Re: Need clutch expertise.
To be honest I can't remember as I have never had to work on my engine much but I don't see why the small gear would have to be removed.
The way I remember it, the clutch has a ring gear that lines up with the smaller gear that you can't remove.
Excuse me if I am mixed up but are you not the one that had to change your bearings to stop the chirping sound? I seem to remember helping a member about this.
I can understand your fear using the puller. With these engines you have to be so careful.
Keep in mind that as you are pulling, nothing will give you an indication that things are going along OK and then all of a sudden it will just pop off. I'm the kind of guy that will give it "just one more turn" and screw everything up so it's a very tuff call.
Try this...tighten the puller as much as you dare and then smack it with a hammer. That should do it as the puller will be pulling as you smack it.