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beer batter

Motor slowly losing neutral gear

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1994 Johnson 140hp. Sometimes when I have the throttle arm at a really slow speed and I move it back to neutral, I'll hear a high pitched "PING" come from the motor and will actually go into reverse. If I try moving it ahead the motor goes back in to forward, move it back to neutral and I'll hear the PING again and it will hit reverse. Some times it will just fix itself after a few times of moving the throttle arm back and forth, but other times I've had to turn off the motor in order for it to get out of gear.

Any thoughts on the problem?

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You obviously have excessive play somewhere. It could just be out of adjustment, but that wouldn't explain it fixing itself sometimes.

* WITH ENGINE OFF*

Pull the engine cover off, locate the the shift cable, have someone move the shift lever and watch the end of the cable for excess play. You can also remove the cable from the engine and move the shift linkage while spinning the prop shaft checking to see that you have equal travel in both directions for engagement into fwd and rev. and returning to neutral in the same spot every time (nominal neutral)

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We've done the cable inspection on 3 different occasions with 3 different people. Not saying that eliminates the cable, but we didn't see anything wrong with it at any time.

One of guys said there may be some kind of a spring/bearing contraption in the lower unit that puts the motor in and out of gear. He thought the "PING" sound might be the bearing slipping out of position occasionally. Anyone familiar with such a mechanism?

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So maybe this type of mechanism doesn't exist within the lower unit? Is the shift cable the only thing to control which direction the motor engages?

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Sounds like you confirmed what Bruce was suggesting.

If the cable linkage and bushing are tight along with levers and their bushing right down to the shift rod then I'd start looking into the gear case. First you should drain the oil and look for shaving. Before I tore into the gear case I'd probably bypass all linkage and shift directly at the shift rod. Do that by dropping the lower unit. Turn the prop and shift.

There is a spring detent, lever, cradles and pins in the lower unit connected to the shift on the bearing housing that could have some slop or the spring and or detent aren't working and allowing it to shift bypassing neutral.

At any rate you'll/they'll know once its opened up. Your call, do it yourself or have a shop do it. I'd recommend bringing the lower unit in. That be a good time to have it re-sealed and new impeller while your in it. They might want the boat and motor there eventually.

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Thanks ST, that sounds like what was explained to me. I won't be tearing into it. Mainly wanted to confirm what one of the guys thought the issue might be.

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I just wanted to add to be careful shifting from forward to reverse without being in neutral first, if motor is not at idle and you have a heavy stainless steel prop you might risk to snap the driveshaft. It happened to me once on a remote controlled motor, the control was stiff and I went from fwd to rev while it was still slowing down. The heavy prop works as a "flywheel" and will add a lot of torque to the whole drivetrain.

Since then I learned to get into neutral, wait a couple of seconds then switch gears.

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