How to Remove a Suzuki Outboard Lower Unit

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"Dropping" the lower unit on a Suzuki outboard looks straightforward; you remove the nuts and give a strong pull straight down, so that you don't damage the drive and shift shafts. If you follow this prescription for removing the lower unit of a Suzuki outboard, you'll find yourself frustrated unless you remove the bolt hidden beneath the zinc anode and the trim tab that you have to remove. Once you remove the trim tab, the anode and the bolt, the process may continue apace.

Items you will need

  • Chalk

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Suitable hlding fixture

Shift the motor into "Neutral." Mark across the trim tab and onto the cavitation plate with chalk, to indicate their alignment, and remove the bolt which secures the tab, with an adjustable wrench. Remove the trim tab from the cavitation plate to get to the retaining bolt hidden inside the trim tab cavity. Remove the retaining bolt with an adjustable wrench.

Move forward to about the middle of the anti-cavitation plate, the point where the lower unit itself starts to extend downward from the plate. On either side of the housing there is a lower unit retaining lock nut tucked into a slight recess in the plate. Remove these two lock nuts. Remove the lock nut from the front lower unit mounting stud threaded down into contact with the lower unit assembly.

Loosen the two forward lock nuts. Do not try to remove the other nut before the opposite side is loosened or the driveshaft housing could be damaged. Do not remove the lock nuts before you start to separate the lower unit from the rest of the motor.

Pull down on the lower unit gear housing and separate the lower unit, guiding it straight out of the exhaust housing. Remove the last two lock nuts as this occurs. Ease the shift shaft and driveshaft out of the exhaust housing as the lower unit is removed.

Place the lower unit in a suitable holding fixture or work area.


  • Disconnect the negative cable of your battery before performing any maintenance work on your outboard motor, to prevent electrical shock or accidental starting. Remove the nut from the negative post with a 5/16-inch box-end wrench. Lift the cable from your battery, move it outside of the battery box and close the lid of the battery box.
  • If you work on your outboard motor when your boat is on its trailer, or your motor is on a storage stand, remove the propeller nut with a wrench and slide the thrust hub, propeller and washers from the propeller shaft. Failure to remove a propeller before operating an outboard out of the water during maintenance or long-term storage is an invitation to a propeller-strike injury, which can maim or kill.
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