So if you physically grab the shaft on the transaxle itself, it has a large amount of play in either direction?
No, that linkage is tight. I did pull the transaxle so I could change the original oil @ 1200 hrs. With doing that, I believe I found the culprit.
This linkage had about 1/16" or slightly more, of play on each side.
The total so 1/8" - 3/16" total play translated to about 2" at the handle. I trust this is the only issue.
I ordered the bar and the two bolts, but will change out the oil anyway.
Debating M1 15W-50 or M1 V-Twin 20W-50...or other options.