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Old 02-20-2018, 08:44 PM   #1
Al
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neutral switch on the reduction gear-issue

Well had an interesting lesson today. After sometime without excising the engine and planning a short trip tomorrow a trip down to start and warm up the engine as a pre voyage move found the engine non responsive. Double checked to assure the shift was in neutral, batteries condition, and no loose wires still had nothing. I crossed the poles on the starter to assure power to the starter, Good!.
At this point I decided either the key switch or the kill button was inoperative. No- the kill switch solenoid was working. Decided at that point to call my “Engine Wizard”. Fortunately he was in the harbor on another job cleaning up and came over. He had indicated two people would have to be involved to check what he felt was the cause. Upon his arrival, he checked the system as I had, and then said.”It will be the neutral switch on the reduction gear”. Sure enough, With me on the key switch and he at the neutral switch on our Velvet Drive reduction gear. While it had power to it, it was inoperative. He simply placed both terminals wires on a single post and bypassed the switch. He indicated that throughout the fleet where these switches are installed a great many of them have been bypassed and left that way. “No way”! want the safety of having the engine in neutral, Will have a new switch ASAP.
I wanted to post this to the forum. Not that many of you already are aware of this issue. It is a simple fix underway from a home port, another trick to be recalled when it hits.

Al- Ketchikan
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:18 PM   #2
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Apparently one of mine is bypassed also. I always jiggle the shift levers to make sure the transmissions are in neutral before I start the engines so I didnít know it would start in gear. Last fall I asked my wife to start the engines while I was still on the dock. The port engine started in reverse. Have not had a chance to troubleshoot it yet.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:04 AM   #3
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Of the many marine engines I have run, I don't remember any with a neutral safety. As I see with the posts above, adding unnecessary bells and whistles to otherwise working engines may not be the best path.
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Old 02-21-2018, 04:28 AM   #4
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Old trick. Sometimes on a no-start: Hold key in Start and wiggle Shift lever.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:35 AM   #5
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mine has no wires going to it at all.

on a small, high powered boat I would want the safety feature...on my trawler... no big deal.

I have accidently started it in neutral several times and nevet noticed it for many seconds.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:17 AM   #6
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On several occasions our Hurth transmissions have needed the contacts cleaned up on the neutral switches to deal with a non start. A relay is part of the system too as is a fuse so several places for a non start to occur. A spare neutral switch costs about 20 dollars, I carry a spare.

I'd guess any marine engine - transmission combination made in the last 20 years has a neutral switch. For vehicles maybe the last 40 years.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
mine has no wires going to it at all.

on a small, high powered boat I would want the safety feature...on my trawler... no big deal.

I have accidently started it in neutral several times and nevet noticed it for many seconds.
I hope that you accidentally started the boat in neutral a lot!!!
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:24 AM   #8
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I hope that you accidentally started the boat in neutral a lot!!!
ooops...thinking about those Westerbeke parts instead of what I was typing....

started in gear.....
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:04 AM   #9
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I don't have a neutral switch either was never wired for one. It is not a problem.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:07 AM   #10
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I went a little overboard when I upgraded my engine instruments and panels last year. The ZF transmissions had neutral safety switches installed but they were unused so, when I fabricated a sub panel for the new transmission pressure gauges, I included neutral indicator lamps and wired them to the safety switches. This gives me a quick visual indication that it is safe to start without having to dive into the start/run solenoid wiring. If the switches ever fail it will just be an annoyance, but it will not interfere with being able to start the engines.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:39 AM   #11
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Some Teleflex shifters have the switches in them so they dont have to be in the gear itself, perhaps optional?
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