Taking the exhaust apart required a bit of gentle newtonian-persuasion or in other words a rubber mallet.
Old engine out.
Seriously say what you will about chain enclosures, but if you 115,000km sprocket and chain looks like this...
This lower stud wasn't only a bit bent, but also the threads were pretty knackered. And once more it was one of those "special" M10x1.25 Japanese standard threads.
I tried fitting the VM38s with BT1100 inlet rubbers, but the geometry of the retaining lip is different, so they don't sit right.
The fact that both exhausts didn't sit level, was due to the fact that the left exhaust pipe was approx. 6mm too long. A bit of trimming later and finally both exhausts are at the same height.
One of the things I had forgotten was that when using heavier gauge starter cable, the cover needs to be "adjusted" a bit.
After letting the smoke out of the first new solenoid, the second one luckily worked as intended and did not get crispy hot.
Bit of oil... and starting the engine without the airfilter elbows, to see if the engine backfires through the carbs.
... and she lives.
Couple more things still left to do: The bent fork needs to be rebuilt and both forks require some fresh oil. Oh and then there's this nasty thing called riding the living hell out of it... *ahem* I meant carefully running the engine in.