OMC Cobra Shift Cable Adjustment: 5 Simple Steps

omc cobra shift cable adjustment

The OMC Cobra shift cable is an essential component of your boat’s control system, allowing you to shift gears smoothly and accurately. However, over time, the shift cable may become misaligned or stretched, leading to issues with shifting. In this case, you may need to adjust the shift cable to ensure that it is properly aligned and functioning correctly.

OMC cobra shift cable shouldn’t be an unfamiliar name for a boat owner. It is said that the OMC cobra shaft cable has the ability to eat up the gear. That is because of the improperly aligned shift cables.

At times, you may have tried to adjust the OMC cobra shift cable on your own. But did you get confused during doing that?

So, what are the procedures for OMC cobra shift cable adjustment?

Well, there are a few steps you can follow to get it done properly. The first step is to take measurements. Then check on the guide tab. The next step is to adjust the screw. Do make sure the alignment is precisely maintained. Thus you can make adjustments with the cobra cable.

If you are interested to know the whole scenario in detail, you are at the right place. Just invest some of your time and go through the entire article. Surely you will be able to do it on your own by the time you finish reading.

Let’s jump right into the article.

List of Equipment

OMC Cobra Shift Cable Adjustmen equipement

Here is some must-haves equipment you will be needing for OMC cobra shift cable adjustment.

  • OMC Triple-Guard grease
  • Ratchet set
  • Screwdrivers

Here are a few other products for you to adjust OMC cobra cable even conveniently.

Product Name Order Details Product Picture
Shift Cable Assembly Kit Fit for OMC Cobra 1986-1993, Adjustment Tools Mounting Gasket Set Fit for OMC Cobra 987661 Sierra 18-2245 Replacement for 21715 27-00475 Automotive Starter Parts Repair Kits
984016 Shift Cable Guide Aluminum, Compatible with OMC/BRP Cobra 0984016
SpeedFreakCNC OMC Cobra Compatible Sterndrive Shift Cable & Bell Crank Alignment Tools 915271 & 914017

The cable assembly kit is the package of all in one box of tools. It has got almost every essential you will be needing for OMC cable adjustment. The cable guide aluminum would help to hold any size of cable comfortably.

Finally, the alignment tool would help to get the perfect alignment of the cable.

OMC cobra shift cable adjustment: 5 Simple Steps

OMC Cobra Shift Adjustment

Here is the whole adjustment procedure for OMC cobra shift cable in 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Shifting to Neutral

First thing you need to do is to shift the boat into neutral in order to take the pressure off the shift. Next, we have to remove shift assist. Usually, it is located in the lower engine. Open the cover with the help of a screwdriver.

There is a pin on the backside as well as a cotter pin on the front side. We will pull the pin and set the shift to assist free. Next, slide off the upper cable.

Step 2: Lower Cable Removal

Next, we have to remove the lower shift cable. We will take off the nut from the front side as well as the cotter pin on the backside. Remove the lower cable aside.

While we are pushing the shaft cable in, we want to make sure the prop is locking. It should be locked at the counterclockwise position into the gear. While pushing the shift cable in the forward position, we are gonna measure 6 inches.

Measurement should be from the center of the barrel to the center of the hole. While using tape, we will take the measurement from 1 to 7 inches. So that we can make sure it’s exactly 6 inches.

In case you don’t have it in 6 inches, you have to rotate the barrel to get 6 inches while pushing. next, we will lock down the lower shift cable which is 6 inches. Before that, we will check if the mounting stud is fully down in the slot. If it is not fully down, you have to loosen the nut to fully place it downward.

Step 3: Adjusting the Cable

OMC Cobra Shift

Now we will grab the cable and lock it down. Take the cotter pin and install it at the backside and washer the nut on the front side. When the nut is tight enough, we will go a quarter half-turn backward according to the manual.

As we are all set for the cable we will go for the front cable. Again we will go to the shift cable and set it to the forward position. This step is to make sure we are at the standard rotation side.

Step 4: Alignment Precision

Just to remove the lost motion, we will slightly pull the cable to fit in the 6 inches cable. Next er will set the cable for checking the alignment. We are gonna push the lower shift cable to take the slack out there.

Now inserting a pin we will check the alignment precision. According to the alignment, we will rotate and tighten or loosen the barrel.

Repeat the same process of rotating the barrel and locking it down. To get everything lined up, we need to put the boat in neutral. Now we will insert the washer and nuts for the back and front sides. Also the cotter pin on the front side.

Step 5: Final Adjustments

Finally we are done with the shift cable hooked up. Now we will check for the adjustment. We want to make sure there is no engagement or problem.

We will check the helm for forwarding and counter-rotation if that is locked or not. If it is set properly, you are done with the adjustment.

It is also possible to face issues with the boat throttle cable problems. Don’t worry. The steps are pretty easy. just follow the manual carefully.


Is it possible for a shift cable to break?

Yes, it is possible for a shift cable to be damaged or broken. In most cases, the shift cable can be distorted or broken due to stretching. It is a frequent cause for vehicles where transmission is manual. Because the shifters are moved more frequently there. You cannot set it and forget as it is not an automated transmission.

What are the indicators for a bad shifter cable?

There is some unusuality that would indicate your cable is damaged. For example, indicator mismatching with gear, vehicle not running off, and so on. Also, you will notice vehicles starting with another gear or will not start with any gear. Such symptoms are the indication of a bad shifter cable.

Are mercury throttle cable and shift cable serve the same purpose?

Yes, both the mercury throttle cable and the shift cable has the same purpose. both the cables are identical and play almost the same role. So if you need to change or adjust both, one can be the supplement to the other.

How do I know if my shifter cable is stretched?

A grinding sound is the most typical sign of a stretched transmission cable. You will hear a grinding sound as soon as you release the clutch because the stretched cable is unable to appropriately push or pull the lever. This is distinct from the grinding that occurs when you engage a gear and is caused by a worn clutch.

Final Words

We hope now you know about every detail of OMC cobra shift cable adjustment. Just go through the manual accordingly and you would be able to do it on your own.

One added tip if you own a boat or vehicle which requires manual transmission then be careful. The chances of shifters getting damaged or inoperative without you knowing. So don’t forget to check it regularly and chose the right type of the cable.

That is it from our side. Have a good day!

Related Articles