Finally getting the outdrive back together...very excited....long time coming. My plan is "with the prop off" then test run with the outdrive in a water Tank "Not with the Rubber Ears and garden hose. I want to give it a solid run test correctly flowing additional water into the tank to aid in cooling and flushing. I want to make sure the cooling system and out drive gets a good inspection before hitting the water later on. Seems like running it without the prop should be OK....or...? If any Mercruiser experts are on here my questions are::: 1. Does the prop act as a spacer to hold the shaft out ? Seems to me it does not. 2. Would there be any problems with shifting it into forward or reverse in the test tank without the prop ? I have seen guys try this before in tanks with the props on and it threw out all the water... One guys prop even hit the side of the tank... I was amazed that someone would even try it in a tank with the prop on.