I just replaced the impeller in my MerCruiser Alpha I, Gen II, and am now at the point of reinstalling the lower unit to the upper part. When I separated the two parts earlier, it was in neutral. When I was joining them, I watched as the "L" shaped arm fit into the shifter cable fitting. With the 4 main mounting bolts installed snugly, and without refilling the crankcase oil, and with the engine off, I shifted it into forward. The prop wouldn't turn one way (good), but when I turned it the other way, it DID turn and it made the "L" shaped arm jerk (kind of like a ratcheting movement). When I shifted it into reverse, the prop stops when trying to turn it the other way, but it "ratchets" while turning it the opposite way.
I don't think this is normal. Before this maintenance, I "believe" that when it was in gear (forward or reverse), it didn't turn at all [meaning it didn't do that ratcheting movement].
Also, when my lower unit is on the bench with the driveshaft sticking straight up, when I move the "L" shaped arm into forward or reverse, I cannot turn the crankshaft to make the prop turn. Is that normal?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!