Always have the head you are working on with the piston at TDC. With the piston at the top the valve can only drop about 5mm or so but it needs to be held fully closed to allow the closer down far enough to remove and replace the half-rings. Forceps are certainly a big help.Another point they all make is to get plastic forecepts and notch it to hold the valve stem when the closing shim is out so the valve doesn't drop in. I expect a backup is to make damn sure the piston is at TDC which may prevent it from falling all the way in.
Tight openers and loose closers is what I'd expect now that the seats have bedded down. Many people find that changing the half-rings (C-clips) brings the clearances back within spec but new half-rings haven't work hardened and may bed down quite quickly making the clearances loose again. However, if you decide to retain the existing half-rings you may find that quite a number of closers need changing although it's often possible to swap between different valves, if you are lucky, cutting down the number of shims you need to order.Finally got the tank off:
Tips on Tank Removal
Now to tackle the valves. Fair warning, it takes a good amount of work just to get to the valve covers. We're just getting started, but on the front cylinder it looks like we've got tight openers and loose closers at 9000 miles. (Let me add that this is our first Ducati, so take anything I post with a grain of salt, it may be that we just don't have a clue.) I've been reading that the c-clips wear early on bringing the valves out of adjustment; once they work-harden they become stable, allowing the valve tolerances to remain more stable, too. Does this sound right? If it comes to needing shims, do you all use OEM, or do you prefer EMS shims? Please chime in, any insights much appreciated, thanks.
Edit: Whoops, Phillip clarified the C-clip issue several days ago. Does it make sense to leave these C-clips alone and address the shims?