yes, with the transmission mounted, axles in, and tires on ground, I could turn the input shaft and the car would creep forward. I could budge it in 1st gear but did not possess the torque to turn the input shaft in higher gears. I could push the car forward and backward a bit and see the input shaft turning.
The fork is mounted to a pivot in the bell housing which appears to be in good shape. The fork/bearing are moving effortlessly on the input shaft. The bearing does fully release as I can see it move 1/2inch away from the pressure plate while looking through the fork window.
I was thinking maybe the input shaft was not fully seating into the crank bearing, and therefore not fully being engaged by the clutch disk. The transmission does easily bolt to the engine, so nothing is binding on the install. I have both engines nearly side by side and can look for any differences to the transmission mounting surfaces. I will also measure the distance from the transmission mounting flange to the input shaft and ensure it is fully seating into the crank bearing.
The previous times I have tried to get the car to move, when releasing the clutch and expecting to go, I notice a slight spinning/slipping noise similar to a breakpad rubbing against a rotor as it turns slowly. The noise does speed/slow with engine RPM. The noise is faint but distinct, and only when the clutch is engaged. When the pedal is pushed in, the noise stops. This still leads me to believe the disk is not fully clamping, but with the parts exchanged being identical (part numbers and appearance), I am not seeing any reason for that.
Appreciate all the help I can get on this one.... everything I look at says it should be working.