No announcement yet.

"3 on the tree"

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Other: "3 on the tree"

    Good morning. I have a '65 Commander w/6cyl. 3 on the tree. I will not shift. I have replaced bushings in the linkage and adjusted the linkage and the clutch. I believe the issue is with the column. Is there any info on rebuilding a 3 on the tree column? Are there parts available? I am in the Detroit area, does anyone know someone that could rebuild it for me?
    Thank you,

  • #2
    It's not difficult to determine where the problem lies. Since you replaced the rubber bushings, you were already half way there. Did it shift okay before you replaced the bushings? Did you replace those at the transmission end of the shift levers, or just those at the base of the steering column? It's possible that you accidentally moved the levers on the transmission while you were replacing the bushings and/or that the worn bushings caused the trans to get partially jammed in two gears at once. In either case, the levers might have to be manually adjusted at the trans.

    Disconnect the shift rods from the levers at the trans. Then try shifting the trans levers by hand one at a time -- back and forth. If they move easily, the problem is not in the trans. Now move them both to their middle positions -- the trans is now in neutral. Get someone to hold the gear shift lever as close to neutral as possible (the middle of the H pattern). If the rods are exactly the right length to match up to the trans levers, then they are properly adjusted -- if not, they should be lengthened or shortened to match the trans levers.

    Get your helper to move the shift lever through all positions of the H pattern while you are under the car. Do the rods appear to move back and forth appropriately? If not, there's something amiss in the linkage. If they appear to work correctly, connect them temporarily to the trans levers, and have your helper shift them again. Do the levers on the trans get pushed/pulled all the way? Disconnect each rod in both positions to verify that the trans levers are fully pushed/pulled by the rods. If not, there's a problem with the linkage.

    Parts are probably available, either new or used, to repair whatever is broken (if anything is).
    Skip Lackie


    • #3
      Agree with Skip, first need to determine where the problem lies, and he explains it well.

      If you determine it is the column, I recommend removal and total dis-assembly. It is not rocket science, and once apart you will likely find hardened grease and crud. Clean everything well, then lube all sliding surfaces with your favorite grease. If anything is excessively worn, replace it if possible. Once reassembled, it should work good as new.

      I have done the above to most every 3-on-tree Stude ever owned. My 56J and 62GT both work as new; both had the above, recommended treatment; both have T85 trannys, yet still shift smoothly. With your 6-cylinder tranny, it should become shift-able with finger tips.
      Last edited by JoeHall; 05-10-2016, 02:03 PM.


      • #4
        Motor and transmission mounts may also fatigue over time, While linkage adjustments should be able to compensate for that, examine their condition and consider replacements.
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        '33 Rockne 10,
        '51 Commander Starlight,
        '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
        '56 Sky Hawk


        • #5
          If you don't have a shop manual, you need to get one. Once the "three on the tree" mechanism was introduced, with few exceptions, it remained an almost universally unchanged standardized mechanism throughout the industry.

          Your shop manual has specific instructions regarding the adjusting procedure. One of the most overlooked, is the "shift control box." It is that little aluminum box with the pressed in plug between your firewall, and steering gear box. You will need to pry the little plug out to access the shaft.

          Studebaker made a special tool that would fit into a hole in the shaft and lock the two levers into neutral position. I believe you can probably accomplish the same task with a properly sized allen wrench. (Although, I don't remember which size to recommend. You would have to "trial and error" to figure out which one would fit the most snug.)

          Once you have the transmission levers, and the shift control box levers in true neutral position, you adjust the clevis of each shifter rod to connect with no binding or interference (in other words, they pretty much fall into place.). Don't forget to tighten the clevis jam nuts to lock them into place. With this accomplished, you remove the allen wrench, lube the shift box, re-install the plug, and you should be good to go for years. That is, if the rest of the mechanism has not been neglected or abused to the point of not being able to accept adjustment.
          Last edited by jclary; 05-11-2016, 01:31 PM.
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975


          • #6
            Please describe "will not shift" a little more.

            Examples -
            - The lever is in the neutral position and will not budge at all, whether the engine is running or not, and whether or not the clutch pedal is depressed.
            - As above, but the lever will move side to side in the neutral gate
            - The lever is stuck in one position (R/1/2/3) and will not budge to neutral even when the engine is off.
            - The transmission grinds horribly whenever the lever is moved to R/1/2/3 when the engine is running and the clutch is depressed


            regards, Dan T