Well, looks like the large ball-bearing on the bottom of the transmission (below the motor, behind the spindle) was flushed of its grease due to a missing splash shield/cover and cooked itself last night. Any tips on how difficult this is to replace? Was able to pull the two circlips and started to unbolt the bottom plate to pull the bearing - but it appears the bearing is pressed onto a shaft, or possibly even threaded on. Before I unbolt too much and have it all spring/fall out of place, I'd appreciate some advice.
Wasn't that hard to replace. Even put the shield back on where it was supposed to be.
There was a nice German bearing on the lower side of the transmission - but wrong bearing to whoever loaded it in their before. Shielded is OK - but not in this case - SEALED MORE BETTER!!!!
Time for more chips...