1991 Merc 50 hp, 2 stroke, 3 cyl, outboard. Water pump and shift issue.


New Member
Hi guys, thanks for having such a great forum!
So I replaced the water pump on this merc, reinstalled the lower unit and I've got a couple problems that might be related. First, now the shift/throttle lever won't come all the way out of forward. It moves from about an idle forward position to full forward position. Won't go all the way into neutral or into reverse. So I guess the ferruled shift rod must have moved when I reinstalled the LU. Second, I have the dreaded "left over part". When I dropped the LU, there was a nylon washer/bushing about the size of a quarter, with about a 3/8 inch hole and about a quarter inch thick positioned on the front mating pin. I thought nothing of that, figuring that's where it belonged. When trying to reinstall LU, it wouldn't go in all the way. I realized that no way that nylon washer/bushing could go there. But now I have no idea where it goes. Believe it or not, I think that washer/bushing fell from where it belongs, right on to that mating pin when I dropped the LU. I should be that lucky playing ring toss at the fair. LOL. Can anyone give me the procedure for adjusting that shift rod to the right position? And where does that washer/bushing go? FYI...the boat is in the backyard, not in the water. I've attached a pic of that washer/bushing.
Thanks guys for any info you can give me!

Fun Times

Active Member
Hi there, welcome to endless boating @idlerjn

Typically that washer/bushing is usually found on top of the shift shaft mechanism of the lower unit and with it missing it's been know to misadjust the whole shifting components including the shift handle like that.

Having your engine serial number helps a lot to locate certain things about your exact engine parts but here's an example of where the washer should go... Item number 48,


Picture of Mercury-Mercruiser 12-77674 WASHER