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push-button shifter

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by DreamingNightmares, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. DreamingNightmares
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 8

    from midwest

    i want to install a push-button(typewritter) shifter on my T, it has a 350 trans. The only old shifters like this I can find are on mopars. will the linkage be easy to set up, how do i do it? really i just want the shifter off the floor any CHEAP ideas are fine. I would like to do this for around 150-ish or less. Old mopar ones go for 50ish on ebay all the time, but not always complete, if these would work with a little fabrication on the linkage and buttons from a junkyard let me know so i can snatch one up. good mopar resto sites would help to.
    this is my first post off the intro.
  2. The only way to do it with a cable shifter, non-mopar, might be to use one from a Rambler with the Borg-Warner auto trans - the same trans was used in Studes and certain late 50's-60's Fords. Even the Mopar ones use a different valve body on pushbutton cars. But you'd have to run that trans, behind a Ford, Stude or AMC V8 most likely. Jeep also used it, so I suppose you could use a Chevy to Jeep adapter to couple their trans case to a Chevy block.

    Moon makes an electronic pushbutton shifter that uses a screw motor on the trans that will work on any trans, although I don't care for the look of the panel, you can mount it anywhere you want. That's about your only option for a GM trans.
  3. DreamingNightmares
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 8

    from midwest

    i'm doing this as cheap as i can. no new trans, definatly no new motor. I will use B&M's unimatic and put it on the drivers side by the door if i have to. I've heard of moon's shifter but i cant find it on their site or ebay and i imagine it would be expensive like retro-tek's
  4. Yep, if others make a universal type I wasn't aware of it, but those are the only options for a GM trans. Sometimes you gotta pay to play.
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  5. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,440

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    It would really take some engineeering to get the Mopar shifter to work on a GM trans. Not to say that it couldn't be done, but it would be a lot of work/engineering.
    The shifter buttons actuate a cable. The cable goes to the trans housing, and moves a dowell in the valve body. There is only about an inch or less of travel between ALL the gears.
    So, if you try to find a point where only an inch of travel moves a TH350 gear lever, you'll be pretty close to the pivot point. Which means you'll have to be pretty exact in your problem as the cable housing had a built in adjuster.
    \BUT the closer you are to the pivot, the more torque you need to click the lever through the gears. That's why Mopar when right to the valve body. I don't think you'd ever get the right leverage to make it work...which means making up a "power assist" mechanism to help you push the cable to actuate the shift lever. Or just use the push buttons to work an electrical device to push the lever. Like the Moon one.
    Like I said, do-able, but NOT easy!
  6. Lets not forget that even on a Mopar where it was a stock feature the thing had to be set up just right or you could burn up the trans.

    Ain't gonna work unless you got a hell of a lot of time and an engineering degree to spare.

    For the heck of it you can contact Imperial Performance (?) in Michigan they specialize in pushbuton systems and have conversions for early push button trans mechanisms to later model Mopar trans. They may have ideas for you.
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,520


    Heres an idea I kicked around, Corvairs had a dash mounted lever,looked pretty cool and should have had 40 mile long cable on it.They shouldn't be hard to find.
    The bad part is I think they were just Powerglides but set it up without a space for Low gear ,who ever needs that anyway.
    Hope this helps
  8. old beet
    Joined: Sep 25, 2002
    Posts: 5,751

    old beet

    Iv'e used some aftermarket cable shifters that fit nicely under the dash. Use an old Ford cowl vent handle. Find um in a Street Rod Mag.......OLDBEET
  9. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,452


    Just another thing about the Mopar pushbuttons and transmissions. The transmissions had an external, drum type park mechanism. The GM trans has an internal parking pawl. It would be near impossible to hook up a park mechanism for a T-350.
  10. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,749


    Not all mopar pushbutton transmissions had the parking drum. Only the earlier ones. Later ones had standard cable operated parking brakes.
  11. I don't know if it works or not, But I have an original push button shifter that was mounted on a center consul between the bucket seats at a 45 degrees angle. came off a factory A/FX mopar was later used on a morrris minor with a 327 in it. like I say I don't know if it worked
  12. DreamingNightmares
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 8

    from midwest

    thanks for all the replies that happened just while i was sleeping. I have been looking for the moon shifter. I cant find it on their website, where is it? link please. if not i will go with the dash mounted lever. Im going to the junkyard today cuase im gettin paid so I will hopefully get a lever and an idea of how to set it up.
  13. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,074

    Alliance Vendor

    Ive seen a cable operated shifter on an old dodge van that operated a 3 speed auto. May be hard to find one nowadays though. If your wanting more floor space I would suggest using a b&m or hurst cable shifter and mounting it verticle right under the dash with the handle sticking out horizontally. Could even mount it side ways to the handle wont drop down too low then its in the lower gears.
  14. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,033


    Having only ever designed one shifter in my life I am far from an expert, but I would suggest it wouldn't take a engineering degree to make this work either.

    The leverage thing - might be remedied by reducing the spring rate on the factory trans detent - I'd be cautious here - making it too light could be really dangerous.

    The next biggest consideration I'd make is the "hysteresis" (cable lag for lack of a better word) you inevitably get when moving from one direction to the other. Building in some over travel in either end might be a good idea to combat that issue.

    Next is simply (not necessarily so simple) to match the travel distances form the trans to the shifter. This ideally is a 1 to 1 relationship, but the chances of that working out is slim to none so what you might find yourself doing is having to build a sort of CAM ACTION to allow a dialed in movement to match your input with your output.

    I bet with a little hot rodding ingenuity you can come up with something!!!
  15. Silhouettes 57
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 2,795

    Silhouettes 57

    Eary MOPAR's ('55/56) had a small shifter sticking out the front of the dash, I think it was a linkage shifter.
  16. NYfatboy
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 226


    Now if you really want a lever shifter on dash,check out the bread trucks(square delivery vans).I drive one,it uses a "morse" shifter and cable.but dosent have park.Should be real cheap in junkyards,I mean,who else uses them?
  17. DreamingNightmares
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 8

    from midwest

    i talked to my neighbor(not tryin to get him the blame if this is a stupid idea) and he said there is nothing wrong with mounting a B&M cable shifter like the unimatic vertically on the dash. the morse shifter sounds like a good idea though becuase I know of a van just like that on blocks at the back of the yard i use alot. either way isnt it just like a column shifter. MAbye just a little of that "hot rodding engine-uity" to get it right?
  18. farna
    Joined: Jul 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,122


    This is a bit late, but I've been off-line for a while! The 58-62 Rambler push-button shifter might be usable. It operates a lever on the trans. Park is with an internal pawl, but actuated by a separate cable. That leaves you with five positions -- L - 1 - 2 - R - N. The buttons can be moved or relabeled, but that still leaves you with no park. You can always use the park brake, I guess. The shift arm is rather long, about twice as long as a "normal" shift arm. I'm sure that's for leverage. I'm not sure if the cable moves a good bit or the valve body takes very little movement to select gears. I have the service manual showing everything, but have never owned a push-button Rambler. The parking pawl, on the other hand, uses a very short throw activating arm -- much shorter than a typical trans arm (about half the length).

    Ramblers used Borg-Warner auto trannys back then, similar to a Ford-O-Matic.
  19. Kidd
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 1

    from Eureka,CA

    I know that a company named "Imperial" makes an adapter cable to use an old Mopar "jute box" shifter for other trammys. I have old Mopars......and I know that in HotRod they used one on an old Nova Gasser they built.If you need more info, I might be able to track the info down for you.
  20. drpushbutton
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 43

    from Kansas

    The mopar shifter uses a cable but park is not a button. Park is a separate lever that applies neutral. You might be able to adjust the lever ratio on the th350 to use the mopar shifter but park is still an issue.
  21. blownt
    Joined: Feb 20, 2006
    Posts: 24


    there is a T bucket buddy near me that has the Moon pushbutton shifter in his and has had it for several years. Seems to work great.

    I got a B&M Quicksilver ratchet shifter on mine but mine is full manual valvebody (reversed).

  22. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,092

    from Kansas

    Get a Mercury or Edsel steering column assembly with the pushbuttons in the middle of the wheel. Now that is imaginative!

    How 'bout a 56 Packard Carribean shifter mechanism. You will like that one, it uses a motor at the transmission to shift the manual valve lever.

    After that get a 53-55 Oldsmobile hydramatic shift indicator which is three balancing coils (much like a gas gauge) that is supplied by the neutral safety/backup light/shift indicator switch. 3 wires supply the electronic indicator.

    All I know is that the Mopar pushbutton mechanism was troublesome and alot of the time you had to take the faceplate off and clear the mechanism. The mechanism is much like the old pushbutton car radios, where there is a cam plate for each button and is adjusted to push the tuning coil slugs to the correct depth to receive the selected station.

    Instead of tuning a station, the cam plates just change how far the cable moves in and out of the transmission.

    Wow, I am really getting o/t.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  23. Toqwik
    Joined: Feb 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,265


    How about making it electric shift rather than cable?
  24. hapanut
    Joined: Sep 16, 2008
    Posts: 65


    I have 64 plymouth that has a parking lever and a cable e brake.
    One of the only thing that sucks about the push buttons are the netural safety switch that works together with the parking lever.
  25. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 531


    Check out places that convert vehicles for handicapped people ,they use push button shifters. HOOP
  26. storm king
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,989

    storm king

    On the bright side of things, it would be the most durable part on the car!:D
  27. Anybody else have any new ideas here? We are currently looking for a pushbutton type shifter for an Econoline that the brother is doing a body drop on, it will have a 700R4 behind it.
    Just found this cool shifter!! Maybe something can be fabbed up pretty easy I bet!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  28. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 4,766

    from texas

    didn't painless make a electric shifter ? You could change out their buttons with the old ones maybe ????A thought. cataloge outside to cold to go look it up..

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