Mike -- Once again, you've come through!!! Thanks.
Is this a "running change" made to the cover? I bought the cover (5TJ-1549B -00-00 "Cover Ass'y 2"), using the part number given to me by several folks -- but no one mentioned that the cover already had the bushing installed. It also wasn't clear from the various posts on the fix that the new cover included the O-ring. So I also bought the bushing (90380-10002-00 "Bushing, Solid"), as instructed and when I looked at the part -- there appeared to be a bushing already installed. That is why I was confused.
Thanks again. And thanks to all for their forebearance with my questions. I know they must seem too elementary.
Thanks again for the clarification
Not sure what the deal was, but I think you are right that it was something in some of them and not others. After I bought my "04 I did some research as I wasn't 100% sure the PO told me the right year (I had just gone through an issue on a project RM125 that was sold to me as a '96 when it actually was a '92 so I was pretty cautious) and took apart the starter to be sure it was all updated and noticed the same thing you had: the bushing was part of the cover. Couldn't figure out what people were talking about with bying it.
Part of the deal with the online thing is there is almost too much information floating around and very few "final" threads. That's what the pinned ones are for but they get ut of date fairly quick. This issue does need a final thread, though.
Once you do the upgrade, you'll be quite happy with your '03, I know I love my '04. At some point it'll be replaced with a '12+, but I just can't justify replacing something that works so well as is when the replacement has some pluses but the small tank and poor MPG seem a huge issue. I loved my old '98 Honda Superhawk except for the small tank and poor mpg and got rid of it for those reasons alone, I'd hate to do the same thing with the offroad mount and 60 miles per tan is annoying