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Technical Stuck in first gear

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Marv 49, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. Marv 49
    Joined: Jun 6, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Marv 49


    Need some help! Drove the Merc to town to pick up the kiddos. Stopped to get gas and now I can’t shift out of first gear. Can the overdrive solenoid do this or am I just grabbing straws.

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  2. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,528

    Bandit Billy

    SO will it move at all when you back out the clutch?
  3. 50 dollars is a right fare price for that car.
  4. Marv 49
    Joined: Jun 6, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Marv 49

    It was stuck in first. I was able to drive it about 6 blocks from the gas station to my brother in laws in first gear. After much looking, I tried moving the shift lever down at the transmission. It switched gears so I took it for a spin. Everything worked as it should, so I drove it home. Gonna do some more inspecting over the weekend to see if possibly it was binding up somewhere

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    Bandit Billy likes this.

  5. Marv 49
    Joined: Jun 6, 2020
    Posts: 6

    Marv 49

    To clarify, when pushing the clutch in the car coasted as normal. It did not act like the clutch was stuck.

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  6. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,520

    Staff Member

    sounds like the shifter was locked up. A lot of times this happens when there is excessive slop in the linkage (possibly worn bushings) or possibly all it needs is to be adjusted. when it is neutral the 2 arms on the steering column need to be even. Look up the adj procedure in a service manual
    Automotive Stud, Jibs, X-cpe and 2 others like this.
  7. Had a 64 Ford that use to do the same thing. Had to raise the hood and raise one of the levers at the bottom of the column.
  8. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 829


    Sounds like you may be applying for membership in the greasy finger club. You become a member when you find that your column linkage is worn just enough to hang up between first and second. The fix is to open the hood and push the second gear lever back down. Every old car I had back in the 60's would do this, getting caught in the neutral gate. Once in a great while pulling it back into first gear would cause the second gear linkage to drop on it's own, but not often.
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  9. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,805


    X2 what Moriarity said.
  10. larry k
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 354

    larry k

    Sounds like is time to go to the western auto store and buy a fox craft floor shift conversion kit and install it , like most of old hamb guys did in the day !!!
  11. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,482

    phat rat

    Had a 61 Impala that would stick sometimes if you didn't shift just right going from 1st to 2nd. Was a pita when it happened while speed shifting. Yes a floor shift conversion takes care of it
  12. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,495

    Atwater Mike

    Actually, this advice may be rooted in fact.
    The Merc has an inner tube (thinwall steel, which wears due to no lube inside steering column)
    A good floorshift linkage can be had from Summit, (their own brand) May have to have their counter man find it for you...
  13. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,592


    On my 51 when it had the column shift when I was 16 the piece that the shift handle went into broke out of the tube that Atwater Mike mentioned. I had a guy braze it back together but it didn't hold and I bought a cheap shifter that got stuck between gears way too many times. Dang, that was 57 years ago that that happened.
  14. Glenn Thoreson
    Joined: Aug 13, 2010
    Posts: 203

    Glenn Thoreson
    from SW Wyoming

    Check for worn bushings on the shift rods and the arms where they go into the tranny case. The bushings on the column arms are prone to wear. Could be out of adjustment, too. When in neutral, the column arms should be in alignment with each other Some cars are especially sensitive to this and can be very finicky to adjust. Anywhere there is slop in the shift linkage could be a big problem. See if you can find a service manual for your car.
  15. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 545

    Bob Lowry

    X3 on what Moriarity said. Chevy's with 3 on the tree were notorious for doing that. I recently bought a
    '69 Camaro that had the 3 on the tree. Owner said he was told the trans was shot, so reduced the price
    by a couple of thousand. I could see exactly what the issue was. Paid the man, and had my son move
    the shifter in the car while I held the arms in the engine compartment. Click, click and we drove it away!
  16. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,547

    jimmy six

    The problem is on the the little "box" on the steering column on the firewall side. If it happens again go under the hood and pull the linkage for the first/reverse back up to neutral.. Happened a lot back in HS with 50's Fords and 50's Chevrolets. Learn to keep the column shifter arm closer to the steering wheel when you bring out of first going to more speed shifting.
    Lloyd's paint & glass likes this.
  17. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 701

    Chevy Gasser

    Wow. I hadn't thought about this for 50 years or more. My '51 Ford flathead V8 overdrive used to do this. I got real good at hit the parking brake and crawling underneath and unlocking it, less that a minute. Even at the prom in the RAIN! The J.C. Whitney floor shifter for about $26 avoided that problem.
  18. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,098


    Also check the arms on the side of the trans. Make sure the bolts or nuts that hold them on are tight and that the holes aren't wallowed out.
  19. Vic Walter
    Joined: Jan 21, 2018
    Posts: 96

    Vic Walter

    Some side shift manual trans have a lock out mechanisum that will prevent more than 1 gear to be engaged at a time.
    If the linkage is worn or out of adjustment the shifter could be moved to neutral between 2nd and 3rd and leave the trans in first gear. The lock out would prevent 2nd and 3rd and the worn linkage would prevent the shifter from getting back to 1st without a bit of effort. The quick fix would be to manually move the rev/1st lever on the trans to it's neutral position. This would realign the rev/1st neutral with the 2nd/3rd neutral in the shifter and allow normal operation. Without adjustment or fixing what is worn / loose the problem will come back.

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