This is to clear up any confusion for those replacing their kicker shaft. The confusion may occur if you are replacing an aftermarker kicker for another aftermarket kicker and are trying to properly line up the kicker gear. The shop manual says to line the "notch" on the shaft to the 12 o'clock position and the post on the gear to the 7 o'clock position. If you have a Chilton's manual, it was refer to the notch as a "flat".
Well, that's all well and good if you are using an OEM shaft that only has on notch on it. But if you are using an aftermarket one, you'll see that the notch goes all the way around. It is easy to think that they are referring to the notch that the spring goes into. That's not the case but you CAN use that slit for the spring to properly line up your shaft and gear.
OEM notch or flat in 12 o'clock position:
OEM slit for spring when notch is in 12 o'clock position:
Notice that the slit is in the 5 o'clock position. This is what you'll need to note when aligning the kicker gear on an aftermarket shaft.
See how the notch goes all the way around?
Slit on aftermarket shaft in 5 o'clock position:
Shaft with gear lined up properly (using OEM to illustrate that the notch is at 12 while slit is at 5 and (when you turn it around to face you) the post on the gear is at the 7 o'clock position:
So in a nutshell, you should make sure that the slit on the aftermarket shaft is lined up and matches the position of the post on the gear. Why? Because if you don't, you won't get the proper return spring tension. If you place that slit somewhere else, you could wind up (no pun intended) with not enough spring to return the kicker.