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shifting problems

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  • Transmission / Overdrive: shifting problems

    I have recently acquired my first Studebaker, a 55 Commander with a slopy colum shift 3speed trans. When shifting from first to second, second to first, or third to first I can not get in to gear. There is no problem going from second to third and third to second or reverse to first and first to reverse. Basically when changing sides of the "shifter H" it will not go in to gear. While driving if I shift up to reverse so that the gears grind a little then it will usually go into gear but not always.

    I am going to attempt to rebuild the linkage in the steering column to fix the slop (and hopefully the problem) before doing a trans rebuild. I would appreciate any advice on this problem and recommendations for finding parts. I have no idea were to get the bushings for the linkage.

  • #2
    I know others will chime in, but it maybe as easy as changing motor mounts. They sag over time, and can affect both the shifter and clutch linkage.


    • #3
      The problem is very probably in the linkage. When first assembled each shift rod had two rubber/steel grommets, fitting a 5/16 rod into a 5/8 hole. With 55 years of both wear and age, they must be replaced. These are available from most Stude vendors.

      Having said that, and having replaced them in my '53 coupe, I still have to be careful going from first to second. A 'speed shift' leaves the transmission in 1st and the shift lever in neutral. You'll find that many Stude drivers with 3 speeds shift from first up past neutral, then into the 2/3 range, then into second.


      • #4
        Interesting---I did notice that one motor mount(presumably both) is cracked and needs new. Are there any studebaker parts suppliers? FYI I'm finding a worn bushing in the gear shifter at the steering column. also a worn damaged gromet at the gear shifter socket. It can't easy to locate one of these.Aloha Jim


        • #5
          I know Studebaker International has all three, the grommet at the gear shift costs $8.50 and is on page 199 of their catalog, phone 317.462.3124. Spend an extra 3.50 and ask for their current catalog, the one they have on hand now has 290 pages of parts, the next one will probably double that.


          • #6
            Sloppy shift lever

            My gear shift lever was very sloppy also and although my car is an automatic (Packard Hawk) what I found may help you. I recently had my column out and took it all apart to paint. When removing the shift lever I noticed that the metal around it was very thin and out of shape. The rubber grommet was also dry and cracked. This was cause for a lot of play on the upper end. I found a later model steering column and found that the area around the shift lever had been beefed up. I put it back together wit the heavier collar and new rubber grommet and it is really solid. I was just looking at my unrestored Golden Hawk (3 speed/OD) and the original owner made the same change. I can tell because it is a different color than the rest of the column. Here are a couple of pictures that will explain:

            Larry Y
            North Wales, PA


            • #7
              No, these parts are not hard to find...

              Also, if you're a youngster and this is your first old car, know that they don't shift as quickly or slickly as a modern car you might have grown up with.
              (read it backwards)

              Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln


              • #8
                quote" You'll find that many Stude drivers with 3 speeds shift from first up past neutral, then into the 2/3 range, then into second."
                I do this and for the most part it works well. I also (because I remember my dad doing this) ignore first gear and start of in second. It works well if you have an overdrive transmission and not too many steep hills. I know this isn't a fix but it may help. I have also replaced the grommets and it has helped quite a bit.
                55 President Deluxe
                64 Commander
                66 Cruiser

                37 Oldsmobile F37 4 Door