Got the carbs back on. New air filter oiled and in place. Tank full of fuel. Hit the starter and... won’t start. Cover the intake with my hand and it fires right up which would indicate a vacuum leak but spraying all around the carb boots doesn’t reveal anything. Grasping at straws and severely disheartened we think maybe the valves are super out of adjustment and pop the valve cover off.

While adjusting the valves we turn the engine over and hear HISSSSPOppoppoppop. Do it again. HISSSSSS pop pop pop. Look down in the spark plug wells which have some coolant in them and see bubbles shooting up around the plugs. Compression (and therefore vacuum) leak. Got it. Pull the plugs out and notice the metal gaskets are missing from above the threads. Peer down into the well and, yup, the gaskets are MASHED into the head and won’t budge. 2 hours with a flat head screw driver, pick set, and carb cleaner got them out.

DIRTY as hell, all sorts of nonsense going on there. A few bucks at autozone and I got some new NGK plugs and popped them in and spun the bike over some more and NO MORE LEAKS! Now we just have to finish the valve job and button the bike back up and it should be good to go! Unfortunately it is now 20 degrees and snowing outside because spring in Kansas so...