Author Topic: '76 TA Shifter Questions  (Read 3006 times)

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Offline Bull

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'76 TA Shifter Questions
« on: April 18, 2011, 09:18:01 PM »
Do any of you fellows with automatics feel that the shifter is a bit sloppy?  I am trying to figure out if something is wrong with my setup, or if it's just the nature of the beast.  The console shifter on my '76 wasn't working properly.  I'd move it to what felt like it should have been a gear position, but it didn't engage.  I took the assembly out, took it apart, and cleaned it in my ultrasonic machine.  Lubed it up and reinstalled it.  What's bothering me is that if the shifter is in a gear, say Reverse, it can then just be pulled right back to Neutral, without even depressing the button.  This also seems to be the case shifting from L to S.  When in Drive, it seems to have a lot of forward and aft movement, too.  Maybe I'm being picky, but on my other old Pontiacs, I never experienced this.

Another question I have is how the reverse lights are engaged.  I ordered a factory manual for the car, but it isn't here yet and I want to get the lights working.  On my last Pontiac, there was a switch mounted on the shifter to engage the backup lights, but I see no such switch on the '76.

Thanks fellas.

Here's the car:


Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 09:23:22 PM »
Your backdrive linkage is probably out of adjustment.
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 09:27:05 PM »
Your backdrive linkage is probably out of adjustment.

Backdrive linkage?  Is this something specific to a TH350 car?  This is my first '60s and '70s Pontiac with a TH350...all my other cars have or had TH400s.

Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 09:40:30 PM »
There is a piece of linkage (metal rod) that runs from a lever on the steering column down to the floor shifter lever mounted onto the transmission. That rod has one knuckle in it with one bolt. The easiest way to adjust is to...
Scotch the wheels on the car so it wont roll
Jack up the vehicle and support with jack stands so it doesnt fall on you and crush you to death!
put floor shifter in park (fully forward)
make sure ignition switch is off and key in pocket.
Get under car and loosen that one bolt.
Push the rod coming down from the column all the way up.
make sure shifter is still fully forward to dash.
Tighten bolt and check shifter position vs detents.

Shortcut and not as safe...
After scotching and jacking and supporting turn ignition switch to first click not far enough to light up the accessories.
Put shifter in reverse
Get under car and loosen the bolt on the linkage
have someone else turn the switch just far enough to power the acc but not engage the starter.
have them go to the back of the car and watch the reverse lights
push up/down slowly on the rod until the back up lights come on.
Once they do tighten the bolt and that should have you very close also.
You may need to fine tune it just a bit...but you'll be close
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 09:43:20 PM »
You are the man for providing all that detail.  Now I have a plan of attack for the lights.  I hope the linkage is still there, and wasn't butchered at some point in the past.

How about the sloppiness issue?  Do you notice this with your cars?  This is my first 2nd gen, and I've only had it since the beginning of the month, so it's all new to me.

Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 09:46:15 PM »
Should be kinda tight unless the cable is stretched or damaged. If you can spin the collar closest to the dash with the key off then the rod is either missing or unhooked at the bottom. If your shifter is worn out all of us gearheads have a spare.
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 09:46:52 PM »
The backup light switch is located at the base of the column inside the car btw!
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2011, 09:48:29 PM »
Should be kinda tight unless the cable is stretched or damaged. If you can spin the collar closest to the dash with the key off then the rod is either missing or unhooked at the bottom. If your shifter is worn out all of us gearheads have a spare.

Spinning the collar to check the reverse linkage, is that what you are describing?

As for the shifter, nothing on it looked worn out, that's what is confusing me.

Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 10:58:18 PM »
yes. if the rod is hooked up you will not be able to freely spin the collar.
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011, 11:06:12 PM »
Thanks again.  I'll report back with my findings.

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2011, 11:26:54 PM »
Hi Hammer,

Thanks for the reply.  I got excited for a second, then looked at your link.  My shifter does not look like the one you posted.  No special spring, for example.  Just a plain Jane model, I guess!

Offline 4SPEED

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2011, 12:08:47 AM »
from what I remember you can pull the shifter from  R to N to D  and also push it from D to N  without pushing the button.

maybe im worng?? it been a few years.   
77 W72 TransAM  (SOLD)
79 TransAM 4SPEED

Offline Tin Indians Rule

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2011, 12:12:29 AM »
Kinda how I remember it too. Always thought you could bump up from 1 to 2 to drive to neutral and thought you could go from reverse to at least neutral without pushing the button.
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline 4SPEED

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2011, 12:21:57 AM »
on my ratchet shifter I need to push it to go from 1 to 2 to D
77 W72 TransAM  (SOLD)
79 TransAM 4SPEED

Offline Bull

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Re: '76 TA Shifter Questions
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 12:23:34 AM »
It might be that what I feel as being weird is just standard fare for this model of automatic shifter.  The last console-equipped '70s Pontiac I had was a '77 Grand Prix, and I don't recall the shifter being this way.  But that was a lot of years ago, now.

The original problem I was having was that the shifter was at the very least imprecise.  I shifted into what felt like should have been a gear position, and the car did not move.  Had to fiddle with the shifter to get into gear.  Everything was filthy dirty, so maybe the linkages were just gummed up.  I have the shifter bolted back in the car, but haven't tested it out yet because I want to chase a few other problems while I am working on things.

The "before" shots I have of the shifter don't give the best perspective.  I was going to take some "afters" to show how nice everything was after going through the ultrasonic bath, but was in a hurry after dinner to get the shifter bolted up and didn't feel like running to grab the camera.

Here is what I have: