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OMC Stringer Shift System Troubleshooting

Manufacturer BRP Marine
Engine Type I/O
Repair Time 30 to 60 mins
Repair Difficulty Medium


  1. Possible cause: Excessive tension on vertical drive shift cables.
    Correction: Push shift cable into shift converter socket while raising tensioner pawls away from housing. (see Figure 7-1-115). Release tensioner pawls then gently release shift cable. Allow only the spring to tension the core wires. Do not pull on cable jacket to test for tension.

Figure 7-1-115

  1. Possible cause: Vertical drive cable core wires crossed in converter housing.
    Correction: Remove shift control cable from converter housing shift arm. Remove converter housing cover screws and rotate cover to side. (Shift converter box may be removed from adapter housing if access is restricted). Insure that core wires are located properly. (See Figure 7-1-117). Correct routing if necessary and repeat cable tension procedure.

Figure 7-1-117

  1. Possible cause: Shift remote control push-pull cables of incorrect lengths resulting in too sharp of bends and/or excessive drag. Too long of cable results in additional degrees of bend. Misadjusted throttle cable will cause hard shifting.
    Correction: Replace cable. Measure boat to determine correct cable length. Adjust to reduce excess cable tension when against carburetor idle stop if necessary. See Symptom 2 possible cause no. 3.

  2. Possible cause: Nicked, flattened, frayed or badly kinked vertical drive cable core wires.
    Correction: Vertical drive cable assembly must be replaced.

  3. Possible cause: Shift cable and throttle cable connected backwards in shift control. Correction: Double check function of each cable and reconnect properly. Remote control shift arm will move before throttle arm.

  1. Possible cause: (OMC Control) Concealed side mount control mounting flange binding on control handle shaft. Mounting flange and control box not parallel due to irregularities on the inner surface of the boat deck/side panel or boat deck/side panel too thick. Mounting screws tightened individually.
    Correction: Insure inner deck surfaces are parallel with outside surface of deck. Inner surface should not be in ,contact with control box. Check for 1-1/8" maximum thickness of deck in control box mounting area. (See Figure 7-1-120.) Remove mounting screws and reinstall, tightening screws uniformly, so that the mounting flange is square with the control.

Figure 7-1-120

  1. Possible cause: Flat side of remote control cable casing guide incorrectly attached to shift arm on shift converter housing.
    Correction: Reinstall casing guide properly (flat side up) to shift arm on converter housing. (See Figure 7-1-121).

Figure 7-1-121

If corrections above fail to reduce shifting effort, then isolate each assembly to determine problem area. To isolate the control box, disconnect the shift cable from the converter box. Move shift control handle from neutral through forward and reverse positions. If effort remains the same, recheck possible cause steps 5 through 7. If effort is reduced, tie boat securely to dock. Insure converter box shift arm is in neutral. Start engine and while at idle move converter shift arm. Some effort will be necessary to move the shift arm. If a great amount of effort is required then a further inspection of each component down to the gearcase is necessary and recheck possible cause steps 1 through 4.


  1. Possible cause: Neutral start switch leads not connected.
    Correction: Connect neutral start switch leads, spade terminal to start terminal "S" on ignition switch and knife disconnect to neutral start knife terminal of wiring harness

  2. Possible cause: (OMC controls) Shift handle not aligned with neutral position of remote control shaft.
    Correction: Disconnect shift cable at shift converter box. Squeeze red shift lockout button on control handle and move control through engine forward and reverse ranges. Determine neutral detent position. Remove control handle and reposition so that the neutral lockout plate on control handle engages notch on the mounting flange. (See Figure 7-1-123.) Now the control box, the mounting flange and the control handle are properly aligned for neutral start. Recheck for neutral start. Reconnect shift cable at converter box. Recheck for nominal neutral position at converter box. Adjust cable at converter box if necessary.

Figure 7-1-123

  1. Possible cause: Shift handle will not return to neutral; excessive compression in throttle cable at idle position.
    Correction: Remove throttle cable from anchor block near carburetor. With control handle in neutral, move to forward gear and halfway back to neutral. Make certain idle stop screw is against throttle stop on carburetor. Grasp throttle control cable trunnion nut and pull firmly to remove backlash from cable and control. Turn trunnion nut until trunnion fits in anchor block. Tighten trunnion nut one additional turn to properly preload cable.


  1. Possible cause: Concealed side mount mounting flange binding control handle
    Correction: See "Possible Cause," Step 6 "Hard Shifting."

  2. Possible cause: Control handle not in neutral position relative to remote control shaft. Correction: Move control handle to neutral position. If still unable to pull out handle see SYMPTOM 2 possible causes no. 2 and 3.

  3. Possible cause: Throttle cable is misadjusted.
    Correction: See SYMPTOM 2 no. 3.

Additionally, it may be helpful for you to carefully reread the remote control manufacturer's installation instructions for the particular control with which you are experiencing a problem. Also, review the OMC Remote Control Installation Instructions and the OMC Stern Drive Owner's/Operator's manual for helpful notes and important safety warnings.