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Thread: Engine Choice: 996 or 916SP

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Italia / Dubai
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    Default Engine Choice: 996 or 916SP

    Hi All!

    I am considering an engine swap on my 1994 888 Strada. Initially I was focused on a high compression/lightening/blue printing of the current engine, but after much reading on the forum I was swayed towards an engine swap. I thought I had found an SP5 engine, but as some of you know, it seemed a risky deal, and Iíve passed on it (thanks to those of you who helped out on that!).

    I have now found a 916SP engine and a 996 engine. Both seem to be in reasonable condition, and both include throttle bodies, wiring harness and ECU. I have read about the conversion process (this forum is an amazing resource!). Iím assuming that for either of the two engines, the installation process and issues will be fairly similar. I am sure that if/when I come to it, I will have many questions for those of you who have gone through and engine swap. However, for the time being, I was wondering about the proís and cons of the two engines, and their relative differences in ďcharacterĒ.

    My main usage for the bike is on the road, in the Italian dolomites Ė these are typical mountain roads: short-medium radius corners, short straights, relatively slow speeds (2nd-4th gear), with some gradient. IMO the type of engine best suited to this type of usage is with good low end torque, linear delivery and quite punchy. This would seemingly point to the 996 engine (Iím assuming, as Iíve never ridden one), but I have ridden a SP5 on those roads, and can say that few rides have been as thrilling! So the question I have is about the merits of these particular engines referred to the type of riding / performance / roads that one rides on. You opinions are much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Marco

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Poole, UK
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    Default

    Hi Marco

    I'm afraid I can't comment on the relative benefits of either engine, however I just wanted to make sure that you know neither of them will be a 'bolt-in' swap.

    The 748/916/996 crankcases were quite different from the 851/888 at the swingarm mounting point. Firstly, they are different widths (I think the 851/888 is wider). Secondly, and probably most importantly, the 851/888 has the swingarm pivot bearings in the crankcases whereas the 748/916/996 have them in the swingarm. Clearly using an 888 swingarm on a 916 engine would mean there would be no pivot bearings. Modifying the crankcases to work is possible but (I would imagine) costly.

    Desmoquattro Engines that will bolt-in are ST4 and Monster S4 (916cc) or ST4S and Monster S4R (996cc). If you go down this road you will have to drill your 888 engine mounting points to 12mm or shim out the crankcases down to 10mm, unless you use ST4 crankcases up to 2000 model year which came out of the factory with 10mm mounting points.

    Personally I think the best option for you would be to build an engine to the spec you want using a set of crankcases from the above. Of course, you could use your 888 crankcases but it's generally accepted that the ST4/Monster cases are stronger/better.

    Testastretta swaps are also possible using the Monster S4RS Engine, although this is apparantly a bit more involved.

    Sorry if you already knew all this!
    Darren

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Italia / Dubai
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    Default

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the great feedback.

    I was (superficially!) aware of the crankcase width and pivot bearing location issues, but assumed that these were surmountable. I was, perhaps mistakenly, under the impression that several of the forum members have fitted 996 engine to their 888's. Admittedly I hadn't given it much thought on how to do it, but knowing there are precedents, i assumed it was doable. If I remember correctly Vij and Loony888 have done the conversion?

    Marco

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    UK
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    Marco, modification is possible, just need two bushes, dropping a 996SPS engine is a known upgrade for a given price. I have sent you an email.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Italia / Dubai
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    Default

    Ok, just had a re-read of some of the threads, and both Vij and Loony apparently have S4R based conversions
    I guess I need to stop reading the forum at 2am when the brain isn't fully functional.

    Marco

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    bakersville, NC
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    2,750

    Default

    It is much easier to fit one of the engines that already has the swingarm bearings (ST4,S4,St4S,S4R,S4RS).(although the S4RS Testa engine is lots more work to fit on several levels). I have seen engines without the swingarm bearings installed but requires some major machine work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Cornwall S.W. England
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by redline View Post
    Ok, just had a re-read of some of the threads, and both Vij and Loony apparently have S4R based conversions
    I guess I need to stop reading the forum at 2am when the brain isn't fully functional.

    Marco
    Hi Marco,
    Loony's 888 was based on 851/888 Crankcases.

    Ducati specialists Baines Racing at Silverstone UK have converted 916SP and 996SPS motors to take the 851/888 swingingarm, but the cost several years ago was close to £300.
    So as the other lads have posted you'd probably be better off going for a ST4 etc motor.


    Does this train of thought meen that I needn't reply to the E-Mail that arrived while I was over on the Island for the TT??

    Steve R
    Last edited by Mr.R; 06-16-2011 at 02:28 PM. Reason: spelling error

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Italia / Dubai
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    Default

    Hi Mr.R

    Thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned in my mail, i'm falling victim to reading too much on the forum, and getting all sorts of wonderful ideas, which when thought out a little bit better, actually turn out not to be so wonderful

    Actually the primary problem I have is that both the bike and I are in Dubai, which is a nightmare when it comes to sourcing parts and doing any work more complicated than changing a tyre. There is a Ducati dealer, and other shops that carry out "race bike preparations" but quite frankly they are worse than you can possibly imagine. This is what effectively killed off the idea of a tuning the existing motor. Quite simply there is no-one here I'd trust to balance a crankshaft or dial in a cam. Hence plan B was/is the engine upgrade, as at least I have access to a machine shop and could do most of the work myself. The 996 and 916SP engines are locally sourced, hence were the options I was now focusing on, until Darren correctly pointed out the pivot bearing problem which I underestimated / ignored.

    So now I'm back to square one, and considering what is possible given the logistical and practical constraints of being in Dubai.

    Marco

  9. #9
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    UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by redline View Post

    So now I'm back to square one, and considering what is possible given the logistical and practical constraints of being in Dubai.

    Marco
    ...A sneaky drink!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Italia / Dubai
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    Default

    lol - plenty of that goes on over here, and not too sneaky either!

    Marco

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