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Throttle Only Button Stuck on ZF SkiCommand


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With my 2008 VTX being the age it is, I have to think others have experienced this problem.... 

The "Throttle Only" button* at the base of the throttle lever/handle on my ZF SkiCommand Control head is stuck. 

Thankfully it is stuck in the "in" position, which means the transmission is engaged. I bought the boat in May 2020 and didn't realize this problem until I went to winterize the boat and figured I would need to rev the engine without the prop turning. I asked the seller about it; he acknowledged it was stuck but that it wasn't an issue because he didn't need to rev the engine with tranny disengaged, e.g. when winterizing. Turns out he's right. But I don't like things that don't work and would like to fix it. Trying to pry or pull it out + spraying in a little WD-40 doesn't work, and I'm very reluctant to pull the control head off the gunwhale and/or open it up, in the absence of specific knowledge/instructions in case I create worse problems for myself. The Malibu dealer couldn't offer any advice and told me a new throttle assembly would be north of $1,000.

Anyone have any experience with this? 

Is there a workaround, e.g. a specific wire/cable I can disconnect to achieve the same effect for the rare time I might need to rev the engine without the tranny engaged?

*This is the round black button above the person's finger as shown in the image in this post: 

It would be nice to be able to upload a photo, but that doesn't seem possible.

Thanks in advance for anyone's help. I'm very grateful for this website and forum, it has helped me with so many things on my VTX. (I came from a 2005 Sea Ray 185 Sport so it's a new world of fun and learning!)

Edited by Irishman
Grammar
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It isn't stuck.  There is no neutral button - that is a cap.

If for some reason you feel the need to rev the engine - disconnect the electrical connectors from the 2 shift solenoids.

Why are you reving the engine to winterize?

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/15/2021 at 11:33 AM, oldjeep said:

It isn't stuck.  There is no neutral button - that is a cap. If for some reason you feel the need to rev the engine - disconnect the electrical connectors from the 2 shift solenoids.

Why are you reving the engine to winterize?

Thanks for replying oldjeep. I would be inclined to agree that the button is just a cap because it doesn't move in or out, however, my ZF Marine Skicommand Install & Operations "Manual" calls it a "Throttle Only Button". I've uploaded two photos from that letter-size paper printout manual, including its diagram which I marked up with red. 

Re reving it, I thought I had to rev it, e.g.  to fog the engine (I was used to a carbureted engine in my old boat), but you're right, I didn't need to with a fuel-injected engine. Nevertheless, the Malibu manual p.2-17 calls it a "shift lock" button and suggests using it for "...starting or warm-up of the engine." Interestingly, it says to "...pull outward on this button disengages the transmission", whereas the ZF manual (image below) says the opposite - to "Depress the Throttle Only button."!

As for your suggestion to "disconnect the electrical connectors from the 2 shift solenoids", that sounds like my best option. Can you describe where I find these 2 connections? (I assume they're on the tranny housing or V-drive housing somewhere?

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