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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, someone tell me you've heard of this before! Tonight it dipped into the 30's. I got in my 1963 L6 194 4 door with a 3 on the tree. After starting the car I found it real hard to shift into 1st. I had to pull super hard on the shifter to get it into gear. I've had this problem before during cold weather but never this bad. When I started to return home I was pulling hard to get into first and my shifter snapped right of the column! So now she's pulled up for the night, waiting for a tow tomorrow. What happened????

What causes hard shifting when it's cold?

Where in the world can I find a replacement shifter? Ebay has nothing.

I had no difficulty shifting into any other gear.

Thanks

 

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72 Frame off, bare metal resto-mod. 383, TH350, Eaton Posi, Complete new suspension, disk brakes
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The internal end of the shifter pushes on a spring loaded rod in the steering column. The spring is why you pull the lever toward you when shifting into first or reverse then it settles toward the dash. I'm probably being too detailed an basic here, but bear with me. At the forward end of the rod is a tab with a pin that normally is inserted into another ran that connects to the tranny for second and third gear. The forward tab is for your first and reverse. In all likelihood that rod is bound up somewhere. I'd look at the pin alignment on the forward tab. Take a heavy, fairly long screwdriver and insert it between the shifter rod tab and the tranny tab and gently see how it moves. If it's difficult, there's something in the column causing interference and you may need to take it apart. Before you do, tap out the shifter pin on the column ring and snake the remainder if the old shifter out of there. Try moving the rod again. If it moves freely, it was the shifter breaking that was causing the bind. If it still is stiff, take the column apart and find it.
As to finding another shift handle, I'd start with companies like year one or classic industries. Usually it's the column ring that breaks, but if you look online and can't find it, call them and ask for ideas of suppliers to contact. Worst case you'll need to take the pieces to a machine shop and have one made.
Let us know as you progress. Again, sorry if I was too basic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, you've given me a good start. Local shop in town here had never seen this before but suggested the same thing you are doing here. Could be as simple as 50 year old grease seizing up, or something more involved. Keeping my fingers crosses as they try to source this part.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Awesome site! Had a guy contact me from the next town over with exactly what I was looking for. New part, new nova buddy!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I've owned this nova for 4 years now. It gets easier to shift when the weather is warmer. I haven't noticed a difference when it's cold outside between a cold car and a warm one.

I can manually shift through the gears under the hood by moving the 1/R and 2/3 levers. This leads me to believe it's bound up somewhere in the column.
 

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I'd love to find someone who knows about or has replacement column bushings and parts to replace originals for a 63, 3 on the tree. I had a 54 chevy, 3 on the tree, shifted like honey, smooth as silk. my 63 takes some old school finesse to shift. what's up with that???
 

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They get gummed up with old grease and worn out potmetal. Sometimes the worn out potmetal is actually worn in use, and makes it shift smoother, I've found.

If the pin on the shift collar is tight in the collar (no egg-shaped holes, pin fits tight), then I think the only real wear could be:

-the pin itself (usually minimal)
-the shifter (usually minimal)
-the sleeve and collar, which sometimes is quite a lot
-the arms down at the bottom of the column, which can become quite worn.

When was the last time any of these things was taken apart, cleaned and greased? Very seldom does it ever happen.

With a 3-speed column, have to be very careful about retaining all the parts and the correct order of reinstall, but it can be done and made to be smooth. Hate to see them all go to 3 on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As far as I know the column has never been removed or disassembled. I've got a haynes manual but it's none to helpful for this project. Anyone have a resource about removal, disassembly, and how to put it all back together.

I agree, I want to keep 3 on the tree, though a cost comparison between a new steering column and a hurst shifter will make that hard to avoid if I can't fix what I've got.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok the column is a mess. I'd like to keep three on the tree. Anyone have a column they are willing to part with?
 

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There are assembly manuals online here on SNS. They will help you see the exploded view of the '63 column and how it all goes back together.

I have some parts from a '62: the tube, the inner shift tube, and maybe some other pieces like some arms for the bottom of the column. What I did was buy a 3-speed column out of a '62 (complete with shifter) and took pictures as I disassembled it. If you went this route, you could paint it while it was out, totally go through it, and then install it without having any down time for the car.

Just a thought. Remember, the collar and can for the turn signal are 3-speed only, but the shifter (stick) is either auto or manual.
 
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