I wanted to clean and assemble the kick starter tonight, but wasn't able to because of a problem of sorts...a snap ring is missing. I'm wondering if it caused the starter clutch to get damaged. Remember this picture?
Well, here's where the snap ring is supposed to go:
Roughly in the center of that picture is the bottom of the Release Lever Shaft. At the bottom of it, you can see an indentation. In there is supposed to sit a snap ring that prevents the shaft from moving up. It wasn't there. I'm awaiting a response from more seasoned mechanics to find out if this caused the damage pictured above.
I have reason to believe that this kick starter assembly isn't OEM, as it doesn't match what's in my service manual. There are notable differences on the shaft I just mentioned--the OEM piece was held in place with two washers and a cotter pin; this one doesn't have washers (or room for them) and is secured with a snap ring. On the outside of the cover you can see an Allen screw, which appears to used to adjust the throw out rod; this, too, is missing in the OEM drawing.
On the kick starter shaft there are noticeable differences, too. All that I removed in this image are the kick lever and the spring.