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Old 11-13-2017, 04:45 AM   #1
King951
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Unhappy 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

Hey there,

I have owned my 1971 C20 for a little over 3 weeks now. It has been a great truck so far, but my biggest complaint has to be the transmission. Not so much the transmission itself, but the shift linkages. I've been reading forum posts, buying parts, adjusting things in every way possible, etc. I've gotten it to the point where it shifts kinda okay if you know how to work it. I still run into issues frequently with Reverse and 1st gear and occasionally getting out of 2nd or 3rd into neutral. The shifter linkage is adjusted as far forward as possible and it is still not enough. I went through and cleaned / re-greased everything, bought all new bushings, etc. Part of me is a bit upset over the fact that my buddies 68' F100 column shifts like new and the linkage itself looks like a black pile of grease while I elbow out countless hours just trying to not get stuck at a green light because I can't get it into first gear / the linkage gets stuck. A few times I have actually had to get out of the truck at a light, open the hood, and manually grab the linkages and force them back into neutral. Over the past few weeks I have learned what causes what to happen and how to safely shift the truck 90% of the time, but if anyone else tries to drive my truck without the detailed explanation of how to not get yourself in a bad linkage situation, they won't make it very far. Very annoying issue on what has been a fairly issue-less truck. I get the whole idea of just learning what makes what happen and deal with it, but being my work truck there will be a few others that will occasionally have to drive it and this isn't going to work out. I even contemplated a few used TH350's I saw for $200 on Craigslist, but I don't wanna get too far ahead of myself here. I noticed a few threads on others in my situation and the general route people seem to take is the Hurst kit. They have an installation kit that is about $160 and then you have to buy the shifter itself which looks to be about $235 putting it at roughly $400 to do the conversion. Pricey but being able to reliably shift through the gears that is a price well worth paying in my opinion.

Has anyone else here done this conversion? How did it go / how do you like it? What was the difference in shift quality / how has it help up?

Any thoughts / information is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:02 AM   #2
GRX
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

Yes. Did the Hurst conversion in my '69 long stepper and have not looked back. Hardest part was cutting hole in the floor. Which I attacked with a tungsten carbide rotary file in my pneumatic die grinder. Only took a few minutes.

Having owned several 3-ott (three on the tree) vehicles over the years I feel your pain. It is great for nostalgia, but little else in my opinion. Much more comfortable shifting from down low by the seat than extending your arm up by the dash. Especially shifting in traffic. The long shift levers are heavy & bulky. You will see what I mean once you have removed them.
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Last edited by GRX; 11-13-2017 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:50 AM   #3
Grumpy old man
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

driving with the 3ott is an art , it's never been a speed shifter and leaning how to double clutch saves many binding issues , It's just a H pattern shifter and works best when light handed rather trying to force them into or out of the gear your searching for. A few bushings , some lube in the correct spots and aligning everything can bring them back to a comfort level you may not have experienced yet , Give it a chance before trashing it all onto the garage floor.It's been in there for 50 years some easy maintenance may allow it to stay for another 50 ? It's a classic and when you strip away all the parts and pieces that make it a classic , well you may as well drive a toyota ...
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:58 AM   #4
In The Ten Ring
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

3OTT was always easy for me, even easier for me than for my father who bought the truck new off the lot.

When I was younger though, I wanted to replace it with a 4 speed in the floor but now, no way. 3OTT is super rare and that alone is reason enough for me.

Besides, when you move that shifter to the floor, it'll be a lot less comfortable for your date/wife/significant other to sit next to you....and you gotta want to have your right arm around them and their head on your right shoulder. That's a beautiful thing on a long drive, let me tell you.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:40 AM   #5
panhead59
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

With new bushings and greased in the right spots it should work fine. Is it possible that the linkage has been bent over the years? Forcing it instead of adjusting it will do that. You could most likely find the linkage off a donor truck and try that. It's hard to "see" if the linkage is bent since it has so many curves in it from the start. That should be pretty inexpensive and these trucks are everywhere to be parted out. Just a thought...
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:52 AM   #6
Grumpy old man
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

I have a few 3 ott spare columns if you need help , there is a thread in here on aligning them correctly .


This should help a lot .


http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=215307

https://www.classicparts.com/1960-76...info/91%2D063/
https://www.classicparts.com/1967-94...info/91%2D126/

Last edited by Grumpy old man; 11-13-2017 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:42 PM   #7
El Dorado Jim
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Re: 3-speed column to floor shift conversion?

I had a 72 stepside years ago that had a Hurst shifter on the floor, loved it!
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