The dead center that I got with the lathe is the same length as a new live center I bought. So the dead center may still be new compared to the lathe age. I have not seen a center with a shaft any longer than I have if that is the issue in the new style being shorter.
The threaded bolt sticks out from the crank wheel about a 1/4". So even if I was to adjust that bolt it will not take up the 1/2" gap needed to have the bolt hit the center. I can not get the crank wheel off to even swap the threaded bolt out with a longer one as the set screw on the nut is recessed into the tail stock just enough that I can not get to it. The crank wheel appears to have no way to turn it off the bolt as it is threaded the opposite way as the sleeve so unless I put a clamp on the end of the bolt it will not turn off which then risks damaging the threads.
Regarding the sleeve tightener there is a cut across the side of the tail stock the turn bolt is supposed to compress to hold the sleeve tight. The turn bolt simply has a nut on the inside that is supposed to just tighten to lock the sleeve. But that means compressing the metal which does not give easily.