GM Futurliner Shifter
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of
the United States
Lots of Rust
2012 - 2011
2008 - 2007
2006 - 2005
2004 - 2003
2002 - 2001
These three pictures are of the shifter. The first photo to the
left shows the unrestored shifter and the middle one after it was repaired (without the
knob) and primed. The picture to the left shows the completed and painted shifter box
ready to go back in the Futurliner. It was finished February 2000 and will reside on the
shelf until the cab has been refurbished.
HYDRAMATIC TRANSMISSION SHIFTER
automatic transmission shifter, which sits on the left side of the driver, has been
completed. The final work that doesn't show up well in the picture above is the painting
required on the raised aluminum cast letters. These are on the top of the shifter and
indicate the gear selected. Daena Vuyst (Carols daughter) who has a much steadier hand at
painting 3/16" X 1/4" letters than those of us who are working with 5 lb.
hammers and 4-1/8" sockets completed the job. She did an outstanding job.
The restoration of the Hydramatic transmission shifter
consisted of fabricating a missing cover, a lot of cleaning, freeing up the rotating
mechanism inside, sand blasting, repairing the shift stick, replacing the shift knob,
priming, matching the original color, painting with the color coat, and then Daena's
painting the raised letters.
|HOW THE SHIFTER WORKS
Let me describe this shifter. It sits on the left side of the
Futurliner driver who sits in the center of the Futurliner cab. On the right of the driver
is the stairs to the drivers cockpit so the normal position of the shifter mechanism
had to be placed to the left. The shift pattern is different than any other shift quadrant
that I have ever seen. However, if you ever drove a GM military truck of the Korean War
vintage you would recognize this shifter.* The shifter itself sits in a box that is
18" high that is a rectangle of 4" X 6". Above the shifter box the shift
knob sticks up another 6" or is 24" off the floor.
As you look down on the shifter the shift pattern is an
upside down "U" with square corners. Confused yet? The right side of the upside
down "U" controls LOW RANGE. Starting with the shift knob
pulled back is R for Reverse. As you move the shift lever forward you
come to F-1 corresponding also to HILLY. Push the shift
lever further towards the front of the Futurliner and you come to F-2
corresponding to LEVEL. Pushing the lever all the way forward (top of the
upside down U) and you are at N for neutral. Move the shift lever to the
left and you are now in the HIGH RANGE. Since the shift lever is already
at its furthermost point forward as you bring it back you travel through the selections in
the reverse order starting with F-2, LEVEL then L-1,
HILLY and finally R for reverse.
MECHANICAL OPERATION OF SHIFTER
The shifter is controlling two transmissions the Hydramatic
and the two speed gear box bolted to the rear of the Hydramatic. Although it appears
complicated, it is really a simple arrangement. Inside the shifter box attached to the
shifter knob stick is a connection point that a cable is attached that goes back to the
Hydramatic. As the shifter knob is moved in just the forward and back direction, only the
Hydramatic is shifted whether in LOW RANGE or HIGH RANGE.
A second connection point is for a second cable. This
second cable goes back to the two speed gear box on the back side of the Hydramatic. This
cable is only moved when the gear selector knob is moved from right to left or from left
to right. If you are not totally lost as the driver, the only time the selector can be
moved in the right to left or vice-versa is in N or neutral. So, to go
from high to low range you must stop. If you recall, that is when the selector is at the
most forward position. Now as a Futurliner driver you can drive this thing or at least
shift it. Also as the driver you better plan your day since you must be stopped to shift
from high to low or vice versa.
Although a lot of detail is given here it represents the
entire restoration process and as one job is done that is another behind us. It also
represents that there are many volunteers with skills that we appreciate and use.
Mayton, Project Director
4521 Majestic Vue, Zeeland, MI 49464
Tryon, Newsletter Editor
2516 Laurelford Ln., Wake Forest, NC 27587
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