Update & an Analysis on the 2nd gen F-body Factory Ratcheting Shifter

Work has slowed as life has gotten busy, but I am still close to getting the car back on the road- probably didn’t get as much done today as I should have. I was to busy investigating the frankly baffling shifter.

To start, both the camaro and the firebird had an optional “slap stick” factory racheting shifter that became standard by the late 70s. By dropping the transmission into first (low), you can push the lever to the right and up which will stop at 2 (super?), then again to push into drive. In theory, this is much like aftermarket B&M megashifter or similar.

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In practice? not so much.

Turns out these things have a few flaws, and the “ratchet” feature is a gimmick at best. An issue that I’ve posted about before is due to the shifter itself- there is a main detent plate that actually holds the gears- this has a particular weak point in park that can snap, as mine did. My dad thankfully repaired the detent by brazing it together.

He also added some tacks to the body to add some rigidity

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The shifter has a main rod that when released activates these detents

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Mine was a bit.... off. It did go back into shape.

On to the rachet: there is none. at least, nothing meeting the definition of rachet I am familiar with.

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you can see the spring that allows you to move the stick to the side. however, as the detent basically funnels all shifts to Drive “D” and won’t let you back out without pressing the button, the only mechanics necessary to operate the shifter are these two little nubbins on the opposite frame.

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So basically: these are just an actual positive stop between gears. You push the lever right towards these and forward. You slam into them, stopping the lever. you release the stick, it slides left in the normal position. You slide to the right and forwad, again slamming the stop.

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There is no ratchet. You can just as easily push the lever forward in the normal position all the way into drive. This whole shifter basically relies on the transmission linkage rather than actually controlling shifts. This whole mechanism is basically lip service, and rudimentariy safeties. It doesn’t positively lock the mechanism in any gear except park. you can shift from drive to neutral without depressing the button. In other words? I am unimpressed and would/will not use this as anything to brag about. The main components are poorly designed and apparantly bad metallurgy. I wouldn’t even reccomend using the function due to the strain on the components.

I don’t honestly know what I was expecting from a street car from this time period.

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In other news: I think I may have fixed my oil leak, I replaced my temperature sender, and I think I may know what is wrong with my HVAC fan. hopefully next week is figuring out the transmission end of the shift linkage , pumping up the tires, and testing the brakes. If all goes according to plan, well, I can’t exactly call what I will do a maiden voyage. Maybe more of a prostitute exiting rehab voyage.

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