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How to Repair Mercontrol Outboard Controls

by Will Charpentier

Boaters may take their Mercury outboard controls and the cables connected to them for granted, but that remote control box needs the occasional "lube job," not just to keep things moving smoothly, but to keep moisture from causing problems and weakening parts. Sunlight may do almost as much damage (by making the control's cover brittle) as the bit of moisture that occasionally finds its away in. Minor repairs, done as required, take only a bit more time than the inspections and maintenance.

Unplug the remote control wiring harness. Remove the nuts and bolts securing the control housing to the mounting panel. Remove the cover.

Clean all metal parts with acetone and air dry them. Replace all nylon bushings, plastic washers, nylon pins and wiring harness retainers that appear worn or damaged from the Mercontrol Repair Kit. Inspect the plastic housing for cracks or other damage that may allow moisture to enter. Replace a cracked or damaged housing.

Check the teeth on the shift gear and shift lever for wear and replace if wear is present. Inspect all ball bearings for nicks or grooves that would cause them to bind and fail to move freely.

Inspect all wires and check for insulation worn through by rubbing on a moving part. Look for cuts and nicks in the insulation.

Inspect the surface area above the groove in which the Circlip is located. If the Circlip slips, the gear shift can ride up on the shaft and damage the inner gear shift ball, the shift gear pin and the outer gear shift ball. Replace the Circlip. Inspect the nylon pin and the gear shift spring.

Inspect the "throttle only" pivot for wear or cracks on the ramp portion of the shaft. If it has cracked, replace it with a stainless steel shaft. Ensure the lower stop tab has not broken off. If it has, attempt to find the tab and replace it, or fabricate a new one. Apply a thin coat of spray lubricant to all moving parts.

Check the "Neutral Only" start switch by testing for continuity with a multimeter. Replace it if the multimeter indicates no continuity.

Items you will need

  • Acetone
  • Mercontrol repair kit
  • Stainless "throttle only" pivot
  • Spray lubricant
  • "Neutral only" start switch

References

  • "Mercury/Mariner Outboard Repair Manual, 2.5-250 HP, 1990-2000"; Seloc Marine; 2007

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.