Re: Did Ducati ever fix the rocker problem? (Shazaam!)
Finally, something that Shazaam and I don't agree about.
I've got some photomicrographs of the grey patches that show the area is rife with cracking.
And if you look at flaked rockers with a microscope, you'll see that it's bordered by thinning grey cracking material....that tells me that the grey patches precede complete failure. More than happy to forward pictures to those interested. Just need to remember where they are.
The rockers that Nichols sells are Megacycles. They grind down the contact areas of the rockers about 0.050" and build it back up with a hard face welding rod and then grind it back to the correct profile. While that heating isn't the greatest for a forged part, there have been damn few reports of failed Megacycle parts and they've got more parts in the field than any other alternatives. To include being used in AMA factory race bikes.
Megacycles grooved? I've seen that on 851 rockers with a lot of miles - due to a lack of attention to maintenance and hard riding. I suspect the same cause.
The alternatives are; get the $45 stockers and keep an eye on your oil - and make sure your service facility pulls cams and inspects the rockers during your valve service. It takes an extra 20 minutes and all the good shops do it - then just replace the rockers as a matter of maintenance, there are two places that will replate: one place in Canada and one place in NH.....I've seen a race motor built at the NH facility with 2 replates - after 400 miles, one of the replates needed replacing, I don't have much information on the replates from Canada, and the third is Megacycle. They're almost twice the price of the replates or the stockers, but they'll outlast the rest of your motor if you keep up on your valves.
if your 4 valver is 1996 or newer (and not testastretta), it will flake rockers. 748's and hard ridden 9XX's will go first, ST4's will flake last. Average for the superbikes is 6k service to see the first failure. For the ST's, it's the 12k service.
If the cams aren't pulled, the failure won't be found until later. And most shops will not report the grey patches as being failed rockers....because technically, they haven't. But they will - guaranteed.
To forestall failures, keep your valve lash figures towards the tight end (because hard chrome doesn't like the slap of a loose-set rocker), change oil often with good stuff, keep an eye on the oil prefilter screen, and warmt he bike up before you take off.