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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-19-2007
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Smile Gear Shift Sticking

My boat has a single lever control for both the engine speed and to shift the transmission into and out of gear. On my last trip (in early August) it was stiff when it came to shifting gears, but once in gear, it moved easily to change RPM. I was away on vacation (not sailing) for 1 month, and now upon checking, it is very difficult to change gears. I took the top piece off of the binacle to gain access and tried to lube the mechanism using WD 40 and even tried gear oil.
It now moves, but is very stiff. I know the problem is the shift lever, as for a while it bypassed the gear change and would only operate in "neutral".
Has anyone dealt with this problem before, and what solution worked for you? I am very close to calling in a mechanic, but I would rather fix it myself as I have not been happy with mechanics I have used previously.

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 09-19-2007
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It can be from 3 things, find out wich first:

1) jaming at the engine where the shifter cable engages on the transmission. Remove it form there and see if it got better, that that is where the problem is
2) Remove it from where it attaches the shifter, then exercise to see
3) The cable is wornout and it need replacement.

Find where the problem is, before you decide..could be simple and cheap.
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Old 09-19-2007
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The best cable lubricant I have ever seen is WD40. In all the years of using it, on sailboats and motorcycles, I have rarely seen a cable jam , or fail.

Like Guil says, disconnect the lever from the cable, and it will be apparent where the friction, or jamming is. It might be the gearshift at the motor, so you may have to disconnect both ends.

It will be easy to fix.
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Old 09-19-2007
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BTW, most of the single lever controls use a cam of some sort to handle the shifting. If the problem is with the shifting, check the cam mechanism and make sure it is pivoting properly.
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Old 09-19-2007
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Not sure if it's available in Canada, but there is an excellent penetrating lubricant called PB Blaster, comes in a can with yellow cap, black and red writing on the sides. This stuff works great to bust up even heavy corrosion. Just be sure to follow up with some type of heavier lubricating oil afterward. WD 40 is a little to light I think.
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Old 09-19-2007
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The great property of WD40 (and its so called "cationic surfactant" competitors) is that it makes it difficult for the water to wet the surfaces again.
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Old 09-19-2007
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Shifter cables sometimes jam up because the clamps holding the sleeve come loose and the cable can shift putting a side load on the mechanism and things bind up. So another thing to check is to make sure that the clamps that hold the outer sheath are REALLY secure and properly aligned.
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I would use McLube SailCote instead of WD40, since it will dry to a near invisible film, unlike WD40, and is far less likely to pickup or attract dirt. Using any type of grease or oil on shifter cables is generally going to cause more problems in the long run that they fix.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 09-19-2007
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LMM...you said...but there is an excellent penetrating lubricant called PB Blaster

...
and then there's Sailnet's Version....PBzeer Blaster...which comes from a steady diet of Vienna sausages and Miller High Life!! (g)
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