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OMC 400-800 shift cable *Stringer series

Shift cable basic outdrive adjustment years 1978 to 1985

  • OMC 400 and 800 shift cable adjustment from shifter housing located on top of intermediate housing inside engine compartment
  • Exploded view 400 and 800 tech drawings or lower unit
  • Step by step removal pictures and tools required
  • See shift rod setting and warning before installing.

A1 cable with one grove 1978-1981
A1 cable with one grove 1978-1981
By author Trish Dougherty

1978 to 1981 shift cables have one ring on end of cable. Some 1978 units have no ring on end there just plain.

These unit have a fixed rod in them attached to a servo hydraulic shifter and there is no adjustment in gearcase.

A2b 1978 to 1981 lower unit gearcase
A2b 1978 to 1981 lower unit gearcase

OMC gear-case years 1978 to 1981 has no shift rod adjustment in them. They have hydraulic shift assist built in and do not have square cut out for anode. See figures D2 and D3 that have cut out in the gear-case.

A3 OMC 400-800 shift cable Note flat top on shifter end 1978-1985
A3 OMC 400-800 shift cable Note flat top on shifter end 1978-1985

fWhen installing shift cable you need to make sure you line up flat section with brass spring loaded receiver during installation. Rubber need to be full and not soft or deformed or spring tension on wires will be incorrect or to loose. If wire doesn't have correct tension the ideal pullers in lower unit will jam and stop wire from engaging into forward gear.

This is common on cables where rubber has gone soft due to composition of material and oil leaking from outdrive that has been stored in the up position. Water leaking into lower unit will also force oil to travel up the cable.

A6 Reverse-forward gears lug area can not be worn
A6 Reverse-forward gears lug area can not be worn

Worn lugs on forward or reverse gear will stop clutch dog from going into gear properly. This is usually a sign that engine ideal speed is not at the correct RPM. This happens over time say 50 to 100 shifts at 700 or 900 RPM way to high. Gears should be engaging at 550 or 625 RPM maximum.

A7 Clutch dog lugs area can not be worn 1982-1985
A7 Clutch dog lugs area can not be worn 1982-1985

Clutch dog should be replaced when lugs are rounded off. Steel on clutch dog does not have the same hardness as the forward or reverse gear and often need to be changed do to normal ware. Note there is a 3 and 5 degree clutch dog and gears with the 5 degree being the newer units.

A8 Clutch dog engagement speed
A8 Clutch dog engagement speed

This is a four cylinder clutch dog with only 3 lugs.

Clutch dog engagement speed for four cylinders needs to be between 550 and 675 RPM.

D1 end will have two groves 1982-1985
D1 end will have two groves 1982-1985

This 1982 to 1985 Shift cable with two rings and is not interchangeable with the 1978 to 1981 if you do the unit will work in reverse.

D2 800 lower unit gearcase with anode cut out
D2 800 lower unit gearcase with anode cut out

The straight mechanical shift lower unit gearcase years 1982 to 1985 has anode cut out hole. The servo hydraulic gearcase does not have an anode cut out.

D3 1982-1985 Mechanic shift identification
D3 1982-1985 Mechanic shift identification

Arrow show cut out area of 1982 to 1985 outdrive. This is easiest way to tell what the year of your 400 and 800 outdrive.

D4 Thread Rod In Six Turns
D4 Thread Rod In Six Turns

Adjustable rod and rack end (should be set at 6 turns) OMC shift cable end will have two groves years 1982 to 1985.

D5 Rack and shifter rod setting is 6 turns
D5 Rack and shifter rod setting is 6 turns

If you have threaded shifter rod all the way down outdrive will be out off adjustment range.
Some manuals I have seen do not list this information any where and and boating enthusiast will need to do repair all over again.

D6 Rack shifter rod installed
D6 Rack shifter rod installed

Shifter housing must be removed to adjust threaded rod.

Shift cable
Shift cable in neutral position

Record shifter arm neutral position before starting adjustment as setting may not line up with gauge on sticker

E1 Record arm neutral position
E1 Record arm neutral position
 
E3 Shifter arm in forward position
E3 Shifter arm in forward position

Shifter arm with shift cable in forward position

E4 Shifter arm in neutral
E4 Shifter arm in neutral

Shifter arm with shift cable in neutral position. Note neutral position should correspond to the lower unit clutch dog having equal space between forward gear and reverse gear.

E5 Shifter arm in reverse

Shifter arm with shift cable in reverse position

H1 Adjustments will require boat to be in water
H1 Adjustments will require boat to be in water

Final shift adjustments need to be done with boat in the water and some propeller resistance.

H2 New Forward-Reverse Settings

New Forward-Reverse Settings