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  #1  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:18 PM
scott evil scott evil is offline
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Q about steering-column-mounted gear shifts

Forgive me, but I'm not a car person (though I know how to drive). Anyway, for some reason, these questions popped into my mind the other day.

Do they still make automatic transmission cars with the gear shift mounted on the steering wheel?

And did they ever make manual transmission cars with the same kind of gear shift? It would be stupid to force the driver to take one hand off the steering wheel every little bit to change gears.

Finally, why no rear windshield wipers on vehicles other than SUVs/minivans? My parents had a station wagon ( ::shudder:: ) in the 70s and it had a rear windshield wiper. Hardly an SUV.

Cheers.
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:32 PM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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The automatic version is still found on Sydney taxis - formerly to allow for an old-fashioned bench seat capable of carrying a third person, and these days to make room for the plastic security "bubble" which encloses the driver's seat.

Manual column shifts are also common on Australian delivery vans, also to allow a third person to be seated up front.
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:33 PM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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I didn't see your last question:

My '96 Corolla hatchback has a rear wiper. It's hardly an SUV.
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:38 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Re: Q about steering-column-mounted gear shifts

Quote:
Originally posted by scott evil
Forgive me, but I'm not a car person (though I know how to drive). Anyway, for some reason, these questions popped into my mind the other day.

Do they still make automatic transmission cars with the gear shift mounted on the steering wheel?

And did they ever make manual transmission cars with the same kind of gear shift? It would be stupid to force the driver to take one hand off the steering wheel every little bit to change gears.

Cheers.
A new Mercury Grand Marquis or Ford Crown Victoria does in fact have a column-mounted automatic shifter, except for a couple of "sporty" packages of those products. And hey, they're made in the country you're from!

My grand-father's 1960 Chevelle has a 3-speed manual transmission mounted on the steering column. I learned to drive on that car some 12 years ago.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:41 PM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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Do they still make automatic transmission cars with the gear shift mounted on the steering wheel?
Yes. (I'm sure you meant to say steering column, like you did in your post title, obviously they aren't on the steering wheel itself.)

And did they ever make manual transmission cars with the same kind of gear shift?
Yes. They were common in the 50's.

It would be stupid to force the driver to take one hand off the steering wheel every little bit to change gears.
Actually, you have to take your hand off the wheel regardless. It's just a longer reach to a floor-mounted shifter. Realistically, most drivers use one hand on the wheel and keep the other on the shifter (either column or floor) if they anticipate shifting.

Steering column shifters were thought to be a step up from floor shifters, a more deluxe arrangement. However, they were more complicated/expensive to build and maintain, and in the 60's it became apparent that floor shifters were more appealing to most drivers, so the auto manufacturers stopped making them. I'm not aware of any column-shift manuals available nowadays.

Finally, why no rear windshield wipers on vehicles other than SUVs/minivans? My parents had a station wagon ( ::shudder:: ) in the 70s and it had a rear windshield wiper. Hardly an SUV.
There are a number of station wagons and hatchbacks that have rear wipers. I can't remember if any sedans do, but it would be much more difficult to locate one on a sedan, because there's usually hardly any body surface on the same plane either above or below the rear window.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:46 PM
Early Out Early Out is offline
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With a manual transmission, of course, it doesn't matter whether the lever is on the steering column or on the floor - you still have to steer with one hand while shifting, regardless. In fact, if you're also holding a cup of coffee, you end up steering with no hands while you're shifting!
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:49 PM
brad_d brad_d is offline
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Ford Rangers with automatic transmissions have the shifter mounted on the steering column. It's on the floor for the manual ones.

Mine's a manual, and it's quite a chore to carry a second passenger in the middle - there's really no place for his legs.
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:50 PM
Billy Rubin Billy Rubin is offline
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Now: name the only American made car to be manufactured for a long term with a four-speed manual transmission with column shifter. (no longer being manufactured, unfortunately)

b.
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2002, 08:51 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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When I was a teenager (in the 60's) column mounted shifters were common for both auto and manual transmissions. Many guys installed floor-shift kits. It looked cooler, and had it's advantages when your girlfriend was with you. Most cars back then had bench seats
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2002, 09:22 PM
Arcite Arcite is offline
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Most, if not all, automatic transmission pickup trucks, and some truck-based SUVs, have their gear selector on the column.

And my 2002 VW GTI has a rear wiper. My father's 92 Acura Integra had one too. It seems to be a common feature on hatchbacks.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2002, 09:29 PM
Lsura Lsura is offline
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My '94 suzuki swift has a rear window wiper. It's definitely not an SUV or a minivan.


The only column shifter's I've experienced were in trucks or vans, though.
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  #12  
Old 10-09-2002, 09:36 PM
Booker57 Booker57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Billy Rubin
Now: name the only American made car to be manufactured for a long term with a four-speed manual transmission with column shifter. (no longer being manufactured, unfortunately)

b.
I give up. I remember a Saab with a column four speed, but no American built cars.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2002, 09:42 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Hudson
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2002, 10:24 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Ah, three-on-the-tree. Just like four-on-the-floor, but different.

In the old days of rear-wheel drive cars, the steering column mount and mechanical controlled transmissions mean that you'd have to have control rods going from the steering column all the way to the tranny, somewhere in the center. You'd think that floor mounted shifters would make more sense.

Now with most passanger cars being front-wheel drive, the steering column isn't that bad an idea, since the transaxle (it's not really a transmission) is located in front of the driver in a transversely mounted engine.

But a shift lever on the tree is old fashioned, and people generally frown on them, even if they are driving an automatic.

As for rear wipers, most passanger sedans don't need one. The windows are kept clear by the air flow and rear defroster. On hatchbacks and wagons they are more needed and are almost always standard or an option.

I think there was a law in NY state that all cars sold there new had to have either a rear wiper or rear defroster.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2002, 01:58 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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Studebaker.
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  #16  
Old 10-10-2002, 03:27 AM
DougC DougC is offline
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- - - The '86 Chevy pickup truck I used to own had a manual transmission on the column. I would come to learn that the steering column shifter mechanism typically needed to be replaced once a year, and the dealer/manufacturer didn't even make parts for the shifter anymore, even though the vehicle was less than 10 years old at that point and basically every other part was still available new. The shift mechanism got loose and would bind up between gears while shifting, and neither the lever nor the vehicle would move at all when it did. To free it, you had to hold the clutch in (or not! in which case the engine would stop on its own), turn off the engine, set the sort-of-working parking brake, get out -leaving the door open, pop the hood and yank around on the two shifter/transmission linkages to free it. And then run and jump back in, before the d4mn thing rolled away. Greasing the mechanism helped--for a couple days.
...
The repair shop I took it to told me that they could make the parts by hand for a sizable fee, or put in a floor shifter that cost less and would last several years besides.
~
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  #17  
Old 10-10-2002, 06:37 AM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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Quote:
My grand-father's 1960 Chevelle has a 3-speed manual transmission mounted on the steering column. I learned to drive on that car some 12 years ago.
The Chevelle was not built and sold till the 1964 model year. The name was discontinued after the 1977 model year.


Now: name the only American made car to be manufactured for a long term with a four-speed manual transmission with column shifter. (no longer being manufactured, unfortunately)

My father has a 1936 Packard with a column mounted shifter for the 4 speed transmission. It has a V-12 engine too.


The Ford Fairmont/Mercury Zephyr of 1982 were the last American built cars sold with a column shift manual transmissions. And it wasn't till 1995 when Chevy dropped the 3 speed manual transmission from the light truck line that column shift manual transmissions were no longer available on American built vehicles.
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  #18  
Old 10-12-2002, 08:50 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by DougC
- - - The '86 Chevy pickup truck I used to own had a manual transmission on the column. I would come to learn that the steering column shifter mechanism typically needed to be replaced once a year, and the dealer/manufacturer didn't even make parts for the shifter anymore, even though the vehicle was less than 10 years old at that point and basically every other part was still available new. The shift mechanism got loose and would bind up between gears while shifting, and neither the lever nor the vehicle would move at all when it did. To free it, you had to hold the clutch in (or not! in which case the engine would stop on its own), turn off the engine, set the sort-of-working parking brake, get out -leaving the door open, pop the hood and yank around on the two shifter/transmission linkages to free it. And then run and jump back in, before the d4mn thing rolled away. Greasing the mechanism helped--for a couple days.
...
The repair shop I took it to told me that they could make the parts by hand for a sizable fee, or put in a floor shifter that cost less and would last several years besides.
~
I've been told by family that many if not all 3-speed manuals Chevy made had this problem.
The aforementioned Chevelle I learned to drive on (which I guess WASN'T a 1960 model) exhibited the same behavior.
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  #19  
Old 10-12-2002, 10:54 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Billy Rubin
Now: name the only American made car to be manufactured for a long term with a four-speed manual transmission with column shifter. (no longer being manufactured, unfortunately)

b.
So, ya gonna tell us or what?
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  #20  
Old 10-12-2002, 11:07 AM
mack mack is offline
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Re: Q about steering-column-mounted gear shifts

Quote:
Originally posted by scott evil
And did they ever make manual transmission cars with the same kind of gear shift? It would be stupid to force the driver to take one hand off the steering wheel every little bit to change gears.
Actually, a type of steering wheel mounted paddle-actuated shifter is making it's way from formula 1 to high-end sports cars.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/technica...?ArticleID=139
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  #21  
Old 10-12-2002, 07:51 PM
Billy Rubin Billy Rubin is offline
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Checker Marathon. Thousands were made with four on the tree. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Knew a guy wanted a four on the tree for his truck, got the column off a Marathon and it worked, well, OK, after a lot of bodging. Allows you four speeds and a middle passenger in the pickup.

b.
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  #22  
Old 10-12-2002, 08:14 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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That was it, Billy Rubin, not a Hudson. A friend of mine had one. It used to be a taxi in Chicago. He also had a Powell pickup. What a wierdo.
Peace,
mangeorge
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