I have a motor that I just purchased used and it was obviously freshly painted. After running it, and realizing the pull start was no longer engaging, I pulled the cowling only to see that there was a brownish dust all over the engine and some of it seemed to have a little metal glint to it. The dust was thick enough to stop the pull start from engaging(I'm assuming this). Now, im not 100 percent sure that the dust didnt come from the cowling pads that are brown and maybe just very dirty(and the dust loosened from the vibration) but I wanted a second opinion on the symptoms. the lower unit was replaced with another used lower unit before I purchased it if this matters at all. Thanks for the replies on my smoke issue in another thread if those who happened to reply are reading this. I didn't want to bump it with a thanks.
So, did you take the recoil starter off to examine it? Maybe something fell apart and is being ground up by the flywheel. But then again, it might not have anything to do with the dust at all. The sound blankets do disintegrate sometimes.
ahhh, I took the pull start off and noticed that it wasnt really meant for this motor and it had a wear in a perfect circle from the flywheel. Also after further examination I noticed some padding from the cowling. I think it was a double whammy. thanks guys