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A well discussed topic amongst Ducati owners. Well, here's my bit on it which is purely from my experience. The followers are hard chrome plated as an anti-wear surface for the cams to run against. What happens is that the chrome chips off allowing the cam to run against the "soft" steel of the follower. Obviously if this carries on for a while it can also damage the cam. Most don't seem to cause too much damage.
The one on the right of the picture is about as bad a follower as I've seen. The one on the left is a good used one, see the difference?
The problem appears to affect mainly the opener rockers on 2000 to 2003 four valve head non-Testastretta engines.
I'm not saying that I haven't seen a four valve closer with dodgy chrome, but one closer to twenty openers seems about right.
I've never seen a failed two valve rocker in all the bikes I've done.
Pre-2000 four valvers are usually OK; in fact I buy as many early heads as possible to be able to supply the unfortunate late model owners with good used rockers at a reasonable cost. I've seen a couple of really well shagged early motors with perfect followers.
Worst appears to be 2000 -2003 748's, worst in fact was 5 openers in one 748 with under 8K miles. Mostly it's one or two. It's serious enough for me to warn customers who are bringing me such bikes of the possibility of a problem. Better to be warned than shocked, I hope you agree.
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