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'63 R1 A/T Stuck in Park


heyrob
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Hi All,

I'm a long time viewer, but first time poster.  I have recently inherited my Dad's '63 R1 A/T (he was the 2nd owner, had it since ~1993 or so; 1st owner was his best friend who purchased it new in southern California).  It has been parked for the last ~20 years in central Texas (covered; ran when parked).  I'm currently in the process of trying to move it from it's storage location to my house, but have been unable to get it out of park.

I have not tried starting it yet, and don't plan to until I get it back to my house ~100 miles away where I have tools and garage space to work on getting it up and running again (he stopped driving it back then due to a recurring charging system problem). For now, I'm just trying to get it rolling to push it down a really narrow driveway and onto a flatbed or trailer to get it back to my house.

I've not yet spent much time with it, but would be grateful for any initial diagnostic guidance the community can offer about getting it out of park (I should clarify that it's the original borg warner 3 speed automatic).  I haven't done much more than:

  1. Trying to rock it back and forth to make sure the parking pawl isn't stuck, to no avail (it's parked on almost perfectly level ground). 
  2. The plunger on the shift lever seems to depress all the way 
  3. I sprayed down the linkages with Kroil as best I could from the top of the shift lever (basically just aiming the straw down the opening where the shift lever goes into the console)
  4. My next step is to get it in the air and see what I can see from underneath (and to relieve any additional binding from the drivetrain that might be holding the parking pawl in place). I'll be doing that this weekend

Am I correct that there are no other types of "interlocks" that might be holding it in park (e.g. - no ignition key or brake pedal interlocks, etc.)?

I have a workshop manual and factory parts book from studebaker international, but am not quite sure what I should be looking for (logically, I can only reason that it's a problem either *outside* the transmission, such as frozen/rusted linkages, or *inside* the transmission, such as a bound parking pawl).  I really want to minimize the invasiveness of any procedures I try until I have it back to my house.  

My fallback will be to drop the driveshaft just to get it rolling, but I'd prefer to just get the transmission freed-up if possible (I live on a hill, so would sure be nice to have a functional 'park' once I get it to my house and off the transport vehicle/trailer)

Thanks in advance for any guidance y'all can provide!

Rob

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Here's what I saw when I pulled the cover back for the first time in ~20 years a couple weekends ago... I was terrified it was going to be one giant hornets nest or something ;)

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PXL_20210710_180842954.MP.jpg

PXL_20210710_180833305.jpg

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On 8/18/2021 at 4:11 PM, heyrob said:

Here's what I saw when I pulled the cover back for the first time in ~20 years a couple weekends ago... I was terrified it was going to be one giant hornets nest or something ;)

PXL_20210710_180906832.jpg

PXL_20210710_180854420.MP.jpg

PXL_20210710_180842954.MP.jpg

PXL_20210710_180833305.jpg

Looks like it came out of mothballs pretty good. Good luck and enjoy! Updates on progress would be great.

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On 8/18/2021 at 8:39 PM, 64studeavanti said:

You might want to look at rear brakes. After sitting that long, it is likely that they are frozen solid.

Thanks for the suggestion, 64studeavanti, that makes sense.  I'll check them out this weekend.  Are you thinking about the potentially frozen brakes as an issue that might keep in from rolling in general, or more specifically as related to not being able to shift out of Park?

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On 8/19/2021 at 12:38 AM, Rob Dudley said:

The ball on the shifter threads on to the rod. Be sure it is screwed all the way down so the button can go all the way in. 

Thanks Rob, I'll definitely check on this.  I actually had the ball off the shifter (as I thought it was necessary to slide the cover plate off so I could access the shift linkages from the top), and thought I screwed it all the way back down, but will check.

In terms of telling whether or not the plunger/button is depressing all the way, should I feel any kind of "click" or "detent" type feel as I press it down (if it's gone far enough down to allow a shift out of park)?  I thought about just trying to remove the plunger out of the shift lever entirely to see if that frees it up, but thought that might be counterproductive.

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20 hours ago, 1inxs said:

Looks like it came out of mothballs pretty good. Good luck and enjoy! Updates on progress would be great.

Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  The paint definitely took some abuse from the cover (presumably rubbing back and forth on it for ~20 years), but there's a lot worse that could have happened.  I'll count myself lucky compared to what folks in the rust belt have to deal with!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The shift linkage is probably rusty and/or the lever could be rusty too.   Easiest way to check that the transmission is out of park is to get under the car,  and disconnect the rod coming from the shift linkage to the lever on the driver's side of the transmission circled in red in the photo, and then move the lever two clicks back, which should be neutral.   Actually even moving the lever one click back (or more) releases the parking pawl in the transmission and should let the car roll forward or backwards. 

The shift rod is attached to the lever with a cotter key.

From the looks of the car's wheels, it looks like you will need a sturdy tow strap to pull the car out of its covered shed, then winch it onto a trailer.

Where in Texas is it located now? 

1319155235_7e596bb2-71b8-4df9-899d-31d77ff953fc-Copy.jpg.2182594f197a04c300fe667f15e208f7.jpg

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15 hours ago, lschuc said:

The shift linkage is probably rusty and/or the lever could be rusty too.   Easiest way to check that the transmission is out of park is to get under the car,  and disconnect the rod coming from the shift linkage to the lever on the driver's side of the transmission circled in red in the photo, and then move the lever two clicks back, which should be neutral.   Actually even moving the lever one click back (or more) releases the parking pawl in the transmission and should let the car roll forward or backwards. 

The shift rod is attached to the lever with a cotter key.

From the looks of the car's wheels, it looks like you will need a sturdy tow strap to pull the car out of its covered shed, then winch it onto a trailer.

Where in Texas is it located now? 

1319155235_7e596bb2-71b8-4df9-899d-31d77ff953fc-Copy.jpg.2182594f197a04c300fe667f15e208f7.jpg

Thanks for the reply, Lew, that's really helpful information!  I had a few hours with it last weekend, and put it up in the air to continue troubleshooting.  I saw the linkages and the lever you're talking about.  I almost disconnected it at the adjuster end (where it connects to the shifter) but double-guessed myself.  Sounds like I'll be better off disconnecting at the transmission end like you mention.  I was able to get a little movement on the outer lever, which I believe is connected to throttle (via the carb?), but it might have been in my imagination (I found it hard to get good leverage on it from under there).

I did a visual inspection of the linkages between the lever and the shifter "downrod", and they looked to be in pretty good shape, but I suppose it could be corrosion internal to the pivot point of the lever (I just hope I can get my meat hooks up there, it's really tight, as I'm sure you know).  I was barely able to get a view of it with a mirror, but I'll try coming at it from some different angles.

Getting the car up in the air revealed another can't-move-it-yet issue which a previous commentor speculated on:  3 of the 4 wheels are totally locked up (both fronts and one rear). I was able to get a little movement on the driveshaft from the one rear wheel that wasn't frozen, which to me implied that the parking pawl isn't frozen internally against the gear in the trans, but I might be reading too much in to that (I guess it could just be play in the driveshaft splines, or something like that)

I'll be back there next weekend with it, and I'm planning to pull the brakes off, and hopefully that frees the wheels (and it's not the actual hubs / bearings frozen up).  I brought the wheels home with me to get new tires mounted ("dayton thorobred" steel radials were on there - I was under the impression you weren't supposed to mount radials on those old wheels, but...?)

On your question about location, it's currently outside of the Bryan-College Station area (where Texas A&M University is).  I'm trying to get it back to the Austin area where I live.

Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate it!

- Rob

PXL_20210821_200540563.jpg

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Before  you try to remove the rear brake drums, the drums and hubs fit tightly on a tapered axle shaft, and to remove the hub and drum, you HAVE to use a brake drum puller that attaches with three jaws to three lug bolts.    First remove the cotter key and the big axle nut, then put the axle nut on backwards to just protect the last few threads on the axle shaft.  

after attaching the brake drum puller onto three wheel studs and tightening lug nuts onto those studs, tighten the drum puller onto the center of the axle shaft with the axle nut on backwards, and then you can use a big hammer to strike the cross at the end of the threaded puller.   

You will NOT remove the hub and drum assembly without one of these tools.  Without the tool, you will probably destroy the drum, hub and probably the end of the axle shaft too.    

Hopefully you have an Avanti workshop manual that will show the proper way to both remove drums/hubs, and especially how to install them back onto the axle shaft.  There is a tapered keyway just past the threads on the end of the axle shaft, and if installed wrong, can also damage the hub or axle shaft.

Here is one type of drum puller I like, made by Snap On, I've found these on eBay often, usually for around $100.   Summit Racing catalog has new OTC hub pullers  that should work too: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/otc-7394?seid=srese1&gclid=CjwKCAjw4KyJBhAbEiwAaAQbE3ajVDdtsajKrQcgFmmPet6xT30aHiqCLWHR5SMuaRgk04wboeivXhoCFG8QAvD_BwE

As for your front wheels not turning, the disk brake pads/calipers are probably stuck or rusted to the rotor.  Since the wheels are off, you probably should at least remove the pads from both front wheels, and if the are too hard to remove, just take the whole caliper off.

 

Snap-on: unnamed.jpg

OTC from Summit: otc-7394_w.jpg

 

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I'm so glad you posted this, I think you just saved me from a world of hurt!

I do have a workshop manual, but honestly hadn't more than glanced at the brakes section, just figuring "a drum's a drum".  I had been planning to use an external style 2-jaw puller I had (OTC 6980), which grabs the brake drum rotor on the circumference / edge... Sounds like that would have made for a bad day (a good reminder for me to "think twice" - remembering these cars are unique).

OTC 6980.jpg

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I know that Lew knows his stuff, but it is confusing to refer to the puller as a brake drum puller.  The pictures did a lot to clear this up. It is a hub puller that you need.  

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I think you hit my nail on it's head. I'm realizing now I totally misconceptualized the system, thinking of it like a "typical" modern day setup where you can manipulate the drum/rotor separately from the hub. I agree the pictures really helped me get what's going on...

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58 minutes ago, studegary said:

I know that Lew knows his stuff, but it is confusing to refer to the puller as a brake drum puller.  The pictures did a lot to clear this up. It is a hub puller that you need.  

Me and others have always referred to this tool as a brake drum puller 😇, because that is what we used it for, but it technically is a hub puller. 

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47 minutes ago, heyrob said:

I think you hit my nail on it's head. I'm realizing now I totally misconceptualized the system, thinking of it like a "typical" modern day setup where you can manipulate the drum/rotor separately from the hub. I agree the pictures really helped me get what's going on...

Heyrob,  Not only Studebaker used tapered axle shafts, other cars used this too,  American Motors, for one. In fact, some (if not all) Jeeps used tapered axle shafts at least through the 1970s, maybe longer.

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1 hour ago, heyrob said:

I'm so glad you posted this, I think you just saved me from a world of hurt!

I do have a workshop manual, but honestly hadn't more than glanced at the brakes section, just figuring "a drum's a drum".  I had been planning to use an external style 2-jaw puller I had (OTC 6980), which grabs the brake drum rotor on the circumference / edge... Sounds like that would have made for a bad day (a good reminder for me to "think twice" - remembering these cars are unique).

OTC 6980.jpg

 

 

Yes, this would have at least broke the drum, and maybe you too!  🤯  The hub pullers I mention above are actually pulling on the hub and NOT the drum.  The brake drum is swaged onto the studs that are pressed into the hub. In order to separate the hub and drum assemble, the swaged on each stud has to be cut, then the drum can come off the studs.

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31 minutes ago, lschuc said:

 

 

Yes, this would have at least broke the drum, and maybe you too!  🤯  The hub pullers I mention above are actually pulling on the hub and NOT the drum.  The brake drum is swaged onto the studs that are pressed into the hub. In order to separate the hub and drum assemble, the swaged on each stud has to be cut, then the drum can come off the studs.

I'll set my ego aside for a minute and admit I just googled "swaged" 🤣

Sounds like I need to adjust my timelines a bit to get the brakes out, then put the hub back in. These swaged studs are visible from the front/exterior of the drum, or from the back/interior?

(this is a good time to repeat my appreciation for your input!)

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1 minute ago, heyrob said:

I'll set my ego aside for a minute and admit I just googled "swaged" 🤣

Sounds like I need to adjust my timelines a bit to get the brakes out, then put the hub back in. These swaged studs are visible from the front/exterior of the drum, or from the back/interior?

(this is a good time to repeat my appreciation for your input!)

 

 

Swaged is just the way the drum is attached to the hub so they stay together.   The hub puller takes the hub and drum off together

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1 minute ago, heyrob said:

I realize now I have a 3 jaw attachment for my 5 lb slide hammer, but I'm guessing that would have been an uphill / losing battle compared to the puller?

I think I've heard about others using a slide hammer, but the 5lb probably would not work well.  Those hubs are on the axle very tight. 

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With a hub puller, you run it up tight by hand, then with a dead blow hammer you pound on the ears to tighten further. After that, you whack the end of the puller to loosen the hub. If not successful at first, you tighten some more. Some have good luck getting the puller as tight as possible, then letting it sit for a bit. Please remember to put the nut so the threads of the axle are covered, that way you do not bugger them. Ensure that the adjusters are completely backed off and that the emergency brake cables are fully released. This should allow the shoes to separate from the drum. In case the shoes are frozen to the drum, lightly tapping on the side of the drum may loosen them.

This is only for rear brakes. The front discs come off by removing the cotter pin and nut.

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20 hours ago, 64studeavanti said:

With a hub puller, you run it up tight by hand, then with a dead blow hammer you pound on the ears to tighten further. After that, you whack the end of the puller to loosen the hub. If not successful at first, you tighten some more. Some have good luck getting the puller as tight as possible, then letting it sit for a bit. Please remember to put the nut so the threads of the axle are covered, that way you do not bugger them. Ensure that the adjusters are completely backed off and that the emergency brake cables are fully released. This should allow the shoes to separate from the drum. In case the shoes are frozen to the drum, lightly tapping on the side of the drum may loosen them.

This is only for rear brakes. The front discs come off by removing the cotter pin and nut.

Thanks 64sudeavanti, that description helped it "click" for me, I think I understand what's going on now.  The puller I ordered appears to have a removable T-handle (though not sure). Have folks had any luck just running an impact gun on it?

I reviewed the Workshop Manual today, and feel more confident about the task now.  I was left with a couple questions, though:

1) The manual talks about reinstalling the tapered key in the axle shaft, but doesn't make any mention of its removal.  Am I correct that the hub will just either slide over it, or that the key will come out with the hub, and I can retrieve it once the hub is off?

2) For re-installation of the hub/drum, the manual basically just says to put it on. Given the press-fit on the taper, is it just the act of tightening down the axle nut to 170+ lb-ft that re-seats it on the axle (there's no need to "press" it on prior to the axle nut being installed)?

Can't tell you all how much I appreciate the help!

- Rob

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