I tried to figure out what is the deal with that rubber hose that I found on the transmission, but no luck.
It doesn't look like a vacuum line, it's a bit thicker that the rest of the vacuum lines and it looks like it's meant for gear oil(translucent and oil-brown in color). Problem is I don't know where it's supposed to go. No help from the pics I have with the German repair manual. It has some schematics on the gearbox, but that nipple where the hose sits is not mentioned.
Anywho, I cleaned the outside of the gearbox with a wire brush(lots of dust collected over the years) and I took the battery - cable out for a re-solder along with the battery box. I'm thinking of making a new cable all together for the negative lead as well. I've got some thicker black cable left from the Ford, and the solder that I did on this one is an embarrassment so I think a replacement will work just fine.
The battery box is really dirty and rusty(no holes, just surface rust, but really nasty) and since I have access to it's mounting bolts, it's a good idea to take it out and give it a makeover. The underside is exposed to road debris/corrosion so proper rustproofing is a must.
I strongly believe that replacing the wires with thicker ones and with brand-new connectors will help. Also, a proper solder on the ignition wire will do good. My hypothesis is: since that thing was twisted back together and covered with electrical tape, in time, the glue from the tape melted from the engine heat, creating some kind of a sludgy imperfection in the contact.
That and the corroded power cable connecters would give the starter low voltage, causing it to crank poorly. If you think about it, it kinda' make sense.
BTW, I took the starter out, looked at the teeth on the bendix, they were fine, just fine... fine. No damage. That's good.
Two pics of the dirt that I took out with the starter. I'm definitely going with clutch wear dust.
Finals are coming up this week so I'll tone it down a little with the van. Will keep you guys posted.