Q: I have a Pete 379 with a Cummins. As you know, the stock shifter is at about a 45-degree angle. If you turn the shift plate around, the hole is in line for the shifter to come straight out of the floor. So what kind of linkage system can be used to make this work? – Rich Phillips, Frankfort, Ky.
A: Rich, it won’t be quite as easy as you may think, but you most likely can change the stick to more of a straight type with a quick trip to the salvage yard to gather up a used shift lever or, in the worst cases, a transmission top plate.
To use the top plate, you probably could find a shift stick that bends forward below the floorboard, then comes up straight through the shift plate/shift boot. You may be able to flip your plastic floor plate around – you’ll just have to give it a try and see.
If this type of stick is unavailable, it may be necessary to buy another transmission top plate that has the forward mount shifter hole, which would let you use a straight shift stick.
Either way, there wouldn’t be any linkage: The stick would go directly into the trans top plate.
Another option is to remove the shift stick, take it to the shop vise, heat it up just above where it comes through the floorboard and bend it forward to straighten it out to your liking. Be careful, as a little bit of bending down low on the stick moves it a bunch up top.
The boys here put some wet shop towels around the lower part of the stick (around the shift tower) to keep it from heating up and burning the rubber seal out. Good luck. – Bryan Martin, 4 State Trucks