Yes it goes to neutral fine, this happened once before when Holiday mobile did the impeller and he adjusted something and it worked fine till about a month or so ago and it gradually got worse, after running for awhile it seems to work better, without all the grinding noise.
Cables are cheap. but the install can be a pain in the butt on a older ranger.
Always replace both cables throttle and shift at the same time no matter how good the other one is, other wise you will be sorry ...
The older mercs use the same type of cables for both shift and throttle.
there is a number on the cable that tells how many feet it is on the back end of the boat by the motor.
all boat shops should have them instock here in the valley, if you cant find them call me.
I heard the noise coming from Jack's Merc this morning at the ramp. It sure sounds like its not getting all the way into reverse. Delw? Isn't there an adjustment (on the cable not his attitude) Jack can make until the cable gets replaced? He's not doing those gears any good right now.
Ken of Holiday Marine is an excellent, honest mechanic. After he fixed my lower unit for a reasonable price and a fast turnaround (24 hours), I will never again use anyone else. Thanks Del (or is it "_"?) for your assist with my motor problems and your encouraging words during the Open. Jack, Ken will fix you right up. I have complete trust in his abilities.
p.s. NO Jesse, I have not grown soft. Sorry to hear about your father.