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  1. #1
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    Default boat won't shift into reverse

    I have a 1987 Bayliner with 5.0L motor and a OMC Cobra outdrive. Last summer I replaced the upper drive with a rebuilt.I used the boat no problem for a month or so and it started not wanting to go into reverse, but would go into gear after 2 or 3 tries. Would just hear gears grinding untill it went in, so i didn't use it again till I pulled the boat out for the year and it would not go into reverse at all forward and neutral fine, reverse gears grinding. When I put the drive on it took me several tries to get it, both gears and neutral adjusting the **** rod and then the shift lever. Did I not adjust the shift rod properly or do I have gear problems? Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Fleet Admiral Gary H NC's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    If you did not adjust the cable with the drive off per the OMC service manual you have probably ruined that lower unit.Did you adjust the end at the transom plate or did you just start moving the adjustment on the engine?
    The RED shift cable that comes thru the transom must be set to a specific measurement at the trunion on the top of the engine.Then you adjust at the arm at the transom plate to a 90* angle.Then put the drive on..
    You need a REAL service manual!!


    1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Reel Poor's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    Go here and read Stuarts page on adjusting your Cobra outdrive instructions.

    http://www.hastings.org/
    Of those who receive good advice, only the wise will profit from it.

    If you need it....Get it
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    I had the drive off when I adjusted the end at the transom plate. the only reason I adjusted that it was the only way to get both gears, the shift rod adjustments wasn't working and the seloc manual wasn't any help. guess I should of just took it to the mechanic.

  5. #5
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    Read the Hastings thread that Reel Poor posted. There is a procedure you need to follow "to the letter"!

    Was a new lower shift cable installed when you replaced the drive?

    You never normally never need to adjust the shift rod height since it never goes out of adjustment. It is just a metal rod and there is no wear or stretching invloved.

    What is pretty critical is setting the bell crank to 90 degrees. If you don't do that properly, you will not get the proper throw in both neutral and reverse. There is a OMC tool that is used to set this. I really prefer using the tool over using a stright edge. I always rented one from a local OMC dealer.

    Hopefully, you didn't ruin your dog clutch. The fact that it was reverse and not forward may have saved you this time. I am assuming you only tried the shifting a couple times when I say this.
    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
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  6. #6
    Fleet Admiral Gary H NC's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    Heck of it is most shop techs nowdays don't know how to adjust them either unless they are past OMC guys..
    I hope you didn't kill the gears..
    I could not find the tool that Bruce mentioned so i used a straight edge and square and looked it over about 50 times before i put the drive back on.
    My spring shakedown run will be in a few weeks so i will know how good i actually adjusted it..
    Good luck! let us know what happens....GET A MANUAL!!


    1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse

  7. #7
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    All I did originally was take the drive off, had a mechanic look at the drive and he told me I needed a rebuilt upper and wanted to charge me $2500 for it (I got one from iboats.com for $1900) and said all he would have to do is take the old one off and put the new one on and charge me $100 drive time and $55 to install the drive back on the boat, but it would be additional $$ for adjustments at $55 an hour, but there wouldn't probabbly be any seeing as he was just swapping out the out drive. So me being mechanically inclined figured I could do that and save $755-???. I guess I might have ben wrong.[colour=null][/colour]

  8. #8
    Lieutenant xtraham's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    sounds like the shift interrupter

  9. #9
    Fleet Admiral Gary H NC's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    shift interupt would make it harder coming out of gear than going in. still think adjustment is needed..


    1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: boat won't shift into reverse

    It's absolutely not the shift interrupter.

    Pull your drive and adjust the cable to the directions in the Hastings guide.

    Then you will know if it was just an adjustment problem.

    Also inspect the shift cable jacket at the stern drive side down where the cable exits the jacket. That is where they fail.
    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
    "Common sense is not very common"
    "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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