Just had my first few rides of the year this weekend. The sun was out and the temperature was a little under 10°C (50°F). It was nice to have the heated grips on – it made the rides totally comfortable.
Before I started the engine for the first ride I replaced all the spark plugs. The plugs certainly looked different, but I'm not sure the function was any different – the engine was still somewhat tough to start. The old plugs was as far as I know of the wrong type (CR7E) so I wanted to replace them with a set of CR8E's.
Quickly did I find out that I have gotten plugs with a different terminal. After some examination of the plugs I thought it would be possible to simply screw off the terminals. I searched the internet and it seemed like there was very different experiences of doing so – some broke the spark plug while others were able to remove the terminal successfully. I reckoned that if I just tried carefully I wouldn't break anything. Using pliers and a piece of cloth I was able to remove the terminal on all four plugs without any drama.
I don't have any pictures of this, but I also mounted a pair of 25 mm handlebar risers in order to achieve a more upright riding position on the bike. It was a very nice change, but I would not mind to sit even more upright. I was unsure how much the bar could be lifted without the need for longer cables, wires and brake lines though and so I decided on 25 mm straight risers.
I knew I would inevitable have to face this. I have procrastinated the task as I've found it a bit scary to open up the internals of the engine. By doing all sorts of other maintenance on the bike however I was finally able to pull my self together and check/adjust the valves. It did not go quite as smooth as I've hoped though...
I wanted to have as much room as possible when doing this procedure for the first time, so I removed everything that could possible get in the way: fairing, tank, air box and carburettors. I also wiped off the valve cover as well as wires etc. to prevent debris entering falling down into the engine.
I started out measuring cylinder #1 and then check the shim size. Measuring went fine, but I did not find the standard valve shim removal tool
(a copy of the original Yamaha tool) very easy to use. It was acceptable on cylinder #1 and #4, but very difficult on cylinder #2 and #3. Even when it did not slip I found that the tool would leave small chips of its chrome coating on the valve bucket. I could not accept this and so I was forced to use one of the other ways of reaching the valve shims I've read about here on XJR. I decided on loosening the camshafts which made it somewhat a bigger task (mentally at least) than I set out for initially. It did provide me access to all the shims though. I noted down the shim sizes, wrapped up the engine with a plastic bag and called it a night.