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Throttle handle doesn't "lock" in neutral

gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
edited January 2018 in Boat Talk

I just got my boat delivered a week or so ago, 1996 Malibu Echelon. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT and can't wait to get it on the water. For a 20 plus year old boat, this thing is in GREAT shape. I am going through it fixing a couple of very minor issues. One is the throttle handle doesn't "lock" into the neutral position. I'm sure this is an easy fix. I'm guessing just a spring. Can someone please briefly talk me through the fix?

Next thing is the blower comes on when the key is turned on but rocker switch for the blower is off. When the rocker switch is turned to the "on"' position you can hear an obvious increase in power to the blower. After talking with @skihard , the initial though is it could be a faulty rocker switch that is not blocking all the current even in the off position. No testing has been done at this point. Anyone else experience this? Ideas on how to fix? Are these switches available?

That's it for now. Thanks in advance.
2014 HO TX
1996 Malibu Echelon


  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,664 Mega Baller
    @gt2003, I can’t remember if the Echelon has the Contura switches or the rotary dial. If they are Contura, you should be able to get them from Bakes Marine at

    Don’t know about the throttle lock issue, but a spring sounds like the issue.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,201 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    There isn't much to these throttles. It could be wear or junk built up in the detent, or as you said the spring. Perhaps the slide is sticking in the up position. watch this video and you can see how it works.

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,926 Mega Baller
    Just follow the knob down the back of the shaft and you'll see how it engages, I have that same type of throttle on two boats and neither have a "positive lock" in neutral. Just a detent area that you can slide into/out of. Compared to say the controls on our stern drive which has a physical lock in neutral its just a different design.
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 939 Crazy Baller
    What @BraceMaker said. Had the same throttle on my old centurion. It is more like a detent and not a lock. You will be able to find it tho. If it doesn’t start then it’s not in neutral.....
  • mdriggsmdriggs Posts: 17 Baller
    I just fixed mine about six months ago. The above video gives you a feel for what is going on with the actual shifter and throttle. Remove the screws on the exposed black plate. The entire unit will then drop out of the side gunnel. At that point you will have what is displayed in the video above. You will have to remove the cables by pulling the pins. Then you can remove the shift/throttle assembly from the black plate and post that the lever attaches to. The lever comes off with the allen screw on the bottom of the lever. you can then see where the spring is and if it is broken or fatigued. I was able to go to the local mom/pop hardware store and find a replacement spring. I did have to cut the replacement spring down to the appropriate size (dremel cutting disc). Also, the small metal block/key gets rounded off over time. I was able to file it back to having better corners, which facilitates the locking effect. While you are working on the unit be sure and grease up all the moving parts on the actual shift/throttle assembly. The ease of function when I lubed everything was remarkable (don't lube the key/block or the slot that it fits in). I am reasonably mechanical but not a whiz, just pay attention to how it all comes apart. Good Luck and Enjoy !!!
  • skiinxsskiinxs Posts: 559 Crazy Baller
    It was common to "clip the spring" a little on the old Morse boxes to make them smoother, which was very important prior to speed control. The downside to that is that the neutral position didn't get a strong detent. You might check for that and install a new spring if that is the issue.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 982 Mega Baller
    If the spring is still intact, a little oil in the channel that leads from the throttle knob top down to the engagement mechanism will free it up and it'll work again. Just a couple drops and work it in a bit.
  • dwfrechdwfrech Posts: 41 Baller
    For your blower problem, you can disconnect it altogether, try to turn the key on, and see what happens. Then short the terminals to the blower switch ... touch them together. Also use a voltmeter to see what's going on with the terminals to the blower switch - check to see if you have voltage at one of the terminals (disconnected) when you turn on the ignition. If you short-circuit the blower switch it should be on all the time once you turn the ignition on. There may be an over-ride when you turn on the ignition, which starts the blower no matter what position that switch is in. The latest Malibus turn on the blower when you turn on the ignition. This can be over-ridden from the "Switch" screen and you can turn it off like you want (immediately ... without even starting the engine). But for a 20 year old Malibu this system might not be integrated where you can control it like we can on the 2015 Malibu we have. Good luck!
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,926 Mega Baller
    The blower thing to me sounds more like a crossed wire.

    The Ignition switch has a variety of positions, off, acc, run, start usually - depending on the position the power runs through different wires. I would suspect that there is a wire feeding acc/run power through the blower, this is likely not a good connection since its running slower my guess would be high resistance in the connection - Since the blower should have power to the switch always, I'd suspect the other switches, usually something like navigation lights that would have power in the run position but not the off position, so I'd look for a terminal bumping the switch.

  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2018
    I've ordered pivots for the cables. Supposedly not a bad idea to replace as the boat is 20 years old.

    I talked to the gentleman at skiboatpartsonline. He was very helpful but didn't have any leads on replacing the spring or the diamond shaped piece right below the spring. He said now that Morse has been sold, the new company no longer sells the individual parts. If @Jody_Seal or anyone else might have these parts available let me know and I will be glad to purchase them. You can see the throttle assembly in the 1st post. Here is a picture of the spring and the diamond shaped piece I'd like to replace if it's available. Thanks

    photo thumbnail_IMG_39871_zpsbkhm1y8r.jpg

    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    We ran into that during Waterski Mag Boat Tests. Plus, boats that would start in-gear, and
    stay in gear if the throttle/shift handle was slowly moved to Neutral. Of course this was
    never published in the reviews.
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