Well, after successfully playing about a dozen LP's I started having issues again. When I got to the end of the second to last LP, somehow the part that holds the spindle in had worked itself loose from whatever it is that's supposed to hold it in place and when the turntable cycled the tonearm stayed at the end of the record and collapsed the next record on top of the tonearm. When I went to see what the matter was, when I lifted the LP that had fallen on top of the tonearm, the LP that was still on the spindle, the spindle, AND the part that holds the spindle in (I will refer to it as a shroud) all came out at once.
I didn't notice anywhere to attach a clip or perhaps a spot where a side-mounted screw would hold in the spindle shroud, so I decided to stick it back in the hole it came from without the spindle inside and I could only get it to go about halfway in. I pulled off the platter (man, that platter is HEAVY!) and decided to try it with the spindle inside the shroud and it went fully in. So then I put everything back together and went about seeing if everything still worked.
I placed a stack of LP's on the spindle and when it cycled the records didn't drop. After messing around for a good 20 minutes, I decided to take out that lock washer that I had put down in the well that seemed to be functioning really well until it all came apart. After I fished that out and put the spindle back in and loaded it up everything seems to work as it should again. I cycled an entire stack of LP's and everything seems to be working just fine.
Is there a locking clip or something that is supposed to hold that spindle shroud in place? I have a feeling that is why it wasn't working in the first place - because that shroud had begun to work itself loose from whatever it is that holds it in place, which in turn caused the spindle to not operate properly.
I don't know if I'm using the proper terminology when I say "spindle shroud", but what I'm referring to is the part that the spindle locks into when inserted.