Calling all Gearheads

Macgyvered shift handle

This is my Macgyvered shift handle – a shelf bracket that I sawed off and bolted to the broken stump.

During my trip up to Desolation Sound, I started to have shifting issues trying to put my outboard engine into forward or reverse. The main cause of the issue was a bent shifting rod. It got progressively worse and eventually I snapped off the plastic shift handle. I was able to Macgyver the fix that you see here. But now I’m back in port and I managed to get my hands on authentic replacement parts. The only problem is… I’m stuck. And I could really use the help of a more experienced, mechanically minded person.

The original shift handle left a broken stump when it snapped off. I drilled two holes through the stump and bolted on a length of steel from a shelf bracket. There is a steel pin at the base of the handle upon which the handle pivots. It’s this steel pin that is giving me the trouble. For reference, my outboard is a 2003 Mercury Bigfoot, 9.9 HP.

Below is an exploded view of the steel pin. I circled the pin in red. It appears to me to be a pressure fit, and all I should need to do is tap it out of place with a hammer. The problem is I don’t know which way is the correct direction to tap it, or if I’m even correct in my assumption that it just needs to be tapped out. From the exploded view, I can see that one end of the pin is beveled/textured, probably to hold it in place.

Shift Lever Exploded View

This is an exploded view of the outboard shift lever. The pin that is giving me the trouble is circled.

Below are close up pictures that I took of the pin. On the outside of the engine body is a plastic plug. Removing the plug allows access to the pin that I need to remove. According to the exploded view, this is the side of the pin that is textured. I think this is the side that I need to tap with a hammer. But if I’m wrong, I’ll drive that textured area into the wrong direction and may permanently damage the shift lever mount.

Shift Handle Closeup 1

This is a close up of the side of the pin that is beveled. You can also see the access to the pin through the engine body that is normally closed with a plastic plug.

Shift Handle Pin Closeup

This is a close-up of the other side of pin. Is this the right side of the pin to tap? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.

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9 Responses to “Calling all Gearheads”
  1. jack says:

    Are you sure the pin is not threaded……try soaking it with penitrating oil then a little heat, then try unscrewing the bugger…if you are still unsure, call Lighthouse marine in gig harbor…they are very good at fixing Mercury engines….

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Jack. I’m pretty positive that it doesn’t unscrew. There is no place to insert the tip of a screwdriver or way to grab a hold of it with pliers. Penetrating oil and heat is a good idea. If I was sure of the direction it needed to go, I could slowly force it out with a vice.

  2. Joe says:

    Maybe center drill & tap the pin then screw in an eye and use a slide hammer to pull it out?

  3. Alex says:

    I would use a punch and hammer to tap the non-textured end. The textured area is probably knurled, which is sometimes used to make a part press fit into place with less force than a press fit of smooth parts with an interference fit.

  4. Mark says:

    Yes tap (hammer) the beveled side. The bevel in known as a lead-in-chamfer and is for installation. It becomes the side your would hammer on to reverse the installation.

    • David says:

      I would agree with Mark about the beveled side it was put in from. Have you looked under the housing for a set screw that holds the pin in place? if there is no set screw i would also agree with Mark to tap the pin out driving the beveled side. TAP, Don’t HIT

  5. Chris says:

    I got some good suggestions here. Thank you so much! Keep them coming. I’m going to be looking into all of them.

  6. Cheryl Smith says:

    It’s a good thing you found the problem pretty easily. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to have to mess up the engine with a simple screw. Hopefully, you are able to get it fixed easily.

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