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alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

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  • alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

    I just replaced my impeller and shift shaft on my 84 alpha one 3.0/ I4. . I have bolted my lower unit back on to the drive.
    The boat needs to have the shift cables adjusted or synced. When the throttle lever is in neutral, the prop spins free CW & CCW. However I can not get both reverse & forward correct. I adjust the cable until the prop locks CCW and spins free cw. Once this is done, reverse almost locks in reverse but does not. So I adjust my shift cable to allow it to lock in during reverse. Once I set this, then forward is now not quite locking in.

    I can't seem to all three throttle positions to lock right. Can.anyone explain.how to adjust my shift cables or sync them or have the #10 merc manual? I was hoping someone could explain itbeasier than the manuals do sometimes.

    Thanks guys


  • #2
    Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

    This sounds like you have too much slop in the system somewhere.
    You need manual #6, go to page 1C-38. This gives detailed instruction on isolating excessive play in the shift system. It also details how to adjust the shift cables in fine detail.

    Chris........
    If you don't have that manual, PM me...
    The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



    1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
    2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
    **
    Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
    **
    Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

      Ok I'm still new here but had this same problem last week. Turns out when I connected the lower to the upper it was in F and the control was in N. (I bent the washer in the lower and metal keeper that holds the shift shaft). The control needs to be in WOT F and the lower needs to be in F, also was the shift washer in the lower? I had to take mine back apart and flatten that washer and bend the part that the shift shaft sites in on the upper back into place. I guess what I'm saying is if it worked fine before then it's not the cables. Once I have mine back together correctly it worked great. I hope this helps.

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

        I've been plagued with this problem for two years. The written adjustment procedures don't work. I went through the troubleshooting procedures Chris suggested. Mine passed the tests, too. I think my problem is just a worn upper shift cable. I mean, I can lock the control stick in neutral, then push/pull on the cable end that connects to the shift lever on the engine. Easily 1/2" + of play. Twenty five years of shifting, I'm sure, has worn grooves into the inside of the cable casing. I'm replacing mine next. How much play do you have?
        Mercruiser 470 s/n 0B648337
        Alpha One s/n 0B754718
        '87 Four Winns Horizon 170

        Comment



        • #5
          Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

          I don't have much play in my cable at the shift lever, maybe 1/4 inch.
          On my boat, I have a upper shift cable with a plastic barrel and not many adjusting pieces.
          I then have a lower shift cable with a brass barrel that adjusts. Do I need to make any upper cable adjustments, or just lower cable adjustments with the barrel?

          Also does the drive need to be in the lowes position when making these adjustments, cause I made the with the drive in the upper position.

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

            I have always adjusted them with the drive down. There is a slot in the shift lever on the shift plate that the lower cable connects to. You can get a spanner behind the stud and loosen the nut, move the stud up to the top of the slot and retighten the nut, that will give the lower shift cable some more travel. Just check that it's not reaching end of travel at full throttle (in both forward and reverse) and pushing the shift cutout cam and activating the shift cutout switch...

            Chris.........

            Attached Files
            Last edited by achris; October 8th, 2011, 06:52 PM. Reason: Add picture
            The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



            1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
            2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
            **
            Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
            **
            Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

            Comment



            • #7
              Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

              Originally posted by sti1471 View Post
              I don't have much play in my cable at the shift lever, maybe 1/4 inch.
              On my boat, I have a upper shift cable with a plastic barrel and not many adjusting pieces.
              I then have a lower shift cable with a brass barrel that adjusts. Do I need to make any upper cable adjustments, or just lower cable adjustments with the barrel?

              Also does the drive need to be in the lowes position when making these adjustments, cause I made the with the drive in the upper position.
              There are adjustment procedures for the upper cable in the service manual.
              Mercruiser 470 s/n 0B648337
              Alpha One s/n 0B754718
              '87 Four Winns Horizon 170

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                OK thank you for the replies.

                However here is what I have found out thus far.

                #1- On my shift cable plate, there is no adjustable slide for the stud. I saw this in the manual, and looked for it on mine, and there is not one. There is just 2 bolt holes, 1 for upper shift assist, and 1 for lower shift cable.

                #2- When the drive shifts into forward and the clutch is engadged, there is about 1-1.5" left on the shift cable that it can slide in more, BUT reverse does not fully engage until the very end of the cable extension.

                So I am trying to figure out how to make it so that the reverse engages before the end of the cable, but any adjustments I make for reverse to engage faster messes up my forward gear locking in. However again, I have been adjusting it with the drive in the up position, maybe I will need to try it with it in the down position. I would assume that by lowering the drive it removes 1-2" of slack in the cable.

                Also, When the drive is correctly shifted into reverse, the prop should lock CW, but spin freely CCW. When people say it should spin freely CCW, does that mean with no clicking or anything? Should I be able to spin the prop CCW quickly and let go and the prop should continue to spin, or is it normal for the prop to have some clicking? when it is engaged in reverse now, it spins free for a few inches, and then it has some resistence, and then it "pops" then it spins free again for a few more inches. I think it is too far engaged in reverse when this is happening.

                When I spin the prop when it is in forward or reverse, and I put my finger on the shift cable on the back on the drive (where the lower and upper link), I can feel the cable "flicking" with the clicks in the prop When i turn it.

                I am not sure if this makes any sense please let me know if it does not and i will try and explain it better.

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                  Originally posted by sti1471 View Post
                  ...Also, When the drive is correctly shifted into reverse, the prop should lock CW, but spin freely CCW. When people say it should spin freely CCW, does that mean with no clicking or anything? Should I be able to spin the prop CCW quickly and let go and the prop should continue to spin, or is it normal for the prop to have some clicking?
                  When in gear the prop should lock when turned the other way. ie: in forward it lock when turned backwards and in reverse it locks when turned forward. When the prop is turned in the same direction as the gear selected it should ratchet/click. The less movement between a lock up and the start of the resistance before the click the better. That indicates a greater degree of engagement between the gear (forward or reverse) and the dog clutch. The thing you don't really want is gear engagement just on the very edges of the teeth.

                  Originally posted by sti1471 View Post
                  when it is engaged in reverse now, it spins free for a few inches, and then it has some resistence, and then it "pops" then it spins free again for a few more inches. I think it is too far engaged in reverse when this is happening.
                  No, you don't have enough engagement. You should have as little 'free movement' as possible.

                  Originally posted by sti1471 View Post
                  When I spin the prop when it is in forward or reverse, and I put my finger on the shift cable on the back on the drive (where the lower and upper link), I can feel the cable "flicking" with the clicks in the prop When i turn it.
                  That's the forward pressure on the ramps on the back side of the dog trying to push it out of gear. Completely correct.

                  Originally posted by sti1471 View Post
                  I am not sure if this makes any sense please let me know if it does not and i will try and explain it better.
                  It makes enough sense (to me ). What we need to establish is where the problem is (not enough travel from the control box or the requirement for too much travel in the drive).You need manual #6 and refer to page 1C-42, "Checking remote control shift cable output". I could retype the whole thing here, but that would take too long.

                  Chris.........
                  (PM me if you need manual #6....)
                  The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



                  1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
                  2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
                  **
                  Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
                  **
                  Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                    I understand everything you said except for
                    "No, you don't have enough engagement. You should have as little 'free movement' as possible."

                    I would think that it is putting too much "hold" on the inter Shift shaft and not allowing the "flicking" to happen as easy as if there were less resistence. Is this not the way it works.

                    When the reverse issue is happening, the prop locks 100% CW so the clutch is engaged, but turning the prop CCW does not ratchet or click, it spinds free and where it should "ratchet" it feels like a gear is engaging and then slipping, it then pops, then spins free again for a few inches, and then has resistence, and then pops again, and it repeats this, is this normal when you say it should have as little free movement as possible?

                    maybe I am looking at it wrong.

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                      I have attached a crude hand drawing as a representation of the engagement section of the gears, the dog clutch an prop shaft. Best I could do under the circumcision, sorry.

                      The gears sit on the propshaft with no direct connection, they are driven by the pinion (not shown). The dog clutch is on a spline on the propshaft and slides back and forward to engage the gears, thus 'locking' them to the shaft to transmit power through to the prop. When the dog clutch is fully engage there is only a very small gap between it and the gear, the shaft doesn't rotate much between contact of the forward section of the clutch and the back section (hope that makes sense).

                      Here's a check you need to do, but you will need a helper. Remove the lower shift cable from the shift plate. Have the helper push the cable in as you gently turn the prop CCW (engages forward gear). With the cable fully in lightly turn the prop each way. There should be very little rotation between feeling resistance in each direction. Now have the helper slowly pull the cable all the way out while you 'rock' the prop back and forth. As it comes out of gear you will notice the distance the prop moves between resistances getting bigger. Then there will be no resistance, that's neutral. As the helper keeps pulling reverse will start to engage and at first you will feel quite a lot of free movement, then it will become less and less, until reverse is fully engage.

                      OK. Now that we have established how this all goes on here's the next step.
                      Have the helper push the cable fully in (as you rotate the prop CCW) until forward is fully engaged. Have the helper mark where the end of the cable guide is on the end of the cable. Now you put a lot of load on the prop CCW (locking it hard in forward, you won't be able to actually turn it because you're trying to turn the engine). Have the helper lightly pull the cable out. Where the cable stops, measure the distance to the mark he/she made. That distance needs to be less than 9/16" (14mm). If it's less, then the drive and shift cable are in good shape and the problem is elsewhere. If it's more, then we need to find out where the slop is in the system, and he have other checks we can do for that too....

                      OK.... One last question. (again!) Do you have manual #6?

                      Chris.............

                      Attached Files
                      The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



                      1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
                      2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
                      **
                      Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
                      **
                      Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                        Thank you for your information.

                        Yes I do have the online copy of the manual #6 for the engine. I followed the steps in the manual to the letter, at least I thought. After reading it again letter by letter I realized a few steps I missed. Also when I pulled the lower unit back off, I realized I have a rubber washer on the shift shaft, but I do not have a metal washer on the shift shaft bushing.

                        I remember putting the retaining pin on the shift shaft below the bushing, and then putting the metal water that sits on the retaining clip on the shift shaft, but I do not remember ever seeing a washer that sits on top of the bushing. I will go to lowes today and get a metal washer that is the same size as the rubber washer. This might not solve the problem, but it will due away with another possible cause.

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                          OK,

                          So I went to Lowes to get the washer and got home and realized it was the right size dimension, but the center hole was too small. So I need to go back and get another washer today. However without the washer, I installed and adjusted the cable to take pictures to see if anyone can see an obvious issue. (This is with the Drive in the UP position.

                          Picture #1- This is where the shift cable sits when the prop first locks in the CCW.

                          Picture #2- This is where the cable sits when the prop locks CW (reverse) the prop does not lock CW until the max end of the cable. (Which I know if not right, but I just can't figure out how to minimize that without messing up the forward configuration).

                          Picture #3- This is where the upper shift shaft is pointing when the throttle lever is in forward WOT gear.

                          Picture #4- This is what my overall setup looks like shifted into reverse WOT. (notice the lower shift cable is extended all the way out causing the cutout switch to be off center. SO this tells me that the cable is bottoming out before the throttle lever is full engaged but I cannot figure out for the life of me what adjustment I need to make to prevent this without screwing up the forward gear adjustments.

                          Notice there is no stud adjustable slot, and I only have a black plastic barrel without threads on the shift upper shift cable instead of the brass barrel with thread that the manual speak of. So the only adjustment I can make on this cable is to leave the barrel where it is, or I can move the barrel forward to the next slot. When I try and move the plastic barrel to the forward slot, the shift lever bottoms out before shifting into forward gear so i am thinking that setup cannot be right.

                          Any help would be great.
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                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                            The top cable (from the remote control is not a Merc cable, it's a Morse-Teleflex. If memory serves me correctly the end with the locknut is adjustable, but you have bigger fish to fry before we get to the remote control cable. The intermediate and lower shift shafts are not engaged properly, and until that is fixed (replacing the washer, there is absolutely no point in looking at anything else. Just one question... The first task to setting up the system is to push the cable fully in while turning the prop CCW until it locks and setting the distance from the centre of the hole at the end of the cable slide to the centre of the brass barrel to EXACTLY 6". Did you do that?

                            Chris.......
                            The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



                            1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
                            2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
                            **
                            Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
                            **
                            Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: alpha 1 shift cable adjustment.. help

                              I did but I am not sure if I did it correctly.

                              #1- So am I supposed to push the cable all the way in until the prop FIRST locks CCW and stop, then adjust the barrel until it is 6", or do I push the cable all the way in and then adjust the barrel to 6"

                              #2- so after I adjust the barrel to 6" from barrel to hole, should the throttle lever be in forward WOT, forward gear indent, or neutral?

                              Becasue once i get that 6" mark, the lower shift cable will need to line up with the shift plate and barrel holder where ever the remote cable has it sitting in whatever position i need the throttle lever in. Or do I disconnect the remote cable and move the shift plate by hand to align the hole and barrel.

                              I was trying to figure this out, but it made no sense to me. If I get a 6" mark, then the barrel and shift plate might not line up, so do I move the barrel more (terminating my 6" mark) or do I adjust the shift plate to line up (altering the throttle lever position)?

                              I have the washer and will put it on within 2 hours. I will then make the 6" inch mark and report back.

                              Comment


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