How can I fix 1968 thunderbird shift lever, I am selecting the gear but its clearly not engaging the selected gear?


Asked by African_Tbird_Owner Mar 22, 2014 at 07:49 AM about the 1968 Ford Thunderbird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Gave a friend to drive my tbird now the gear selector wont work, if you select gear
manually underneath the car it works but using the shift lever nothing responds, can
you help identify the problem?

11 Answers


Yes, the problem is: you let your friend borrow your classic car- don't do that- why would you do that?! He broke the gear shift linkage and now you have to find parts- have him pay to have it fixed- find out what kinda friend he is-


Hi I regret never again, im in africa so i kinda have to fix it myself the mechanics here are not good with american cars so can you help me with fixing this problem?


That old American car is such a basic piece of machinery that any good mechanic, anywhere in the world should be able to repair it- so find a GOOD mechanic- first thing you want to find out is if the linkage has come undone, or, more seriously, if something in the transmission has gone bad- the linkage repair could be simple, so have faith

1 people found this helpful.

It sounds like the linkage has come loose if you can put it in gear from under the car. Probably just reconnect. It may be a broken linkage that needs a part but surely you must have more old Fords with the same transmission in junk yards around there that you could get linkage from. As the above answer states, a good local mechanic should be able to take care of it.


HI, Lest I say it was a mechanic friend that killed the car in the first place, my ford is the only ford I know probably they're only a handful in my country have never seen another tbird here, is it possible you can furnish me with details where this linkage is and how to remove it, am I going to have to dismantle the steering to get to the linkage?


Start underneath the car- BE REAL CAREFUL when you jack it up and put it on jack stands- nobody needs to be gettin' killed for an old Ford- then eyeball the linkage comin' down from the passenger compartment to the tranny- if it looks good, have somebody sit in the car and shift it- if the shifter is on the column, you can also eyeball it under the hood- hopefully, you can see where the problem is and just adjust/ repair it with a few little manufactured pieces or whatever- have faith, bro


I am guessing that as African_third_owner, you are in a country somewhere in Africa. I feel sure that if you needed some linkage parts, there is a junkyard somewhere around you that has an old ford with the same transmission you have that you could buy parts off of. Do what jamblues above suggested with checking the linkage and also having someone inside the car working the linkage. When you figure out what is wrong, either repair it or look for parts. If you need parts, take the old part with you to the junk yard to match with a replacement.


Hi finally got the problem on my car, the shift lever is all worn out, i cant make out the original shape so cant have it rebuilt anyone know where I can buy another one.?


I guess from your answer you have not found another ford with a similar linkage. Can you take a digital photo of the part(s) and send them to me? Maybe I can find something equal to it that you can get there.


I am not sure if the bend is correct or not. Are both ends working OK on the transmission and shift lever? It is possible if the linkage connectors are OK that the only problem is the bend. I wouldn't just straighten it but you might try giving it small bends and see if it shifts any better. Since it was damaged while a "Friend" was using it, I think he may have tried to speed shift it and just bent the linkage. Be careful and make small adjustment in straightening it at a time. Where does this piece go? From where to where? Good luck

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