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Old 07-23-2021, 09:10 PM   #1
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No reverse with Morse Controls

This evening was a bit of a problem. We came to Poulsbo in Liberty Bay. We were hoping to get a slip at the dock but they had quit taking reservations so we figured we would take our chances.

Nice afternoon and as typical with nice summer afternoons in Liberty Bay we had a 10-12 knot breeze coming out of the North. We entered a fairway between the two guest docks looking for an open slip. The wind was blowing perpendicular to the orientation of the fairway so we slowly crabbed down looking for an open slip.

There werenít any so we started to make a turn to port, into the wind to turn around. There is plenty of room for a back and fill turn. Unfortunately, when I went to shift into reverse, the gear control wouldnít allow me to shift into reverse. To avoid hitting the stern of the boats in front of me I had to turn to starboard. With throttle, going in and out of forward gear, and lots of thrusters, I was able to make the turn with inches to spare. My wife wasnít happy.

We anchored in the bay. Fortunately it has a good holding bottom and my Sarca Excel sets pretty well with just the wind to give a back down.

Anyway, Iím kind of stuck. I took apart the control at the helm and didnít find a problem. When the ER cools down Iíll check it at the transmission.

Any suggestions? A quick check showed that the control on the bridge seems to work OK.
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:23 PM   #2
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Maybe one of the fastners for the cables UNDER the control has backed out, causing obstruction to movement of the control to reverse. I replaced a broken cable a year or two ago, and there were a bunch of fastners and a neutral switch in very close proximity under there. If you can have your supervisor move the control while you look in with a light, perhaps an obstruction will be evident.

I have spare cables and tools and I am an hour out if you need meÖwill be monitoring email for PM.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:00 PM   #3
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When you say you were unable to shift into reverse, do you mean the gear didn't change into reverse? Or that the control wouldn't move backwards?

If the control moved, but the transmission didn't respond, my 1st guess would be at the transmission end of the cable. Either the cable came off the shifter or the cable at that end popped out of the clamp that holds the sheath or the clamp broke.

My next guess would be a similar problem at the shifter end.

If the shifter wouldn't move, I'd disconnect it from the transmission and move the transmission shifter by hand. See if the shifter is stuck or the cable. If it is the shifter, debug the transmission. If it is the cable, inspect that end and then go to the control and see if it moves freely from there.

If the problem isn't at the transmission end, the next step is to take apart the control. Can you move the cable by hand? If so, can you move the control with the cable off? Debug the control or cable. If it is the control, check carefully. You can probably find and fix a physical problem. If it is the cable, check for obvious problems and try to get it moving, but it is more likely to be a reolacenthan a repair. The length is usually stamped on the end and you can often use the old to pull through the new.

I think you have just one helm. But, if you have two, there is another layer of debugging. Many have the upper helm pushing and pulling the lower helm. If that is the case, disconnect the "upstream" set of cables to divide the problem and see which half is sticking. If the helm is selected by a lever, try selecting the other helm, and, if that doesn't help isolate the problem, go to the device that choose one and isolates the other, disconnect the lever, and then try each one by manually selecting it. If that still doesn't help, disconnect the transmission leg and try moving it by hand. Then debug from there.

Happy hunting!
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRENE View Post
Maybe one of the fastners for the cables UNDER the control has backed out, causing obstruction to movement of the control to reverse. I replaced a broken cable a year or two ago, and there were a bunch of fastners and a neutral switch in very close proximity under there. If you can have your supervisor move the control while you look in with a light, perhaps an obstruction will be evident.



I have spare cables and tools and I am an hour out if you need meÖwill be monitoring email for PM.

I looked under the control and it appeared fine. I could see no obstruction there. Having finished dinner, Iím going to go into the ER and see if I can see any obstruction there.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:09 PM   #5
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When you say you were unable to shift into reverse, do you mean the gear didn't change into reverse? Or that the control wouldn't move backwards?
The gear lever at the control would not move back into the reverse position.

If the shifter wouldn't move, I'd disconnect it from the transmission and move the transmission shifter by hand. See if the shifter is stuck or the cable. If it is the shifter, debug the transmission. If it is the cable, inspect that end and then go to the control and see if it moves freely from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkesden View Post
If the problem isn't at the transmission end, the next step is to take apart the control. Can you move the cable by hand? If so, can you move the control with the cable off? Debug the control or cable. If it is the control, check carefully. You can probably find and fix a physical problem. If it is the cable, check for obvious problems and try to get it moving, but it is more likely to be a reolacenthan a repair. The length is usually stamped on the end and you can often use the old to pull through the new.

I think you have just one helm. But, if you have two, there is another layer of debugging. Many have the upper helm pushing and pulling the lower helm. If that is the case, disconnect the "upstream" set of cables to divide the problem and see which half is sticking. If the helm is selected by a lever, try selecting the other helm, and, if that doesn't help isolate the problem, go to the device that choose one and isolates the other, disconnect the lever, and then try each one by manually selecting it. If that still doesn't help, disconnect the transmission leg and try moving it by hand. Then debug from there.

Happy hunting!

Good suggestions. I do have an upper helm and there is no problem moving the control at that helm station.
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Old 07-23-2021, 11:18 PM   #6
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So my system has two helm stations configured in tandem. A cable runs from the transmission to the flybridge control, and then another cable runs from that control to the control in the PH.

I wasnít able to take off the control on the flybridge as it was sealed and I canít pry the seal up while here at the boat. I also donít want to tear it apart while anchored away from my home dock. Iíll do that when I get back.

It could be just that the cable either need to be lubricated or replaced if there isnít a problem with where it is attached at the flybridge station. Never done that, so another adventure.
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Old 07-23-2021, 11:30 PM   #7
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With two in tandem and no station selector, the upper probably pulls the lower. After the low hanging fruit in the engine room, I'd start taking apart the lower, just because it divides the problem in half.

If the transmission is okay, you can run a cable from it out the window to the upper helm and shift by pulling and pushing it and lock it with pliers. Not at all recommended or suggested.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gkesden View Post
With two in tandem and no station selector, the upper probably pulls the lower. After the low hanging fruit in the engine room, I'd start taking apart the lower, just because it divides the problem in half.

If the transmission is okay, you can run a cable from it out the window to the upper helm and shift by pulling and pushing it and lock it with pliers. Not at all recommended or suggested.


Yeah, the transmission is fine. Iím able to shift from the upper helm position which is essentially between the pilothouse and transmission and now am able to shift from the pilothouse as well but with difficult. This is what leads me to suspect it is the cable between the two controls.

One Iím safely back in my home slip, Iíll take apart the upper helm control and see if there is any binding there. Then with both the upper and lower disconnected, I can see if the cable is running smoothly.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:38 AM   #9
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Do the suggested checks.

I lost reverse while entering my shed years ago. Lucky no speed involved.

I found the clamp on the shifter had loosened so the SHEATH was moving instead of the core. I reset it all and used SMALL SCREW Locktite on the machine screws. At worst if SMALL SCREW not available use the BLUE sparingly..

I later found the sheath clamp AT the gear control was asking for a reason to goof up.

The lock which held the sheath into place was open. It was just dumb luck nothing went wrong. I wired the lock into place.

If the sheath clamps have loosened so the sheath can move shifting will become unreliable or non existent.

Check all for a loose clamp.
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Old 07-26-2021, 02:23 AM   #10
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Spent the entire day working on the boat and didnít make much progress.

It took me a long time to get the control off the flybridge. It was screwed down but a polysulfide sealant was used to seal it. It was very hard to get that control off so I could open it up. When I finally did, I was surprised to see just one cable connecting to the control for each the throttle and transmission. Since there werenít two cables on the transmission, I expected it to be a tandem setup with two cables at the bridge control station. There werenít.

I then started to hunt for some type of junction where the cables from the two helm stations combined to the single cable that went to the transmission. Another hour later I discovered them under the lower berth in the 2nd cabin. Unfortunately to access them I had to remove the mattress (and everything my wife had piled on that berth).

Then I found that the outboard half of the berth was covered by a single length of plywood. When the boat was built, after the wiring, plumbing, and cabling had been done, the cabin was finished out along with the berths. The plywood was screwed to the wood frame for the berth, then the whole assembly was treated with some type of lacquer finish and than was topped with a nice white gloss paint. They did a great job. The recessed screws were all but invisible. I had to find each screw, scrape off the paint and lacquer to expose the SS Phillips head wood screws, then pick out the lacquer and paint from the screw head slots so I could get a screwdriver to get a grip.

I also found that the plywood had likely been treated and laid down on the frame before the lacquer had complete set as it was stuck to the underlying frame. So far, Iíve found and removed 32 screws from that plywood and STILL havenít been able to remove it. I need a pry bar to get it up and there may be 1 or 2 screws still hiding there. I spent 3 hours just trying to get that piece of plywood up and it isnít done yet. Once done, Iíll have access to the junctions for the cable and can hopefully identify a reason for my problem.
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Old 07-26-2021, 05:04 AM   #11
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Sounds like a typical boat project.


Don't lose faith. You will get it figured out.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:34 AM   #12
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Who makes your controls? Do you have two levers per engine, or one, combining throttle and gear?
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:08 AM   #13
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Who makes your controls? Do you have two levers per engine, or one, combining throttle and gear?


Morse Controls makes then. Separate throttle and transmission levers on each station.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:19 AM   #14
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Morse controls were the industry standard for years but they used a $.10 clamp to secure the outer cable sheath so the inner shift cable could move. I lost reverse on 2 occasions when that clamp let go. Clearly not related to your problem, sounds more like a corroded cable. Good luck in the lower berth. After 3 hours I would have my sawzall out.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:52 AM   #15
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Spent the entire day working on the boat and didnít make much progress.

It took me a long time to get the control off the flybridge. It was screwed down but a polysulfide sealant was used to seal it. It was very hard to get that control off so I could open it up. When I finally did, I was surprised to see just one cable connecting to the control for each the throttle and transmission. Since there werenít two cables on the transmission, I expected it to be a tandem setup with two cables at the bridge control station. There werenít.

I then started to hunt for some type of junction where the cables from the two helm stations combined to the single cable that went to the transmission. Another hour later I discovered them under the lower berth in the 2nd cabin. Unfortunately to access them I had to remove the mattress (and everything my wife had piled on that berth).

Then I found that the outboard half of the berth was covered by a single length of plywood. When the boat was built, after the wiring, plumbing, and cabling had been done, the cabin was finished out along with the berths. The plywood was screwed to the wood frame for the berth, then the whole assembly was treated with some type of lacquer finish and than was topped with a nice white gloss paint. They did a great job. The recessed screws were all but invisible. I had to find each screw, scrape off the paint and lacquer to expose the SS Phillips head wood screws, then pick out the lacquer and paint from the screw head slots so I could get a screwdriver to get a grip.

I also found that the plywood had likely been treated and laid down on the frame before the lacquer had complete set as it was stuck to the underlying frame. So far, Iíve found and removed 32 screws from that plywood and STILL havenít been able to remove it. I need a pry bar to get it up and there may be 1 or 2 screws still hiding there. I spent 3 hours just trying to get that piece of plywood up and it isnít done yet. Once done, Iíll have access to the junctions for the cable and can hopefully identify a reason for my problem.
Hey Dave,

Have you sent Trevor an email on this yet? I ask because he has helped me several times now as I have been chasing issues - he comes back almost immediately with a solution.

Regardless of that, I'm keenly interested in this and following closely.

Cheers!
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:44 PM   #16
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Hey Dave,

Have you sent Trevor an email on this yet? I ask because he has helped me several times now as I have been chasing issues - he comes back almost immediately with a solution.

Regardless of that, I'm keenly interested in this and following closely.

Cheers!

I've not asked him about this issue, as it just came up. I have sent him a couple emails the past couple months and haven't gotten a reply. I also notice that the Owner's Portal has been down. I hope he is doing well. He normally is extremely responsive.
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:56 PM   #17
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This may not lead to your solution, but I offer a little comic relief.

One day the throttle at the lower helm had very limited range of motion. I figured to start troubleshooting at the upper helm, so removed the dash canvas and found that both throttle and shifter worked normally. Replaced the canvas and checked the lower helm. Still stuck. Crawled into the closet, started removing panels and inspected cables from helm to transmission. All normal. So that day I drove from the little used flybridge helm. It turned out that the newly crafted FB helm cover restricted the upper throttle handle. Adding a slight pocket to the canvas cured the issue.
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Old 07-26-2021, 01:36 PM   #18
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This may not lead to your solution, but I offer a little comic relief.

One day the throttle at the lower helm had very limited range of motion. I figured to start troubleshooting at the upper helm, so removed the dash canvas and found that both throttle and shifter worked normally. Replaced the canvas and checked the lower helm. Still stuck. Crawled into the closet, started removing panels and inspected cables from helm to transmission. All normal. So that day I drove from the little used flybridge helm. It turned out that the newly crafted FB helm cover restricted the upper throttle handle. Adding a slight pocket to the canvas cured the issue.

My canvas does have a similar pocket, but I will double check to make sure there is no restriction there anyway. With my luck, the solution will likely be something equally simple and the last thing I check.
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:20 PM   #19
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No reverse with Morse Controls

I finally got into the compartment with the cable junctions. Iíve not seen this before, but then that isnít surprising since Iím a novice that this stuff.

I have three photos. The firsts two are photos of where the cable ends are connected. One end of this plastic rectangular piece has the transmission cable and the flybridge cable, the other end has the pilothouse cable. The connector piece is open on the top and on the ends.

This then slides into a rectangular aluminum tube and the cable sheaths are locked in place. When one of the controls is shifted, the plastic connector slides within the aluminum tube causing the other two cables to move as well.

I think part of the problem may have been that the connector was not sliding smoothly in the tube. It had had some type of grease on it, but I am unable to tell what type. I think what I need to do is lubricate the connector so it slides more easily in the tube as the cables seem to move freely themselves.

So, any suggestions on what type of grease or lube I could use for the plastic/aluminum interface? I was thinking of Superlube.

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Old 07-27-2021, 10:04 PM   #20
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No reverse with Morse Controls

Just found that what is described is a dual station transfer unit
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