Originally Posted by Kyle
Buy a new one. That is not an item that you want weak, cracked, or damaged in any way. That strut is under extreme force running that boat and if it were weakened in any way and eventually broke while running the boat............Well that would be bad.....Real bad
Heating it and bending it back straight could possibly make it weak.
+1 on what Kyle said.
I came in on this thread too late. I had the same issue on my 95 V-drive and I kept messing with it for a few weeks. I quit guessing and ordered a new strut/bushings. I had my shaft checked at a local machine shop and it was fine. I put it all back together aligning the strut and shaft with the hole in the hull first, then aligned the motor to the coupling. The amount of effort required to turn the shaft will vary depending on your exact alignment and how long the bushings have been out of the water. My boat is out of the water during the week and some times the shaft "sticks" a little before I can turn it by hand. Once it breaks free I can turn it with two fingers but it is tight. The final alignment is supposed to be done in the water because the boat does flex some when it's put on the trailer.