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General Mark Twain Discussion / Unable to steer right
« Last post by jgalvan on August 24, 2017, 09:29:22 PM »
Hello, I just recently bought a 1986 Mark Twain with a MCM 185 alpha one. Originally it had a carburetor issue when I bought it, I knew enough about them to get it running. As I took it out this past weekend I noticed that the boat would not steer to the right, only left. When I got home I looked it all over and found that where the steering cable goes into what I think is the steering actuator (excuse me if I'm wrong, I don't know much about the marine side or outboards), it has a couple of cylinder type linkages that look like they control the outboard, the top linkage is broken at the threads where it screws into the "steering actuator". I can't seem to find any part break downs on this steering unit. I was hoping someone could point me into the right direction where to start, I'm not positive this is the issue but it is clearly broken and needs replaced. Also what type of hydraulic fluid to fill it with if I remove the lines and drain the fluid. Thanks again.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by Haulnazz15 on August 22, 2017, 02:50:34 PM »
Just make sure to inspect/repack the bearings on whatever you buy used.  No telling how it was maintained, and you don't want to be on the side of the interstate with cars whizzing by you at 70mph with a toasted hub.  We give the trailer a fresh shot of grease to each hub every 2-3 trips just as a precautionary measure.  Make sure tires are inflated close to max cold psi, including the spare.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by New2Me78 on August 19, 2017, 08:10:24 PM »
I found me a pretty decent one but unfortunately it needs some work. The guy I bought it from had one with new rims, tires, paint but he sold it a couple days before I could get there. This one is a little more HD but as I said needs some work. Something I didn't want to get in. Really want to finally get this old girl in the water. As long as I don't have another 60+ hour work week I should have the trailer & boat done by next weekend. Once I get most everything done I will post some pics.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: 1976 162T with 140HP mercruiser cable HELP!!
« Last post by Haulnazz15 on August 17, 2017, 03:44:41 PM »
Well, there's really not a way to lubricate the cable.  Once they corrode, it's just best to replace it.  They aren't particularly expensive ($50-60), but it's just a bit involved to replace them.  The replacement of control cables to the throttle control are a bit easier to deal with for the novice.  I do most of my purchasing from iboats.com, mercstuff.com, or similar.  I don't want to discourage you to do this yourself, but it may be more work than it's worth if you aren't familiar with it.  You'll have to remove the outdrive in order to replace the cable, which means you'll need a outdrive seal kit, and possible a way to remove the bell housing side pins to access the rear of the bell housing.  If the u-joint bellows haven't been replaced in a while, this would be a perfect time to do it as well.  It's probably a $300-400 repair for a marine shop to put in new bellows, shift cable, and drive seal kit.

As far as purchasing the throttle/shift control itself, they can get pretty pricey.  You'd probably have the best luck finding a used unit from a marine salvage place on maybe on eBay/Craigslist.  The newer controls have electronics and such that are built-in, cut-off switches, etc. which aren't applicable on 70's-model MTs.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: 1976 162T with 140HP mercruiser cable HELP!!
« Last post by jirwin95 on August 14, 2017, 12:20:46 PM »
Disconnect the cable from the shift plate and see if it operates smoothly from there.  If it does, then you know the "intermediate shift cable" (the one going from the shift plate to the lower unit) is seized up.  If the inverse is true, you'll need a new shift cable to run from the control to the shift plate.  If it's the intermediate cable, you'll have to pull the outdrive to replace.  If it's the control cable, you'll just have to measure the cable to make sure you get the replacement cable in the same size.  You shouldn't be able to start the engine with it in forward or reverse gear, but sometimes the prop will freewheel slowly in neutral.  If it IS in gear, that means that the shift-interrupt switch is malfunctioning/bypassed.

As far as manuals are concerned, there isn't anything available specific to the Mark Twain.  The mechanical parts are almost all pretty much universal for most boats of this period, aside from small accents and such.


I did come to find it is the intermediate shift cable. I got it to move, it is just stiff. Any good way to loosen it up? Can I lubricate the cable? If not, what is a good parts retailer to buy from? I need the whole control lever up front where the driver sits as well. Thanks for all the info. Like I said, im new to boats and how they operate so i don't know the names of everything just yet.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by Haulnazz15 on August 11, 2017, 02:59:34 PM »
Also, just make sure that you have the proper amount of tongue weight, regardless of which trailer type you get.  Usually 7-10% of total weight is a good number for tandem axles to prevent sway.  Single axles are usually 10-15% recommended tongue weight.  That can be significant with larger loads, but when only talking a 3,500lb boat, it's only 100lbs different.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by Haulnazz15 on August 11, 2017, 02:50:05 PM »
Tandem axle.  I've got a 20ft w/351W (fuel tank isn't as big) and it's always been on a tandem axle.  I've always felt more confident with tandem axles, both from a weight perspective and a potential blowout/flat tire perspective.  When I've had a tire shred at 65mph, the trailer tracked straight and let me get to the shoulder without any issues.  A single axle shredding a tire gets much more exciting, lol.  I recently traded up to a newer tandem axle when I came across a good deal that let me trade up for no cost.  I bought a junk boat that was on a nice trailer and sold mine for more than the cost. 

I can't recommend having trailer brakes enough, doesn't matter if they're surge or electric.  Mine are surge brakes with brakes on both axles.  The old trailer had no brakes, and while we never had an incident in 15+ years, it is so much more confidence inspiring to have brakes that make even hurried-stops a breeze.  New one has a boarding ladder on the front, as well as LED lights which don't have to be disconnected when launching/loading.  I have since painted it red to match the boat interior, but you get the idea.


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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by New2Me78 on August 10, 2017, 07:08:16 PM »
I weighed it today at a truck stop. Came out to 3,480lbs & that's with just a little fuel in it & some interior pieces still not mounted yet. Fully loaded with gear & all I feel I will be getting into the 5,000 range. Whats under it now is a single axle trailer that I have discovered the steel tubes are rusted through on the bottom. I personally think it needs a tandem axle under it anyway. I am going to look at some used trailers tomorrow. Hoping he has a nice medium duty trailer that won't need a bunch of attention right away.
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Trailer for my 78 Mark Twain
« Last post by New2Me78 on August 09, 2017, 08:14:34 PM »
Trying to figure out what would be the best trailer for my  18' 1978 V-Sonic with a 351W & has a 30gal. fuel tank.
I haven't taken it across the scales yet but I guess fully geared it's gonna be around 3-4,000lbs.
Kind of leaning toward tandem axle. Makes for more maintenance but usually pulls better & if you have a tire go down You can usually stay mobile.
Anybody out there running a tandom axles on a boat this?
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General Mark Twain Discussion / Re: 1976 162T with 140HP mercruiser cable HELP!!
« Last post by Haulnazz15 on August 07, 2017, 04:53:00 PM »
Disconnect the cable from the shift plate and see if it operates smoothly from there.  If it does, then you know the "intermediate shift cable" (the one going from the shift plate to the lower unit) is seized up.  If the inverse is true, you'll need a new shift cable to run from the control to the shift plate.  If it's the intermediate cable, you'll have to pull the outdrive to replace.  If it's the control cable, you'll just have to measure the cable to make sure you get the replacement cable in the same size.  You shouldn't be able to start the engine with it in forward or reverse gear, but sometimes the prop will freewheel slowly in neutral.  If it IS in gear, that means that the shift-interrupt switch is malfunctioning/bypassed.

As far as manuals are concerned, there isn't anything available specific to the Mark Twain.  The mechanical parts are almost all pretty much universal for most boats of this period, aside from small accents and such. 
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