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87 Bayliner 2.3 OMC Reverse won't engage

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  • 87 Bayliner 2.3 OMC Reverse won't engage

    So, I've had this old boat for 10 years now and it has been pretty reliable every summer. The end of this summer it has developed a problem with reverse.

    Ever since I have had the boat it would click a few times when shifting into forward or reverse. Figured it was normal for this boat as it always went into gear. Now, however, all it does when I try to put into reverse is click.

    When I first noticed the issue I could trim all the way down and reverse would engage, if it was trimmed up it would not. Recently trimming down would not work the first time, it would click then rev. I could shift back to neutral then reverse a few times and it would eventually engage into reverse. This weekend even that stopped working. So, I am without reverse.

    I have read some similar posts by searching the forum and google and see it could be a shift cable. The shifter has always been a little stiff on this boat and never very smooth. It may be even more stiff then normal but I'm not for sure on that one.

    Any advice? Do you think a cable could be the issue? Something more serious?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Last edited by toneybrown; September 25th, 2017, 06:16 PM.

  • #2
    From my experience, it very well could be an issue with a shift cable.

    What year OMC drive is it?


    • #3
      Sorry, forgot to add the year in the first post. It is an 87.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Big Gee View Post
        From my experience, it very well could be an issue with a shift cable.

        What year OMC drive is it?
        It is an 87.


        • #5
          It's been some time since I cleaned and adjusted shift cables on my OMC, I couldn't talk you through the process, but I used the information at this site to work my way through it. Maybe it will help you with yours.


          Good Luck with it.


          • #6
            Ok bear with me as I don't know the terms for these parts. I went out and put the muffs on and used my hand to move the cable lever mechanism and reverse would engage. Using my hand I could move the cable assembly and the black notched part would move up enough that the metal rod would move under the black notched part and reverse would engage.

            I could engage forward with the throttle lever like normal, and the black notched part would move down enough to push the metal rod under it and forward would engage.

            What exactly do I need to adjust to get the black notched part to move the top metal rod to engage reverse?

            Hope I explained that well enough.


            • #7
              Ok, so I think I solved my issue. I unhooked the cable with the red end and extended it by spinning it down the treads about 1/8". Then I shot some PB Blaster on the black notched mechanism that moves when I shift and after installing everything back together it now seems to shift once again. Not sure if the cable adjustment or the PB Blaster was the fix, but either way I will take it!


              • #8
                Sign up today
                It's going to fail and take the dog clutch with it. You just delayed the inevitable. When you have to start adjusting the cable after that long, it means the housing is failing. Tilt the drive up and look where the cable enters the drive. My bet is you will see the housing is failing at that spot.

                Buy a new OEM cable and the 2 tools(get on ebay) you need to use to adjust it properly before you damage the dog clutch.
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