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Old 05-14-2017, 08:55 AM   #1
Rick6
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Default Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Hi everyone, I have a 31 Model A roadster deluxe. The car has been in the family for 25+ years. The clutch or pressure plate has not been replaced or adjusted as I am aware of. When putting car into storage last fall I was unable to shift the car into 2nd or 3rd gear. It was as if the gate to 2nd and 3rd gear was closed. I could not get the car to shift. This spring I got car out of storage and got her ready to run. I made a quick test run and had the same shifting issues. I brought that car back and checked the clutch pedal clearance and the throughout bearing operation threw the inspection plate in the bell housing. I have too much pedal movement before the clutch disengages. The clutch adjustment rod is screwed all the way in no more adjustment is available.

It is acting like the clutch is not fully disengaging even though the throughout bearing appears to be operating properly. I'm not sure if something has broken within the shifting tower or the pressure plate is out of adjustment or the clutch plate is bad.

What do you suggest?

Thank you,

Rick
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:03 AM   #2
RawhideKid
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Sounds like the throw-out bearing fingers are broken or severely cracked and bending away from the clutch fingers. The other possibility is a bad pressure plate, but that is so uncommon it is almost not worth mentioning,

Did you check the depth of the pressure plate fingers?

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Old 05-14-2017, 09:09 AM   #3
Terry, NJ
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

I think you will have to take the top of the transmission off and find out what is wrong. I suspect a lot....... oh hell, lift the floorboard, take the top off and see, it's only six bolts. Watch the front two, they're a little longer. Take the top carefully and save the gasket. This should tell you what you're looking for (And More)
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

So it shifts OK into 1st and Reverse?
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:12 AM   #5
Dick Steinkamp
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

If you can shift the car into low and/or reverse with the engine running and the clutch depressed, it's not the clutch or related clutch parts. The clutch may need some attention, but it wouldn't be keeping you from shifting into 2nd and 3rd.

I'd pull the shift tower off and check it for broken, missing parts.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

If it's not grinding when you try to push the lever into 2nd or 3rd "locked" it's most likely the shift tower. The transmission needs to be fully out of first gear before the gears will engage into 2nd it 3rd. A's has been suggested pull the top off and inspect. If it's grinding and can't go into gear it's in the clutch pressure plate system.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:18 AM   #7
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

If you can put it in firsty---then drive, stop put in rev then move in rev most likely it is not the clutch

There is a interlock in the shifter, perhaps your shifter lever ball and the forks are worn--can you shift 2-3 with engine shut off? ---a common problem with worn shifter is that going from 1-2 that #1-rev shifter rail isn't in the neutral positiion, but the lever ball/fork groove wear allows the shifter to go to the 2/3 rail without fully being in r-1 rail neutral----try finding the r-1 neutral detent and then go across the "H" to 2-3 rail, ----follow the exact "H" patterrn, not just push the lever towars 2nd

it's also possible that a detent spring broke or debris got into the shifter rail and is jamming operation ---
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

I had a similar problem. I found that while I was double clutching for first to second, I would move the shifter from right to left (in the middle) a couple of times, and then go to second.

It only happened from first to second.

It has since worked itself out.

I think mine was a little corrosion on the rails, from years of sitting.

Good Luck;
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:02 AM   #9
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Yes I can shift into 1st and reverse. When driving in 1st gear and attempting to shift into 2nd gear we get a lot of grinding. I noticed more difficulty with shifting as last years driving season progressed it was tougher to get 2nd and 3rd into gear and more grinding on shifts even with double clutching and after more tuning to get as low of an rpm idle as possible.

I can shift the car through all the gears with the engine off as well as with the engine running and clutch depressed.

I'm thinking based on the replies thus far that I have something broken or badly worn in the shifting tower/transmission and possibly something happening with the clutch or pressure plate since we do have some gear grinding when going from 1st to 2nd to 3rd.

Is it best to start with the shifting tower and work down and forward? I'm trying to avoid pulling the engine and dropping the transmission. but if that has to be done then I may as well rebuild the clutch and transmission while its out.

Rick
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:06 AM   #10
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

I will pull the shifting tower and see if that sheds some light on the situation.

Thank you all for the quick replies and suggestions. Have a great Mothers day.

I'll report back what I find.

Rick
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:09 AM   #11
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Rawhide kid, I did not check the throw-out bearing fingers. I'm not exactly sure how to go about that with the engine and transmission still in the car?
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:22 AM   #12
RawhideKid
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Simple, get something like the old school rulers, the " style, tape a piece of medium cardboard, like a slice of manila folder to the flat side kinda in the middle and cut it to 5/8" from the edge and through the inspection port, with throw-out bearing fully relaxed, lay the edge up side the pressure plate to get a distance to the fingers. The distance should be 5/8ths to 11/16th". Anything more will be way too far away from the throw-out bearing for the clutch to disengage.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:42 AM   #13
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

I read that Mikes' Affordable sells NEW re-pro shift tower assemblies. Haven't heard anything BAD about them. I "think" they're made in Denmark??
Mikes' also sells COMPLETE re-pro transmissions.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:04 AM   #14
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

First. How much pedal free-play is there ? Should be 1-1.5". Adjust to get that.

second. While checking/adjusting free-play check the the throw-out arm isn't cracked thru the pin.

third. Remove the transmitter top. Check the end of the shift lever, the ball should be round, but, it won't be. They tend to wear square over the decades requiring care when shifting. While in there check the shift forks for excess wear and alignment.

fourth. It sounds like you know how to drive the vehicle. It can't be driven like a modern car. Take your time between shifts. Upshifts shouldn't require a double clutch, but, its a slow easy shift.

It sounds as though the problem may be with the transmitter. It sounds like the clutch is OK. Don't try to adjust the pressure plate fingers yet. It can be done while everything is still in the car, but, I don't think thats the problem. When checking thru the inspection hole, the release/ throwout bearing shouldn't be very far from the pressure plate fingers if the pedal free-play is adjusted correctly.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:25 AM   #15
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Thank you Rawhidekid and Patrick, I did check the clutch pedal adjustment. I believe we had about 2" of free travel down before having tension and before the throw-out bearing would begin to move away from the pressure plate. I was able to get it down to about an inch and a half but that takes up all the adjustment threads. I'm maxed out on pedal adjustment.

This makes me believe that I have multiple issues.

  • Something wrong in the shifting tower and
  • Something going on in the clutch/pressure plate assembly.
I did replace all the gear lube in the transmission with Ford spec M-533 600W axle & transmission Lubricant just to make sure it wasn't an issue with broken down lubricant.

After Mothers day dinner I'll remove the shit tower and see what I find.

Thank you

Rick
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:27 AM   #16
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Sorry should be shift not "shit" tower. Maybe it is a piece of crap down in there, we'll see.

Rick
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:29 AM   #17
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Throw-out arm looks to be okay - not cracks through pin area.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:34 AM   #18
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Does it have oil in it
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:41 AM   #19
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Patrick I agree that up-shifting should not require a little goose of gas to get the gears to engage. The shifting problems have gradually worsen over time. That nice H pattern with a slow movement that drops into the slot no longer exists. It's like your pushing against a hard stop and only get a lot of grinding. You basically need to be at a stop or crawl in order to get into 2nd or 3rd gear.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:43 AM   #20
Rick6
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Default Re: Can not shift to 2nd or 3rd gear

Yes Kurt, I even drained the gear lubricant and replaced it with Ford spec M-533 600W axle & transmission lubricant. Thick as honey.
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