All great advice. thank you. I went out and bought a new starter (thinking that was the problem). after a little scrutiny I realized that the battery cables under the deck had corroded. apparently, it is common practice to marry the cables together under the deck. I snaked new cables under the deck from battery to engine. problem solved. sometimes it really is the most blatant problem.
I am glad that you found your problem. Most situations you hear about trace back to poor quality rigging practices, yet the engine gets the blame.
Thanks for sharing.
"There is never just one thing wrong with a boat";
-- Travis McGee, main character in a book series by John D. McDonald
The factory recommends that a properly trained technician service your Johnson or Evinrude outboard motor. Should you elect to perform repairs yourself, use caution, common sense, and observe safety procedures in the vicinity of flammable liquids, around moving parts, near high-temperature components, and working with electrical or ignition systems.
The information offered here is only general in nature and should not be construed as complete factory approved procedures, techniques, or specifications. Always use the proper service manual for your motor, up-to-date service literature, the correct tools, and have an understanding of how to proceed with troubleshooting and repair methods. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with a procedure, a situation, or a technique, enlist the services of a factory trained technician.