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Check the shift shaft in the lower unit is indexing with the shift shaft in the midsection. Sounds like it isn't lining up. Have the gear shift and lower unit both in neutral. Remove the engine covers. Take the spark lugs out. Turn the flywheel to make sure the driveshaft is indexing with the crankshaft. You may have to use the mounting nuts to pull the gearcase all the way up.
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