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I have a few of these myself, all of these spin super smooth. I've had each one apart and am pretty familiar with these, maybe the spool shaft is bent at the very end?
They are also sensitive to too much grease or too heavy an oil.
 

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The rough spot in the gears could be from fishing the reel with the c-clip missing. This will allow the main gear and drag stack to be misaligned vertically.
swapped all of this from another reel and nothing changed, the other reel works fine and this one with all the swapped parts still binds.

The gear "backlash" is because the reel does not have an instant anti reverse. It uses a ratchet design that will allow some backplay until the ratchet locks up.
What I meant was that the reel does not bind due to a lack of backlash in the gears, if there was no backlash in a real like this it would mean that the gears are too close or too tight.

Without seeing the reel in person it will be tough to make a proper diagnosis as to what exactly is happening. I suggest sending the reel to one of our warranty centers or directly to us for service.
What would they charge me? Keep in mind these are fairly cheap reels to start with. I think I only paid about $50 or so for each of these when new.
 
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