Last post was November 2003 - am I as informed as I'm gonna get?
Yes. Unfortunately, that's the way most of these inquiries go. A few people suggest aftermarket alternatives, a few folks suggest cleaning and re-lubing the 30 year old parts, and a few admit to knowing nothing.
Every now and then a real gem surfaces, but in this case it's a long-known problem with no known satisfactory resolution.
Personally, I like the idea of using a step-up transformer to run the motor at 18 volts!