I've hauled pretty far up on mine several times, and it's no worse for the wear. For the ducts, you should be able to just smush the side that goes into the surge tank with your hands and pull them out that way. They should be soft rubber, so if they get bent out of shape a little, it should be ok. If they get deformed and don't restore themselves, they should probably be replaced anyway. Getting those air ducts out of the way and being pretty aggressive with lifting the surge tank should give you room enough to get the carbs out. I found getting them as high as possible between the cylinders was helpful, then being slow and methodical. Move them until something hits, then look at what hit, move to free whatever hit, continue until you slowly work them out. Be careful not to use brute force because aluminum is soft.