Making a four-on-the-tree, has anyone tried this?

Manual Transmission & Clutch Discussions

  1. halfafish

    halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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    From time to time, I've been known to sit and think about things that maybe don't need thinking about. Especially later at night, after a cocktail or two. Here's tonight's journey...

    I have a 66 Valiant, slant and three on the tree that I intend to stay column shift if I can make it all work out. I'd like to have a 4-speed instead of the 3-speed. Clearly, the column shifter can handle four gears. I'm guessing it wouldn't know the difference between three forward with one reverse, and four forward gears. I'm thinking I could rig up some kind of cable mechanism for the reverse gear and tuck it up under the dash. That leaves the four shifter positions on the column for forward gears.

    Has anyone tried this, and if so how did it turn out? If I'm the first to go down this rabbit hole, can anyone think of any good reasons why to attempt or avoid this business?

    Enquiring minds want to know...:eek:
     
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    • RustyRatRod

      RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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      Yeah, look at the thread where they restored Butch Leal's race car, not the red Duster, but the sho nuff race car. It's got some good pictures in there about how they made the reverse control lever. I thought about going that route with Vixen. Would be really simple. Some early 60s Fords had four on the tree with a reverse lever under the dash. I was thinking of a reverse lever in the floor next to the transmission tunnel. Would be really easy to do.
       
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      • Jadaharabi

        Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Mercedes had a 4 on the column back in the 60s. Maybe you could find one of those steering columns an adapt it.
         
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        • tjpatte

          tjpatte Well-Known Member

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          Drove a Mitsubishi mini van in Haifa Israel with a 5 speed on the column in the early 90’s when I was active duty, so it can be done.
           
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          • Dana67Dart

            Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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            I would assume it is a matter of shift gates and another tube if you wanted 4+R on the tree
             
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            • circlepilot

              circlepilot FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              In 1968,
              I drove an early model Datsun, right side steering, 4 speed on the column, from Tokyo to Tachikawa Japan, with two drunk GIs. One in the back seat and the other one up front as a navigator, (his car) never having driven a right steering car on the right side of the road and no Japanese driver's license. I was "technically sober." :steering:
               
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              • RustyRatRod

                RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                No the column o shift tube necessary. I told yall how to do it. Damn.

                 
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                • Kern Dog

                  Kern Dog FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  Try shifting THAT quickly in a drag race!
                   
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                  • valiantwagonguy

                    valiantwagonguy Well-Known Member

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                    Why ?
                     
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                    • qkcuda

                      qkcuda Well-Known Member

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                      I had a buddy who installed a 4 speed overdrive in a column shift 67 Valiant. He had a reverse lever under the dash. Not sure how he rigged the linkage
                       
                    • halfafish

                      halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                      This is exactly what I had in mind, and set up like RRR's video shows.

                      A couple of reasons. The car is a stone cold survivor, and I'm not enthusiastic about cutting the floor for a floor shifter. I like the funky aspect of the tree shifter. I'd rather have a 4-speed than a 3-speed, and I'm pretty sure I'll want the OD 4-speed. And it leaves plenty of room for my sweetie to ride right next to me, where she belongs. I'm sure I can figure out some arrangement for a lever actuated cable to engage reverse. Stay tuned, we'll see how this turns out when the Valiant gets its turn on the lift for a full mechanical makeover.
                       
                    • TrailBeast

                      TrailBeast AKA Mopars4us on Youtube

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                      I used to have a Datsun pickup with the 4 on the tree pattern until my Brother “borrowed” it without permission and blew the motor because he couldn’t find out how to get to 3rd and 4th.
                      You had to pull the lever out away from the column, then up for 3rd and straight down for 4th if I remember correctly.
                       
                    • TrailBeast

                      TrailBeast AKA Mopars4us on Youtube

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                      Don't forget it can be made electric shifted for reverse.
                       
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                      • 72bluNblu

                        72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        That would be the trick there! Just mount a servo off the transmission and run it to a switch. One pole engages, the other disengages. Easy. Just need the servo and a plate to mount it. You could probably mount the plate right to the side cover. And for a “survivor” the only add would be the switch. The wiring could run through an existing grommet and the rest could mount right to the transmission.
                         
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                        • 67Dart273

                          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          I want no part of any of this

                          LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                           
                        • mygasser

                          mygasser FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          we did this to a uk ford zephyr we fitted a later 4 speed to. we just made a small hole in the tunnel for a short rod to poke up through from the reverse lever, threaded it and screwed on a small ball shift knob. it barely sat higher than the carpet but pulled up to select reverse just fine. we made a small slit in the carpet so it could be put back to stock if needs be with a rubber grommet added to the hole in the tunnel.
                          neil.
                           
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                          • circlepilot

                            circlepilot FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            For some reason, a new post to this thread, made me go back and read my post. I didn't drive that Datsun on the "right side of the road," it was on the left side of the road. It was to say the least a "hair raising experience."
                             
                          • RustyRatRod

                            RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                            Liar liar pants on fire. LOL
                             
                          • Demonracer

                            Demonracer 71 Demon 00 Ram 16 Chrysler 300S 05 Caravan FABO Gold Member

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                            Back in the late 60's, I bought a 55 Cameo pickup from an estate sale. It had a non running 283 in it, we towed it home & found that it had an old Saginaw 4 speed in it. What mystified us was that it had a lever sticking out of the floor & it was connected to the reverse lever on the transmission. The column linkage had been modified to work as the 4 forward gears. We put a running 327 in it & I drove it for about 5 years before selling it.
                             
                          • dartfreak75

                            dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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                            Why not? Lol sounds like a cool idea to me. Iv always loved 3 on the trees id love to have one again! 4 sounds awesome to me.
                             
                          • Dartswinger70

                            Dartswinger70 Ball joints?...

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                            I remember installing Hurst floor shifts in pickup trucks when the column linkage messed up. Used to be able to walk in Pep Boys and they'd have the shifter kits in stock.
                             
                          • halfafish

                            halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                            An update, I'm sold on this concept. I'm going to give this a shot with an 833OD and a reverse lever under the dash with some kind of safety lockout so I can't bump it with my knee and try to cram it into reverse on the freeway. :BangHead:

                            More info to come as I get into this project after driving season this summer.
                             
                          • RustyRatRod

                            RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                            Refresh my memory......what car is this for again?
                             
                          • halfafish

                            halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                            66 Valiant.

                            DSCN0654.JPG
                             
                          • Demonracer

                            Demonracer 71 Demon 00 Ram 16 Chrysler 300S 05 Caravan FABO Gold Member

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                            Put the reverse lever down by the edge of the seat where it's a pull up, or push down for engagement.
                             
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