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Old 29 July 2003, 05:54   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: Cippenham
Boat name: Falcon1
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Length: 6m +
Engine: 115hp Mariner Four S
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Stiff !!!

My Engine controls are very stiff in particular going into reverse. this makes it a bit tricky when trying to dock etc. how stiff should they be. the control is a Mercury. the Engine is a 115 Four stroke Mariner. The whole set up has only done about 40 Hours and is as new. Any Ideas?
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Old 29 July 2003, 06:37   #2
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A typical Mercury/Mariner installation (for smaller engines at least) uses the Commander engine control set. (If you have a different setup, then the following may not apply). This has a few features that will lead to a stiff control action.

Firstly, the control unit is largely mechanical. Inside the control box is a set of cams. When you take the unit out of neutral, the control cable to the gear will shift and put the engine in forward or reverse. When you push the lever past this, the gear cable stops moving and the throttle cable takes over. If the unit is new, then these cams should be already well greased. Likewise for the mechanical cables linking to the engine.

Secondly, the control box has a friction adjustment. On my own setup, I find this to be fairly crude. Then again, it too is a mechanical adjuster...much like the adjustment on an exercise bike that allows you to make it more difficult to cycle.

Finally, I found that there's also a bit of resistance associated with the linkages at the engine side (gear more so than throttle). The control cables slot into runners, which in turn control gear and throttle.

Somewhere in there is you're problem (if you consdier it a problem). I'd prefer the engine controls to be stiff but that's just from a safety point. If you fall against a loose control unit, things can happen pretty quickly. Check for tight turns in your cable routing as this can have a big influence the stiffness of the controls also.

Hope this helps.
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Old 29 July 2003, 06:43   #3
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Country: UK - England
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Thanks Mosser I know what you mean but it is so stiff into reverse that once when it did go in i did about 20 knots in reverse Lol (well matbe not 20)
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Old 29 July 2003, 07:16   #4
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That certainly sounds like a problem. The action of the control lever should be very distinct. Out of neutral, you should get the clunk of the engine as the gear engages....and this should be at tickover revs. Further movement of the lever should raise the revs.

When these are being installed, there's generally adjustments necessary at the engine side. If you take the cover off, you'll understand faster than if I were to explain it.

The engine side of the cable will have a plastic barrel threaded onto the cable. This barrel can be wound up and down the end of the cable which in turn decides where the cable will sit for any given position of the control lever.

The following is just a suggestion...you may want to get the person who sold/installed the engine to do this for various reasons. I don't believe that cable adjustment by a user would interfere with any warranty issue but that's my own opinion.

Disconnect the throttle and gear cables from the engine and feel the action of the levers that they were connected to. In other words, you should be able to put the engine into reverse and forward by hand.

Put the control lever in neutral and examine the position of the cable (and barrel). Put the lever in forward and watch how the cables move...likewise for reverse. You should see the action that I described in the first reply.

It may be that the plastic barrels are wrongly located. You'll need to position the barrels to meet the following two conditions:
1) That the engine is in neutral and there is no throttle applied when the lever is in neutral (seems like an obvious statement I know)
2) When you move the lever, the gear cable will travel. This will need to engage the gear. It's likely that it's currently stopping short...and popping into gear after the throttle has begun to move. Either that or the gear linkage at the engine side is stiff...worth getting a professional to look at it in that case.

Having the cables disconnected from the engine should also give you an idea as to how much stiffness is associated with the engine, and how much is due to the mechanics of the control box.

It's worth saying that all of this work can be done without starting the engine. Needless to say, if in doubt, contact the person who installed the engine.
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