Finally had a chance to mess with the tractor. the lever hanging down from the top moves forward and rearward when the draft and position levers are moved. With the engine off the roller follows the linkage. As as the engine is started the roller moves all the way forward away from the link. Moving it rearward manually has no effect. It pops back to the front as soon as it is released and has a good bit of pressure making it go back. I did notice as soon as the engine starts the lift arms raise a couple inches then drop back down. That is the only movement seen. I was able to see the lift cylinder. There is a pretty good stream of oil pouring off the cylinder. Most seems to be coming out of a 3/8" (8mm) or so hole. Doesn't make a lot of sense that the valve moves freely until the engine starts and then snaps forward.
Does the top cover need to come off? Check out the cylinder for damage? Is relieve stuck? Is there an O-ring wiped out on the valve causing the spool to snap forward? Any further pointers appreciated before I dig deeper.