Can’t get 1st or Reverse Gears

BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
The 37 Hudson has an Electric Hand and while it is working as far as 2nd & 3rd gear, I cannot get 1st or reverse gears.  

A few days ago a friend & I were trying to adjust the passenger side of the Transmission Interlocking Device and afternoon some adjustment I could get it into 1st & reverse using the Electric Hand.  At the end of that fix I put an ounce or so I fight oil in the big vacuum cylinder.  Later I couldn’t get it to shift into reverse or 1st gears and still am having no luck.  I tried to again adjust the Transmission Interlocking Device but no luck at all.  

Unfortunately the manual only refers one to the electric hand section but then it’s never covered as to the adjustments needed.  I’m at my wits end with this thing, so hopefully some one can provide some direction.

Drivers side Trans Interlocking Device: 

Passenger side which I was adjusting with no success: 


  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    I'm looking in the '34-37 shop manual I downloaded from the "Library" section of the Club website, and I see a 29-page section that deals with operation of the Electric Hand in detail (section 11).  Is that what you are working with?

    Possibly the cross-shift control mechanism of the Electric Hand is at fault.  The second / third gear shifting works for you, but not the reverse / first shift.  So, the Elec. Hand cylinder that is supposed to move the shift linkage between R/1 and 2/3 may be at fault.

    Another thing to look at is any possible obstructions or binding of the linkages (especially the cross-shift).  Are there adjustments which need to be made, to allow a bit more movement in the linkage.  Maybe a slight increase in movement would allow the cross shift to move its full travel, thus enabling the reverse / first action to take place. 

    Finally, you were tinkering with the transmission interlock.  You need to determine whether that has any bearing at all on the Electric Hand operation.  First thing would be to use the emergency shift lever to move the transmission through all its gears with the engine off!  Does the transmission work fine with the engine off?  Then the interlock setting is fine, and the problem's not with that but with the Electric Hand. 

    At least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor

    I’ve been thought the 1937 Hudson Mechanical procedural manual multiple times trying to make sense of the electric hand with the tranny and the adjustments that are needed on the interlock device however, I am unable to find anything. They go into great detail on how to use their tool to test things but that’s useless without their tool.

    The emergency shift lever & pin on tranny have been damaged since I bought it decades ago & I’ve been unable to locate replacements.  Thus I cannot shift it by hand.   

    I’ve also tried to locate the parts needed to remove the electric hand but this too has been unsuccessful.  UGH!
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    edited September 10
    It appears that the stud that comes out the top of the transmission is cut off.  You can get that out by unbolting the cover of the transmission (4 bolts) and removing the tension spring that holds the steel ball (with the damaged stud) in place.  Then, weld an extension stud to the top of the broken-off one, cut it to the right length, and groove the top to mate with the bottom socket of the emergency shift lever.

    The Electric Hand test devices do surface, from time to time.  People tend to buy them in order to salvage the Electric Hand control units, to mount in their cars.  Hudson vendors who have purchased old dealership stock, sometimes have one lying around, not really knowing what to do with it.  Certainly it would simplify troubleshooting your Electric Hand, if you could find one!

    As to removing the Electric Hand power unit, I don't recall needing any special parts or tools.  I salvaged (what I hope is) the entire unit and all its various switches, from an old Hudson about 40 years ago, just using a socket wrench set and a screwdriver.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Wow, that’s nice work Ken!  That’s the kind of repair I need on my shifter, did you have to do something similar to the transmission pin it rides on to get a tight fit?

    Jon, with some careful use of my broken shifter I was able to get it into each gear this morning.  So if I’m truly getting her into gear, then the problem lies elsewhere.  I imagine I need to pull the floor pan over the transmission next.  
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    If you're going to the trouble to pull the floor pan, take a few additional minutes to unbolt the transmission cover.  It shouldn't take that long to remove the retaining spring and remove the steel ball and stud, then at least photograph it and take notes.  Or just take it to a welding shop and see if they can weld on an extension, which you might them be able to put a groove into.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    I just took a couple pictures of the pin & the shifter on the pin.   

  • lostmindlostmind Posts: 1,277Expert Adviser
    edited September 10
    You should be able to have that piece in the trans built up with a welder and then ground down. If you remove the cover from the trans it shouldn't be a big project for an experienced welder. The shifter handle handle looks a little more complex.
    If you remove the levers from the electric hand pieces , you should be able to leave them in place.
    If it were mine , I'd try drilling the trans part after it's welded and install a pin , or bolt in the handle sleeve.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Lostmind: good point on building up the piece on top of the trans, it would 
    definitely be the easier of the two repairs.   
    The pin or bolt your referring to, is that to go all the way through from one side to the other?  Any size recommended?

  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    Big Sky, the stud sticking out of your transmission looks to be in good shape, except where part of it is worn down around the grove.  You could just build that up with a bit of weld, then grind it smooth so you've restored the original shape.  The length of the stud looks about right, and shouldn't need to be extended.

    The spade tip within the collar on the shift lever, however, looks worn.  Maybe you can grind the weld that holds the collar to the shift lever rod, and slip the collar off.  Then you can grind or machine the rod portion of the lever, so that the spade tip looks like the one Ken's holding.  Then slide the collar around it and re-weld to the gear shift lever rod.  Or find some steel pipe or tubing that's the same diameter as the old collar, and weld that around the rod, so you've formed a new female fitting.

    One question: is the bottom of the shift lever fitting snugly onto the stud that protrudes from the floor?  Or is there rust on the rod which prevents the collar from sliding all the way down and engaging the stud snugly?
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Jon, why do you think the collar of the shifter should slide down farther or that something is preventing the collar of the shifter from sliding down farther?  
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    The shift lever may indeed be seating as far down as it can.  However, I noted all the rust on the stud, and wondered if that was preventing full engagement.  One way to find out: dab a bit of paint on the spade tip inside the collar, and seat the shift lever down as far as it can go.  Lift off the shift lever.  Do you find paint within the slot on the stud that sticks out of the transmission.  Then it's seating correctly.  If not, you would need to file some of the corrosion off the stud.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    I took a pic & scraped inside the shifter end & there isn’t anything there that shouldn’t be.  I also put a mic in the shifter then checked it on the pin & it’s sitting as far down as it can.  
    I imagine the shifter needs to be up some so it doesn’t bind or hit anything as it moves back & forth into gear.  The pin only had some grease on it before I cleaned it.

  • lostmindlostmind Posts: 1,277Expert Adviser
    Yes , I think it should go all the way through. Wouldn't take much ,3/16" ?
    Just to stabilize it and keep it in place.
    I thought about Jon's suggestion about the collar weld . Seems like a good way to repair the lower end of the lever , easy enough to reweld it.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Looking at the shifter I’m not seeing that it was two pieces, then welded together.  Thus I’m doubtful it would actually come apart as desired.  
  • Trevor JTrevor J Posts: 397Expert Adviser
    I cant believe that someone in the club has not got a spare shift lever lying around that you can just bolt in have you advertised through the club
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