Tony and others -
The head load pad looks visually fine. The head load spring tension
appears pretty normal , and the solenoid pulls in nicely.
The drive consistently reads the first 10 or so tracks, then tosses
various number of errors as it goes further out.
By 'out', I assume you mean towards higher numbered tracks -- that is
with the head closer to the spindle.
I've cleaned the head, and cleaned/lubed the spindle. The track 0
sensor appears fine.
It is indeed possible that the alignment is off - that would probably
explain the poor performance as it steps out.
I guess a worn out head would have the same symptoms.
I can see no obvious reason why you'd get more errors on inner tracks if
the alignment was off. The errors would be on all tracks I would think.
Unless your leadscrew is so warn that the head is not properly postiioned
(I have _never_ seen that happen).
A worn/dirty head might give more errors on the inner tracks where the
bit density is higher (shorter tracks), though.