Project Super C, Stuck Shifter Part 1

FBN Network

Sep 05, 2018

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This is the fourth post in our ongoing series on Project Super C. We are chronicling the rehabilitation of our 1954 Farmall Super C tractor, which has taken up residence outside of the Farmers Business Network℠ office. If you are new to this series, please start with the introduction to the project in our first post.

Last time, we figured out that the rear end of the tractor was seized in large part because the gear shifter was stuck in first gear. Now we need to figure out why the shifter is stuck.   

The shifter apparatus has two major parts: the gear shift lever itself, and the fork and rail apparatus which is interfaced by the bottom of the shift lever and which actually moves the gears. We’ll explain how this mechanism works in a future post.

The fork and rail apparatus is bolted to the bottom of the transmission case lid. We started by removing it, as you can see in the picture below. Looking at the bottom side of the apparatus, it didn’t look too bad.

But when we got it off and got a look at the top side, it was a different story…

Wow, that’s a lot of rust, particularly at the left of the picture, which is where the end of the shift lever interfaces the rails. The three rails (which run horizontally in the picture) and the bracket at the left are completely rusted together and immobile. The middle rail is pushed forward (to the right in the picture), which is why the tractor is stuck in first gear. Given all of the rust and likely damage to the metal, this mechanism might not be salvageable.

How did we get so much rust on this interior part?

It seems that water has been traveling down the shifter and into the interior of the transmission, leading to the extensive rust on the rails (as well as water in the transmission case as we saw in an earlier post). The shifter has a “shield” (see red arrow in picture below) which is supposed to protect it, but it definitely wasn’t designed for 40 years of exposure to the elements!   

We now needed to disconnect the shift lever from the tractor so that we could evaluate its condition. The crunchy feeling when we moved it didn’t provoke optimism.

Punching out a pin freed the shield and allowed it to be removed. Underneath the shield, another pin runs through the shifter, both securing it in place and allowing it to pivot forward and backwards. We tried to drive this pin out with a punch, but it was completely unwilling to move no matter how much hammer-induced persuasion we attempted. We ultimately had to drill the pin out from one side, which loosened it to the point where we could punch it out from the other side:

Finally, the shifter was out.

And was revealed to be badly rusted. Clearly some of the metal has been eaten away over the years, and like the rails, it may be beyond repair. For next time, we’re going to work on these rusty parts and see if they can be restored. In the meantime, we improvised a new “shield” for the open hole in the transmission lid to prevent further intrusions of water and dirt.

In the next episode of Project Super C, we will try to restore these parts to functional condition.

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FBN Network

Sep 05, 2018

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