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budmanroch 05-22-2019 08:08 PM

shift tower won't go back on!

What am I doing wrong? my "52 spur gear 4 speed doesn't want to go back together. When I sit the tower down, line up the forks to the grooves , the tower sits about 3/8" high. When it slides left or right it sits down on the casting, but it is way out of alignment. What am I doing wrong? This is a used transmission without a shifter so I don't know what gear the tower was left in. Is there a way to tell?:confused:

Flathead Fever 05-22-2019 10:15 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

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On a synchronized transmission you usually shift the gears into the neutral position by moving the synchronizers. Then put the shifter (forks) into the neutral position and the forks should just drop into place.

In your trans there are no synchronizers so you need to slide the gears into their neutral positions as shown in this drawing. With the shifter also in neutral it should drop down flush with the trans case.

Once you have it figured out. With the top off its also a good time to add your gear oil. Its a lot easier to pour it in that big opening up to the filler plug level.

Tinker 05-22-2019 10:21 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

So does your tower you are trying to install have a reverse lockout on the shifter?

expavr 05-23-2019 12:05 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

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Does your shift tower look like this one? If so when you put the tower on the trans the longer cast sleeves that hold the steel sliding shafts should be facing the front of the transmission (photo1). If the shift forks are seated properly in the groves on the gears the shift tower should sit flat on the trans. As Tinker suggests you may have to play with the shafts in the shift tower to get the forks to align with the gears. As I recall the neutral position for the forks is when all three shafts are more or less aligned as seen in photo2. Also be aware that there is a groove in the biscuit near the bottom of the shifter that needs to be aligned with the pin that holds the shifter cap on the shift tower. if that isn't aligned and held in place by the pin the shifter will rotate freely and you won't be able to work the sliders. I found it easier to put the shift tower back on the trans without the shifter installed in it.

budmanroch 05-23-2019 05:51 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

no reverse lockout. In the gear cluster there is a lever that sticks up (reverse slider?)and I can't tell what is supposed to engage it.

budmanroch 05-23-2019 06:00 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

Yes, my tower looks like yours. The forks are roughly in the middle and aligned.Should they be difficult to move? Like they are in a dedent? I can't budge them. I rocked the top into place and made sure the forks and grooves lined up, but it will not go. It acts like the forks are too long. Do they rock to the side when you bolt the top on?

Bob C 05-23-2019 10:08 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

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The reverse fork should fit into the slot circled in red.


expavr 05-23-2019 10:44 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

Each of those 3 vertical bumps cast on the front of the shift tower hold a spring loaded ball bearing that drop into a notch in the sliding shafts when a shift is made. This setup holds the shaft and and its fork in whatever gear is engaged until another shift is made. It sounds like the ball bearings may be stuck to the shafts with dry grease or rust. The first step would be to soak them with Kroil, PB Blaster or some other rust attacking compound. There are threads on here that discuss the best way to deal with this condition. The second step would be to secure the tower in a bench vise and patiently attempt to break the shafts loose by moving the shifter. When all else fails you will have to remove the bolts holding the forks to the shaft and drive the shafts out with a drift. If you have to go that route take care that you catch the ball bearings and springs. Also scribe or mark the shaft in some way (I used a small file) to insure that the forks were put back in the same location. Pay attention to the orientation of each fork on the shaft.
The forks should fit into the slot in the gears without the tower tipping side to side. Regarding the fit of the tower to trans I would recommend you contact Mac Van Pelt who is very knowledgeable about these transmissions and can help you in more detail. If your shifter doesn’t have the lever and rod that allows the tip of the shifter to fit into the notch on the outboard shaft which is the reverse lockout you may have a mismatched condition (later tower) or ? Between Mac and the other 4 speed trans owners here on the Barn we should be able to get your rig on the road. Also photos of what you have would be helpful.

budmanroch 05-23-2019 06:45 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

ok got the cover On! The problem was the reverse slot alignment. I finally got them to align and it fell in. Hoping this nightmare was over - I was disappointed that I have no shift pattern after installing the stick. Something is obviously not lined up right. Off with the tower again....... All those other posts made it sound so easy....:mad:

expavr 05-23-2019 09:10 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

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Does your shifter look like the one in the photos? Is the tip on yours worn? When you insert it in the shift tower is the tip centered in between the hardware on the shafts? Are you able to move the shafts using the shifter with the tower off the transmission?

Bob C 05-23-2019 09:48 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

What do you mean you have no shift pattern?

Tinker 05-23-2019 09:53 PM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

Give a 10 minute call to Vanpelts. He will straighten it out.

Contact info.


budmanroch 05-24-2019 08:28 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

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OK - some progress. I got the tower on and I have most of the gears. When I said I didn't have a shift pattern, I meant the shifter would flop left to right and maybe go into 4th or reverse if I twisted it. I pulled the shifter out and removed the tower again to make sure everything was in neutral. The shifter now seems to go into most gears, and I am hoping I may need to start the engine to let things mesh together. I attached a picture this time so you can see it is a plain old shift tower, no lock out.

This is a used transmission that I was told worked great. The gears all look good and I presume the shifter forks and sliders were good. If this doesn't shift when I start up, then I will put my tower on from my old transmission which was sloppy but worked. So, some progress - what else do you do on a late night.....

Now to get the fuel system primed so that it will start. The posts on the weak fuel pumps seem true. Trying all the tricks I read about. Thanks for everyone's help.

deuce_roadster 05-24-2019 08:39 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

Is the slot in the ball part of the shifter lever or the pin that engages it worn out? If the lever flops from side to side it sounds like the pin is not in there.

budmanroch 05-24-2019 08:46 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

No, I put the pin in. Its holding the shifter like it is supposed to. It might be sloppier than it should be though. I'm using my old shifter and pin as the used one didn't come with them. I searched the transmission with a magnet looking for the pin but didn't come up with one.

Bob C 05-24-2019 09:54 AM

Re: shift tower won't go back on!

Check out the pictures at this link for repairing worn shift lever.


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