By Eric (I am a Customer) on Jul 19, 2012
I took my Ducati to Moto Milano for a rough running issue. They determined that I had a porous cylinder head on the horizontal cylinder which was allowing oil to get into the combustion chamber causing my rough running. Their recommendation was to rebuild a used cylinder head and re-install. They ... purchased the used head, rebuilt it and re-assembled. About four weeks later they had completed the repair but the bike was still not running correctly. When I drove the bike home for the first time it was running worse then before. When I got home and looked the bike over in detail I found that they had left off/disconnected most of my vacuum and carb drain lines, left the lower throttle cable disconnected from the carb mount (very dangerous), one of the carb boots was not connected to the air box allowing unfiltered air into the engine, my "dash" was broken, my right side brake lever, bar end, foot peg and exhaust were scraped.
I put everything that was left disconnected back on correctly and the bike ran better than when I drove it home, but my original issue was not resolved.
They had also changed my hydraulic fluid at my request and got brake fluid on the front brake pads which was causing my front brakes to grab, chatter and pulsate especially at slow speeds.
I called Moto Milano back, talked to Gerry, and calmly explained to him all that I had found wrong and expressed my anger. He told me to bring the bike back and that Jamie had something to say to me. When I got there Jamie admitted he had dropped my motorcycle and forgot to tell me. In my ignorance I told them to only replace the damaged items that were obvious.
After another couple of weeks, they repaired the muffler as best they could and replaced the front brake lever with a different lever. They unsuccessfully tried adjusting the carbs to get the bike to run better. They unsuccessfully scuffed the front brake pads to try to get the brake fluid out of them. They replaced some of the missing lines with home-made lines that did not match the other lines (before this my 1993 bike was all original).
The second time I went to get my bike, they still had high hydrocarbon readings on the horizontal cylinder and I found that the bike was not running any different. The front brake was still grabby, chattering and pulsating. When I was looking the bike over at home I saw that the front brake pad retaining pin was just hanging in its mount. I grabbed it with my fingers and it pulled right out! This pin is friction fit and needs to be tapped in. If this pin would have fallen out completely I could have lost my front brake pads with possible deadly results.
I called them back and explained this and they just glossed over the brake pad pin issue and told me that they would order some brake pads to replace the fluid soaked pads. They arrived a few weeks later and I went in to pick them up. I asked if they were going to install them and Gerry said he would because of all the issues I had. While he was installing the pads, I asked him if they had the clutch lever to match the brake lever that they replaced. They did so I told him I would buy it. After installing the pads he rang me up and he charged me for the pads! I was pissed, but as you can tell, I just wanted away from them so I didn't say anything.
I couldn't ride my bike much last summer because of how bad it was running. I checked my ignition and found that it was in-spec. I checked the compression and found that it was 90psi on the horizontal cylinder (the one Moto Milano rebuilt) compared to 130psi (in spec) on the vertical cylinder. I figured that it couldn't be the head because it had just been rebuilt.
This spring I took it to Eric Colbath (BCM Ducati mechanic) at Clubhouse Motorsports in Moultonborough, NH and explained the entire ordeal to him. He was like my own personal mechanic. He called at every step and and explained everything to me. He confirmed the low compression reading so he did a leakdown test and found that it was leaking too much. He first checked the valve adjustment on the rebuilt head and found one valve out of spec. He adjusted it but that didn't solve my issue. We decided that he should take the head & cylinder off to investigate further. Upon doing so we found that Moto Milano had supplied, rebuilt and installed the wrong cylinder head on my motorcycle and was causing my low compression issue. We also found the source of the compression leak was a scored cylinder/piston. He cleaned up a used cylinder/piston set, rebuilt my original head and re-assembled. He found that there was a shim missing in my head between the cam and cam bearing and that I didn't receive my tachometer drive gear back with my original head and the tach gears in the wrong head don't fit in the correct head. My bike is now running great but with no working tachometer.
To date Moto Milano has not admitted any mistakes nor offered me any refund for their many mistakes.