Time to put it all back together. I hope I'm doing it right.
That about sums up my feelings when I do the valves, too.
When I first got the bike, I had a mechanic check everything (I knew nothing and wanted to go ride!) The mechanic told me, "I'm more than happy to take your money, but you should just learn to do this stuff yourself."
When he checked the valves, they were in spec, so he left them. He gave me the measurements, though.
After 6,000 miles, I opened it up, and some were on the tight side (in spec), so I did them all.
After another 6,000 miles, I opened it up, and some were on the tight side again (in spec). One had drifted more in the second 6000 than the first, which I found odd. Maybe I messed something up, but I'm sure I turned the engine over a couple times and rechecked the clearance after I put the caps back on.
That online calculator is the cat's pajamas. I used it the second time, and will use it every time.
The only things I've got on the valves are:
- Make sure the metal/rubber caps on the head cover aren't about to fall off when you remove the cover. I can just see them falling into The Abyss.
- I tighten the head cover bolts to 30-35 INCH-lbs. The manual calls for 69. Mine were stripped out previously, something that's happened to many people. Never had a problem with them coming loose at 30 inch-lbs.
- You can change the shims without removing the cams by taking the caps off and just tilting the cam up in the air while leaving the chain in place. I double-check the timing after I'm done, but I've not had it slip. A magnetic probe is useful for maneuvering the shims under the cam.
- I've also found that a tiny eyeglass screwdriver is useful for breaking the shim's oil seal. Just wedge it in there a tiny bit and twist it 90°.