Try to spray deoxit first before taking apart. It'll penatrate movable parts when you jerk it like you do now.
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I'm not sure if this will work with the SME lift mechanism, but it usually works with Rega arms so I'd suggest giving it a try. When lowering the cueing lever instead of lowering it all the way and then waiting for the platform and arm to lower, lower the lever just past its vertical position and then let the lever lower from there on its own with the arm. Easy enough to try, please let us know if this works with your arm.