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Author Topic:   Mercury shift and throttle cable adjustment
Henry posted 07-16-2007 12:46 AM ET (US)   Profile for Henry   Send Email to Henry  
I just installed new shift and throttle cables on my Montauk 17 which has a 2005 Mercury 90 hp two stroke saltwater series motor. I don't think I got the adjustment quite right. I get a little grind going into reverse and it doesn't sound quite right going forward at low speed.

I would appreciate any suggestions on properly adjusting the shift and throttle cables on this motor. thanks.

rtk posted 07-16-2007 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Cable adjustments are typically done at the engine side.

Start with the control in neutral, no fast idle advance in the throttle, cables connected to the control.

At the engine, determine which cable is throttle and shift. Shift cable is usually 1/2 way out, throttle will be all the way out or all the way in- this is at the cable ends. Disconnect both cables from the engine.

Move the control to forward and reverse, and take note at what the cables do at the engine- forward, neutral and reverse. Cables will be fully extended, all the way in, or in between at various shift lever positions.

When adjusting a shift cable, make sure the lower unit is in neutral. Spin the prop to be sure, it should spin free.

Place the cable end on the engine shift shaft attachment, then see where the cable adjustment "nut" lines up with the cable attachment point on the engine. I adjust the nut on the cable so it is centered on the engine attachment point. The cable has a bit of play, so grab the cable and move it back and forth when centering it. Adjustment nut on the cable should slide in nice to the engine attachment point when the lower unit is in neutral.

Throttle cable- when in neutral, the throttle cable should close the plates on the carbs completely. Adjust the throttle cable so they close snug, and any play in the cable does not allow the throttle to open a bit.

Usually does the trick on any outboard I have rigged up.

Did you use Mercury cables or an aftermarket cable (teleflex. etc.) I have had best luck with original equipment vs aftermarket.


towboater posted 07-16-2007 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
great post rich.

thx for your time.


Henry posted 07-16-2007 11:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Henry  Send Email to Henry     

Thanks for your detailed response. I bought a new Mercury control and used Mercury Gen II Platinum cables.

On my motor you can't see the plates on the carb because they are behind the attenuator cover.
I do have the service manual and it says as follows:

"Adjust the throttle cable barrel so the barrel will be able to slip into the retainer when the cable end is on the mounting stud and there is a slight pre-load against the stop."

I do not understand what they mean by "pre-load." Can you explain that?

Also in regard to shift cable adjustment the manual says that "Shift remote control into neutral.The propshaft should turn freely without drag." My motor has a heavy Laser II prop and I am not sure if there is a small amount of drag or if it is just the weight of the prop. How can I be sure?

Any suggestions will be appreciated. thanks.

rtk posted 07-17-2007 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Henry, I think what they mean by preload on the throttle cable is there is always a little play in control cables. Grab the cable end when the cable is attached to the control and move it in and out. The cable will move in and out a little bit.

You want to adjust the throttle cable so the play does not allow the carb plates to open a bit while in neutral due to the play in the cable. You can do it using the stops- I just like to make sure the plates close up.

Look at the throttle linkage on the engine- move it back and forth. You will likely see a threaded rod with a plastic cap on the end, couple of nuts, something like that. When the throttle linkage is all the way closed- that end should butt up tight against something. When you adjust the throttle cable you want the throttle linkage to be tight against the stop so there is no play.

Preloading the cable simply means adjusting it so there is no play in the control- in other words tight.

As far as the prop, usually if the lower unit is in gear slightly, when you spin the prop you would hear something like a "click, click, click". As long as it's not clicking, you are likely in neutral, just spin the prop both ways to be sure. If she spins free and doesn't feel like the gears want to engage, your good to go.

With the shift cable disconnected from the engine- spin the prop slowly and shift in and out of gear a few times on the engine- you will get the feel of when it engages in gear and goes into neutral.


Henry posted 07-17-2007 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Henry  Send Email to Henry     


rtk posted 07-17-2007 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
No problem Henry, hope it helps.


rtk posted 07-17-2007 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Henry- if you are experiencing some clunking or shift problems after adjusting you may want to take a look at this thread. Some members reported the FloTorq III hub kit helped them.


If you do a search I do beleive there were some complaints in the way the 90 Mercury on the 170 Montauk shifted in and out of gear a few years back- I can't remember if it was the 2 stroke or the 4 stroke. May want to look for those threads before you make yourself nuts trying to get the shift adjustment dialed in.


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