Mercruiser Boat Painting
Boat Tips

How To Fix Your Stalling MerCruiser

How To Tell If Your MerCruiser Is Stalling

Worried your MerCruiser might be stalling when you shift gears? The information below can help you determine if it’s due to a sticking shift cable.

  1.  Read your engine owners manual and all safety precautions.
  2. Turn off your boats battery switch or disconnect the battery.
  3. Remove your prop.
  4. Turn on your battery switch or reconnect your battery.
  5. Hook up a hose with a flushette if you are going to start the motor out of the water.
  6. Make sure the drive and engine have a good water supply.
  7. Start your engine. Make sure you have a water supply to the drive and/or motor.
  8. Let the engine warm up at idle.
  9. Keep an eye on your gauges.
  10. Make sure your water is flowing through the engine and coming out the exhaust.
  11. Make sure that all people are clear of the drive and propeller shaft.
  12. Shift into forward gear.
  13. Shift back into neutral.
  14. Shift into reverse.
  15. Shift back into neutral.

Did the engine stall?

If the engine stalled chances are that you may have a sticking shift cable to the drive. If that’s the case, here is how you can fix it:

Replace the shift cable to the drive unit and retest. You can read cable replacement instructions here


  • You can not lube or free-up the cable.
  • A faulty shift interruptor switch will cause difficult shifting, not stalling.
  • Once a drive shift cable causes stalling, it must be replaced.
  • Damage, injury or death can occur should your boat stall while manoeuvring near a dock or other boats.
  • If the engine stalls when pulling into neutral it does NOT mean your shift interruptor switch is bad.
  • Damage to your drives clutch and shifting components can occur if the cable is bad and you keep using the boat.
  • A bad shift cable to the drive can cause the engine to stall.


  • Read your owners manual and all safety precautions.
  • Keep clear of all moving parts.
  • Remove your prop if running the engine out of the water.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *