741 pinion seal

I am replacing the pinion seal on my 741 pumpkin. When I disconnected the universal joint, I noticed a noticeable slop in the movement of the pinion. I has about a 1/2" movement before the gears actually move the axle. Is this normal or do I have to remove the pumpkin to adjust the backlash? I hope not, because I have too many other things to do and I don't need another project.
It has 3.55 posi gears and I really need to jump the ratio up to 3.73 or 3.91 due to the 46RH xmission. Traveling...

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Author: peachtop