I know this is an old thread but I just found it and had to chime in. Scotty is absolutely right. I've replaced two shafts without removing the clutch. The bent one came out with just my fingers. Installing the new one you spread the fingers as far as possible. I hooked the bottom one on the shift drum first and then snaked a pick behind the clutch to get the top one on. It really wasn't that hard.Hello Joe
I hate to tell you this but you can replace the shaft without removing the clutch or front sprocket, you just need to fiddle around with the little selector prongs on the shaft a little.
When I had one bent pretty bad I used a small abrasive cutoff wheel and cut it off just behind the bend. Then I did a thorough job of sanding off the burr so I wouldn't damage the seal when I pulled the case off. Took a total of about 7-8 minutes.It took me a while, and beat the crap out of my fingers before I finally laid a split inner tube over the case to keep it from getting dinged up (instead of using my fingers as bumpers which, uh, hurt!). But yeah, I had to work it and it might have involved a little swearing!