If you have a Mercruiser Alpha one with gear shift problems and are asking any of these questions
The First thing to suspect is the Shift cable
Shift cable is the gear cable that runs from the alpha leg through the
gimble housing and terminates on a shift interrupt switch bracket, usually
mounted somewhere on the engine (rocker cover or exhaust riser).
forward and reverse gears are in the lower leg behind the propeller (in
the torpedo shaped casing), they are both revolving all the time, one
clockwise and one anticlockwise and the propeller shaft runs through the
reverse gear and sits in the forward gear at the back of the casing.
This 'Dog' is a cylindrical piece of hardened steel which has 'teeth' in either face and slides along splines in the prop shaft, mating up with similar 'teeth' in either the forward or reverse gear.
here's the thing
Mercruiser came up with an ingenious plan to overcome this
They split the gear cable into two separate parts, being the 'shift cable' (from the leg to the engine mounted bracket) and the 'gear cable' (from the control lever to the engine mounted bracket)
Mounted on the bracket is a mechanism which senses the tension between the two cables and when it reaches a certain level it operates a micro switch, this switch kills the ignition circuit and this in turn takes the pressure off the 'Dog clutch' allowing it to disengage with whichever gear it is in.
All this hapens in a split second and should be quick enough that the flywheel momentum allows the engine to continue running.
Imagine what happens when the 'shift cable' starts to get old and sticky, now you're getting the picture, it holds the microswitch over too long and stalls the engine, usually when you're just coming into a marina.
It Also causes problems when shifting INTO gear, as the 'stickiness' causes the mechanism to throw the microswitch over, however this mechanism should not actually flinch at all when shifting INTO gear.
IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE THESE MECHANISMS DISCONNECTED OR EVEN REMOVED WHEN FOLKS DID NOT REALISE WHAT IT DID.
Some people think that this is related to a 'start in gear protection' mechanism but this is not the case. If you are having shift p.roblems, check that the shift cable is not sticking first, it should slide very smoothly when removed from the bracket, but DO NOT TAMPER WITH THE ADJUSTMENT BARREL ON THE CABLE UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING, THIS SHOULD ONLY BE CARRIED OUT WITH MECHANICAL KNOWLEDGE AND A MAINTAINENCE MANUAL
Shift Problems can be caused by other factors which can only be assesed with the drive removed,
To name but a few, however, suspect the shift cable first.
To replace the shift cable you should be armed with a workshop manual and a replacement shift cable kit,(all available from those friendly Watercraft Services /Aquapart people)
CALL UK +44(0)1872 863777 FOR FRIENDLY ADVICE