The Theta goofed eh? Try a CEC.
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When the nylon gear went on my Data Basic II, I simply unplugged the motor and made sure that the gear no longer made contact with the drawer mechanism. Then I glued a small black knob onto the front of the drawer to open and close it with. I've been using it this way for almost a year without any problems. The dang thing still sounds great and I just can't bring myself to part with it. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
When I was looking for a used Theta transport a couple of years ago, Ed Deitemeyer (sp?...then with Theta customer service, now I believe at C-J) recommended I go for a Pearl over a Data, mostly because the Philips mechanism had been discontinued and they could no longer get parts to repair the things. Now I just hope my Pearl holds out OK, since Pioneer has discontinued making the Stable Platter mechanism used in it...you can't win. Some of the most impressively-built drawer-type mechanisms I've read about were in transports from Wadia and Esoteric, or you could look into a good top-loader.