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3 on the three...not for me.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Irishman, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Irishman
    Joined: Mar 28, 2012
    Posts: 148


    I've been dicking around with my column shift linkage for a while and I've had it.

    Its a 47 Chevy Stylemaster and that shifting thing is giving me a fit. It binds, it jumps out gears and the whole thing just strikes be as a rickety convoluted mess.

    My understanding is that my 3 speed manual tansmission is different than more common 3 speeds. What I want to do is convert it to floor shift. Call it preference, call it peace of mind. I'm just done with that column mounted rickety nonsense.

    Soooo? What kind of floor shifter should I be looking at for my funky tranny?
  2. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    from Chino, Ca

    I understand what you mean. They are tricky, like a rickey old man. If I were you, I would look for a 3 speed top loader from a chevy truck. My brother did that to his 41 Special Deluxe.
  3. Thunderroad312
    Joined: Nov 18, 2012
    Posts: 159


    Does your car have the vacuum assist for the shifter? They were troublesome, a factory fix for a trans that didn't shift that well to begin with.It actually made it worse. You can do away with it all toghether. Column linkage can be actually pretty neat if you work on getting rid of the slop. Make sure all the bushings are good and get it adjusted right. Worn parts can be welded up and re-machined to compensate for the wear.
  4. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,783

    from Indy

    it's called 3 on the tree
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  5. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,951

    gas pumper

    I don't know what could be special about a Chevy 3 speed that a "universal" 3 speed floor shifter could not be adapted to. Some assembly required and noodling out how the thing works.

    when you look at how simple a 3 speed is to shift, any 3 speed with 2 shift arms, I can't see how this can be difficult.

    I think the column shift was a failed experiment to modernize cars in the 40's. Get that shifter off the floor and have room for the third person on the front seat.

    the first thing we all did in the 50's and 60's was to disconnect the column shifter, cut a hole in the floor and put in a floor shifter conversion.

    You can do this, too.

  6. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Not if you lisp. :D

  7. 60srailjob
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,216

    from nowhere

  8. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,161


    or t'wee on da free...
  9. Irishman
    Joined: Mar 28, 2012
    Posts: 148


    Autospell screws me again!

    I'm actually calling my setup "shit on a stick".

    Seriously though, anyone recommend me some suitable floor shifts?
  10. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,015


    You will have a tough time making a universal 3 speed shifter work on your car. The enclosed drive shaft as well as the cross member make for real tight fit as well as presenting mounting problems. Plus the final location of the shifter will be akward at best.
    As was stated earlier the easiest way to go is to replace with truck top loader if you can find one. Many of the trucks that are of that vintage went to a column shifter as well so if you find a top loader truck trans you may end up a granny 1st gear.
    If you do want to mess with it Mr Gasket make a universal 3 speed the number I believe is 7667A. I have seen them on e-bay for around $50.00.
    If you go that route post pics so others my learn from your ordeal.
  11. Curt B
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 325

    Curt B

    The column shift 3 speed is one of the coolest features on my ride and doesn't take much for bushings and adjustment to perform well. To me it was worth making custom linkage arms to clear the Fenton dual intake and keep it. The T5 can stay in my POS winter beater.

    Attached Files:

  12. oldcarguygazok
    Joined: Jun 20, 2012
    Posts: 401

    from AUSTRALIA.

    You could also put in a 4sp,then you'd have 4 on the four ,ha!ha! sorry couldn't resist

  13. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    from Las Vegas

    floorshift will give you 'three by the knee', a much smoother alternative to the dreaded linkage lockup on those old stovebolts.
  14. bri0057
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 48


    I love my 3 on the tree, puts a smile on the oldtimers faces when they see a 20 something know how to drive it. New bushings and bending the rods for a few hours will make it shift nice and smooth. Its frustrating at first but rewarding once you get it. The worst part is that there isn't a straight forward way to get it all adjusted, it's more trial and error.
  15. pinkynoegg
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,135


    if your trans is anything like the three speed that was in my AD truck the universal kit wont work. the arms on the transmission are upside down from when they went to the saginaw in later years. your best bet is to do it correctly and put a t5 behind it. personally i tried every trick in the book with my limited skills to keep the three on the tree but i couldnt do it with an open drive line transmission because of the arms being shifted upside down. your choices are convert to open drive line and fit a better suited trans in it or deal with the three on the tree. (or get a top load of that year)
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,592

    from SIDNEY, NY

    Two things.....Chevrolet used the "selector" type 3 speed in passenger cars from '40-'48, meaning that no currently available floor shift conversion will work without extensive modifications. The hopping out of gear problem could be due to an excessively worn 2-3 shift fork. This was a common problem with old Chevy 3 speeds, and I've fixed many of them by replacing the fork. It wears to the point that it never pushes the gear all the way into position.

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