69 4-Speed Shifter problems!!!! (solved by HURST!)
Thought I would ask fellow 69 owners about their experiences with the factory 4-speed shifters. I have been having a lot of problems with the shifter jamming, locking out gears and being generally troublesome.

The latest installment of this drama happened about 2 weeks ago when the shifter got hung up on reverse gear when shifting 1-2. I heard a clunk and I knew it had happened again. I pulled over and tried to shift back to 1st, no chance, all gears were locked out and the car would not move. I was stuck on a downhill section of road and no amount of wrenching with a pair of vice-grips on the shifter levers beneath the car would free it. Even with handbrake off, clutch in, the car was going nowhere. Luckily I was able to get some friends to push/rock the car backwards just enough to free it, allowing it to roll with clutch in. Once back on level ground the shifter miraculously freed up and I was able to drive "normally" again, although I tended to avoid the 1-2 shift by going straight to 3rd.

Following a bit of research when this happened the first time, I learned the shifter linakages can go out of adjustment so I have been been through the process of aligning the shifter in neutral and adjusting the rods, etc. I thought it fixed the problem but it has happened several times since with the worst as described above. I still feel it is the shifter but have not ruled out something inside the gearbox either.

So, questions if I may;
Has anyone had similar experience or want to have a guess at the possible cause for my problem?
If you have had this or similar problem was it just the shifter or something internal?
Has anyone rebuilt their factory shifter, if so what was the result?
Has anyone changed to aftermarket shifter like Hurst Competition Plus and if so, how did that go?
Any other comments and suggestions would also be very welcome.


I have been away from the computer for awhile. Sorry to see that no one has taken a stab at answering your questions. I owned a 69 with 4 speed back in 1988 but had no problems and can not remember if it was a factory or Hurst shifter. I have had 3 speed shifter problems and they were taken car of by cleaning and adjusting.

I do know that back when these cars were new it was normal to change out to a Hurst shifter. I don't know if that was mainly due to popularity or if the popularity was due to performance.

I am taking a stab at this for you but I think that I would pull the assembly and have a go at a super cleaning, rebuild, lube and reassembly. You have nothing to loose and much to gain.

Hopefully someone with more or recent experience will jump in here and help us out.
Thanks for the reply Steven, I certainly think a rebuild wouldn't hurt. I did find a rebuild kit for the 69 shifter via eBay shop http://www.vintagefordmanualshifters.info/
I wonder if anyone on the forum has heard of or used this guy before?
Shipping expense would probably be prohibative from Australia and back. I guess you would just buy the rebuild kit and have a go at it yourself.
I had a simaler problem with my shifter not working correctly I went the route of installing a hurst shifter which did not help my problem.turned out the toploader needed a rebuild.I purchased a rebuild kit form Mark at toploader heaven (great guy)With the rebuild kit he sent me a cd thats is a step by step pictorial for rebuilding a toploader.As well I had him build me a custom shifter.I highly recommend Mark for your shifter and toploader needs. As well on the cd there is a folder for common shifter failures as well as repairs if you want send me a pm and I would be happy to forward.
On a another note I have a Husrt shifter unsed if you would like to purchase at more than a reasonable price.
69 Stang, Thanks for the help with Robsilveri's quest for answers on his shifter issues. Thanks for the recommendation on Mark's site at http://toploaderheaven.com/default.html I have heard other good recommendations for his work.

Robsilveri was able to rebuild his shifter and posted an excellent how to article in the process at http://mach1club.com/showthread.php?tid=3610

For those who want to move up to a Hurst - remember 69 Stang has a new one for sale.
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I did do the rebuild but despite this I am still changing over to a Hurst! It still seems to get jammed up particularly when shifting 1st to reverse. I'm hoping the Hurst will cure the problem but still haven't ruled out some issue within the box. We'll see what happens once I get the Hurst installed......
Got my Hurst shifter and installed it last night. I just took the car for a spin around the block....oh my God.....what a transformation....you can actually drive the car properly now......fast changes, no jamming....awesome....I love this shifter!
Glad to hear that the Hurst has made you glad!

Nothing like owning a car that you have always wanted for so long and being afraid to drive it now because it may leave you stranded at just the wrong time. Of your not willing to take it out because your not sure someone will be around to help you out.

No, evidently Hurst knew how to fix that issue! Go out now and enjoy that car without that cloud of fear hanging over you.

All the best.
Just a thought, if you wanted to keep the car origional. I'd have asked Hurst if they would go through & rebuild your stock shifter. I know if you ask Holley they will rebuild most, if not any brand carb you send into them.

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