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Technical 4 on the tree

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SnakePlissken69, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,301


    I had a 66 Saab that had 4 on the tree it was a 2-stroke 3 cylinder with 3 carburetors, I drove the car for 2 weeks thinking reverse was out and relied on friends to push me backwards when needed...untill a friends dad saw what was going on and told me how to put it in reverse.

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  2. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 397

    from Milton, WI

    Had a 62 or 63 flat nose van that had 4 on the tree. I remember it being a Saginaw box.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  3. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 313


    The pull-knob was an internal cable with a "pin" to prevent the steering column tube going outside the range of 4 gears.
    A lot of early Auto shifters used the same method [push button] to prevent R & P being accidentally shifted.

    here's a 65 Chevy van 4 speed column
    1965 Chevy van column.PNG
    here's a 55 Chevy [RHD] that has the column converted to 4 speed
    1955 Chevy 4 speed column.PNG

    In both cases a Saginaw 4 speed is better than a Muncie BW Super T10 [a Muncie or BW Super T10 doesn't have a reverse detent, so 2 gear could accidentally be selected together]

    On a street cruiser, I would consider a cable shifted Toyota Van 5 speed [and column] the Gearbox is basically a Supra gearbox [they are tough]
    They have 2 levers [1 up/down ,and the other L/R]
    The cables have internal rods at each end so they can push/pull
  4. liliysdad
    Joined: Apr 1, 2013
    Posts: 62

    from Oklahoma

    This is interesting, as this was never an option. More so, the only 4spd transmissions with "granny low" that Ford offered in that era were the NP435 and the T18, neither of which used shift linkage that would have allowed for column shifting. I am not aware of any 4spd truck transmission with a deep first gear by any manufacturer with such linkage, for that matter.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  5. strait8
    Joined: Jun 11, 2014
    Posts: 136

    from Skokie, IL

    I am curious if the conversion can be done using the existing 3 on the tree column but utilizing a 4 speed that would be a direct bolt into the straight eight engine (still need to eliminate the torque tube). I have heard about it being done and that the existing shift pattern on the existing column would go from R, 1,2,3 to 1,2,3,4 and reverse being the cable pull knob home engineered system. I heard all the linkage remains the same but I just cannot wrap my brain around the whole modification.
    Jeff Norwell likes this.
  6. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,858

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    Been done many times, Using an overdrive lever on or under the dash for reverse.My pal in Mass. did it on a 58 Ranchero with a 406 and 4 speed.
    I like the idea.
  7. Shaneaus
    Joined: Tuesday
    Posts: 1


    I've been hunting a 4 on the tree column shifter for a Chevy. Please pass my info along to your friend if he ever wants to convert to an automatic!
  8. PhilA
    Joined: Sep 6, 2018
    Posts: 314


    Drove a 1947 Humber Super Snipe touring limousine and that had 4 on the column.

    Spring loaded it sat with the lever closest to the driver, with up/down being 3 and 4 respectively. Pushed away gave up/down 1 and 2, respectively.
    Pushed further through a light detent and down was Reverse.
    Synchro on all 4 forward gears. Commercial advertisement had a comment about fingertip-touch gears, and a stylized lady's hand wearing a glove, touching the lever with two fingers.

    Was easy enough though going for 2nd gear from 3rd was all too easy to grind Reverse though.
    First, like a lot of boxes only really liked going in with the vehicle at a standstill. It would pull away in 4th gear if you felt like being mean to the clutch; rather negated the need for 4 gears really...


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