Lionel 2023 locomotive servicing question (loose E-unit lever)

Hi, all. I have a 2023 locomotive that has some problems.
I fixed a number of loose wires, but it now just runs
a few feet and then stops. I have to push the Direction
button on the ole KW transformer a couple times and it goes
a few more feet.
The E-unit lever stick down from the E-unit seems somewhat
loose. It has two positions with a detent (I think that's
the right word) keeping it in one position or the other.
But since the level seems loose, it sort of wants to hang
down in the middle. Is this usual? Any other suggestions
to getting it running consistently?
Also, the wire for the coupler is not connected at the other
end. But from the service manual, I can't figure out where it
goes to. It shows something that looks like a rectangle,
and whatever the symbol is, it isn't ground and it isn't the
contact rollers. Anyone with a 2023 that knows where it goes?
I'm assuming that isn't causing the problem above -- pretty
sure having it hanging out is not causing a short.
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I tighten it a little by jamming a small piece of folded aluminum foil between the top of the level and the clover-leaf like "nut". Helped a bit. But the whole lever switch seems poorly designed:
=========O | O | |
OK. That's the lever. Note how little distance is between the top O (the end of the side bar on the lever) and the bottom O (the contact point for the switch this all makes. In fact, even with the lever pushed all the way to the right, the switch is BARELY open. And that's with the bottom of the lever pretty much touching one of the wheels. And of course, it won't stay over like that, so it connects the switch.
So.. A couple of questions:
1) If I don't want it stopping and reversing, then I want said switch open, right?
2) If I can't keep the lever over all the way (I'm tempted to get some gum), so I need to buy another e-unit? If so, how much should this cost?
Not sure which contact point that is... The bottom O in my picture above?
Sorry -- hard without a picture. Can't figure out where that is on the loco.
When it runs. :)
Thanks again, Brad
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