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Thread: Merc Alpha-1 shift problem

  1. #1
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    Default Merc Alpha-1 shift problem

    Any advice on how to address an alpha-1 mercruiser that is having a delay or no engagement went shifting into reverse? I sometimes find that the drive either does not engage and I experiece high RPM's or it seems like it takes a long time to move through it's transition point from neutral to reverse but it will eventually engage. Could this problem be solved by adjusting the shift cable tension (please please please...$$$)? There does not seem to be any abnormal stiffness in the operation of the throttle/shift lever and the engine does not stall out.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Sure sounds like a cable adjustment problem, here's a procedure that might help.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian in AK View Post
    Sure sounds like a cable adjustment problem, here's a procedure that might help.
    I agree with Brian. I had a similar problem on my old boat and it turned out to be a shift cable problem. Turned out to be easier to install a new one as the old cable had stretched enough to need replacement. Its not a tough job and it isn't that expensive if you do it yourself. How old is the boat as this is a typical problem as they get older?

  4. #4
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default Hope it hasn't ground any gears...

    Sometimes it goes partially into gear, and the gears grind before engaging, not good! But, if it's just reluctant to shift, that adjustment should take care of it. It is a push-pull action between forward and reverse, so when the cable stretches, it pushes better (forward) but pulls less (reverse). I haven't looked at that link Brian gave you (computer acting up) but there is an adjusting rod in the back that balances between forward and reverse. You want to adjust it where it goes into each with about the same amount of forward or reverse action on your shift lever. It is completely normal to need to do this. If you can't get enough movement out of the shift rod back behind the motor, then you can also adjust the length of the cable at the shift lever. Neither of these is diffucult to do...Good Luck! And if you need a new shift cable, that is not $$...but a rebuilt or new outdrive with all the gears is $$$, but I can save you a lot, from my own experience researching new alpha outdrives, so PM me if it comes to that.

  5. #5
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    Just want to say thanks for all the advice, the exploded diagrams really helped alot. I ended up moving the pivot up about a 1/4 inch and than taking in a little slack by tightening the cable, only a couple turns (thanks Odie for the heads up advice) and it seemed to fix the problem. Went out today and worked the gears quite a few times and the reverse seemed to engage without a hitch. That was the best fix I could have asked for! Time to start fishing-again.

  6. #6
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default Glad it worked out...

    The forum is a great place for questions like this...most of the time glad this one worked out for you!

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