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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1971 nova and am contemplating converting from column shifter to floor shifter. Not sure if I will go with B & M or Hurst model for a TH350. Cable version too.
My question is besides removing the existing linkage from my transmission to the bottom of steering column is there anything else near the steering wheel I need to remove besides the shift lever?

According to the Hurst installation instructions, this is what it says:

STEP 1. Remove the stock shift linkage;
Column Shifters: Remove all rods, levers or cables from the column and the transmission. Place the column shift lever in the Park position. Remove the pin holding the shift lever in the column and remove the lever assemby. If your vehicle is equipped with a locking steering column, secure the column lock lever in the full up position.

WARNING: This allows the steering wheel to be locked and ignition key removed WHENEVER the ignition key is turned to the “lock” position WHILE THE VEHICLE IS MOVING, OR AT ANY OTHER TIME.

Where is this column lock lever and how do I “secure the column lock lever in the full up position”?

As far as the Neutral Safety Switch and the Back Up Light Switch it states this:

STEP 14.
On GM vehicles, the neutral safety switch may be located on the shifter (steering column or console), or it may be a mechanical interlock in the steering column that prevents the key from turning to the Start position unless the shifter is in the Park or Neutral position. Identify the type of neutral safety system you have. If the key will not turn to the Start position unless the stock shifter is in Park or Neutral, you have a mechanical interlock type, otherwise you have a neutral safety switch type.
If you have a neutral safety switch, locate the switch and identify the neutral safety wires (engine will not crank unless these wires are connected together). With either type, disconnect the battery ground cable to prevent accidental shorts. If you have a neutral safety switch, disconnect and extend both wires from the GM switch to the switch on the shifter. If you have a mechanical interlock cut the wire that goes from the start position on the ignition switch to the solenoid on the starter. This wire is usually a 10 or 12 gauge purple wire. Run wires from both ends of the cut wire to the switch on the shifter. Put slip on terminals on the ends of the lengthened wire. Crimp the termi- nals onto the wires using a crimping tool or pliers. Connect the wires to the LOWER switch on the shifter. Idenify the wires for the backup lights and run them to the UPPER switch on the shifter. Tape the terminal connections and all other connections to prevent shorts. Re- connect the battery ground cable, disconnect the coil wire and set the parking brake. Check the switch operation by attempting to start the motor in each shifter position. The starter must crank only when the shifter is in the Park or Neutral position. Adjust the switches if required. Reconnect the coil wire.

I can’t turn the key from lock position to start position unless the shifter is in Park or Neutral, so I am thinking I must have a Mechanical Interlock.

Just trying to do my homework before getting into something that’s more of a pain in the butt rather than letting the shifter on the column.

Any help or thoughts is greatly appreciated!
 

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If your vehicle is equipped with a locking steering column, secure the column lock lever in the full up position.

WARNING: This allows the steering wheel to be locked and ignition key removed WHENEVER the ignition key is turned to the “lock” position WHILE THE VEHICLE IS MOVING, OR AT ANY OTHER TIME.

Where is this column lock lever and how do I “secure the column lock lever in the full up position”?

As far as the Neutral Safety Switch and the Back Up Light Switch it states this:

STEP 14.
On GM vehicles, the neutral safety switch may be located on the shifter (steering column or console), or it may be a mechanical interlock in the steering column that prevents the key from turning to the Start position unless the shifter is in the Park or Neutral position. Identify the type of neutral safety system you have. If the key will not turn to the Start position unless the stock shifter is in Park or Neutral, you have a mechanical interlock type, otherwise you have a neutral safety switch type.
If you have a neutral safety switch, locate the switch and identify the neutral safety wires (engine will not crank unless these wires are connected together). With either type, disconnect the battery ground cable to prevent accidental shorts. If you have a neutral safety switch, disconnect and extend both wires from the GM switch to the switch on the shifter. If you have a mechanical interlock cut the wire that goes from the start position on the ignition switch to the solenoid on the starter. This wire is usually a 10 or 12 gauge purple wire. Run wires from both ends of the cut wire to the switch on the shifter. Put slip on terminals on the ends of the lengthened wire. Crimp the termi- nals onto the wires using a crimping tool or pliers. Connect the wires to the LOWER switch on the shifter. Idenify the wires for the backup lights and run them to the UPPER switch on the shifter. Tape the terminal connections and all other connections to prevent shorts. Re- connect the battery ground cable, disconnect the coil wire and set the parking brake. Check the switch operation by attempting to start the motor in each shifter position. The starter must crank only when the shifter is in the Park or Neutral position. Adjust the switches if required. Reconnect the coil wire.

I can’t turn the key from lock position to start position unless the shifter is in Park or Neutral, so I am thinking I must have a Mechanical Interlock.

Just trying to do my homework before getting into something that’s more of a pain in the butt rather than letting the shifter on the column.

Any help or thoughts is greatly appreciated!
Most of us want to do what I call "Hot Rod" our cars with aftermarket shifters, but be aware just like they are stating in the instruction manual, things will change with the conversion. Now whether this feels safe to you are not is your decision.

As far as you extending and connecting the original 10-12 gauge wire off of the original nuetral safety switch, I would be looking REAL close as to what the switch on the new shifter can handle as far as amperage. Years ago the aftermarket shifters had micro switches on them and at MOST they were rated at handling 5A and depending on your starter setup, the factory had a 10-12 gauge wire on that circuit to handle up to around 20A or so, and one can see if the original setup required up to 20A and you then try and pass this through a 5A switch, problems can occur and the switch may fail out in the middle of no where. Not to worry, there are ways with relays to get around this.

I would do some searches on this site as well as others and see what turns up.

On a side note, I had a buddy cut off the shifter arm on his column around 40 years ago and a few years back he called me with smoke coming out from under the hood. We traced it down to the coil wire of of the bulkhead connector having it's insulation rubbed through from a sharp edge on the cutoff lever and created a short that was not protected by a fuse.

You just want to do things to where it's safe and reliable.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Most of us want to do what I call "Hot Rod" our cars with aftermarket shifters, but be aware just like they are stating in the instruction manual, things will change with the conversion. Now whether this feels safe to you are not is your decision.

As far as you extending and connecting the original 10-12 gauge wire off of the original nuetral safety switch, I would be looking REAL close as to what the switch on the new shifter can handle as far as amperage. Years ago the aftermarket shifters had micro switches on them and at MOST they were rated at handling 5A and depending on your starter setup, the factory had a 10-12 gauge wire on that circuit to handle up to around 20A or so, and one can see if the original setup required up to 20A and you then try and pass this through a 5A switch, problems can occur and the switch may fail out in the middle of no where. Not to worry, there are ways with relays to get around this.

I would do some searches on this site as well as others and see what turns up.

On a side note, I had a buddy cut off the shifter arm on his column around 40 years ago and a few years back he called me with smoke coming out from under the hood. We traced it down to the coil wire of of the bulkhead connector having it's insulation rubbed through from a sharp edge on the cutoff lever and created a short that was not protected by a fuse.

You just want to do things to where it's safe and reliable.

Jim
Thanks Jim for the in depth explanation. I will definitely research it more before doing anything and potentially causing more issues than what it’s worth by wanting to”HOT ROD” it more.
Thanks, Ron
 
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