It happened here as well,damn near same circumstances and mileage.I've been bustin knuckles on these bike since my first in '85.My first "repair"bought me some time, a few low mileage years due to back surgeries,I replaced the release system;both bearings in the clutch cover,numerous release levers(even hardface welded in attempts to remedy,that cause the rod to get eaten faster)the throw out bearing release rod and lever....only bought time ...this time I reall got in there,sanded grooves out of basket gear,remeasure assembly heigth,tried this...that ,then I grabbed the shaft....(giggedy)and upon pulling i noticed a substantial amount of "runout" play,like approx. .5 inches,looked at my newly replace clutch cover and behold ...fresh "what look like" milling or machined grooves where my basket had cut new grooves into the crankcase(clutch) cover!!So now I need to find out what is...or is SUPPOSED to be on the other end of the shaft..???..?? but... Unfortunately that looks to require the dreaded "Splitting of the Crankcases".........thats all i got....suggestions???advise????experience ???/anyone??