Technics SL-15 problem

Although all functions operate on my SL-15 there are two things that should be addressed:
1. When the arm lowers itself onto the record, it practically drops down and does'nt show any damping in the movement. Is this an electrical thing or is something slipping too easily without any friction?
2. The "plop" when the stylus comes into contact with the record is audible, so the muting circuitry does'nt do it's job.
Can anyone tell me how to remedy these shortcomings?
I do have the Service Manual.
Looking forward to any suggestions!
 
Sadly, step 2 only refers to the adjustment of the tone arm height and the arm lift in relation to each other.
It does'nt say anything about my problem. The lift rod flicks down and that swift movement causes the arm to drop instead of slowly descending. Is the lift rod supposed to act so uninhibited or should it move very slowly as to let the arm down gently. If so, how can I adjust the speed of movement of the lift rod?
Second question: where is the problem if the contact between record and arm/cartridge is not muted, as it should be?
 
Thanks redpepper!
So when normally closed, it is a bit strange that the muting does'nt work. Must be some unwanted voltage on the relay that keeps it open or, less likely, relay is stuck in "open" position or both contacts fail to short the output.
This seems a bit odd to me.
Have to figure out what causes the relay to remain activated (or stuck) in open position.
Surgery required! After Christmas....!