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Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 11052
Experience:  40 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
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Hello, I have a 1991 Alpha One sterndrive. The shift cable

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I have a 1991 Alpha One sterndrive. The shift cable outer sheath broke in between the cable bellows and the bell housing. I have been trying to remove the sterndrive without much success. I have read all of the online instructions that I could find. I know that the outdrive has to be in forward(for my RH prop) in order to remove the sterndrive. However, I do not exactly know why...exactly what is holding the sterndrive from coming off if it is not all the way in forward. I think that it is all the way in forward...I pushed the core of the shift cable as far into the cable sheath as it would go, at which point the propeller could not be rotated in the CCW (looking from the rear of the boat) direction, but would ratchet in the CW direction. I also could shift into neutral and reverse, but not always reliably. With the outdrive in forward, my son and I removed the spedometer tubing, the two tilt cylinders, and the six nuts. We easily broke the gasket seal to the bell hoising and we were able to slide the sterndrive off the mounting studs about one half of an inch...but no farther. Every thing seems loose but it will not back off any farther no matter how hard we pull. I made some wooden wedges and carefully drove them between the sterndrive and the bell housing, but with little success. I can see the "slider" at the end of the cable and can move it back and forth to shift gears. I got desparate and cut the drive cable sheath and inner core between the sterndrive and bellhousing, but that did not help either. I can see the splined driveshaft and it has pulled out from the engine a little. The splines look good, are well greased and are not corroded.

So, what the hell is holding this thing. What prevents it from coming off if it isn't all the way in forward, and how do you access it? If anyone can help me out with this problem I will send them naked pictures of my sexy wife...LOL.

Hi, Look between the upper and lower units on the front side of drive right where the speedo connects you will see the shift turn so the shift is running for and aft # XXXXX shoe facing forward.Diagram of Mercury Mercruiser Parts ALPHA ONE (GEN.II)    1991-1995 0D469859 THRU 0F679999 Bell Housing Diagram
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hey Tan,

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the problem. Let me explain. I see how the upper and lower shift shafts are suppose to engage. The upper shift shaft, #25, has a channel that is machined inthe bottom of the shoe that is facing forward. The lower shift shaft runs mostly vertically, but has a short(about 3/4 of an inch) 90degree bend that also faces forward and fits into the machined channel in the shoe of the upper shift shaft. If the shoe is facing forward, then the bent part of the lower shift shaft can slide through and out with the sterndrive, but if the upper shift shaft is rotated, say 90 degrees, then the bent part of the lower shift shaft cannot slide through the channel of the shoe of the upper shift shaft and the sterndrive cannot be slid back and off. I think that I understand all of that.


My situation is that those two shift shafts (upper and lower) are already completely disengaged. The bent part of the lower shift shaft is already completely out of the channel and behind the upper shaft...thus it should not offer any resistance to removing the sterndrive. Yet, we cannot get it to move any farther backwards. Any other ideas?


Put a block of wood between the top of the drive and the transom plate pull up on the drive use the block of wood as leverage. I have even put the trim rams on and put the block of wood on top and trimmed the drive up to do the same as lifting by hand.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


Well you really haven't given me any new information, but you did verify that that it SHOULD come off. This gives me the confidence that I can use more force to pry it off without ruining an expence part by doing something stupid. Although I haven't gotten it off yet, I am going to go ahead and accept your answer so you can get paid. Thanks.

Oh, since I am a man of my word, if you give me an email to send the promised pictures to I will do so...enjoy.

Sorry about that. It WILL come off. [email protected]
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