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

From: BC Howk <bchowk@...>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 11:55:31 -0500 (CDT)

By the way, As I'm sure everyone does, particularly with older boats, I am in the habit of carrying a basic set of hand tools......Specifically for this problem I make sure I ALWAYS have a 9/16 socket, a swivel extender and a rachet.

If I end up with an outdrive stuck in an up or down position I simply remove the quadrant gear and move the outdrive where I want it then bolt the gear back on. This has saved me on more than one occasion untill I got annoyed enough to actually FIX the problem. I haven't needed to do this in a while but I still carry the socket so that I will never be stuck with a stuck outdrive.



On May 24, 2009, William R. Lindow, DMD <williamlindow@...> wrote:

Thanks for the help Lee.

On May 24, 2009, at 11:22 AM, Lee Shuster <lks@...> wrote:

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 STERNDRIVE LEG PRIOR TO RAISING OR LOWERING.   If it's any 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 years.

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 <> 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?
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 <>
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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