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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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Old 04-12-2010
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Clutch difficult to move

My boat has an A4 with a clutch control mounted on the port side of the cockpit, close to the floor. The clutch control is extremely difficult to move back and forth from forwards to reverse and vice versa.

I'm wondering if its the cable or perhaps the clutch on the A4 itself that needs some help. Or perhaps this is just the case with all A4s?

I've lubricated each end of the cable (is it possible to lubricate anywhere else?) and I sprayed PB blaster on the A4 near the clutch. This seemed to help a little but it still takes a LOT of effort to move between gears. So much so that I need to bend down into the cockpit to get the right angle on the thing -- not the best option when docking!
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Have you disassembled the transmission control and cleaned, lubed and adjusted it? Have you replaced the control cables? Have you taken the cables off the transmission and tried it directly? This last one would at least tell you whether the problem is in the transmission or the control/cables.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Have you disassembled the transmission control and cleaned, lubed and adjusted it? Have you replaced the control cables? Have you taken the cables off the transmission and tried it directly? This last one would at least tell you whether the problem is in the transmission or the control/cables.
I did clean and lube the control, however I have not changed the cable. I will first try your idea of removing the cable to test if it's the transmission or cable. Then I will see if I need to replace the cable. If it's the transmission, I'm guessing I might be out of my league for fixing it. Or is there a simple solution to loosening it?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theredboat View Post
I did clean and lube the control, however I have not changed the cable. I will first try your idea of removing the cable to test if it's the transmission or cable. Then I will see if I need to replace the cable. If it's the transmission, I'm guessing I might be out of my league for fixing it. Or is there a simple solution to loosening it?
Be VERY careful where you spray PB Blaster -- it will eat right thru seals and cause you lots of grief (it's great stuff, except when it gets into/onto places it shouldn't). SD's recommendation is spot on - also make certain there are no sharp bends in the control cable. How's the casing on the cable? Does it look damaged anywhere? I just replaced mine and shifting is now super smooth. Replace it -- Murphy says it will break when you least want it to! It's not hard to do, but resist the temptation to go with a lighter (i.e,. cheaper) cable. On my P30, the cable is 5/16" and 9' long. Cost was roughly $140. Yours may be different!
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I'd also point out that PB Blaster is not a lubricant. It really shouldn't be used to lubricate control cables.
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm pretty new to this, so I really appreciate the help.

I didn't use PB Blaster to lubricate, thankfully. I only used it because I had a hunch that some of the rust build up on the A4's shifter was causing the sluggishness. I blasted it, then used a wirebrush to remove some of the rust, but it didnt seem to help much.

What's a good lubricant to use on cables and the A4 shifter?

I will report back tomorrow when I have a chance to try and move the shifter without the cables attached. Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2010
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It depends... in many cases a dry lubricant is a better choice for cables, since they're less likely to gum up the cables. Some of the better cables come with a teflon insert to reduce the need for lubrication.
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Old 04-12-2010
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A4's are inherently harder to shift than most transmissions. However, they're not that hard. As previously mentioned, you should disconnect the shifter cable from the shift lever on the side of the transmission and see what it feels like. Is the cable still hard to move? Is the transmission lever hard to move? If it's fairly easy to shift using the lever, the problem is in the cable. If it's still difficult and the cable moves freely, it's in the transmission (more accurately, reversing gear). I suspect your problem is in the cable. It would only be hard to shift both ways if the unit is "overadjusted" both ways. In other words, if both the forward adjustment and reverse adjustment are too tight. If it's in the transmission, it's reasonably easy to adjust. This is really a very simple unit to work on. I'd recommend you go to the Moyer Marine site which is dedicated to the A4 (google Moyer Marine). The forum there is a wealth of info just on the A4.
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Old 04-13-2010
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It should be pointed out that on the A4 there is a definite detent going into forward -- you should feel a "click" or "thunk" going into gear. It should take a bit of effort.

Going into reverse, there is no similar detent (you will feel it coming back out of forward, though). Reverse is a different animal altogether, and the shifter essentially acts as a brake lever of sorts, though you shouldn't have to hold it in place.

This is the basic setup: forward has a three-fingered "claw" that has to slide over the detent to grab. To illustrate, make a circle with the thumb and index finger of your left hand and make the "claw" from the thumb, index and middle fingers of your right. Place the "claw" on the outside of the "O" and push the "claw" over it so that they grab on the other side. That's the "detent" you feel going into and out of forward.

Reverse is essentially a brake band that grabs a rotating cylinder to give you reverse (a 2:1 reduction, usually). When you pull the shifter back the claw pops back over the detent, then the brake band tightens to give you reverse.

There are two separate adjustments on the A4 tranny for forward and reverse, but they are both very simple and easy to make (depending on access). By all means, head over to the Moyer Marine site, and get Don's A4 manual while you're there. It's well worth the $40 or so.

Good luck!
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Old 05-19-2010
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I know this is an old thread, but as I have the same problem and need a clarification. I just want to know if everybody here is talking about the Paragon transmission when talking about the A4 tranny in the previous posts.
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