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To start off with, working on one of these early Desmo 4-valve heads isn't that difficult. Even if you wound up having to pull both cylinder heads to repair the 'trumpet' (no clue?), it's doable. Most people freak out about not wanting to deal with the timing belts. You're already in the mindset of doing that. Also, my 2-cents says that if you want to check your valve clearance correctly, the heads are off to where you can take your time. Did this for the first time with my 851 (am thinking the 996 is very similar in design)a few years ago. See if you know someone who can lend you the DesmoTimes' workshop manual. Very easy to follow. In closing, I hope I didn't take this thread 180 degrees in the wrong direction.....Again, just seemed like you were starting to freak out a bit...... Good luck and relax.
PS: have you ever inspected your rockers for chrome-flaking like one of the other posts is talking about? Pretty sure "some" batches of 996s had problems with this...
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