I took the boat out last Thursday. The weather was nice but there was no wind save for about 40 minutes. We decided to motor on over to Alexandria for lunch and to check out how they are setup when it isn't super crowded. After radioing the dock master for a slip (and waking him in the process) I brought the boat around and eased it into the slip nice and slow. At the last moment I kicked the engine in reverse to stop us. Reverse didn't happen. So we slowly bumped the dock. At the time I didn't realized reverse didn't work and had just thought I came in too fast since reverse on this engine has always been shit. It wasn't until we tried to leave that I realized reverse is toast.
Once again I pulled the engine and took it home. I set it up on the engine stand I made last time and started poking around. It was then that I noticed that a part called the propeller shaft housing was cracked all the way through. I removed the bolts and pulled the assembly out. The assembly is basically the entire gear case but instead of oil coming out it was water. That explained why there was a bunch of oil in the water!
Either water freezing cracked the housing (unlikely since I didn't see the oil until after reverse didn't work) or it was weakened and when I tossed it into reverse it cracked from the torque. Either way, bad deal.
I found this website call Just Answers that lets you ask a question to the experts and pay them for an answer. I asked what to look for and about the cracked housing question, plus that I noticed some play in the shaft itself. Long story short, it might be the housing. Hard to tell for sure but everything else looks just fine.
So now I have a problem. I can order a new part to replace the broken part pretty cheaply. However, I don't know for sure that it'll fix the problem AND one of the stupid bolts broke and I'm having a heck of time getting it out. The second option is taking it to a repair place. Problem there is I have to find one local and my experience with them is that they take FOREVER. The third option is to just buy a new lower unit all together. This is certainly more expensive but in the 6 weeks I've owned the boat that is where I've had the problems. That is also where I had all the issues in my power boat. Finally, I found a few people selling newer used engines that would just be about $400 more than the cost of the lower unit.
In any case, the boat is out-of-commission until I get the engine running again. Oh well. At least it'll give me time to finish the teak and cleaning.