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Column shifter problems.

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61magic View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29-July-2022 at 2:05PM
I have a couple of problems with my shifter on the steering column, the car is a 74 with an auto trans.
The shift lever doesn't stay back in the lock position and will fall out of park or other gears. I've never taken one of these apart is there a spring or other way the lever is held back?
The second issue is the gears don't match the position of the lever, or the indicator any ideas on how to adjust this?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-July-2022 at 3:05PM
The column shifter itself has no detents, the detents are within the transmission itself. The shifter arm at the base of the steering column connects to the transmission shift linkage arm via a cable. I would check the shift linkage on the driver's side of your transmission as well as the condition of the shift cable and it's attaching points(bracket on trans case). Hope this helps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote handsofstone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-July-2022 at 3:46PM
Pull the linkage off at the manual arm on the transmission. It should be relatively hard and snappy to move through the positions. If it is easy, the spring is probably broken or the bolt that holds it has backed out. My bet is on a broken spring.
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61magic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 61magic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-July-2022 at 4:53PM
Any idea why the shift lever doesn't stay in the back (lock) position? I'm wondering if there is a spring in the collar which is broken. 
I've never disassembled one of these and I wasn't able to locate an exploded view drawing or a parts list.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-July-2022 at 3:57AM
Ford did a recall on the shifter slipping out of Park, IMO the column shifter is a pretty cheap POS that literally can't hold it's own. for your safety and that of others you may want to take drastic measures and swap to a newer not worn out steering column that has better detents or maybe even a floor shifter?

check these out, maybe you'll like something there / maybe not.
just throwing it out there because they don't get much traction on catalog parts sites
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61magic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 61magic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-July-2022 at 8:50AM
I was able to find out there is a plunger behind the shift lever which is controlled by a spring. 
After removing the shift lever the plunger moves down but not back up, I assume the spring is broken.
I searched online and didn't find much on the spring, there was some information on a spring like this for a mix 60s Fairlane which may work.
Anyone have any experience changing one of the springs or know where to get one?
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Steve M. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve M. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-July-2022 at 10:58AM
Check with californiajohnny. Also always use your emergency/parking brake, even after the repairs are made. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-July-2022 at 1:01PM
 i can check... i have a few columns in parts, so i should have a good spring! also check if the pin holding the lever in is tight and not worn! and is the collar tight on the shaft? a combination of these things will make for some wanky shift lever actionOuch
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90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 61magic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-August-2022 at 11:13AM
Okay, I took care of one of my problems so here are things I found that may be helpful to others with the same issue.
First, I had two problems to deal with. The sloppy shift lever and the lever not returning to the lock position for park etc.

The sloppy shifter is due to the holes where the roll pin goes through the column and the shift lever are worn so the lever moves around. I have not been able to resolve this, I haven't found a collar I could purchase individually.
Ecklers discontinued selling them for the 74 and had no stock left over. Searching ebay only produced complete steering columns but I don't want to spend $350 for a $50 part.
A friend suggested drilling the roll pin holes a little larger in both the collar and the lever and using a larger pin. I may try this if I can't locate a collar.
Back to the repair.
The second problem which was the lever not locking in the park position has been resolved. 
After some research and looking at pictures I discovered there was a spring-loaded plunger located behind the shift lever which held the lever in the locked position.

Assuming the spring was broken I found one on ebay, the part was NOS with the part number FDU-7293-A.
This part number said it was for an earlier model Falcon/Ranchero. I didn't find a part specifically for a 1974 Ranchero but figured I would try it.
I removed the steering wheel, nothing special about this.

Next, I removed the turn signal lever and the switch pulling it forward to move it out of the way. 
I removed the snap-ring on the steering shaft and removed the two nuts holding the first column in place. The bearing was stuck on the shaft, so it took a lot of wiggling of the collar to get the collar and bearing to move. 

Note: I also had removed the key cylinder thinking this may be holding things which didn't make a difference so this may have been unneeded.

I couldn't completely remove the upper collar because the plastic wire plugs from the turn signal harness wouldn't come apart and I didn't want to break it trying to force it. I pulled the switch as far out as I could to get room to work.

Also, something in the steering wheel lock, where the connection to the starter switch was preventing the collar from moving any further. 
I thought something the ignition switched connected could be the cause. Looking in the hole where the switch came out there is something that looks like a rack and pinion to move the steering wheel lock and rod for the starter switch is.
There is a snap ring in this area, but I didn't have a snap ring plier that would work in the cramped area. I couldn't get any further.

I inspected the "detent" (if this is the correct term) the shift lever engages to lock it in park and it looked fine, nothing worn I could see. I had found an NOS replacement on ebay for this part.

I was finally able to giggle things around enough to get access to the two small screws that hold the plunger and spring in place. Using a right-angle ratcheting screwdriver, I could remove the screws followed by the plunger and spring. A small magnet pickup tool really helped here to get the spring out.
The spring was broken in three parts. The replacement spring, found on ebay was a bit larger in diameter and seemed to be of thicker coil material.
It did fit the plunger and fit into the hole the original spring was in.

After putting everything back together everything worked as it should, the handle locks in park as it should and operates normally.
Much safer now and don't have to worry about the transmission falling out of park and moving.

So now I'm on the hunt for a collar that doesn't have the roll pin holes worn, if anyone knows a source pass the information along, please.
I may try the drilling suggestion and worst-case purchase a complete column and keep the extra unneeded parts for the "just in case" stock.
If you have any question about this procedure, feel free to contact me.


Edited by 61magic - 07-August-2022 at 7:04AM
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Steve M. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Steve M. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-August-2022 at 1:33AM
Good explanation of repairing several minor issues that do create a big headache! It took a combination of 3 used columns to  get one good one.I went with an upgrade to a tilt/curise. Was able to sell off the unused parts. Even after the columns rebuild, it popped out of park and rolled into a tow truck .Went back and adjusted and tightened up the linkage on the tranny (FMX). Still set the e-brake every time  Once was enough! 
Steve M.
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72 RS 351 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-August-2022 at 3:38AM
I appreciate the posts of the real world examples. Other people are having these problems also, so this will help many others over time.

I'm still going to attempt to install my old 1993 steering column from an Explorer Limited I owned and parted out. I used the body to repair a 99 Limited from a junkyard, I still have it and it's great as a mail truck and spare SUV.

The later columns will mount a little differently of course, I like my 93 part because of the newer ignition switch and other fragile parts, obsolete but not too hard to find yet. I have different steering wheel options, including a NOS leather one I got for a late 80's Ranger or Bronco. It might not look quite right to most people, so far I think I'll like it, I had the same version in my 93(but grey and messed up from a poor paint job(over spray of primer)). I wanted a black wheel anyway.
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