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One of None
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Discussion Starter #1
last night while tinkering around as the engine was warming up. I looked at this lever. (it's the lever just above the water pump pulley.) I've always assumed it's "ok" but when looking closer I see it's sort of stuck or not free enough to move with the spring that keeps it in place. Then the spring has been stretched also.



Pushing the lever down seemed to make the engine run (almost in-perceptively) smoother. Unless I was imagining things.

How do/would I know where it should be set?

I suppose there was a choke type cable on tractor type applications going by the lever design.
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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6,265 Posts
Do you have a manual for the motor?

If not and it weas me, I'd pull the lever up slowly while the motor was running to see if I could tell when the linkage was bouncing against the valve springs then I'd push the lever back down until it wasn't touching the valve springs and I'd make sure that it's held in that position or beyond.
 

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Old Guy
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I have a Universal 5444 in my boat that is equipped with a compression release gadget like yours. That lever is attached to a rod with flat spots inside the valve cover. When "off" the valves operate normally, but when you pull the knob (like a choke) it pulls the lever and rotates the shaft so that the valves don't close completely, releasing compression.

It really is worth digging around to find a service manual for your engine and following the instructions there, but it sounds like just possibly your rod is turned a bit at rest. My recollection is that there are little access plates in the valve cover that you take off to check the adjustment.
 

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On the 5411 on my previous boat, you could feel the resistance as you engaged the compression release and held the valves open. Note it is NOT recommended to engage it when the engine is running. With the engine stopped, try moving the lever and see if you feel resisitance. When engaged, you should be able to rotate the engine by hand. Looks to me like something may be wrong with the linkage actuating the release.
 

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One of None
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Discussion Starter #5
sorry for letting not getting back to this thread. I found the information on the Compression release and engine rebuild specs in the book orginial to the boat purchase :) Maybe I should scan it and offer it to other Universal 16 and 24 owners.
 

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There is an inspection cover on top of the component that houses the decompression lever's shaft. It allows you to see inside where the bolts on the shaft are attached.
The cover has two bolts or screws in it. Remove the cover and have a look at those bolts. One bolt is immediately underneath the cover while the other one is a little difficult to see. Those bolts may be loose or worn.
 

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Denise,

I have a 5416 with the same lever. The manual warns against using it while the engine is running. It is intended to help start the engine by hand crank, or with a weak battery or poor compression.

If the valve cover is removed and refitted for some reason the manual says you need to check and adjust the clearance between the decompression "cam" on the shaft inside the valve cover.

I disabled mine by dialing back the adjustment so the cam does not engage the valve at all. I may have also wire-tied the lever in the dis-engaged position, I know for sure I thought about doing this :)
 

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The older Catalina 30 Tech Notes made great and repeated emphasis on the use of this lever. It made me gag, because they missed the much more important issue of having a reliable electrical system to assure that the engine started properly. They kept saying: If the engine is hard to start, use the decompression lever. Instead of saying: check your batteries, charge them properly, check the engine ground, check the connections...all that good stuff.

If you do it right, you should never have to use it.
 
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