Twin-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled rebirth of a Ducati 500SL

I have found it very helpful to keep a bunch of cheap packing paper and an abundant supply of old towels (thanks Lindsey!) around when disassembling the engine. When I took an important piece off, I would take 1 minute to make sure there were no extra shims attached, no o-rings stuck to the back, and no loose bits hanging off before storage.


After that, I would wrap the piece in brown kraft paper to help absorb oil, and prevent damage that might inevitably occur when stored. I found that I moved the pieces around quite a lot during the disassembly phase. When it is time to send things to have them glassbeaded, you have to search through your big boxes to find the parts you are looking for. Oftentimes I found myself moving delicate parts far too roughly. I made it a habit to wrap everything with paper after dinging my oil pump with the cylinder heads. Nothing major, just annoying.


If you take the 30 seconds it takes to wrap the pieces in paper, when you open them to do something, you tend to put the paper back on. It’s a simple idea that helps keep the high-tolerance surfaces safe. Everything is protected when assembled, but when you take the engine apart and have pieces lying around all winter, it’s good practice to protect them. I have a huge collection of old towels thanks to my girlfriend wife, so I keep the heavy bits that can damage other things wrapped in a towel as well. Luxury I tell you, luxury.


Lastly, with the supplies I mentioned on the disassembly page readily available, this is a picture of how I was storing parts. The second I took something apart, I made sure that all of the associated shims, bolts, springs, etc. were placed in the same bag. I labeled everything, even if I know what it was. In the 8 days since I started, I already have forgotten where some things used to go. I have the manual, but I am sure I won’t remember which 0.002″ shim I have on the benchtop when Spring comes.


Once I have everything bagged, I put it in a cardboard box. I have been keeping 2 major boxes: one for parts outside of the engine case, and one for everything I take apart inside the engine case. Not sure if this will help, but the major assembly process had me searching through my 1 box to find a tiny part having to move the majority of the bags in there to find it. Perhaps it’s OCD, but I added a second cardboard box to help. Call me crazy.


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