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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, my '79 has the stock Saginaw 4-speed in it still alive and kicking, or so I thought....

This morning about halfway to work, 3 miles from home, I couldn't shift in or out of any gear. It seams like it is stuck in 3rd gear. The motor and everything else seemed to be just fine.

I am wondering if someone out there has seen this issue before, and hopefully knew how it can be fixed.
I hope to not have to buy a new tranny at this moment in time.

Sorry this is a little bit lengthy, but I am lost, plus my car is my daily driver too.

Thank you guys,
Ductape
 

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I also have a 79 4 speed and one day I filled up with gas, then pulled forward and parked to go inside and when I came out it was stuck, wouldnt do anything. Had it towed, AAmco explained it like fingers getting gummed up. I think I paid $140 and was on my way, 3 years ago and no problems since.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, I will give a call to some transmission shops and see what they can do.

It won't budge at all out of gear, or anything. I tried for a good 15 minutes and nothing would move
 

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can you pull it out of gear with the engine off with the clutch depressed or not at all?
look in the side (drivers side) of the trans and check to be sure the linkeages arent bound up, or that the shifter didnt come apart or get something stuck in it.
eliminate the easy stuff first.
 

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My experience with the same situation was bound up linkage. Had to make some adjustments after the second time. No problems since. Hope yours is that simple. Oh yea, I almost forgot, I also ended up replacing the bushings where the shifter rods connect to the transmission.
 

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try pushing and pukking a bit on the shifter, with the clutch out, then bump the starter.

After that, get ubder her and start pulling the shift rods loose from the tranny (just small cotter pins) and try to wiggle the arms coming out of the tranny. Do one at a time. If you get them all off and they still wont wiggle (change gear) the problem (binding) is inside the tranny (gears). If it frees up when you are pulling the rods loose, it is the rods. Either way it is an easy fix E X C E P T it certainly means you need to change your rod bushing pretty darn soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok,
So I checked it out and it was the linkage and it turns the linkage had just gotten jammed up and stuck in third gear.

I got it fixed, for now, but from the looks of things, It will need to be replaced soon.

I looked on OPGI.com and they have a Hurst shifter, pretty pricey, but it's hurst and comes with the whole kit
http://www.opgi.com/p/transmission/9898/132/L24001.htmlideas

Anyone have any different ideas on a kit that I could lok into getting.
I checked summit, but I could only find a universal kit, and I dont really want toget a universal kit.

Any ideas?
 

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VINTAGE MOTORHEAD
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I have had Hurst shifters on many GM cars over the years. I never had a bit of trouble with them. It would be a nice update for your trans. You will definately like the way it shifts with the Hurst setup.
 

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Shifters are not all that complicated. You've got a large lever moving three small ones. You might want to take it apart and see if you can find the problem before you pay the bucks for a new one.
 

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I bought the saginaw 4-speed Hurst shifter from OPG a year ago. Over the years I've used Hurst shifters in all my manual transmissioned cars and never had problems with them. That said, I thought I'd get a Hurst shifter for my Elky. When I got the shifter and kit, and opened the boxes, I thought: man, these look like cheap crap!! Looked at the boxes, and saw "Made in China"!
I thought I'd post this FYI (oh, I still have not used it in the El Camino).

Doug
 

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The short, reverse rod was my main problem. It was so loose & wobbly that it would rub on the other rods while shifting. Of course this would eventually cause the binding. I bought a small pack of shift rod bushings (about 5 to a pack)& replaced the completely worn ones on the transmission. I have not had a problem since.
 

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I once had a 79 Elko with a 4-speed Saginaw. I went thru Saginaws like a child in free candy store, my thoughts?........They're junk. Keep in mind that the 4-speed used in the El Camino's and Caballero's were the very same transmission that were used in the Chevy " Vega ". Yep, that tranny was never intended for heavy duty use, and I found plenty of replacements at the salvage yards.

They're most likely harder to find these days, but that was the standard 4-speed for many GM vehicles back in the mid 70's thru early 80's. Before you decide to spend ANY money on fixing one, consider a replacement as it would be less overall cost and an easy job to replace. They really have no strength and were a cheap replacement for the Muncie.

The Saginaw 4-speed is a light duty Transmission and never should have been mated to a V8. The factory was having cost issues, and this was the reason 4-speeds were discontinued in the El Camino's ( along with smog issues ). If you can find a Muncie, swap the transmission. There are many options for a Hurst shifter with a Muncie however, with a Saginaw there are few options......no small wonder why Hurst doesn't offer shifter choices for a Saginaw?
 

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buy a rebuild kit for the shifter and rod ends and you should be fine.the bushings in the linkage and the wear plates in the shifter get sloppy with time.
 

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I've got a hurst on my M21, the one problem I've had with guest shifters is the adapter plate loosening up. Once I loctite the crap out of the bolts haven't had a problem since..... Personally I'm more of a Muncie person then a T10 myself
 

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I didn't read all responses, so if it's been said already, I apoligize in advance and agree with whoever said it. It does sound like jammed up shift forks to me. If you can pull the shift linkage off the side cover, then pull the side cover off the trans, you might find your problem. I could be a bent shift fork, could be just gummed up and need a cleaning or it could be other worn parts that allowed to much travel too, but I'd say if you are mechanical at all, it's worth a try to fix yourself if funds are an issue and it's your daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the advice you guys, I really appreciate the help.

I am somewhat mechanical, but I had a buddy of mine look at it up at his Dad's shop and they decided its the linkage/shifter goin bad.

I found a Hurst shifter for a good deal and it's made in USA not china.
So this week we're gonna switch it out, and I will be sure to look at the innards while I'm in it and clean it up.

I'll keep updates on what I find.

Thanks again,
Randy
 
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