How to Adjust the Shift Cable on a Mercury Stern Drive

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    • 1). Remove the engine cover to gain access to the shifting adjustment controls. Find the shift plate on the upper portion of the engine at the rear left side. It will have the shift cables attached to it.

    • 2). Locate the shift lever stud. It is found on the left side of the shift plate. Examine it to determine if the stud is at the very bottom of the attachment opening. Loosen the nut with a socket or open end wrench and push the adjustable stud so it is seated at the bottom of the opening. Hold it firmly with your fingers and re-tighten the nut.

    • 3). Ask your helper to stand at the rear of the boat next to the drive unit. Put on a pair of gloves for protection. Communication is essential on the next step. Carefully shift the control at the driver's station forward into gear until it stops while your helper rotates the propeller counterclockwise. The propeller will stop at the point the forward clutch is engaged. The clutch should be fully engaged just before you feel the shift lever stopping.

    • 4). Grasp the plastic cover of the shift cable end guide near the shift lever stud. Pull on it until all slack has been removed from the cable. Remove the clevis pin with needle nose pliers and adjust the brass barrel until the slack has been removed from the cable.

    • 5). Grasp the brass barrel with your fingers and turn it away from the cable end guide four complete rotations. Place the barrel back over the mounting stud and temporarily reinstall the retaining nut and clevis pin. Place the shift controls back to the neutral position.

    • 6). Slowly shift the controls into the reverse position and to wide open throttle while your helper rotates the propeller clockwise until it stops at clutch engagement. Examine the shift cutout switch on the top side of the shift plate and ensure the roller or plunger is centered on the switch housing. Investigate for a damaged cable if the switch is not aligned correctly.

    • 7). Loosen the shift lever stud as you did in step 2 if the clutch did not engage properly in step 6. Move the stud slightly upwards, re-tighten the nut and test again. Repeat the process until there is full clutch engagement. Connect all remaining hardware and close the engine compartment.

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