Re: [OMC-Boats] 1970 Sportsman 155 outdrive stuck in up position

From: Lee Shuster <lks@...>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 09:22:48 -0600

There are possibly two different issues going on here, and I
experienced both problems but not at the same time:


1) Steering system: Ethan's mentioned the "aircraft-type" nylon
cable and pulley system. This technology was essentially adapted from
outboard technology of the fifties. It is one of three systems
typically used on OMC electric shift sterndrives.
While it offers light weight and relatively inexpensive and commonly
sourced parts. It can "jump" off the pulley (especially since the
vinyl covered cable tends to "stretch" with age and then requires re-
reigging, a task, that's relatively easy to do if you have the time
and inclination to do it.
BUT BE CAREFUL, I've heard some guys get it backwards and go out and
have a boat that steers backwards. Fortunately it's usually not as
deadly as in aircraft applications!

The best cure is prevention. As a precaution, ALWAYS CENTER THE
consolation, mine did this twice and both times it was when I was
pulling the boat out of the water (when someone else was at the helm).
(But imagine this happening after beaching 10 miles from the ramp! It
could be a long tow home!)

There is another possible cure, but it will be very time consuming and
relatively expensive.. You can "upgrade" the original rope-pulley
system to either of the two other types, that OMC offered in later

a) You can try and locate an NOS OMC TruCourse, push-pull, gear-
driven, sealed system. (I did this when re-powering my boat and love
it, it's a great improvement.) But they are very hard to find in the
correct length. Or you can

b) Use a much more common mechanical (rack and pinion) cable system
that utilizes the
external "tiller" arm to move the sterndrive leg externally. This
system does have the disadvantage of poking another hole in your
transom for the tiller arm.


2) Tilt Problem: The clicking sound you hear is most likely the DOWN-
side TILT motor relay, which is nothing more than a high current
device that "relays" the UP or DOWN requests from the helm-mounted
switch to the bi-directional tilt motor thru the hammer-blow clutch on
the port-side of the intermediate drive.

This may or MAY NOT be related to present steering problem. In my case
it turned out to be a defective relay and did not occur co-
incidentally with my steering rope problem. As with any electrical
problem on 40+ year old boats, you'll want to make sure all
connections are clean and corrosion-free.
(The low-current helm-switches rarely go bad, but the relays often do,
so I carry a spare, as there are several (3 or 4) typically used on
the these boats. Again, do cheap out, get an OMC, marine-approved
device, for intrinsically safe operation.)

Fortunately, the relays are available (and interchangeable between UP
and DOWN positions for trouble shooting) as are the OMC-Prestolite
tilt motors. The hammer-blow clutch-pack housing can leak, so it's not
a bad idea to get an understanding of how it works so you can rebuild
it if necessary.
Usually when relays fail, you hear the clicking of the low-current
side, but the high current side is not responding. Easy enough to
diagnose with a simple trouble light or (DVM) multi-meter.


Good luck.

Lee Shuster

On May 23, 2009, at 9:21 PM, William R. Lindow, DMD wrote:

> I hear a clicking sound when flipping the
> switch and that's all. Does the outdrive
> need to be straight before raising it?
> On May 23, 2009, at 11:07 PM, BLDFW <bldfw@...> wrote:
>> When you say you're unable to lower it, what is happening? Is it
>> trying to lower but not or maybe a problem with the switch? What's
>> it doing?
>> -Bill
>> Dallas, TX
>> 1970 Evinrude Explorer - 155 Buick V6 - OMC sterndrive
>> --- On Sat, 5/23/09, William R. Lindow, DMD <williamlindow@...
>> > wrote:
>> From: William R. Lindow, DMD <williamlindow@...>
>> Subject: [OMC-Boats] 1970 Sportsman 155 outdrive stuck in up position
>> To: omc-boats@...
>> Date: Saturday, May 23, 2009, 9:58 PM
>> Took my boat out today and it ran great. When docking, I turned
>> off the engine and raised the outdrive. Got it onto the trailer
>> and noticed the outdrive was turned to the right and I was unable
>> to lower it or turn the steering wheel. Any thoughts would be
>> appreciated. Bill
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Received on Sunday, 24 May 2009

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