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Old 03-13-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
Lugnutt
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1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

Hey guys, I hope one of you can help.

I'm restoring my 72 Chev 4x4 that I've had since new and one of the things that has happened over the years (can't remember when) is that the transmission column shifter has gotten real stiff and hard to move around from Park into the various gears and back again. Do any of you have a guess where I might start looking for the cause of this stiffness? Maybe this has happened before to one of you and could share where the problem was.

I appreciate any input, thanks,

Gary
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

Unhook the linkage in the engine compartment at the firewall. Get inside and move the shifter. See if the lever moves freely then. If so, then it's in the linkage going to the trans and not the column. One note: if you have a tilt column and you have the long pointer, remove it so it doesn't get broken. I don't remember when the column changed.

Next step is to unhook the trans and move the lever by hand. If that is stiff, then it's inside the trans. Otherwise you can work the linkage by hand and see if that's stiff. If it's a problem with the linkage rods, chances are they just got rusty on you and need some TLC.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

i'd start by spray the heck out of the shifter tube on the column with wd40 or simaler stuff// i've found 40year old moving parts respond well to cleaning and lubrication
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugnutt View Post
Hey guys, I hope one of you can help.

I'm restoring my 72 Chev 4x4 that I've had since new and one of the things that has happened over the years (can't remember when) is that the transmission column shifter has gotten real stiff and hard to move around from Park into the various gears and back again. Do any of you have a guess where I might start looking for the cause of this stiffness? Maybe this has happened before to one of you and could share where the problem was.

I appreciate any input, thanks,

Gary
I had this happen on mine. Spraying worked temporarily but I had to take it out and disassemble it, clean out the old grease and metal grindings, regrease it and put it back in. Has works fine for 2 years now.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

Thanks for your input on this. As I'm messing with it it feels like the stiffness has more to do with pulling the shifter back, like you would do to release it out of park. That sounds more like steering column to me as some of you suggested. I've never had the steering column out before, does it disconnect at the joint just below the shifting arms? Are there any links you guys know about showing this procedure? I like being prepared before I dive into repairs.

Thanks all for your help,

Gary
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:45 PM   #6
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

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Originally Posted by Lugnutt View Post
Thanks for your input on this. As I'm messing with it it feels like the stiffness has more to do with pulling the shifter back, like you would do to release it out of park......Thanks all for your help, Gary
Yeah, that's exactly what happens when the grease in the column gets old and hard. Mine was so bad (Texas heat) that I had to take the column off and dismantle it. Litteraly chunks of caked up grease fell out. I cleaned and relubed and worked like new.

You may not have to take it off. Some guys have had success by doing what's mentioned above. Just be patient and let the lube work. You'll have to spray the hell out of it so be sure and protect the carpet or floor pan with towels.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:55 PM   #7
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

Read through this posts and be sure not to force it too much cause the shift levers have been known to break. You may have to remove the steering wheel and all the internal turn signal parts and bearings, etc. for easier access. Just take pictures and keep everything in order.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=465107
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #8
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

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the transmission column shifter has gotten real stiff and hard
Gary......if this lasts longer than 4 hours, please go to the doctor.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:44 PM   #9
Lugnutt
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

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Gary......if this lasts longer than 4 hours, please go to the doctor.
Yea, just got back from the doctor, he said my lube got too old.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:00 AM   #10
ChillWinstonC20
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

I know this thread is old but <amazingly> the great advice holds up. Thanks all!!
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

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I know this thread is old but <amazingly> the great advice holds up. Thanks all!!
Great that it helped.

The one thing I have found out is that regardless of the problem with these old trucks, someone has experienced it. Lots of good info in here from some very knowledgeable folks.
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

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Originally Posted by cdowns View Post
i'd start by spray the heck out of the shifter tube on the column with wd40 or simaler stuff// i've found 40year old moving parts respond well to cleaning and lubrication
Thank you so much for the WD40 suggestion! It worked for me in about a second after spraying the shifter lightly so it dripped along the tube into the column. I was thinking I needed transmission work done and was not happy about it. My 72 Chevy van has never been so easy to drive, not since I've had it anyway. I had no idea it was actually supposed to be so easy to shift. It had gotten so stiff, it actually hurt my arms to get it into park and reverse. Thanks!!!
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:09 PM   #13
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

I know this is an old thread, but a few sprays of WD-40 and it freed up real quick!

Thanks for the tip. Seems to really worked and almost instantly.
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Old 10-14-2015, 05:43 PM   #14
BigandBlue72
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

My auto column shifter had the same issue. I sprayed the inside with white lithium grease. One pull back on the shifter and she was freed up.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:33 AM   #15
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Re: 1972 Automatic Column Shifter Stiffness

2018 and this worked like a charm.
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