Thank you all for responding!
, the Snapper was parked after my father passed away. My father suffered from Alzheimers and according to Mom, towards the end, riding this mower seemed to be one of the few activities he seemed to enjoy. This is why it I consider its restoration more a labor of love than of want. To my knowledge, there were no mechanical issues with the mower prior to its storage.
, thank you for your offer of the engine service manual. I have emailed you at the address you listed with my information.
Yes, this problem is most likely due to something I did during the flywheel removal/reinstallation process. I did check the coil gap after reinstallation by using a "business card" between coil and flywheel. I cleaning everything on the top and bottom of flywheel. There were no missing magnets, nor evidence of any damage to the flywheel.
Also, please note that the flywheel on this model engine is held down by the bottom of the clutch starter assembly pressing against a concave washer...there was no separate bolt to torque. When I reassembled, I placed the flywheel back on the crankshaft, aligned the shear key notches, used punch to hammer back into place the shear key, placed concave washer back on crankshaft stem and spun on the clutch starter assembly by hand until snug. Then, I placed blunt end of chisel against a wing on the clutch starter housing and tapped it approximately one full revolution tighter on crankshaft stem. Could it be that I over/under tightened? Is there a specific torque setting for this action? How would I measure the torque for such an assembly? I've watched several videos on this procedure and don't remember anyone mentioning how much torque to apply...they just tighten an extra revolution after snug.
Thank you for suggestion. At this point, I'm going to open the bottom case for a "look see". I'm going to need to acquire some tools for this operation, including feeler gauge, torque wrench and hub puller for the drive disc hub. I've had the hub soaking in WD40 overnight and hope it will come off tonight...it wouldn't budge last night. I can then open the bottom case and inspect inside. As you suggested, I will still try to test for the excess clearance when I get home tonight.
Thank you all again for responding!