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Old 07-19-2005, 11:41 AM
Andy Mck Andy Mck is offline
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Pressure on the drive lever to fully engage?

I also have encountered the same problem but I have only adjusted the coller one notch as it was a little too tight with adjusting it two notches I have adjusted the adjusting cable shackle both in the forward and backward positions to try to fine tune the presure on the shifter but this did not help the boat will still go forward into drive but growls loudly,when I apply pressure on the shifter this sound disappears and the gearbox sounds quiet like it should.Prior to the adjustment this noise started while I was on my vacation motoring through a weedy area in the Kinston area I got tangled in weeds and I slowed the enging revs while in forward and put the boat in reverse and again into forward to remove the weeds tangled on the prop shaft this cleared the weeds but this was when I first encountered this growling noise when I put the boat in forward and give it some throdle (I dove over the side with a mask on and found nothing fowling the prop or the shaft) I had to drive the boat another 20 miles or so with a bungee coard on the shifter arm to get the full benifit of the drive.I am about 150 miles from my home port and stuck with this bungee coard solution can any one offer any solutions or ideas? New guy with a problem.
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:33 AM
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Don Moyer Don Moyer is offline
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First of all, using a bungee cord (or anything else) to hold the forward
clutch assembly engaged puts a continual side load on the "throw-out"
bearing of the operating cone. These bearings were not designed for
continuous duty and if they are used in this fashion they will not last very
long before failing.

I'm not sure what you're using for your adjustment procedure, but here is a
reprint of the adjustment procedure from our service and overhaul manual. I
recommend that you start from the beginning to check your forward and
reverse adjustments.

Hopefully the bearing on your operating cone will last at least till you get
home. I wouldn't make the forward detent any tighter than you have to keep
the forward clutch assembly from slipping, and then engage the detent as
quickly as possible so as to limit the amount of time it is under stress.
Once you are into the detent, the bearing on the operating cone is totally
unloaded (which is why your transmission is so quiet whenever you're not
putting a side load on the operating cone bearing).


1) Place the cockpit shifting lever in neutral.

2) Recheck to be sure the reversing gear is in neutral by turning the prop
shaft. The neutral position is at the point where the prop shaft turns most

NOTE: If the forward clutch assembly is not in a good neutral position
prior to adjustment, it will be very difficult to rotate the notched
adjusting collar in step 6.

3) Remove the access plate on top of the reversing gear assembly.

4) Rotate the gear case cluster until the retaining pin of the adjusting
collar is facing upward.

5) Loosen the retaining pin until the staked collar can be turned on its
threads. It is not necessary to completely remove the retaining pin from
its threads to turn the adjusting collar.

6) Turning the adjusting collar clockwise (as you would be facing the
engine from the rear) will tighten the clutch disks when in forward. As a
frame of reference, one notch on the adjusting collar make a large
difference and is usually sufficient to prevent slippage.

7) Retighten the retaining pin.

CAUTION: It is very important that the end of the retaining pin extends
into one of the notches on the adjusting collar before final tightening. If
the end of the pin presses on the collar itself (between notches); or if the
pin is simply over-tightened, it is extremely easy to break the cast iron
pressure plate.

8) Place the cockpit lever in and out of the forward detent several times
to insure a proper "feel". A solid detent should be felt while going in and
out of forward, but the adjustment should not be so tight as to cause any
concern that the ships cable and levers may be over stressed.

NOTE: Moving the forward adjusting collar one notch makes a rather profound
difference in the force required to get the clutch assembly into and out of
the forward detent. In some cases (particularly in pedestal mounted
shifting levers) one setting can result in more force than might be desired,
while the very next notch looser results in some slippage of the clutch
assembly at high power settings. In the very latest engines (circa 1979 -
1981), Universal installed forward clutch adjustment collars with notches
closer together to provide more control when adjusting the forward clutch
assembly. You can check the difference in the two collars in our online
catalog at, product number: OREV_05_306.

9) If, after readjusting the forward clutch assembly, the neutral position
of the shifting lever in the cockpit is in an awkward location, you can
adjust the cable shackle at the engine, or cockpit shifting lever, until the
cockpit lever is in a more natural neutral location.


1) When the forward mode adjustment is correct, recheck the reverse mode
for proper adjustment. There should be a well defined neutral range when
coming out of the forward detent, and reverse mode should be felt
comfortably before the shifting lever in the cockpit reaches the limits of
its rearward travel.

NOTE: There is no detent in the reverse mode.

2) If the shifting lever in the cockpit reaches the limits of its travel
before reverse mode is securely established, turn the 3/4" hex-headed nut of
the reversing brake band clockwise.

3) If the reverse mode is reached too soon, and/or the neutral zone is so
small that it is difficult to find a spot where the prop is not turning (one
way or the other), turn the adjusting nut counterclockwise.

NOTE: It is not necessary to remove the retaining spring in order to turn
the nut on the reversing band adjusting bolt.


By way of background, pedestal mounted shifting systems typically have
somewhat less cable travel than those which are mounted on the side of the
cockpit. This makes them very prone to having problems associated with
being able to reach both forward and reverse, and still have a reasonable
neutral zone.

It's very important that the cable assembly is adjusted so that you're able
to engage the forward detent near the end of the travel in the forward
direction. This adjustment is necessary so that you will have sufficient
travel in the rearward direction to accommodate reverse, and still have a
reasonable neutral zone between forward and reverse.

In the past, we have seen several pedestal mounted systems where the range
of cable travel had shifted so far in the forward direction, that there was
barely sufficient travel remaining to reach the forward detent before
encountering stops within the cable system. In this configuration, whenever
the forward adjusting collar is set to provide a "stiffer" adjustment, the
additional force required to get the reversing gear into the forward detent,
results in the cable system reaching the limits of its travel before the
detent is reached.


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Old 07-20-2005, 10:57 AM
Andy Mck Andy Mck is offline
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Reversing gear adjustment

Thanks for the reply Don I will start again as per the procedure.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:19 PM
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domagami domagami is offline
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Fully engaged problem

Hi Don, all;

I have a similar problem but maybe not to the extent of concern about the bearing on the cone. Then again, I don't want to assume anything so I'll try to give my version and if someone can verify this I would really appreciate it. (Especially as I have a long trip ahead with lots of in/out of the gear shifting)

The solution above is great, but want to make sure I'm not opening the wrong problem.

I have a shift mounted on the sidewall under the cockpit locker lid. When at idle, I can sometimes push the shift forward and lock into gear, but more often it will slip out and I will have to push down again or hold it. It seems that at a speed higher than idle it will be more likely to lock in. I 'think' reverse will lock in without too much trouble, but I don't use it much.

I have plenty of neutral in the shift - at least 11:00 to 1:00.

I suspect that, as is stated in Don's last sentence, there is insufficient travel left in the shift to allow me to fully engage when I push the lever forward.

If I go below and use the lever by hand, I can get it to drop into gear without any slippage.

Questions then:

1) With this info, can I assume my issue does not need the adjusting procedure above, but rather, some adjustment in the shift?

2) It might be more obvious when I look at it closer, but does anyone have any tips or experience in removing this 'play', so that my forward motion of the shift lever translates into a more complete forward move of the engine shift lever?

Many thanks in advance, and to Don for the forum.

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Old 10-07-2009, 08:45 PM
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ndutton ndutton is offline
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I had a longer lever welded to the pedestal shifter (the arm inside the pedestal) by a stainless fab shop. It was minimal expense, produced more travel and has been trouble free ever since.
1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:58 PM
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I would agree that you need to adjust the shift cable, not the transmission.

If you look at that cable on the end that attaches to the engine you may notice that the fork can be shortened or lengthened. Depending on how your engine is mounted in the boat, adjusting this length one way or another may make it easier for the shift lever to put it solidly into gear.

If you look at that cable where it attaches to the shifter in the cockpit, you might notice (as I did several years ago) that the shifter itself has moved out of its original position -- due to looseness of the fasteners, a bit of wear in their holes, or just general weakness in the material that it's mounted on. This can translate into slop that prevents the engine from getting properly into gear.

In my case the shifter was mounted on a piece of plywood that was glassed onto the bulkhead but that had de-plied itself. It was easy to cut it out with a Dremel tool and replace it with another piece that had been first coated with epoxy.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:33 AM
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domagami domagami is offline
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Shift adjustment


Thanks for your replies. Replying here just so others can review the record if they have a similar problem.

The length of the lever is not my issue in this case. The shift is rather long (nearly a foot) and I just run into resistance at the end where it just seems to run out of cable to work with and will no longer push any farther forward.

I suspected the mount on the shift too, but I repaired that last year. Funny, like yours, I had pretty much the same plywood backing mount on the inside - and the same problem when it worked free. I suspect you are right that I need to adjust the connection at the engine end.

Thanks for your time and thoughts here. I'll try to remember to post a solution when I get it sorted out so others can benefit.


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