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Technical Has anyone ever set up their 3 on the tree shifter to work with a 4 speed?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Devin, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,351

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    The bodywork is slow going on my 50 Chevy and I've had plenty of time to think about the direction I want to take with it. In the cards I have a GMC 270 for motivation and a Saginaw 4 speed to get the power to the '57 Chevy rear end. I really like the aesthetics and feel of the column shifter and would like to keep this if possible. Has anyone successfully linked their column shifter to a 4 speed? What needs to be done? What are the challenges? Thanks
     
  2. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,428

    BuckeyeBuicks
    Member
    from ohio

    Had a 64 Opel with a four speed on the colunm when I was stationed in Germany. Its a proven fact than anything the Germans can do we can do better!
     
    Model T1 likes this.
  3. pgj
    Joined: Dec 24, 2010
    Posts: 138

    pgj
    Member
    from aurora co.

    Saw it done in an old ecnoline van years ago, had a little shot shifter sticking up out of the floor for reverse. kind of hokkie.
     
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,199

    squirrel
    Member

    In your situation, I'd just use a 3 speed transmission. Usually folks give away Saginaw 3 speeds. It's not like you're really gonna win a lot of races with the car, so why make life complicated with the 4 speed?
     
    Dave Mc likes this.

  5. Some Chevrolet van's in 67 & 68 offered a 4 speed column,I have a pal that has one,He told be it was a 4 speed and I bet him 20 bucks it wasn't,I lost. HRP
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  6. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 494

    hotrod1948
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Milton, WI

    X2^^^^^^^. I saw one when I was pumping gas as a kid in 67. The shifter handle of that Chevy van had the 4 speed pattern cast into it.
     
  7. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,301

    Cosmo49
    Member

    Yes, just do that^^^. You could just add a FLAPs solid core push/pull cable under or on the dash for Reverse. Shift into neutral pull the knob, Reverse. Simple.

    I love my 3sp+od on the column and may convert a 4speed to 4 speed+od and do the same cable route for Reverse.
     
  8. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,728

    verde742
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. a veteran died today

    Its been done in a lot of cars in our area,
    no biggie, hidden cable for reverse.
     
  9. Depends on the throw but it could be done using the original H pattern for the 4 speed and a separate lever/pull for reverse. You would have to throw it into neutral before you could hit reverse and then in theory you could use something along the lines of an e brake handle for your reverser. Nope haven't done it but no reason that you shouldn't try it. :D

    Borgward had a column shifter 4 speed in about '59.

    Or you could run with @squirrel 's idea and just snag yourself a Saginaw 3 speed and be happy.
     
  10. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,023

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Saw it a few times when somebody had a Chev 4 speed car that ran hard, but didn't want it well known ... the reworked 3 speed linkage was used almost as is, and an OD cable hooked to reverse.
    Looks funny at a stoplight when the driver stuffs it in reverse (on column) & nails it ...
     
  11. Gene Boul
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 805

    Gene Boul

    Whats the point? Of course it can be done but why not use all that ingenuity on something useful?
     
  12. dos zetas
    Joined: May 10, 2009
    Posts: 175

    dos zetas
    Member

    Do it, find those old Chev part numbers and run it. Column shifts are cool, Mercedes and Peugeot had lots of them. I wonder if one of the Chevy collector's sites could find you the part numbers, illustrations, or even the parts?
     
  13. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1
    Member

    I agree, go for it. Nothing kooler than a column shift.
     
  14. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,038

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Depends how much reversing you do. I run errands in my heap, in and out of parking spaces constantly.

    Coolness, yes, practicality, 4 on the floor.
     
  15. I've done it with a 3 speed Hurst floor shifter on a saginaw 4 speed. Welded another Hurst handle to the reverse lever. People use to ask me if it was a 4 wheel drive.
    I wouldn't use the chevy van shifter parts until you looked at them. I've heard they're a complicated nightmare. Worked with a guy who disassembled his to do a motor swap...couldn't figure out how to reassemble it so the van sat for years.
     
  16. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 494

    hotrod1948
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Milton, WI

    If you do this, make sure you cannot be in two gears at once. That will make the floor shift idea seem a much better solution when you are rebuilding the gear box.
     
  17. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    Jimmy2car
    Member
    from No. Cal

    I had an old car magazine that had a 32 coupe that used the column shifter with a four speed. The reverse was a lever on the floor.
     
  18. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,383

    sunbeam
    Member

    Why not use an over drive If you want 4 gears.
     
  19. Flat Roy
    Joined: Nov 23, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Flat Roy
    Member

    Did that many years ago with a hotrod 51 chev inliner. 4 on the column with reverse lever on the floor. Yes you can have in two gears at the same time!!!! It was cool but eventually went to a proper floor shift.
     
  20. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 307

    Boatmark
    Member

    I know Mercedes did it well into the sixties. No idea how they did it, but it would be worth researching. I'm guessing they had a more elegant solution to reverse than a separate lever.
     
  21. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,351

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    I already have a nice rebuilt Saginaw 4 speed and new clutch. That's where the idea began. Thanks
     
  22. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,224

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    I used to own a Borgward that had a 4 speed on the column. The Germans always did some different things.
     
  23. frdsuperduty
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 175

    frdsuperduty
    Member
    from Lewes De

    My 63 fairlane wagon has a three on the tree with cable operated overdrive.Dont know if that could be adapted or if its worth it.
     
  24. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,383

    sunbeam
    Member

    You might check out Tubmans post On early hemi 4 speed transmission help He used a solenoid and spring to move the trans lever.
     
  25. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,038

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    ^^ I was thinking the same thing, a button on the column lever. No need to move your hand off the lever. Hold down to stay in R. Could even set up a safety switch so it had to be in neutral first.
     
  26. Hop2it
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 96

    Hop2it
    Member

    There is a HAMB member from France who goes by the name Schoum built a 29 ford roadster body and also made his own 4speed column shifter the whole build is amazing check it out.
    Doug
     
  27. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,499

    clem
    Member

    A friend of mine over here adapted a 4 speed muncie to original column change in his '55 chev. He may see this thread and comment.
     
  28. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,499

    clem
    Member

    OP in opening post explains this.
     
  29. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,351

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Good idea!
     
  30. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,351

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Very cool. That's thinking out of the box.
     

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