It is hard to get it into neutral at the transmission as well. It is a little easier at the helm with the extra leverage of the controls - and the detent I imagine.
From what I've read the kind of hard 'clunking' into gear is just what the MS transmissions do. Apparently as they went up in size the design stayed the same and the additional weight of the heavier prop shafts and props makes for more wear and harder clunk into gear.
The ZF is a lot smoother and quieter when shifting. That the engine is raised up a bit doesn't seem like much of an issue. To replicate it I will have to move the fuel lines and a bit of engine room deck space but otherwise the more I look at it the less frightening it seems to do it. Except for paying for the parts
The transmissions have two slightly different gear ratio's I notice. I'm guessing one is forward and the other is reverse...If they are a little different then how does the syncronizer ever work? Even the original transmissions would have been a little different with one running clockwise and the other counter clockwise.