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Can't Shift My 1939 Business Coupe


JRHaelig
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On my '39 Business Coupe The column shifter travels fore and aft but does not travel up or down.

 

The cable is free and the linkage appears to wiggle and want to move at the transmission, but I have not yet checked this while another person operates the clutch & lever.

 

When moving onto and off of the flatbed clutch pedal depressed = free wheeling.  Clutch pedal out engaged the engine.

 

This would make it appear to be stuck in gear, but the selector lever movement appears to be stuck in neutral.

 

This is a non-running "ran when I backed it into the garage 30 years ago" vehicle.

 

I have tried gentle effort throughout the lever's range of motion.  In & out is fine but I don't even feel detents in any gear position.

 

Does the ignition/column lock key position have any impact on lever motion?

 

I am open to any insight that does not start with "Well, first you have to drop the trans......"

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So the shift lever is stuck in the neutral gate? It won't go up or down at all or does it go up and down some? And is it the same in the 1/R gate and 2/3 gate?

 

The "easiest" thing to do: put the seat all the way back and pull up the carpet and padding in the front. You should see an access cover on the hump. Remove the bolts and lift out the cover and, voila! the trans is now fully accessible. There should be enough space on the side to get to the linkage. Also you can pull the cover off the trans (5 bolts) and see what's what.  If it's been left alone for umpty-ump years you should do that anyway and change out the trans oil. Be sure to use GL4 or GL1 to protect the syncros.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Thanks for the reminder on the access panel, Dave.

 

Opening that should also allow me to operate the lever and observe the motions on the linkage and tranny interior.

 

The only movement I have is in & out with the lever.

 

There is no inclination to go into either the R-1 or 2-3 gate.

 

We'll see in a couple of days. Those hold-down screws are pretty flat with plenty of rust.  PB Blaster is going to have to earn its rep here!

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Yeah. I am sure I was the first one to remove them since April 1940 when mine was built.

 

This is what I did:

1. Remove padding and rotted rubber (carpet had already rotted away).

2. PBBlaster on the screw heads and what screws I could get from underneath.

3. Carefully clean the gunk out of the screw slots and scrape clean.

4. Get one of those 3 ft screwdrivers.

5. Grab a local 17 year old teenager and have him get in the car with the screwdriver.

6. Have him really lean on the screwdriver while turning out each screw. (They will likely have more upper body strength than you)

7. Have a beer and shout occasional encouragement while he works.

 

The above worked for me...

 

Cheers, Dave

 

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The '39 transmission is a 1 year only with a cable/rod change system that is also 1 year only. Buick used rods only instead of the cable from 1940 on.

The cable/rod change system can wear out. Get slots on the flat bars and rod ends go oval/bend. And the cable does deteriorate with age (its near 80 years old)

As above, take the floor cover plate off and have a look. Need plenty of WD40 or equal.

If the car has been in storage for 30 years (as 1 of my ‘39’s has been) the transmission internals may just be frozen up. With the floor cover plate removed and the 5 bolt transmission cover removed it should be easy to move the 2 side change rods.

 

Image below is a right hand drive / transmission

1939 41 gearbox 03.jpg

 

 

Another thread on a related topic http://forums.aaca.org/topic/287467-shift-linkage-repair/

 

Edited by 1939_Buick
added image (see edit history)
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On 1/16/2017 at 9:38 PM, Daves1940Buick56S said:

Yeah. I am sure I was the first one to remove them since April 1940 when mine was built.

 

This is what I did:

1. Remove padding and rotted rubber (carpet had already rotted away).

2. PBBlaster on the screw heads and what screws I could get from underneath.

3. Carefully clean the gunk out of the screw slots and scrape clean.

4. Get one of those 3 ft screwdrivers.

5. Grab a local 17 year old teenager and have him get in the car with the screwdriver.

6. Have him really lean on the screwdriver while turning out each screw. (They will likely have more upper body strength than you)

7. Have a beer and shout occasional encouragement while he works.

 

The above worked for me...

 

Cheers, Dave

 

If no willing teenagers are to be found i have used an air chisel with one of the chisel's ground down to fit the slot in the screw, use plenty of penetrating oil then i put a pair of vice grips on the shaft and with downward pressure on the gun give it some short easy bursts and the vibrations help loosen the screws. 

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