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  1. #1

    Cool 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Some time back I replaced the water pump impeller. I must have turned the shift rod when I reinstalled the lower unit because now when in reverse it , 'clunks' occasionally when backing up. - (This can't be good for the gears!) It runs fine in forward. I have tried adjusting the shifter cable but it does not seem to help.

    I read that the Shift Rod Height should be 15-29/32" (+/- 1/32)

    Question: How do I measure this? Do I need to pull the lower unit back off? If I don't need to pull the lower unit looks like I need to pull the carbs???

    Suggestions greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    1986 - 40, 45, 50, 55hp = (S) 15-29/32" - - (L) 40, 45, 50, 55hp = 20-29/32" plus/minus 1/32" Have the shift rod in neutral and the offset to the rear

    Remove the lower unit the same way you did to install the impeller.
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by joereeves View Post
    1986 - 40, 45, 50, 55hp = (S) 15-29/32" - - (L) 40, 45, 50, 55hp = 20-29/32" plus/minus 1/32" Have the shift rod in neutral and the offset to the rear

    Remove the lower unit the same way you did to install the impeller.
    About what I had decided... Might a well put in a new impeller as it's been a couple of years?

    THANK YOU

  4. #4

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by rlray42 View Post
    About what I had decided... Might a well put in a new impeller as it's been a couple of years?

    THANK YOU
    Here's a little info for you old fart wanna-be outboard DIY dudes.. I did my water pump replacement & checked the shift rod adjustment.. Found it to be a turn off so adjusted that... Put everything all back together & tested in my big water filled trash can.. No 'Pee' - Took it down again... somehow had lost the impeller key... Ordered another one, put back together... No 'pee' - Broke it down again... got to looking... The water tube on this baby is a copper pipe.. I had not been hitting it when 're-stabbing' the lower unit.. Tested again & BINGO -- pee's like a teenager!! Have not tried in the lake to see if my shift rod adjustment worked but I got pretty dang good at dropping the lower unit!! message me if you want a 'shortcut' tip..

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Had my lower unit off about 5 times recently chasing down a similar problem. My problem ended up that a former owner swapped on a lower unit from a different V6 motor that had a shift rod that was 1/2" longer and he didn't bother to check the shift rod height. You're right, it can be frustrating but when you get it right it's soooo nice.

    I kind of did the same thing. I had bought a new water pump last year but mine was spraying okay so I didn't bother. Since I had the lower unit down I decided to pop on the new pump. Holy smokes, this thing pees water like an elephant!!!! I never had overheat issues but the increase in water flow from the new pump is a night and day difference.

    Glad you got yours figured out.

    KJ

  6. #6

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    Had my lower unit off about 5 times recently chasing down a similar problem. My problem ended up that a former owner swapped on a lower unit from a different V6 motor that had a shift rod that was 1/2" longer and he didn't bother to check the shift rod height. You're right, it can be frustrating but when you get it right it's soooo nice.

    I kind of did the same thing. I had bought a new water pump last year but mine was spraying okay so I didn't bother. Since I had the lower unit down I decided to pop on the new pump. Holy smokes, this thing pees water like an elephant!!!! I never had overheat issues but the increase in water flow from the new pump is a night and day difference.

    Glad you got yours figured out.

    KJ
    A guy can definitely find a few short cuts. I found that by pulling the starter (3 bolts) I could remove the one bolt (7/16 wrench) & slip the pin out of the shift rod. A lot easier for me than getting all those little clips out..

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    rlray...... I overlooked one of your questions of which I'm sure by now that you have figured out, however for the fellows who might not know............

    The actual shift rod measurement is made... In Neutral... From the "Top Surface" of the lower unit... To the "Center Of The Shift Rod Hole."
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by joereeves View Post
    The actual shift rod measurement is made... In Neutral... From the "Top Surface" of the lower unit... To the "Center Of The Shift Rod Hole."
    Good tidbit to note Joe. I made a tool from a 24" long piece of 3/4" x 3/4" angle steel (thin gauge), drilled a 3/16" hole at the correct height, and used a 2" long #8 screw cinched down with a nut. I saw this trick on Youtube and it works so much better then a tape measure. This takes out all the guesswork and gives you an exact reference for the height instead of eyeballing a tape trying to guess where 29/32 is located.

    The nice thing about the 2" long screw is you can hold the tool parallel to the shift rod keeping the screw at a right angle and still reach the hole. This gives you the most accurate height measurement just like the OEM tool.

    BTW....glad to see Joe posting so that must mean you survived Irma just fine.

    KJ

  9. #9

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    Good tidbit to note Joe. I made a tool from a 24" long piece of 3/4" x 3/4" angle steel (thin gauge), drilled a 3/16" hole at the correct height, and used a 2" long #8 screw cinched down with a nut. I saw this trick on Youtube and it works so much better then a tape measure. This takes out all the guesswork and gives you an exact reference for the height instead of eyeballing a tape trying to guess where 29/32 is located.

    The nice thing about the 2" long screw is you can hold the tool parallel to the shift rod keeping the screw at a right angle and still reach the hole. This gives you the most accurate height measurement just like the OEM tool.

    BTW....glad to see Joe posting so that must mean you survived Irma just fine.

    KJ
    I saw the same youtube, KJ... My problem is my old eyes can't read a 32nd any way you go.

    Thanks guys, you all are a world of help!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Soooo... After what was a successful shift rod adjustment & water pump replacement I got to thinking... Should the 'pee stream' be 'warm' after the engine has been running a good while? This one is pretty cool. - Wondering if the thermostat is stuck open???

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    The pee stream is merely an indicator that the waterpump is working.----It comes off the block BEFORE water goes thru the block.--------Thermostat has nothing to do with temperature of the pee stream either !

  12. #12

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by racerone View Post
    The pee stream is merely an indicator that the waterpump is working.----It comes off the block BEFORE water goes thru the block.--------Thermostat has nothing to do with temperature of the pee stream either !
    OK. Thank you EVERYONE for the help. Sounds like I have no more excuses for not hitting the lake!

  13. #13

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by rlray42 View Post
    OK. Thank you EVERYONE for the help. Sounds like I have no more excuses for not hitting the lake!
    OK.. I know you guys wish I would hit a log, capsize & drown!! - Took the boat to the lake today runs GREAT in forward. Shift into reverse.. Idles backward in reverse so-so... Increase the throttle a bit & it goes 'jerk - jerk' like trying to jump out of gear. (You can feel the 'jerk' thru the control handle.

    I posted a little video on youtube - https://youtu.be/-DOc_RkBUps

    I'm wondering if I should try to 'lengthen' shift rod a bit?

    I'm beginning to think this may be gearcase problems???


    Maybe I just need to 'run 'er till she quits'?


    Any suggestions appreciated.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    If the engine shifted properly before the lower unit was off..... you have the shift rod measurement wrong!
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  15. #15

    Thumbs up Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by joereeves View Post
    If the engine shifted properly before the lower unit was off..... you have the shift rod measurement wrong!
    YES - (Lower Unit Off) Pushing the shift rod down put the gear case in reverse. Up to a 'click', prop freewheeled. Up again, prop forward. Assembled & running it does seem to go into reverse... Even turns the prop reverse... Jerking starts when apply a little more throttle.. (like it's not staying in gear)

    Runs forward like a dream!!

    Questions: 1) Could there be a problem with the adjustment of the shift control cable?) (I did tinker with that a long time back)
    2) Maybe I will start 'lengthening' (turn counterclockwise) the shift rod adjustment a turn at a time to see what that does??

    Thank You Joe.... You are a patient man

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by rlray42 View Post
    YES - (Lower Unit Off) Pushing the shift rod down put the gear case in reverse. Up to a 'click', prop freewheeled. Up again, prop forward. Assembled & running it does seem to go into reverse... Even turns the prop reverse... Jerking starts when apply a little more throttle.. (like it's not staying in gear)

    Questions: 1) Could there be a problem with the adjustment of the shift control cable?) (I did tinker with that a long time back)
    2) Maybe I will start 'lengthening' (turn counterclockwise) the shift rod adjustment a turn at a time to see what that does??
    Of course the lower unit shifts properly when it's removed from the engine.... none of the engine linkage is in the formula.

    I gave you the actual needed measurement of the shift rod... BUT... you would rather tinker and turn it a bit at a time??? That's a excellent way to cost yourself a couple thousand bucks.

    1986 - 40, 45, 50, 55hp = (S) 15-29/32" - - (L) 40, 45, 50, 55hp = 20-29/32" plus/minus 1/32" Have the shift rod in neutral and the offset to the rear
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  17. #17

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by joereeves View Post
    Of course the lower unit shifts properly when it's removed from the engine.... none of the engine linkage is in the formula.

    I gave you the actual needed measurement of the shift rod... BUT... you would rather tinker and turn it a bit at a time??? That's a excellent way to cost yourself a couple thousand bucks.

    1986 - 40, 45, 50, 55hp = (S) 15-29/32" - - (L) 40, 45, 50, 55hp = 20-29/32" plus/minus 1/32" Have the shift rod in neutral and the offset to the rear
    And I do appreciate all your help and advice which I followed to the best of my ability. Looks like I have reached the maximum of my ability... Guess I'll look for a mechanic I can take it to who is willing to do 'follow-up' work after me messing with it.

    Thanks again..

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by rlray42 View Post
    Questions: 1) Could there be a problem with the adjustment of the shift control cable?) (I did tinker with that a long time back)
    That sure could be your problem. On my engine I found the previous owner had threaded the shift CABLE adjust in a bunch to make the linkage move to it's furthest possible position. This was done to compensate for a shift rod that was 1/2" too long and prevented the gearcase from fully engaging into forward.

    After I installed the new, correct shift rod and set it to the proper height I had to make major changes to the threaded adjuster on the shift cable. I removed the retainer bracket on the cable adjuster. Then I made sure the shift linkage was securely in the neutral position. With the helm in neutral I then threaded out the adjuster until it fit nicely into the detent and reinstalled the retainer bracket. There should be no pulling pushing to get that threaded adjuster into place and the shift linkage should not have to move to get it situated.

    KJ

  19. #19

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    That sure could be your problem. On my engine I found the previous owner had threaded the shift CABLE adjust in a bunch to make the linkage move to it's furthest possible position. This was done to compensate for a shift rod that was 1/2" too long and prevented the gearcase from fully engaging into forward.

    After I installed the new, correct shift rod and set it to the proper height I had to make major changes to the threaded adjuster on the shift cable. I removed the retainer bracket on the cable adjuster. Then I made sure the shift linkage was securely in the neutral position. With the helm in neutral I then threaded out the adjuster until it fit nicely into the detent and reinstalled the retainer bracket. There should be no pulling pushing to get that threaded adjuster into place and the shift linkage should not have to move to get it situated.

    KJ
    Yes.. Today I looked closely at exactly what point the shift linkage was operating the shift rod & adjusted (tightened up) the slack in the shift cable to make it more precise. I also found that both of the bolts holding the cable anchor block (0320276) were a good bit loose (??) allowing it to wobble. After tightening up all this, a trip to the water made everything a whole lot better!! I still think from reading other forums & looking at youtubes, that I may have a worn shift dog/reverse gear.. but, that's another story & I think I can live with what I have for a while so I can fish a little.. Thank you KJ for pepping me up a little.. I was discouraged a bit after Joe's $2000 warning on making a turn on the shift rod but I do appreciate his being candid. Thks, Richard

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    rlray42..... You've stated that you've had the lower unit off, that the shift rod has been turned, and that the lower unit shifts properly on the bench so to speak.

    You've received expert step by step advice as how to measure the height of that shift rod to put it back in factory specifications... nothing to do with ability, simply a matter of following instructions which does not coincide with rocket science mentality... anyone can measure.

    I do not understand the problem you are having with this, and why you are looking for some other avenue of correction to cure this problem.

    If that shift rod is out of adjustment, which it surely should be... the shift problem is not going to be corrected via any other means.
    Last edited by joereeves; 09-19-2017 at 10:17 AM.
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Whoa. I just watched the Youtube video you posted. Ouch, that is seriously out of adjustment. Mine was never that bad but it would slip in forward occasionally at idle speed. Once I gave it throttle it would pull the gears together and stay engaged. However, after I chased down all the problems I have no idea how it ever worked.

    After re-reading your post and Joe's post I think I agree with him and suggest you remove the lower unit and verify the shift rod height is EXACTLY at the height that Joe has listed. If you haven't already made a tool to measure the height I suggest you do so. Even if you use an old 1X2 and a long #8 machine screw it will be better then guessing with a tape measure.

    Once you're absolutely sure the shift rod height is correct, go back and double check the shift cable linkage adjustment to make sure nothing has changed. If all of this is right then you should have no problems and the gearcase should cleanly engage both forward and reverse.

  22. #22

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    Whoa. I just watched the Youtube video you posted. Ouch, that is seriously out of adjustment. Mine was never that bad but it would slip in forward occasionally at idle speed. Once I gave it throttle it would pull the gears together and stay engaged. However, after I chased down all the problems I have no idea how it ever worked.

    After re-reading your post and Joe's post I think I agree with him and suggest you remove the lower unit and verify the shift rod height is EXACTLY at the height that Joe has listed. If you haven't already made a tool to measure the height I suggest you do so. Even if you use an old 1X2 and a long #8 machine screw it will be better then guessing with a tape measure.

    Once you're absolutely sure the shift rod height is correct, go back and double check the shift cable linkage adjustment to make sure nothing has changed. If all of this is right then you should have no problems and the gearcase should cleanly engage both forward and reverse.
    The YOUTUBE was before I tightened up the linkage & found the loose bolts on the control cable clamp. Trip to the water yesterday was nowhere that bad!! Only jerked a couple of times in reverse when the motor 'reared up' against the tilt cylinder. That said... I will take your advice & drop the lower unit one more time.. I'm pretty good at it by now -- I'll make me a 1x2 & screw tool & check again.. True... reading 1/32 on a tape is a pain!

    -- No one seems to think this is a shift dog problem?? Back in the mid 1950s my dad was always having shift dog problems with our 35 hp Evinrude & it 'jerking' in forward.. Has something changed since then?

    As far as adjusting the linkage I'm planning on getting my 'sweetie' out there to slowly work the control where I wan watch when everything 'happens'..

    THANKS!! This forum ROCKS!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    The fact that it is reverse that encounters the shifting problem is very unusual but it will lead to the clutch dog problem you mention... it is normally a forward gear problem jumping out of and back into gear, caused by slow gentle shifting instead of snapping it into gear or improper cable adjustment. A common encounter with engine of yesteryear so to speak.... 1950's, 60's 70's.

    The arrival of the shift rod setup created a new problem... if a turn or two out of adjustment/measurement, it would unfortunately be impossible to correct the shift problem via other means.
    We occasionally have questions. If you fail to answer, it may affect ours.

  24. #24

    Default Re: 1986 Evinrude E40ELCD Shift Rod Adjustment

    Quote Originally Posted by joereeves View Post
    The fact that it is reverse that encounters the shifting problem is very unusual but it will lead to the clutch dog problem you mention... it is normally a forward gear problem jumping out of and back into gear, caused by slow gentle shifting instead of snapping it into gear or improper cable adjustment. A common encounter with engine of yesteryear so to speak.... 1950's, 60's 70's.

    The arrival of the shift rod setup created a new problem... if a turn or two out of adjustment/measurement, it would unfortunately be impossible to correct the shift problem via other means.
    SUCCESS AT LAST - (I hope) - after making a measuring tool 20 29/32" out of a 1" x 2" & a wood screw , I dropped the lower unit for the 5th time (I think)... Shift rod was 'spot on'. - Put it all back together & with a helper... set the shifter cable to engage both reverse & then forward at the right spot on the control. - A trip to the lake & everything was PERFECT. Thank you guys!!! More than I can express! What a GREAT FORUM!!

    Thanks again, R. Ray

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