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Thank you for allowing me to assist you, my name is Joe and I will be happy to assist you with your concern today.
At this point your lower unit is going to need to be taken apart and rebuilt, one thing to check for is salt build up that expands and causes problems which may be related.
When the tech has it apart they will be able to check measurements to see if within spec or if the case needs replaced. Sometimes you will be able to see the case cracked extending back from the hub opening.
Thank you!- Joe
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I'm not sure if your familiar with this type of unit it's an electric shift omc from like 1970 so if there was any crack or openings in the lower unit it wouldn't really shift gears for too long!