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I just checked the owner's manual again and, yep, it looks like I put half of the spoons on the wrong side of the square plate (at least I got half right). Strange, since the "right" way (all spoons on the same side of the plates) is not symmetrical, but it would make the rows come out even.

I posted two pics from the manual below. What would you have done if you were just going by the one figure that only shows spoons installed to one plate of the two? Would you have put the 2nd set of spoons on the opposite side of the opposite plate or on the same side? I picked "opposite".
I don't think the side of the flanges that you bolt the spoons to has anything to do with spacing, it's about seating them to the flanges correctly. The assembly manual says to mount the spoons on the side opposite the welds. Because the shank of the spoons wrap around the axle, and lug on each other, if you mount them on the same side as the welds, they will not seat properly. I would think if you have them on the same side as the weld, and they're not seated properly, they would be prone to bending.
 
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