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Is it necessary to remove the rear shck and linkage to access the valve shims? I can't seem to get enough room to depress the closing rocker so I can check the unloaded gap. Is a special tool required ?
 

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Not much room but it is doable. What are you using as a tool? I always used an 8mm 1/4 drive socket on the end of a long extension and it was fine. You just need to remove the crankcase breather box.
 

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Last time I did the Valve Check on my 916, I did remove the Linkage and Shock to aid my maneuvers. No problem, plus it gives you an excuse to relube those joints.
 
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