition between 2 and 4 cylinders is very smooth…

The first accessory was installed! A battery tender cable! Keen observers will remember that this is the only accessory I ever installed on my 1199 before I had to sell it, and before it reached it’s untimely fate at the hands of a drunk driver. But that’s another story.

I’ve been looking at suspension upgrades, rearsets, and exhausts but I’m not sure what I’ll do. A less restrictive exhaust might cut down on heat which would be a plus… Suspension is pretty good so far but I managed to fade the rear shock of my 1199 after some fast track riding, and it wasn’t sitting next to 2 very hot exhausts… I’m not much of an aftermarket exhaust guy but in this case if it flows better and cuts down on heat it could be helpful on many levels. Maybe a slip on + Jet Hot? The full Termignoni exhaust looks cool but it’s nearly $5k…(!)… I’ll wait until there are a pile of them sitting around for the price to become more sane.

Ok, this post is long enough. More later.

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