How Do You Adjust The Shift Rod on A Mercury Outboard?

What if I asked you what’s the most complicated thing to do in your boat? Well, I don’t know about yours, but my answer would definitely be to re-install the lower part of my mercury outboard.

When we think about it, common questions pop up in our minds & one of them is how do you adjust the shift rod on a mercury outboard? Sometimes we do not exactly know how to line up the shift linkage with the shift rod on the outboard?

Wanna hear something good? You got yourself in the right place at the right time. Today we will talk in detail about adjusting the shift rod on a mercury outboard. We will show you a simple beginner friendly process about adjusting the shift rod & lining up the shift linkage. We will share tips & valuable information along the way.

How Do You Adjust The Shift Rod on A Mercury Outboard

Okay before we get to the main stuff, you should know that working on outboards is relatively easier. So, work with attention & patience, we hope you’ll be able to do it easily. Here are the steps you need to follow for adjusting the shift rod on a mercury outboard: 

  1. You should know that each mercury outboard will have a different length for the shift rod. The length depends on the type of motor it uses & HP. So if possible, check these things out which will help you to have clear knowledge about it.
  1. Now, we go to the main part. You need to know the shift rod height. We suggest you take the height between the surfaceof the gearcase & shift rod hole.
  1. Next up, put the shift rod in neutral. It will surely increase the effectiveness. 
  1. The offset should be facing forward. Again double check if it is in neutral & the offset is forward, after that you are good to go. 
  1. For measurement of the height, we used a ruler. But it would be best if you use any ready made measuring tool. So, get yourself either one of them. 
  1. In case you decide to use a ruler too, you can add a drill to the ruler. So tape it up on the expected height of the ruler. 
  1. Make sure the ruler & the gear selector are in parallel position. 
  1. While measuring, make sure it is not too low, if it unfortunately is then it’s going to cause you trouble in the reversing time.
  1. After measurement, note it down. You should get a similar height according to the picture shown in point 2. 
  1. Check if there is any problem with selecting gears or the gears itself. Although there shouldn’t be any problem now.
  1. Have a look at the cables.
  1. The other controls should be working perfectly as well.
  1.  If everything is okay, it should go into reverse fine.

How to Line Up the Shift Linkage with the shift Rod on a Mercury Outboard

Another common question we get is about lining up the shift linkage. When we want to reinstall the lower unit the shift linkage pin alignment can be troublesome for many of us.

Do not worry, we are going to take care of it. Follow these easy steps & line up the shift linkage on your mercury outboard. 

  1. First, you need to identify what gear the boat is on. Is it forward or neutral?
  1. Now that you have identified, make sure the lower unit & the top is in the same gear.  The easiest way you can do it is by disconnecting the shifter cables & moving the shifter by hand.  We suggest you keep it neutral. 
  1.  To put the shift rod into neutral as well, either lift it up or push it down. 
  1. In case you want to put it in forward, note it down that you won’t be able to move the propeller. 
  1. You can rotate your drive shaft at the top. By this the propeller should spin forward. 
  1. Put the top also forward. So again, the gear should be the same in both parts.
  1. At this point, when you should try getting the lower unit up in the hole. However, there can still be a little bit of misaligning & you cannot get that screw which connects the motor. 
  1. Many people make a common mistake by turning the shifter upside down. We hope you won’t do that & keep the shifter in a perfect position.
  1. You will find a simple screw design at the power part of the shift rod. Rotate the shift rod & it will go  up or down. 
  1.  Give it one turn in either direction & hopefully it will screw the lineman up. But sometimes it’s still not perfect.
  1.  We suggest you get the engine on top & the lower unit in the same gear, align it perfectly. 
  1.  Also try to test the actual shifting. If the shift rod needs to be a bit adjusted, then do it. 
  1.  When they are connected, you can put it forward, neutral or reverse.   
  1.  Test the propeller, we hope  you will find it nice & smooth.

That should do the job. We hope you can now line up the shift linkage with the shift rod in one go & won’t face any problems. Follow the tips we shared to make it perfect. 

Final Thought

So if anyone asks you how do you adjust the shift rod on a mercury outboard? We hope that you know the answer.

The processes are simple, but it can be time consuming & you need to have patience. But hey, the mercury outboard is one of the most important parts of our boats. So, no matter which process you need to follow, do it right for the betterment of your boats. 

In case of adjusting the shift rod, keep the height chart in mind & keep a special  eye on the ruler & gear selector. On the other hand if you are having trouble with lining up the shift linkage, try to keep the two gears the same. Also, do not turn the shifter.

We hope that you have your answer. Other than this if you have any queries or suggestions contact us. Till then, take care & drive safe.

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