Take a look at the shift rod down by the lower unit. Is it rotted and weak?
I went to change the oil and filter after duck hunting season and noticed a bunch of corrosion only on the water/fuel pump. The motor is
Just using 1998 I am not sure it matters but the reg/rectifier #586075 is for a 20 amp stator and your motor has the 35 amp stator with reg/rectifier
Sounds like the charge coil went down in the stator. No worries you did not waste any $$$. I change the Reg/Rec and the stator as a set.
This is a pic of the cover will add a side pic.