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It looks like a Woodruff key that has been sheared off. I thought that it might the one that secures the flywheel to the crankshaft, but that one (shown below) is larger than the one that you found. I am not aware of any other keys like this used in the TW engine. You may want to remove the bolt on the flywheel and check to see that the one securing the flywheel is still in place.

Could the correct key have been replaced by someone who used a smaller one that then sheared off?

I'd be a little worried. . . . . . . .

IMG_2299-1 (2).jpg
 

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Brian -- If you have any gears easily accessible try measuring the width of one and see what it is. Tony
Good call Tony, it does look like a gear tooth. I checked a starter motor, the starter gear and the teeth on the flywheel. None of these match the size of the broken piece. That just leaves the gears either inside of the crankcase or under the right side cover. Too late for me to check those tonight. Besides, how could the broken tooth migrate to the left side of the engine?

Dr Terrible, did you find this piece in the mesh cup under the oil drain plug or loose inside the left side cover?
 

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Unpleasant Surprise, whew, there for a moment I thought it was gonna be an issue of not making it to the bathroom in time.

Wish I could help with the real problem but it appears the guys have given you all the clues I could think of. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good call Tony, it does look like a gear tooth. I checked a starter motor, the starter gear and the teeth on the flywheel. None of these match the size of the broken piece. That just leaves the gears either inside of the crankcase or under the right side cover. Too late for me to check those tonight. Besides, how could the broken tooth migrate to the left side of the engine?

Dr Terrible, did you find this piece in the mesh cup under the oil drain plug or loose inside the left side cover?
Found it under the drain plug cover behind the mesh cup. Going to sift through the oil pan with a magnet and see what I can find
 

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That looks like the key which goes under the upper timing gear. It looks to be in great shape. My guess is the gear got pulled off for head work etc. and it must have got dropped. I suppose a new one was used and the old one luckily has now been found. Call me crazy but I would ride it. If everything seems ok I would go on down the road.
 
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