@fungi, I have to perform more empirical wheel spinning research once I’ve finished swapping out the cables, but it appears that the main problem is (now) going to the larger chainring… I’ll try sheldon’s tip once I get everything back together. I also found an extra square taper crank in the attic that I believe will fit so I might try that and see what happens as well.
@lyle, slightly overshooting the large chain ring… but not to enough of an extreme to fall onto the crank arm. It simply rests on top of the chain ring, rather than the teeth biting into the chain. My initial thought was that either a) too thin of a chain was put onto it or b) I simply don’t know what an old bike is supposed to feel like and my friction shifting sucks. I’ve tried nudging the limit screws in order to see if I could coax it one way or the other a hair, but that only results in not being able to shift at all because the derailleur then doesn’t have enough reach (I didn’t measure the necessary gap between the chain and the FR cage, in order to shift, but it’s clearly wider than 2mm). I think that Sheldon’s solution as pointed out by fungi may be the answer. If not that, I’m starting to think that it is probably some sort of alignment issue as opposed to component failure.
I going to drop $200 on a custom built 700c wheel tomorrow. My $45 one was not sufficient for my needs and kept blowing spokes and the rim was waay out of true and about as durable as a piece of aluminum foil