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Took my boat out last night to test out the motor and left somewhat disappointed. The motor starts great, first or second try everytime. Idles and revs up in neutral just fine, can even shift into reverse and chug along but there is one problem. Whenever i try to shift into forward, it does not engage. I did get it to engage by taking off the cover and pulling one of the connections nice and hard. The previous owner used the cables with an actual steering wheel and throttle control whereas I am using a simple tiller handle. I am not sure if his set up caused the linkage to loosen or "stretch" so that it takes more to engage or if some type of gear has just worn down or whatever. I have not messed around with outboards much but as an engineer I love tearing stuff apart to try and find whats wrong myself. So if someone could please save me from myself (or save the motor from me) and provide any information or ideas about what could be wrong or even a decent shop around Cambridge it would be greatly appreciated!
 

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1950's Outboards Rule
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it could possibly be your clutch dog is wore on the forward side. sometimes if cable shift is not adjusted right on your boat it may cause wear because it may not engage fully and then where it out.if you have a 2 piece skeg pull the skeg off and pull the prop shaft and slip the forward gear off and then look at forward face of your clutch dog. it is a pretty simple thing to do.it probably has 6 screws holding the skeg on and a screw for your shift lever on the side of the skeg.
 

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The lower unit will have a cone style gearcase housing. Instead of taking to lower unit apart try to drop the lower unit and while spinning the driveshaft in a clockwise direction shift the motor in forward and see if in engages. I would make sure that ur problem isn't in the linkage before you start to tear into the gearcase.
 
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