View Full Version : Transmission: 1957 Silver Hawk 3 on the tree

08-09-2018, 04:26 PM
I bought my 1957 Silver Hawk about a year ago and finally was able to bring it to a show yesterday - about 200 cars and only one Studebaker, mine. It drew a lot of attention.

I thought I would give a little history and post one question, regarding the 3 on the tree.

When I got the Hawk, it needed a total engine rebuild - 289 V8. . Had it torn down to the bare bones. The rebuild required a new crank, pan, and a few other things - not including the valves, pistons, rods, etc. Rebuild took several months, mostly chasing down parts. OK, now the engine is in and it runs great - oil pressure at 60-70.

Next, I put front disk brakes on. No problem, until I put a few miles on them. I knew the instructions said to remove the pressure release valve from the master cylinder - but that looked like a real pain to remove the MC and do that work. So, I drove it to town (15 miles) to have new tires put on and get the front end line up. On the way to the car show from the tire shop, the front brakes locked up tight in traffic, and in the middle of an intersection!! And, to make matters worse, the roll pin that holds the shifting lever in place fell out - couldn't put it in any gear. I now know I should pay a little better attention to the instructions. So, I replace the MC with a new one, after removing the pressure release valve, put in the other valves required, and now they work great!!

So, yesterday was actually the first time I drove it in a reasonable fashion. I say reasonable because of my 3 on the tree problem.

When the car is sitting in the garage, I can shift through the gears with no problem. Once I actually drive it, not so good. I can shift from reverse to 1st with no problem at all. I cannot shift from 1st to second. If I pull over and am moving very slow, I can shift it into 2nd. And then going to 3rd is no problem at all. So I ended up driving to the car show by starting out in 2nd - don't like to, but at least I didn't hold up traffic!

So, I put the car up on my rack and I see nothing wrong. I put the lever in neutral, and the transmission levers seemed to be where they belong. I removed the pins to the clevises on the shifting levers, and they line up just the way they should. Verified that the transmission was actually in neutral, and it was.

So, I am stuck. What do I do now? Any help will be much appreciated.

08-09-2018, 05:24 PM
When you checked the position with the clevises off, did you have the shifter locked in the neutral position? I adjusted my car's levers a short while after I got it and the difference was amazing.
The first thing that came to my mind was that the mounts were bad and under load they were letting things move out of position, but I figured you put in new mounts when you reinstalled the engine.

Skip Lackie
08-09-2018, 06:02 PM
Obviously something is binding. You cannot just look at the shift linkage to determine if that's where the problem is. You need to disconnect the shift rods and adjust them as necessary. It's actually very simple. The best way is to climb under the car and disconnect the shift rods from the trans levers. There are two levers sticking out of the side of the trans to which the rods from the bottom of the steering column are connected. Remove the cotter pins and pull out the pins. Move the levers back and forth -- each has three positions, the middle of which is neutral. Put them both in neutral and have a helper hold the shift lever as close to the neutral position as possible. The rods should now match up exactly with the holes in the levers. If not, loosen the nut and shorten/lengthen each clevis until they do. Tighten the nut, insert the rod, and install a new cotter pin in each. It should now shift without jamming. As noted above, this condition is often caused by sagging motor mounts -- something that should be checked.

08-09-2018, 06:24 PM
I did that adjustment. I didn't have help, so I just put the lever in neutral. Got under the car, disconnected the clevises from the transmission. Nothing moved - it looked like they were just where they belonged. When my son comes in tomorrow, I'll have him sitting in the drivers seat and holding the lever in neutral when I am under the car and check again. Thanks for the suggestion.

Motor mounts are new with the new motor.

Is there anything in the steering column that could cause this problem?

08-09-2018, 06:57 PM
I have tried doing it with someone holding the levers, but the best way is to pin it in place so you know both levers are exactly where they belong. There was a special tool that did this, but on cars like my 52 a hex wrench of the correct size works. I don't know if the same applies to a Hawk.
BTW You might want to edit the title of your post to reference the problem. I almost skipped it because I thought it was just about Hawks having column shift. There are certainly members who can give you tips on aligning the shifter on that model.

08-09-2018, 08:36 PM
The Shop Manual instructions typically say, adjust the shift linkage so the clevis pin slides freely in the low/reverse and the 2nd/3rd lever, and THEN shorten the low/reverse shift rod a turn or a turn and a half. This keeps it from hanging up at the crossover point. Try it, shorten it another half turn if needed.

08-09-2018, 11:15 PM
When I was in high school I had a 54 Chevy that had the same problem. The steering column parts had enough play that if you didn't follow the exact H pattern, it would lock in gear, then I'd have to raise the hood and move the levers to neutral again.

Do you shift by using the H pattern, or do you slide through using the X pattern?

08-10-2018, 02:45 AM
What Post #5 is trying to say is important. He is talking NOT about the Trans. Levers or the Shift Lever, but the 2 Arms or Levers on the Column UNDER THE HOOD.

When the shift levers on the Trans. are in neutral, those 2 Levers should line up so closely that a Allan Wrench or small screwdriver will go into the holes in them used for this alignment adjustment.

The other issue you may be having is, the Shift Tube in the Column may have the hole in it elongated and worn out so that your shift lever will not engage the Shift Tube properly causing the lost motion you are experiencing.

I can tell that this Car has considerable wear on the shifting linkage system from a lot of Miles because when that Pin falls out it means the Bell shaped Housing under the steering wheel has a lot of wear and needs to be replaced.

08-10-2018, 02:48 AM
What Post #5 is trying to say is important. Howard is talking NOT about the Trans. Levers or the Shift Lever, but the 2 Arms or Levers on the Column UNDER THE HOOD.

When the shift levers on the Trans. are in neutral, those 2 Levers should line up so closely that a Allan Wrench or small screwdriver will go into the holes in them used for this alignment adjustment.

The other issue you may be having is, the Shift Tube in the Column may have the hole in it elongated and worn out so that your shift lever will not engage the Shift Tube properly causing the lost motion you are experiencing.

I can tell that this Car has considerable wear on the shifting linkage system from a lot of Miles because when that Pin falls out it means the Bell shaped Housing under the steering wheel has a lot of wear and needs to be replaced.

Meaning, everything from the trans. to the shift Knob should be checked for wear.

08-10-2018, 06:05 AM
OK - thanks everyone for all the info.

The levers on the engine side firewall seem to be lined up perfectly. I don't see any holes in them that would be used to align!

I turned the clevises in 1 1/2 turn, and I am anxious to take it out for a drive to try it out - but it is a wee bit noisy (a good noise) and my wife probably wouldn't appreciate it while she is still sleeping!

All the linkages appear tight and not worn. I suspect that the problem is behind the steering wheel. It just seems like that when I am looking for 2nd. It goes into neutral just fine, just can't move lever down to get into 2nd.

So how much is involved with checking the steering column mechanism? Are replacement parts available for that particular problem?

08-10-2018, 07:47 AM
I just got back from my test drive, and no change. Looks like I pull the steering wheel!

08-10-2018, 09:54 AM
As Rich said, it sounds like the upper column shift pivot is worn and should be replace or repaired, but for right now I'd concentrate on the shift arms at the base of the steering column. Get the slop out and the arms lined up there, then see how it shifts. I realize these cars are old and many times quite worn, so I always try to shift in the strict H pattern, and I never speed shift.

08-10-2018, 10:24 AM
I just checked again, and those lower shift arms don't have any slop in them.
I pulled the shift lever and it looks OK.
With the shift lever out, I can rotate the lever support about 1/2" at the point the lever goes into the support. That seems like a lot of slop to me! I looked into a couple of the parts suppliers and can't seem to find a lever support. I haven't called them yet, but will shortly.
So, is that support fixable? I own a machine shop so we can fix most anything!
Any suggestion as to which supplier might have the lever support?

I am very deliberate with the H pattern - but that doesn't help.

08-10-2018, 11:48 AM
Have you checked the condition of the Shift Tube, the one that connects to the Shift Lever on the Column?

All of the Parts are out there, it just takes more networking with Members and Studebaker Vendors.
I don't think you could do any machining on that Zinc Cast Support that would save it.

The Shift Tube on the other hand, could be welded up and re-drilled.

08-10-2018, 01:26 PM
I have the shifting mechanism on the steering column all apart, and I think that the zinc lever support is the problem.

First of all, without the shifting lever in the casting, the roll pin falls right through - adds to the slop.

The small keyway in the casting measures .545" while the key part of the shifting tube measures .492" - again adds to the slop.

The slot in the lever support that the shifting lever fin rides in measures .172" wide while the fin that fits into that slot is only .107" - really adds to the slop.

I think all this slop is actually allowing the end of the shifting lever to come out of the hole in the long tube!

The long tube with the hole in it looks good. Hole is not elongated at all.

Anyone have any other explanation?

Dwain G.
08-10-2018, 02:19 PM
Hope this helps. http://www.studebaker-info.org/TW/tw0408/tw0408p23.html
As Jerry says in post #6, important last step is to shorten that L-R rod.

08-10-2018, 03:57 PM
Dwain, Thanks a lot - helps.
I have a new shift lever, bushing, roll pin and the zinc casting coming. New Old Stock.
Thank you all for your help.

08-21-2018, 03:14 PM
I am back, and as frustrated as ever! Shifter does not go from 1st to 2nd easily.

I replaced the zinc casting under the turn signal with new.
I replaced the shift lever with new.
I replaced the roll pin in the shift lever with new.
The hole in the shift tube looks nice and round - not worn.

To align the levers:
I put lever in neutral.
I checked the levers on the bottom of the shift tube - they are lined up perfectly (no holes for aligning, must be on a later model).
I checked the levers on the transmission and they seem to be right where they belong.
I shortened the clevises on the transmission levers 1 1/2 turns to snug them up - the pins go through with no interference.

I checked the motor mounts and they look brand new.
I greased the arms on the end of the tube with the zirk.

So, to recap the problem. I can shift from reverse to first with no problem.
When I am sitting still in the garage, I can shift through all the gears.
When I am moving, it will not go from 1st to second without a lot of fooling around.
Once in second, I can get to third with no problem.

What next?

08-21-2018, 03:24 PM
You are supposed to shorten the low/reverse shift rod ONLY. It sounds like you shortened the 2nd/3rd shift rod also. That rod should be adjusted for an easy clevis pin fit, period. Shortening the low/reverse rod is done specifically to help the crossover from low to second.

08-21-2018, 03:28 PM
I did shorten both of them. I'll go undo it right now, thanks.

Mrs K Corbin
08-22-2018, 06:47 AM
One last thing, did you replace the little O-ring Bushings at the transmission? that was my trouble for the longest.

One thing you might do to mitigate it, (this helped me) is to shift out of first (over center) like you're going to reverse (just slightly) then back to center, then head to 2nd.
If that works, make sure you have new Bushings at the tranny and just shorten the Reverse/1st rod.

08-22-2018, 07:59 AM
Are you sure this is a linkage issue, and not a transmission synchronizer issue? Excessively worn synchronizer teeth on the 2nd speed gear and the synchronizer sleeve can create an issue getting into 2nd gear. Long shot here, but sounds like you have covered all the bases with the shifter, shifter tube, shift linkage adjustment, etc.

08-23-2018, 11:11 PM
Just saw this thread. I have the same issue with my Power Hawk. I believe it started with bad a syncro and has progressed over time to slightly or possibly extremely, double beef whopper, hammered second gear. :eek: Will find out for sure soon. Thank you to Jack Vines.

08-24-2018, 05:55 AM
Decades ago i had this problem. gears didnt clash, just wouldnt go into 2nd gear. found a cracked synchro ring and burred teeth on 2nd speed gear.deburred synchro teeth on gear and new blocker ring fixed problem. Luck Doofus

08-24-2018, 01:45 PM
Thank you guys for all the suggestions.

I really do think I have messed with the adjustments enough - the last adjustment I did as to one of your suggestions (studebakercenteroforegon guy) to shorten up the reverse/first clevis didn't help.

I started to think the problem was the clutch as someone mentioned. I just got off the phone with the mechanic that rebuilt my engine, and he said everything in the clutch area was like brand new. Supposedly this engine was redone around 2004 and totally screwed up - but they must have replaced a bunch of other stuff because the car looks brand new on the bottom! My mechanic said the transmission looked like it was brand new when he pulled the engine.

With the car sitting in the garage, I can shift through all the gears with no problem. So, I can put it in reverse and back out with no problem. If I then start out in 1st, I can not get it to second without coming to a total stop. Once I take off in second, I can get to 3rd with no problem. And the overdrive works great!

Any clues for anyone?


08-25-2018, 12:17 AM
Unfortunately it does sound like the torque on the Gears when running jambs them or the Syncros meaning the problem is INSIDE the Main Case.

New or Rebuilt is not always "Correct".

About the ONLY external thing left to check IF you could is: are the Shift Rods the correct ones for the year of the Car AND the T-86 short tail Overdrive Transmission?
This would involve having a Correct pair of Linkage Rods to compare to. And then again if it works Parked, maybe not.

Is there any chance this Car is a "G" Prefix Serial Number Champion Six Silver Hawk?
Meaning that if various V8 Parts were cobbled together to create a V8 powered Hawk, unexpected things will be wrong.

08-25-2018, 08:39 AM
Too much end play on the main gear shaft will cause the syncros to not function quickly. How is the down shift from 3 to 2? does it pop out of gear on deceleration?

08-25-2018, 04:43 PM
Is it possible the pilot bearing is seizing on the input shaft causing rotation even when stepping on the clutch? Seems like the transmission is still rotating with the engine speed not allowing it to unload for shifting. Since you can shift normally with the engine off, this may be the reason. Another thing, is if the transmission fluid is too thick allowing it to again rotate with engine speed while running. We've had this happen at the dealership when someone installed 90wt gear oil in the transmissions instead of the required 75wt, or in the case of some Mazdas, they actually used ATF in their manual transmission and Hondas used engine oil.

08-25-2018, 05:42 PM
I would agree that it could be a cracked syncro. I failed quite a few a long time ago by speed shifting the T86. However even with a cracked syncro I could still shift it if I was careful. However what happens is the syncro expands as it is pushed against the conical surface and blocks the sliding piece that engages the syncro and the gear. If that is the problem you can try to make the shift and try to match the engine speed to the proper speed and it should allow the shift.

Another thing to try is to shift from 1st to 3rd. If you can do that but not shift from 3rd to 2nd then I doubt that it is your linkage.

08-26-2018, 05:34 PM
Just a couple of things: To respond to bezhawk - Down shifting from 3rd to 2nd is no problem. No grinding gears and the transmission does not pop out of gear.

To 64Avanti - I can't shift from 1st to anything except reverse, unless I stop the car then I can usually get it into 2nd, or 3rd, either one.

I am still not convinced that it is not the linkage! I am going to build a clamp to clamp the 2 levers together that are next to the firewall and then see how the lower levers line up.

08-27-2018, 08:55 PM
I sent a PM, as I'll be close to Rochester on Wednesday.

08-30-2018, 08:21 AM
Special thanks to Tom (TWChamp) for stopping in yesterday. Five minutes with a professional adjusting my linkage took care of the problem!!!

And thanks to everyone else for all your help.


08-30-2018, 09:15 AM
most V8 Studes have no problems starting out in 2nd gear...assuming a good engine...especially Larks

08-30-2018, 07:57 PM
Luckily the fix was a simple adjustment. It's pretty tight where the shift levers come out of the steering column, so it was hard to see when they were exactly lined up. Even when I sat in the driver's seat and lifted the lever back and forth in the neutral position, it felt pretty good, like it should shift fine, especially if the lever was moved in the strict H pattern. After looking from every angle, it looked like the 2-3 arm on the steering might be just a hair low, so I turned the adjustment block down about 3 turns to raise the steering arm slightly. That was all it took.

BTW, I was really impressed by the precision work done in EDM shop there. The block with the metal block being pushed through a complex shaped hole was so precise that it wouldn't even hold a light coat of oil on the surface. Wish all my piston rings had that precise a fit. LOL