Upper shift control cable Mercruiser 228

Brock96

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Hello - Boat 1979 Carver Monterey - Mercruiser 228 - 305
Part 1
When I shift into gear with the upper helm lever ( engine not running) the shift lever on the shift plate does not move so I assume the upper shift cable is broken. I cannot find a mechanic so l have to replace the cable myself - is this a simple procedure where by I just disconnect every thing and haul the cable out - do l mark the cable in anyway (where attached to the shift plate ) Cannot start engine as I believe it is stuck in gear. The original problem is that the engine stalls when put in reverse - suspect lower shift cable

Also there is a rubber tube ? attached to the Helm box - would anybody know what this is and it's function
Regards - appreciate your help
 

Brock96

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Jul 16, 2012
Messages
23
Hello - Boat 1979 Carver Monterey - Mercruiser 228 - 305
Part 1
When I shift into gear with the upper helm lever ( engine not running) the shift lever on the shift plate does not move so I assume the upper shift cable is broken. I cannot find a mechanic so l have to replace the cable myself - is this a simple procedure where by I just disconnect every thing and haul the cable out - do l mark the cable in anyway (where attached to the shift plate ) Cannot start engine as I believe it is stuck in gear. The original problem is that the engine stalls when put in reverse - suspect lower shift cable

Also there is a rubber tube ? attached to the Helm box - would anybody know what this is and it's function
Regards - appreciate your help
The rubber is kind of electrical wires ?
 

harringtondav

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Your starting problem could be the neutral switch in the controller, or the shift interrupt switch on the shift plate. If it starts and immediately dies it's likely the interrupt switch. The interrupt switch can be verified by disconnecting the leads which will allow a start, if the switch is faulty or misadjusted.
Replacing the cable isn't the worst job. You have to remove the controller to disconnect it. Depending how the boat is built, threading the old cable out and the new one in can require a fair amount of trim removal. Using a fish cord to pull the new cable could help.
Given the cranking issue, you might consider replacing the controller and cable. Disassemble the controller before ordering a cable so you can see if it has a problem with the neutral throttle linkage or the switch.
The upper cable's attachment to the plate won't affect shift timing. This is in the lower cable adjustment.
 

Brock96

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Your starting problem could be the neutral switch in the controller, or the shift interrupt switch on the shift plate. If it starts and immediately dies it's likely the interrupt switch. The interrupt switch can be verified by disconnecting the leads which will allow a start, if the switch is faulty or misadjusted.
Replacing the cable isn't the worst job. You have to remove the controller to disconnect it. Depending how the boat is built, threading the old cable out and the new one in can require a fair amount of trim removal. Using a fish cord to pull the new cable could help.
Given the cranking issue, you might consider replacing the controller and cable. Disassemble the controller before ordering a cable so you can see if it has a problem with the neutral throttle linkage or the switch.
The upper cable's attachment to the plate won't affect shift timing. This is in the lower cable adjustment.
Thankyou for reply
Part 2
I have movement again between the Helm control box?? (Holds the two cables shift and throttle cable) and the engine. Took the control box apart - took the shift cable off and pushed and pulled and the shift lever on the shift plate was moving.(moved easily)
Now in the housing each cable runs through a barrel. I assume for positioning. I cannot find the barrel for the Shift cable. The barrel has a hole through it so it cant fall off. I have to assume that it broke (probably when I was changing gears when testing the shifting)
Where do I get a new barrel ? - I will try every Marina around me. Thanks

Neutral switch - is that the device within the control box that only allows the engine to start in neutral.
Originally - the engine starts and runs great - the engine would stall going into reverse and not forward then along came the upper shift cable problem - Hopefully that adjustments will stop the Interrupter switch from stalling out the engine

Going to put it all back together and get a marine mechanic to make the necessary adjustments including the testing of the shift Interrupter switch - My fear is that the problem is the lower shift cable.

I f I understand correctly the shift Interrupter switch only comes into play when coming out of gear.
Thanks again for your reply
 

harringtondav

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Where do I get a new barrel ? - I will try every Marina around me. Thanks
I assume you have a Mercruiser control. They publish parts catalogues for most of these. ...availability on a 1979 controller is likely to be iffy. Ref my comment on purchasing a replacement.
Neutral switch - is that the device within the control box that only allows the engine to start in neutral.
Yes
My fear is that the problem is the lower shift cable.
The lower is normally the problem. You can test it similar to what you did with the upper. (I'm assuming your shift plate assembly is the same as in my 1996 Merc installation manual). Remove the upper cable from the lever and also the shift assist device if installed. You should be able to easily move the lever and lower cable both directions until the dog clutch locks the prop in both FWD and REV without causing the shift interrupt yoke to move and close the switch. Any resistance will trip the switch.
I f I understand correctly the shift Interrupter switch only comes into play when coming out of gear.
Yes, and only with the boat in the water where the prop load on the dog clutch will cause the yoke to move and close the switch.
But a bad cable per above will trip the switch. Missadjustments in the barrel position or cable position in the lever slot will also cause problems. When my previous Merc boat was new the engine would kill going into gear. The lower cable anchor stud moved out of position in the lever's slotted hole. Bottom of slot is specified.
Final note. All cable and shift assist lock nuts must not be fully tightened. There should be enough clearance so the washers spin freely.
 

Brock96

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Thks for replies
The upper control shift cable is bad - one of the barrels is broken and gone. been to a local Mercury dealer and ordered a new cable - It took me 5 minutes to remove the old cable
Will be back when it arrives (week)
 

Brock96

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Thks for replies
The upper control shift cable is bad - one of the barrels is broken and gone. been to a local Mercury dealer and ordered a new cable - It took me 5 minutes to remove the old cable
Will be back when it arrives (week)
While I am waiting I have a question
With the engine not running and I move the upper control lever in and out of gear is this happening in the outdrive
 

harringtondav

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While I am waiting I have a question
With the engine not running and I move the upper control lever in and out of gear is this happening in the outdrive
Not understanding your question. Is what happening in the outdrive?
 

Brock96

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Not understanding your question. Is what happening in the outdrive?
This is one of those lack of knowledge question - in the lower unit are the gears moving in and out of forward and reverse when l use the upper control shift lever. = engine not running. -- I understand that it is not a good idea to shift gears with the engine not running
The last time with engine running it would not come of forward gear = I am asking myself is it still stuck in gear. - its a rookie question but l need to know the procedure to reinstall the new cable and the shift lever =
I think I have answered my own question =the gears are moving
Thanks for your help
 

harringtondav

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Assuming you have an Alpha drive, both FWD and REV gears are turning when the engine is running. Between them is a sliding dog clutch which couples either gear to the prop shaft depending on your choice of FWD or REV. Shifting into either gear with the engine off doesn't hurt a thing. The shift linkage is spring loaded. If the dog clutch doesn't engage..no problem.
Your bad upper shift cable likely caused "The last time with engine running it would not come of forward gear". When you get the new cable installed you'll probably be OK since the lower cable and adjustments were working prior.
IIRC (not in front of my manual now) the upper cable's adjustment at the shift plate is fairly simple. Set the cable's length at he shift lever so neutral = neutral. ...prop spins with no ratcheting in either direction. ...You may also have to time the throttle cable so it doesn't move the carb linkage before a gear is engaged.
 

Brock96

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Assuming you have an Alpha drive, both FWD and REV gears are turning when the engine is running. Between them is a sliding dog clutch which couples either gear to the prop shaft depending on your choice of FWD or REV. Shifting into either gear with the engine off doesn't hurt a thing. The shift linkage is spring loaded. If the dog clutch doesn't engage..no problem.
Your bad upper shift cable likely caused "The last time with engine running it would not come of forward gear". When you get the new cable installed you'll probably be OK since the lower cable and adjustments were working prior.
IIRC (not in front of my manual now) the upper cable's adjustment at the shift plate is fairly simple. Set the cable's length at he shift lever so neutral = neutral. ...prop spins with no ratcheting in either direction. ...You may also have to time the throttle cable so it doesn't move the carb linkage before a gear is engaged.
 

Brock96

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As always thank you for your reply -
I understand what you are saying? but my boat is in the water , so is the prop. hard to get to. -
l had originally removed the cable on the shift plate in the full reverse position and failed to mark the position of the shift lever at the control box --- to obtain the neutral position could I position the Drive in the middle of the full reverse and forward positions and then place the shift lever in the upright position.
-- Right now i have the cable attached to the shift plate in the full reverse position and the lever position down from the neutral position - when l move the lever up it seems to "click" into neutral - the lever is upright - (this is the way it feels)
The cable slides back and forth easily -
I can always get a wet suit
 

harringtondav

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As always thank you for your reply -
I understand what you are saying? but my boat is in the water , so is the prop. hard to get to. -
l had originally removed the cable on the shift plate in the full reverse position and failed to mark the position of the shift lever at the control box --- to obtain the neutral position could I position the Drive in the middle of the full reverse and forward positions and then place the shift lever in the upright position.
-- Right now i have the cable attached to the shift plate in the full reverse position and the lever position down from the neutral position - when l move the lever up it seems to "click" into neutral - the lever is upright - (this is the way it feels)
The cable slides back and forth easily -
I can always get a wet suit
Assuming the new cable has the same throw/travel as the original, you should be OK. You'll know when you start the engine, carefully. If the drive is in neutral, you'll know it. If in gear, you'll know it and shut down immediately. If in gear, the shift plate lever moves reward to engage FWD, forward to engage REV. Adjust the upper cable accordingly to center this lever.
 
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Brock96

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I never thought to check the throw/travel. This I will do.
I when I took the cable off the shift plate I did tape and measure it. (the barrel and connection at the shift plate) Now when I line it up, with the new cable (which is installed) , it does not match (not by much). Right now using the lever now, it does not feel like it is going into full forward gear (not the same as the reverse) I am going to check the throw and take some pictures (so you can see what I am referring to) Will get back to you.
 

Brock96

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I never thought to check the throw/travel. This I will do.
I when I took the cable off the shift plate I did tape and measure it. (the barrel and connection at the shift plate) Now when I line it up, with the new cable (which is installed) , it does not match (not by much). Right now using the lever now, it does not feel like it is going into full forward gear (not the same as the reverse) I am going to check the throw and take some pictures (so you can see what I am referring to) Will get back to you.

I never thought to check the throw/travel. This I will do.
I when I took the cable off the shift plate I did tape and measure it. (the barrel and connection at the shift plate) Now when I line it up, with the new cable (which is installed) , it does not match (not by much). Right now using the lever now, it does not feel like it is going into full forward gear (not the same as the reverse) I am going to check the throw and take some pictures (so you can see what I am referring to) Will get back to you.
Good Day - measured the two cables together and the new cable is approximately 1/2" shorter - see pictures - same in reverse or forward - what are your thoughts - thanks Stuart
 

Brock96

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Good Day - measured the two cables together and the new cable is approximately 1/2" shorter - see pictures - same in reverse or forward - what are your thoughts - thanks Stuart (I am also a rookie at sending pictures)
 

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harringtondav

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Your shift plate is different than my Alpha II plate, but the principle is the same. 1/2" shouldn't matter. What is important is having the lower cable/shift lever in the same FNR position as the upper before you set the barrel nut on the upper cable.
Best practice is to get the drive into N. Since you said the boat is in the water and you can't see the prop, this should work safely: Make sure the boat is tied securely with a little extra clearance at the bow. Trim up into trailer. Disconnect the upper cable from the plate, put the helm control in N, and start the engine. If the drive is in gear you'll know it with either a spray or turbulence. Manually move the lower shift cable to find N.
Turn off the engine. Adjust the upper barrel nut until the upper cable's eye lines up with the stud on the shift lever. ....this will get you close.
It's critical the drive clunks into gear before the throttle cable moves. You can fine tune this with further adjustments to the upper cable barrel nut.
Under no circumstances adjust the lower cable barrel nut.
 

Brock96

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Your shift plate is different than my Alpha II plate, but the principle is the same. 1/2" shouldn't matter. What is important is having the lower cable/shift lever in the same FNR position as the upper before you set the barrel nut on the upper cable.
Best practice is to get the drive into N. Since you said the boat is in the water and you can't see the prop, this should work safely: Make sure the boat is tied securely with a little extra clearance at the bow. Trim up into trailer. Disconnect the upper cable from the plate, put the helm control in N, and start the engine. If the drive is in gear you'll know it with either a spray or turbulence. Manually move the lower shift cable to find N.
Turn off the engine. Adjust the upper barrel nut until the upper cable's eye lines up with the stud on the shift lever. ....this will get you close.
It's critical the drive clunks into gear before the throttle cable moves. You can fine tune this with further adjustments to the upper cable barrel nut.
Under no circumstances adjust the lower cable barrel nut.
Should I start a new thread - this one is getting very long
Here is what I have done - I have not tried to shift gears - Lower shift cable - engine not running - measured the distance between full forward and full reverse and placed the cable end in the middle - engine starts -runs great - no spray or turbulence - with the upper shift lever in neutral ( clicks in) I extended the cable end to fit onto the shift plate stud - and the barrel attached on it's stud.
In your opinion would this work or do I have to find the LSC neutral position with the engine running ( if so I assume that I will have to move the LSC with quick force - also the shift interupter switch comes into play)
Thanks again
 

harringtondav

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Should I start a new thread - this one is getting very long
Here is what I have done - I have not tried to shift gears - Lower shift cable - engine not running - measured the distance between full forward and full reverse and placed the cable end in the middle - engine starts -runs great - no spray or turbulence - with the upper shift lever in neutral ( clicks in) I extended the cable end to fit onto the shift plate stud - and the barrel attached on it's stud.
In your opinion would this work or do I have to find the LSC neutral position with the engine running ( if so I assume that I will have to move the LSC with quick force - also the shift interupter switch comes into play)
Thanks again
No need to start another thread. I've seen them continue for dozens of comments. Also moderators want a single thread from a poster on a single topic.
You're very close. Now you need to verify the lower shift lever moves to both FWD and REV before the throttle cable starts to move with engine off.
You need to be in the engine bay to observe. You can have a helper shift into each gear slowly while you observe. Do not put the control into neutral. Without a helper, move the control slightly out of neutral...past the N detent. Now you can manually move the lower shift lever to it's limit. The helm control will continue moving in that gear direction. The lower lever should stop at it's limit before the throttle cable starts to move.
Do this in both FWD and REV. If the throttle cable doesn't move in either direction you are good to go. If the throttle cable moves in one direction but not the other you need to lengthen the upper shift cable via barrel nut slightly in the direction where the throttle cable moves. Check and recheck in both directions until you get it.
If the 1/2" shorter new upper shift cable doesn't allow this you can delay the throttle cable starting to open the carburetor by shortening it's length with its adjuster.
 

Brock96

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Thks Dave -- I am a little confused about the relationship between the Lower shift
lever (plate) and the throttle cable - The throttle cable will only move unless I move it. ?? It is a dual upper helm control box -inboard engine. -- am I missing something
Note - I do try and research for answers to my questions even Iboats but I mostly get info on Outboards.
 
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