22 November 2013

Outboard gear lever

On the whole I am very pleased with my 6HP Tohatsu outboard. But I don't like the gear lever. It is a little plastic projection right down on the starboard side at the bottom of the engine head. Changing gear always involved almost getting down on my knees to find it. Not a good idea in a difficult situation where you just want a short burst of reverse to save the day. Last year I fitted an extension to it made from a tiller extension arm I had made earlier. It proved the concept, but was terribly wobbly and imprecise. I have rebuilt it completely. Same tiller extension, but shortened and bolted more firmly to the lever. In addition I fitted plywood side cheeks, which surround the plastic gear lever. Finally I filled the hollow plastic lever itself with thickened epoxy resin, as it was a bit flexible. Finished the whole thing off with two primer coats, two under coats and two coats of gloss black enamel I had lying around for some reason. It looks almost like it is meant to be there, and works very well. I just hope it stands up to real world use.
I gather the current Tohatsu outboards have the gear lever on front, which is a much better idea, but my engine is quite new, so I wasn't planning an upgrade.

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