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I have a 1973 Starfire with a Merc 165 drive. Its been running…

I have a 1973 Starfire...
I have a 1973 Starfire with a Merc 165 drive. Its been running great for the past couple years until just recently.

Finding reverse has always been a little bit tricky but it seems that after things get warmed up it finds it just fine. This past weekend finding reverse was almost impossible and any time I try to shift, it just dies. I am aware of the netural/reverse cut out/kill switch but I'm not sure if that's it. I'm a little bit more nervous that it might be gears?

One thing that has me alarmed, with motor off and in neutral when you spin the prop it makes a clicking sound. If you shift to forward or reverse it appears to lock in. Should it be clicking in neutral? Is that normal?

Any help or advice is appreciated. I've thought about changing the drive oil to check it for metallic debris, but what's the refill procedure? What kind of fluid and how much?
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Answered in 14 minutes by:
6/28/2010
K. Kergan
K. Kergan, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1,031
Experience: 24 yrs exp. Inboard/Outboard mechanic Mercury/ Mercruiser, Volvo Penta and OMC, Johnson/Evin.
Verified
It should not be clicking in neutral, that means the shift cable is not adjusted properly or is faulty. The clicking is the clutch dogs just barely hitting each other. There is drain plug at the bottom and a vent/oil level plug on the side of the upper gear case. After the oil drains it is filled by pushing oil into the bottom hole until it comes out the top hole. There is a pump for this available at any marine store. Use Quicksilver gear oil from Mercury.
Your problem is most likely the shift cable, they wear out and get harder to move. The fact that it dies tells me that the shift cut-out switch is working and that the cable is getting hard enough to move that the cut-out switch gets tripped. The outdrive needs to come off and the shift cable replaced.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Ok, but would it be a good idea to drain and check for debris first? Or just try to change the cable?

If I remember right, aren't there 2 cables? One running from control to the transom and transom to the drive? Which one would need to be replaced? Or both?

You described how to fill the drive, but how much oil should I buy?
The drive holds just over a liter so you need two bottles and will have most of one left over. It would be a good idea to change the gear oil anyway. There are two cables and the one that usually gives trouble is the aft one that goes from the shift rack to the outdrive. The cable replacement is a bit of a job but I can give you pointers if need be.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks so much! I wouldn't mind a few pointers or how to for cable replacement. I'm fairly mechanical. I can do just about anything but setting up gears on my 4x4 and cars so I'm fairly condifent I can do the cable job.

Probably 10 years ago or so I had to replace the gimbal bearing and I pulled the outdrive but then gave it to my uncle's mechanics at the resort to finish the job so I'm somewhat familiar with the process of pulling it.

How should I proceed?
Put the drive in forward and remove it. Disconnect the aft cable from the shift rack. The end of the cable has a plastic barrel held on by two square head set screws, loosen them and pull off the barrel. Remove the threaded stainless tube and jam nut from the end of the cable. Follow the cable casing toward the transom, down low where it sneaks past the engine is a flat plastic wrap around the cable, remove this wrap. Go to the back of the boat and pull out the cable core. Turn the steering to the left, the cable casing goes from the gimbal housing through a bellows and into the boat. The shift bellows has a clamp that may be a small hose clamp or just a steel band. If it is the band just bend it to remove, discard it as there is a new one in the cable kit. You can now pull the cable casing from the boat being careful not to tear the bellows, some cable kits come with a new bellows and some do not. Mercruiser calls the part that the leg bolts up to the bell housing. There are two styles of cable, the old style screws into the bell from the front and the new style goes in from the back. If you are switching to the new cable from the old one you need a 1/4" straight pipe tap to cut the threads so it can go in from the back. This is an unusual tool available from an industrial supply store or the better tool places. You will also need a tool to remove and install the cable casing in the bell. The old style installation tool looks like a 9/16" deep socket with a slot cut out of the side so the cable can go through it. The new style installation tool is just a deeper than normal deep socket, I made one from a thin wall 9/16" deep socket welded to a piece of steel tube with a large nut welded to that. Post back if anything isn't clear. Installation is the reverse, be careful not to bend the cable casing too tight and kink it. Its a bit of a chore to get the new cable through the bellows especially if the bellows is new. A dab of grease on the end of the cable helps.
K. Kergan
K. Kergan, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1,031
Experience: 24 yrs exp. Inboard/Outboard mechanic Mercury/ Mercruiser, Volvo Penta and OMC, Johnson/Evin.
Verified
K. Kergan and 87 other Boat Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks so much! I'll check it out and work on it when I get off work tonight. Really appreciate it! If I need more info I'll let ya know!
One more point, when you install the new cable from the back it must be screwed in far enough that the nut does not interfere with the cable travel, it needs to be far enough that you don't see more than one turn of threads. Also if you need to cut threads for the new style cable you go from the front with the tap and go all the way through.

Edited by K.Kergan on 6/28/2010 at 7:44 PM EST
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