Welcome to the forums. I would try to mount it as high up and out of the mud as I could get it.
On the choke knob, pull the rubber boot up and you should see a plastic nut. Tighten the nut a little and then pull the choke knob out and see if it stays out. If it doesn't, tighten it a little more and repeat until it stays out.I have another issue regarding the choke knob. After about 30 seconds the knob goes back in and it will not stay in the out position. I talked with my local dealer and they don't know why. Any ideas? Thanks.