cgreene - Thank you for your reply and your very clear description. It worked! While I'm excited that I finally got it apart, I must admit that I'm also disappointed with Hitachi's design. No one should have so much trouble with an operation that needs to be performed routinely. It just shouldn't work this way....struggling to remove the motor from the base.
I really want to send this thing back but I don't know of any other relatively small and light router with a 1/2" collet.