Cap'n- ur not a million miles from me, anyone you can recommend if time gets the better of me & I have to pay?
Sorry for late reply, didn't get much PC time in Oz, trying to catch up now. I have to say that I don't have a great deal of faith in small boat mechanics, sorry and don't have any first hand experience of them around here. We have only been here for a few years as we lived in Marlow for 10yrs. Where do you live?
Also, this alignment thing, if the engine is aligned correctly then when you replace the sterndrive all will be well. However, if it's out of alignment then the drive coupler could be damaged. An alignment tool can be bought from Ebay again for between £90 & £100. I think that in the first instance though if you can Google the dimensions of the tool you could fabricate a broom handle to test it first. The priciple being that if the handle slips in without sticking then it must be ok, if it sticks at all or is difficult to push into the coupler then its out of alignment.