The other question I have is about the grip/handle on the forward/reverse control lever. Is it possible to remove the old one without destroying it? I have to remove it so I can at least get the new bushings installed for the levers. The grip on the lift lever is already missing.
I've done similar many times & no problems. Even some with "dipped" rubber handles. I use an open ended wrench that will just slip over the metal, then hit the wrench lightly till she comes off. You could use an adjustable wrench too.