Suddenly Shiftless

A summer Friday afternoon–perfect time to run some errands in the car. I hopped in with a grocery list and packages for the post office. The parking lot at the post office was packed; I took a spot way in the back, threw the car into park and realized instantly that it was no longer connected to the transmission.

Shift linkage
Those dohickeys need to be connected, probably with that bolt.

It took a few seconds for the rest of my brain cells to spring into action. I was head-in with a bush in front of me, no reverse and no park. I sent my son in with our drop-offs while I thought.

Fortunately, I was on a very slight slope. I shut the car off and it slid back out of the spot. Incredible how heavy the brakes and steering are with the power off. The previous owner jumped the wire across the neutral safety switch–I can start the car in gear. When it got far enough back, I turned the key and the car leaped back to life–still in drive. In retrospect, I could still have thrown the car in park to restart it; the safety switch on the ’64 is on the column, not at the transmission (and that was still working).

Of all the gears to be stuck in, drive is probably the best. We motored on home, bypassing the rest of the errands. Chocks under the back wheels are keeping the car in the driveway until we get the parking gear back.

Brake Lights
Been a while since I was under the hood. Wonder how long the brake lights have been disconnected?

A quick look under the hood revealed the problem: the nut and bolt connecting the shifter on the column to the transmission linkage had come undone. No one to blame but myself–I put that on when I replaced the shift detente mechanism.


2 thoughts on “Suddenly Shiftless”

  1. I left that same nut loose after rebuilding the whole shifter mechanism! I wondered for a long time why it was still sloppy unit I finally figured it out.


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