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1997 120 Force Lower Unit Shift

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  • 1997 120 Force Lower Unit Shift

    I am trying to remove the lower unit on my 120 Force but I can't get it to fall loose. I have removed the 5 nuts and now it appears like it is hanging up on the shift shaft. I can shake the lower unit and see air space between mid-housing and lower unit but can't get it to lower down. Is there a secret to getting it loose from the shaft? I can see where it disconnects from the top of the engine. The manual is of zero value as it says to just pull it away. I have tapped it with a rubber mallet and no success.


  • #2
    Re: 1997 120 Force Lower Unit Shift

    The shift coupler is just a splined coupler connecting the upper shaft and the stub in the lower unit. Same thing for the drive shaft coupler. The water tube is a slip fit in the pump outlet too.

    SO. If you have dropped the lower enough so it is off the two locating pins in the midleg, then you just need to pull until it comes loose. There is a possibility that corrosion has "welded" several pieces together and then you simply must force it (no pun intended).

    If you have the 5 inch extension, (25 inch leg) the studs are long and do tend to corrode a bit too. Again, here you need to soak with penetrating oil and force it.

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    • #3
      Re: 1997 120 Force Lower Unit Shift

      Thanks! a little more force dropped it loose. I guess I am the idiot and not the manual

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      • #4
        Re: 1997 120 Force Lower Unit Shift

        Here is some follow up for others on a water pump replacement.

        Leave the motor in neutral. The shift shaft rotates and it is kind of spring loaded so you have to almost force rotating it into neutral. In forward or reverse is spins pretty easy and it is hard to align the shaft with the collar.

        There are only five bolts to drop the lower unit.

        With the motor in neutral, sping the flywheel to align drive shaft when reassembling. Make sure the key is OFF.

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