Shifting Gears

Discussion in 'Sterndrives' started by coms, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. coms
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Seattle

    coms New Member

    I have an Alpha 1 Outdrive on a 3L Mercruiser. When I shift forward or reverse, I go nowhere. Had to be towed in. No signs, sounds, or warnings of any kind. Can it be the linkage? I put it in gear and the prop just spins freely.
    Any advise to r-coms@msn would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Impossible to diagnose with so little information.
    Could be anything from the throttle lever mechanism to an engine coupler run-out.
    Start with observing the bowden cable arrangement on top of the engine.
  3. coms
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    Location: Seattle

    coms New Member

    CDK, Thank you for the advise. I know it is little information but I have no other way to describe it. The prop just turns freely by hand when in gear as if there is nothing giving it any retention whatsoever. I will start as you suggested and refer to the manual that I ordered when it arrives.
    Thanks again,

  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are several steps you can take to determine if it's a linkage issue or in fact the shift mechanism or gears. The first thing to check is the transom cable, which takes the input from the control lever(s) and brings it back to the engine box. Usually on the starboard side of the engine the shift control cable is attached to a bracket full of limit switches and sensors. From this location another cable, the transom cable runs out through the boat's butt and does the actual shifting.

    The quick check is to remove the transom (shift) cable at the shift plate and try to shift her manually while someone rotates the prop. It's the lower cable on your boat.

    Adjustments and service for this should be done professionally, or at least by someone familiar with these types of systems. It's not hard work, but does require some experience, as getting it wrong is really easy and can do a fair bit of damage.
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