Adrian has one of each of the 851 SP models

How to repair embrittled cables without making a whole new loom: snip back to healthy wire, and crimp on a new bit

All these cables were knackered, and now restored to health

New fuel pump lurking inside the tank

And here’s the fuel pump/fuel gauge plug. It’s a quickly detachable Superseal

Adrian’s Ducati 851 SP2

The main problem here was a non-running engine. On top of that were obviously threadbare and brittle cables, most notably around the battery, temperature sensors and fuel pump.

That said, most of the loom was good as gold. Adrian was fully expecting a rewire but I thought this was a bit drastic. Instead, I decided to crawl through the loom, using visual and tactile checks, and repairing and checking as you go. If the repair gives zero resistance, award yourself a piece of special chocolate.

Such a strategy takes a long time. There are the engine sensor plugs to examine, each of them covered in 35 years of hydrocarbon muck. And the warning light cluster was really fragile. Clearly, Ducati didn’t dream that anyone would still be cherishing the bike 35 years after it was made. But eventually it was done. Still no fuel pump operation.

The ECU plug was registering battery power, so I reckoned the ECU was too. But it wasn’t. One of the two relays that switch the bike on had gone bonko. Trouble is, these relays are strange things, with built-in fuses and double 87 terminals (electric nerdery, I know). Fortunately I had one from another Ducati I’d done. I had slung it out, but my colleague Andrew had scavenged it, and produced it for me 18 months later. Thank you bro.

The bike fired up nicely, and made all the right noises. A happy result, and of course a very beautiful machine.

The warning light cluster uses odd bulbs with bayonet tags. I found some new bulbs with metal tags, but getting them all connected was still very tricky

Dash back together

Main and fuel pump relays either side, igniter units in the middle. The main trub was that one of the relays had popped

And ain’t it lovely

Here it is a bit later, on a tour of Scotland