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Yep I agree, that toothed wheel is held pretty snugly between the block

and rear cover

If the rear cover is snugged up to the engine case with a normal gasket then

a quarter of an inch of axial movement along that shaft is serious !!



Good on yer for checking, you have saved yourself some heartache later



To give an indication of play

I once tried to omit the rear cover gastket and just use sealant

and that was enough to pinch that starter gear tight.
 

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Hang on !!!!



Its been so long since I had all the motors here and was doing all that

tinkering so will pull my starter to see what I get



Thinking about it

It may have been the gear change I pinched when i omitted the gasket





BRB
 

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Nope

just whipped off the starter motor and stuck my finger in the hole

and tried to push/pull the toothed gear wheel along its shaft

and it hardly moves at all

A millimetre if that



HTH



while I'm rantin on

the toothed wheel will push downwards ( anti clockwise)

easily but stop when pushed upwards ( clockwise)
 
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