Is this normal? All the books show bolt holes lined up. Time for a new one? It was in the car and working but removed for starter motor repair.
Anyone? Pardon my ignorance but I don't want to put it back if it going to cause a problem
No, that is not normal and ought to be replaced. I do understand that it was working, but you should get a new one. Good luck with your project. Bill
That spring was made by a different manufacturer than what we are use to seeing today. It is not bent a half turn out of shape as it's winding are still evenly spaced. Operationally it would function well, to the rotating starter it makes no difference.
Having said the above I would replace it with a new unused one as a spring only has so many twists in it before it brakes.
I would replace it,However I would also put that one under my seat in the box the new one came in... it will get you or a buddy home in a pinch.
The hand crank conveniently placed in the front can take all T's home when unnecessary extra parts like electric starters breaks ;-)