Thanks for the input guys.
Barnyard is right it probably is cheaper; but now it is plated with fools gold
-and Challenger, I cannot take credit for this good idea.
It all started when it (the starter) wouldn't start. I noticed a little oil, thought it was odd but cleaned it up and took it into the shop.
The first time I took it in they said it needed rebuilt. the second time they said OHhh, this should be converted to 12V ; I told them it worked fine as 6 volts -they looked at me funny and disagreed.
They converted it to 12 volts. A month later, starter stopped again. I checked by removing wires and jumped it from battery- nothing. I removed it from the tractor, set it on it's side on a little table - decided to bench test it, it worked fine; put it back on; scratched my head and cut the grass.
A couple weeks later, NO GO again, this time it would not work on the bench either; I thought it was a bad switch that they replaced; he bench tested it and it worked fine; I said that is exactly what I expected; he looked at me kinda funny. His assistant opened it up, took off the duct tape he sealed under the band and said "I didn't put this oil in here".
The guy probably noticed the oil in the starter before and thought he would have done me a favor by putting duct tape under the metal band -keep the oil OUT -right? NOPE, it helped keep the oil in.
Long story/ short -rear main seal leak (I THINK) is slowly allowing oil to coat the bell housing (via fly wheel oil bath) and drip a little bit into the starter's open side. Over time, after weeks, -"SHE's A NO WORK-A!" (Italian accent)
Aside from a tractor split (no stands here yet), I wonder if it might work by drilling a small weep hole below that starter opening to let it drain back to the bell housing? - where it belongs
Finally, I should have taken it apart myself in the first place, I would have better understood the problem from the start and saved myself much grief and headaches. In the least, I have learned from this experience and I hope others might benefit from this info too.