Pop-up Sink Stopper Doesn't!

The pop-up stopper in an American Standard bathroom sink won't pop up far enough. The water will drain out eventually, but there's only about 1/16" (maybe less?) between the o-ring and the mouth of the tailpiece.
I've fiddled with the rods, etc under the sink, but that doesn't seem to help. Even without the linkage, I can't move the pivot bar far enough to lift the stopper clear. If I loosen the nut that holds the ball and pivot bar to the tailpiece, I can just get the stopper high enough to drain quickly.
Is there a secret adjustment I don't know about? Did I get a mixed bag of parts from the plumber's spares box?
Thanks.
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Did you try taking it completely apart and clean it all up? There can often be enough hair and grime on the rod, popup and in the pipe itself to keep it from moving freely and completely.

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